Trouble starting after short ride

I have a 2001 Saturn with 80k miles.

In the past week or so, I am having a problem

starting my car after a short ride.

When the car is cold, it starts up no problem,

and after a longer ride of about an hour on the highway, it will start up again too.

Te proble is after short rides: the engine turns over, but it’s as if the engine is not getting enough fuel. After about 5 minutes of trying to start it up, and pumping the gas pedal, I can usually get it to start. But it’s getting worse and I will get stranded somewhere soon. Any ideas? Thanks.

How does the car react to a ‘flood clear’, i.e. hold accelerator pedal to the floor; crank for 5 seconds or less; repeat after a few minutes wait?

RSVP and someone will help further.

Would the engine crank any differently if it “wasn’t getting enough air”? While cranking the engine, hold the gas pedal down a little; then, hold the gas pedal down fully and crank. Results?

Sometimes it’s just a temperature sensor that says that the engine is fully warm when it is not. That can cause a lean condition and prevent the car from starting.

OK, I did the following test.
After a short ride, it did not start as usual.
I then held the accelerator pedal to the floor for a few seconds,
then tried starting while still keeping the pedal to the floor.
It started right up! Does this point to a problem with the ignition system?
What should be my next step? Thanks to all replies.

Your positive results indicate that the ECM is injecting too much fuel on slightly warm startup. The most likely candidate is a Coolant Temperature Sensor that is out of calibration or reacting slowly to the coolant temperature. The most cost effective solution is to replace the CTS. If you wanted to verify the failure, you could run the engine for the 5 minutes; measure the engine temperature; measure the resistance of the CTS; and see if it is within tolerance.

Another possibility is that you have a leaking injector or fuel pressure regulator. But that is unlikely, as you indicate there is no starting problems after an hour or so of driving.

Good luck. Reply when you find the solution.

Agreed, or have it scanned and the CTS readings monitored, but the CTS is a common issue on this year Saturn. btw, it does not use a vacuum controlled fuel pressure regulator