see the log (with videos): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlCWupQnWu2CdExhYzRxcDRyZjhzU0VSTVBUbENTaGc
Every time the mechanic tried to start it worked just fine. It appeared to happen more under the following circumstances: drove day before, hot the day of, cooled down and then won’t start. I just recently picked it back up and it’s been starting fine…which leads to the theory that it’s connected to hot weather…but I expect to have problems in the future and the fear of getting stranded is not nice.
PS. Car has 90K miles, regular oil changes but not sure what else (a “hand-me-down” that got lined up with the others in my parent’s driveway to change the oil - I don’t know if my sisters did any major work on it and we’ve all switched cars so much it’s hard to remember what had what done.)
Can’t speak for anyone else, but I can’t get to the document link you posted. Can you just attech them to a post, or multiple posts, if required? There’s a little “Attach a file” link right below this entry box.
It’s a Google Doc…but here is a PDF attached.
I think it’s a 2005 (although my parents own a 2004 neon as well and always got them mixed up). It’s got 4 cylinders.
As the log specifies the following items are new: battery, positive battery cable, sparks, and crank sensor. There was an oil change in the spring, but I seriously doubt it’s reached 3k miles yet since I wasn’t driving it most of the summer.
Next time it fails to start you need to try to confirm whether it’s not getting fire or whether it’s fuel related. If it’s not getting fire it could be a bad coil since they often fail after heating up. If it’s not getting fuel listen for the fuel pump to come on and make a humming noise for about 2 seconds when the ignition is turned to the on position. If you don’t hear the fuel pump you may either have a bad fuel pump or bad fuel pump relay. If you hear the fuel pump and it’s firing it could be vapor locking not allowing the fuel to reach the engine, I have this problem sometimes in hot weather on my '88 Ford Escort. Since the car sometimes stalls after starting it could be the MAF sensor simply needs cleaning and the engine is flooded. None of these are guarantee, but things that could be checked or done easily. You might also want to put a fuel pressure gauge on it to find out whether the fuel pump is putting out the correct pressure or not.
Just closing out this ancient post and I need to post the correct answer to do so.
In 2013 (after many other attempts to fix it and the problem getting progressively worse) I changed the Idle Air Valve Controller. When I did so the gasket crumbled - which leads me to believe the mechanic who said he replaced it either didn’t touch that piece or didn’t change the gasket. It started perfectly for the last few months I had it before I was asked to give it to my sister. From what I understand for the last year or so they had it there were still problems (the car was a lemon), but this issue of not starting wasn’t one of them.