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Trouble Starting When Engine is Warm (1988 Volvo 240)

Hi folks,

I have an '88 Volvo 240 DL station wagon that has a hard time starting when the engine is warm–i.e., after I’ve been driving it. When the engine is cold, it seems to have no trouble starting, but after it’s been running and I turn it off, the starter cranks but the engine struggles to fire up. I can usually get it going, but it requires several tries and I need to give it gas (generally I am flooring it) for it to catch. Sometimes when I let up on turning the key in the ignition, it sounds like it revs/lugs a little, like it might start up, but then doesn’t quite.

Relatedly, I’ve noticed that sometimes at low speeds or when starting from a stop, it lugs and coughs a little bit as if it might stall out.

Any ideas what’s going on? Thanks in advance!

Have you considered the possibility of leaking fuel injectors?

1 Like

Leaking fuel injectors would be my first guess. Make sure they’re not leaking externally, I dealt with a 240 that had puddles of gas around a couple of its injectors when I worked at a garage.

Other possibility - a weak fuel pump, you could be getting gas vaporization when the engine is hot.

One more possibility - a plugged gas tank vent, When it stalls try removing the gas cap. If there’s a big ‘woosh’, and then car then starts easily, then there’s a plugged vent somewhere.

Thanks, @VDCdriver and @texases! I’ll look into it. Three questions: 1) If there’s an external leak, I assume that would be pretty dangerous to drive, right? In that case should I get a tow to the mechanic? 2) Is leaking fuel injectors something I could diagnose myself (if it’s not external)? 3) Can you explain why leaking fuel injectors would only cause the starting issue when the engine is warm?

Sounds like a leaking fuel pressure regulator. Remove the vacuum hose going to it and check for the presence of fuel.