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Car was sitting - Started, stalled and now wont start

2002 Camaro SS. Been sitting in my garage and I have not started it for 2 months (I know, not smart). So I started it yesterday, it ran for about 20 seconds then just died and I cannot get it to restart. Battery is fully charged, it turns over, I can hear the injectors seemingly shoot fuel when I just turn the key into accessory mode, but when I try to start it, it just cranks like it’s out of gas and never even gives the slightest hint of trying to turn over completely. There is a 1/4 tank gas, that is at least 2 years old in the car. Also, when it started the first time a ton of black stuff came out of the tail pipes.

Bad gas? Fuel pump? Not sure which path to go down first. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Try a seafoam treatment and a trickle charger, probably will take 30 minutes of attempted every 5 minute starts before it finally kicks and catches. No longer than 5 seconds of cranking 2 or 3 times each interval

Open the gas cap and take a whiff of the gas odor.

Does it smell like gasoline? Or does it have a varnish/rancid odor?

If it’s the latter, that’s the problem.


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[quote=“nroller, post:1, topic:95095, full:true”] I can hear the injectors seemingly shoot fuel when I just turn the key into accessory mode…[/quote]That shouldn’t happen. I think you are hearing something else.

I agree with @Tester. Old gas could definitely be the problem


Sure sounds like a fuel pump. Easy to cehck if you have a pressure gauge to check fuel pressure. That old gas isn’t helping at all, either.

After a mere two months, your fuel might be stale, especially if it is 10% ethanol, but it’s possible that whatever is wrong with your car isn’t related to the fuel being stale.

Tom and Ray used to say on their show that if you add fresh fuel to the tank, it freshens all the gas as the stale gas gets diluted. Therefore, pouring more gas in the tank should freshen your fuel, if there is room in the tank. That would at least help rule it out.

It could be anything, including wires chewed by rodents.

The OP states, “There is a 1/4 tank gas, that is at least 2 years old in the car.”


Thanks. I missed that. It could still be anything, but adding fresh fuel is likely going to be a waste of time and money. I wouldn’t know where to start.

Neither does the car!:grinning:


Yep smell the gas and listen for the pump to run. Easy tests.

My car that was sitting in the garage for five years started up every month no problem. When I moved it out to get the garage space and tried to start it again in a month, no go. Fuel pump wouldn’t turn on and hammering the tank didn’t jar it loose.

If the gas is 2+ years old, and its been sitting you may have a plugged up fuel sock from the gas partially turning to varnish, or a fuel filter. Then when you ran the car, all the fuel in the lines was consumed, and it cant get any gas to start.

But… the black smoke from the exhaust means its burning extra fuel, and you said it seems like its pulsing after you prime it?

Have someone turn the key on while you listen near the tank for the pump priming. If it does, change the fuel filter, and check the fuel pressure at the rail. If it doesn’t prime, then you have a bad pump, relay or wiring problem. If it primes but the car still wont run, you have a restriction somewhere, or an ignition problem. Check the fuel pressure in this instance too. Smell the dipstick for the smell of gasoline while you’re at it.