97 sunfire 2.2l wont start gets fuel and spark

car was prone to die if i sat at store to long or shut it off for 10 to 15 mins didnt want to start acted like not getting fuel i checked and was getting fuel and spark let it sit and try bout 30 min later id have to pump gas peddle like crazy it would start rough n keep peddling to get it to catch idle n then keep it 3 grand then it would run but yesterday it did this and died and wont start just cranks and backfired once back up thru intake with a pretty good size fireball out of the air filter box would it be crank sensor bad or timing chain broke dont wanna tear apart if i dont have to has a leaking head gasket need to make it last a couple months is all

It is very hard to read your post without punctuation… but

Getting fuel, yes, but at the right pressure? and flow? Check the fuel pressure at key-on. Shut the key off and see if the pressure bleeds down. The fuel pump may be bad.

Has the fuel filter ever been changed on this 20 y/o car? It may be clogged. The symptoms you describe sound like it isn’t getting enough fuel to run.

Start there, post back with what you find.

And annoying also.


If the engine back-fired out the intake, there’s only two things that can cause that.

Either the ignition timing is off, or the valve timing is off.

Since this engines secondary ignition system isn’t adjustable, that leaves valve timing.

If the timing chain jumps time and the valve timing is off, the compression might too low for the engine to start and run.


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ok sorry bout punctuation lol… but i figured it was the timing chain or the sensor was use to it acting up n drove paid 400 bucks for the car so cant complain to much its drove for 6 months. But thought id see what anyone else thought it could be. when i crank it it tries to hit but like it needs that little bit to fire but when it tries its that hit bout to start on a cold morning then soon as let off key it backfired up intake. these things are such a pain is why i wanted to ask n see this site has helped me on another car n fixed it but it blew up lol so thanks for any opinions

no never changed that i know of but the gas is flowing u can smell it on the throttle body where air filter connects theres a crack in it and the gas will choke u if u inhale the white vapors coming out… it shot a fire ball out of filter housing bout 3 feet round lol… so know sumn isnt turning right time as other to fire idk if chain slipped broke or what if ignition probs just guessing n asking wont have car til tomorrow when tow truck gets it here n wanna get best idea i can.

You can smell a strong odor of gas?

Here’s what you should do. Remove the vacuum hose from the fuel pressure regulator.

If gas leaks out of this connection, the gas is being drawn into the intake/engine, and the wasted spark ignition system is igniting the gas causing the back-fire.

One way to tell if this what’s happening is, remove the oil dip stick and smell the oil. If it smells like gas, that’s probably the problem.

So, you’re going to want to change the oil and filter once the fuel pressure regulator is replaced.


Good ideas above. I’m guessing either the crank position sensor or a fuel pressure problem. If you can get it running again suggest to measure the intake manifold vacuum at idle, that might provide another clue and is easy enough to do.

ok i will check it and see i remember that the last time i checked oil like 2 days ago i could smell gas on fingers but wasnt strong strong. i sprayed starting fluid in it when it act up and it wouldnt start it, only thing it would do is hit n then back to cranking… when i checked for spark at time it died it had a strong blue spark shocked me from the screwdriver i used n my finger was a inch or two away was seeing it arc to tip of screwdriver n finger was to close so know thats good. the gas was flowing just drowning it out smelled like old gas and poured gas would. but the thing is worrying is the cranking and not hitting like it should to fire up like it wants to but needs a little nug lol…


If there were a problem with the crank sensor, the computer wouldn’t operate the fuel/ignition systems.

But the OP states there’s fuel/spark?


Intermittent crank sensor?

im not sure im going to try and get the readings they should show on volt meter and get a volt meter and check and see if they are within spec…

More like an intermittent @George_San_Jose1.


oh and the gas smell heres another thing it was a smoke like vapor or cloud you could say coming out throttle body looked like smoke to me then smelled it and it was pure gas it choked me lol…

Just because there is gas present doesn’t mean there is enough gas present. Partially clogged gas filter or failing but not failed fuel pump can fool you. Without a pressure and flow test, you are in the dark.

how can i check and see without buying a test kit which i dont have the cash for right now? Is there another way to check it? it was running ok just doing the dying out here n there after letting it sit like it flooded or sumn n wait 30 min n it would start n run fine as long as i kept rpms up. does that sound more like a crank sensor or cam sensor or timing chain?

when i would first leave in the morning id get a mile down road and hit stop sign if i didnt have my foot on gas pedal giving it a little more gas it wanted to die out or if i hit hte gas real quick it picked right up n kept running just fine,

Checked n it’s getting right pressure

Checked fuel it’s ok n getting spark to all 4 plugs sounds like getting compession can hear the chugging of pistons. Then it does a .little chugged backfire thru intake.

Can I check for codes without scanner thru obd2 port with a wire done it on other cars like that