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Hard to start 2000 Flex Fuel Dodge Grand Caravan SE

I’ve had this issue for at least 5 years now. It started out as more of an inconvenience.

In the beginning I noticed the engine turns over a second or two before ignition whereas before it lit right up when the key is turned. It has progressively worsened through the years. Now it takes about 5+ seconds of the engine turning over before lighting up, chugging and wheezing till it stabilizes. First start of the day is worst but can happen even if we’ve been out all day. More often I have to step on the accelerator pedal just enough to help things along. I say just enough because if you linger longer or give it too much pedal the engine backfires. And the problem is intermittent. There are stretches of days where starting is no problem.

I noticed recently that if I parked with the front end of the van lower than the rear (by backing up my driveway) I could get it to start with one click.

I replaced the fuel pump before. I hear the whooosh of the pump when the key is turned to the detent. I’ve replaced the starter twice. At 70K the engine was replaced due to a broken camshaft. Even with the rebuilt engine, the problem persisted. The plugs are new, I keep to a 3K miles oil change interval. The van runs great once started.

If you turn the key to “on,” and wait five seconds before turning to “START,” will the engine start right away?

No it does not. I’ve tried what you have suggested before, even pumping the accelerator pedal a couple of times before turning the key which in hindsight does not really do anything I think.

Have you ever replaced the fuel filter? If not, this could be the problem.

I dont remember. Isn’t the filter part of the fuel pump assembly?