Starting problem seems like no gas

Hello, I’m new here. I own a really nice original ’ 89 Chrysler Lebaron coupe with the 2.5 N/A, throttle body injection and 3 speed automatic. It has just over 100k miles. The car sits in the garage all the time and is not used during the winter months and is never used in the salt season. I do “try” to start it sometimes just to keep the battery up. The problem is when I want to start it, especially after sitting for a while, often it will crank and crank but won’t start. It’s acting like it has no gas. When I take the aircleaner lid off and dump a little gas in, it fires up just fine then runs perfect after that. Even after it has been used as a daily car after that, when I shut it off, sometimes it will start just fine, other times it won’t, then I have to use the gas can again. It has a mind of it’s own. When you think it will restart, sometimes it won’t. I’ve been keeping a little gas can in the trunk in case it does happen at odd times. With the gas can, it will always restart. I’ve talked to a few shops about this, they have no idea what might do this. Naturally, when I brought it in to show it to them, it would ALWAYS restart for them. Getting rid of this car is not an option for me, I love the car, except for that part of it. Any ideas anyone?

Try leaving the key on the on position for at least 10 seconds before you start it. It may be a bad check valve that allows the gas to drain out of the line. The fuel pump will run and re pressurize the system with gas to fire up right away.

If you want to check for a bad fuel pump check valve leaving the key on for 10 seconds or all day won’t help. That’s because when you turn the ignition switch to the run position the fuel pump only runs for a second or two and then shuts off.

To test for a bad check valve, turn the ignition switch on for two seconds and then turn the ignition switch off. Repeat this a half dozen times and the fuel pump will cycle enough times to reprime the fuel system.


From a problem I’ve been dealing with - I too believe that it is probably the fuel pump. The pump check valve allows it to bleed down pressure; and the pump no longer has the full ‘oomph’ to pressurize the system.

BTW: are you putting stabilizer into the gas? Gas has a high evaporation rate; and you want to be using Stabil or some such; and at least running or driving the car enough - that you use up the gas every nine months or so. Gas starts going bad (without Stabil) around 15 days. And the varnish building up into the pump; and the pump filter - doesn’t do it any good.

But don’t let the gas level drop low in the tank - since the pump is cooled by the fuel.

Also - when was the last time you changed out the fuel filter? Basically - just because your not using the vehicle - does not mean that parts are not decaying. Fuel sitting in the filter - will decay it - so that needs to be changed out every year or so…

The world is a weird place. Drive the car - and it deteriorates one way. Don’t drive it; and have it garaged; sitting on blocks, etc. and it still manages to deteriorate - just in other places. Make sure you run the A/C every once in a while - to keep the seals moist. Otherwise - you will lose your R12

I do use Stabil in the winter months, as I do with my oldies. The car does get used spring, summer and fall. This car averages about 4 to 5k a year as I have other cars too. This car was converted to 134 refrigerant by the original owner and it’s still cold. I do run it on occasion in the winter.The check valve that you mention, is that in the fuel pump itself, in the tank? Thanks for all your input.

As far as the fuel filter goes. That’s a good one, I’ve never changed that, that’ll be first on my “to do” list.

The check valve is a part of the assembled fuel pump. Replacing the pump is the only way to fix it. I have a similar problem, and do the key-on, key-off trick anytime the car has been parked for more than a day. For a 25 year old car with 277,000 miles on it, it is a small inconvenience to avoid going back to car payments.Even if the car were parked for weeks, a single key-on and pause for a few seconds, then key-off and pause for a few seconds, is enough to get it to start normally.

Does this car have a carburator? If so, I think one problem you are dealing with is simply that the carb bowel is going dry because the gas is evaporating while the car is sitting for long periods of time. When this happen a vapor lock condition can occur in which the car will never start unless some gasoline is poured into the carb throat first. I have to do this with my Ford truck if it sits for a month between starts. Sometimes this isn’t enough to fix the problem on my Ford truck, and may apply to you also (again, assuming you have a carb). The inlet valve can stick shut if the car isn’t used too. So besides pouring a little gas into the carb, I sometimes have to take the top plate off the carb and wiggle the float to unstick the inlet valve. This sounds more diffifult to do than it actually is, about a 5 minute job max. Just be very careful when using gas like this and follow all the gas-safety cautions, including having a fire extinguisher nearby and ready to go. Best of luck.

Right in his post it says “throttle body injection”.

A 25 yr old car is paid for. U don’t have to buy a new car to fix it. U fix the problem. New fuel pump assy. Much cheaper than new car with payments

Oops, thanks for pointing that out oltimer11, I was looking for words like “fuel injection” rather than “throttle body injection”, plus the comment about taking the air cleaner off and dumping gas in reminds me what I do with my carburated Ford truck. I’ve never heard of dumping gas into a fuel injected car, esp since the throttle body on the fuel injected cars I’ve had is horizontally oriented, wouldn’t liqued gasoline just run out? How would you pour it in? Just curious. Anyway, agree w/others, most likely fuel pump, check valve, or relay problem. Might be worthwhile to put a fuel pressure guage on the fuel rail. That should give the OP some guidance one way or the other if it is a fuel problem. Best of luck to OP’er.