1999 Explorer starts rough

My explorer seems to have a hard time starting when the engine is cold. The engine seems to crank fine, but it just takes a lot of cranking to get it to turn over. It runs fine once it is started, and stawrts fine once warm. Idle is very smooth also. Gas milage seems to be down a little, but hard to tell on such a gas hog (although it was nice in our little east coast blizzard last week). Really looking for a good recommended list to start plugging thru, from cheap and easy, to hard and expensive.

How many miles? When were the plugs last changed?

Here’s a free thing to try.

The next time you go to start it and you know the problem is going to occur, turn the ignition switch to the run position so the dash lights come on for two seconds, and then turn the ignition switch off. Repeat this a half dozen times and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts right up it points to a problem with the fuel pump check valve.