After my Dakota sits for awhile (overnight), it takes several attempts to get the engine to start. Starter, battery seem to operating appropriately. It always starts (so far) but the number of attempts seems to vary.
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Re: Hard but eventual start
Sounds like you may have a leaky injector which is both leaking fuel into one of the cylinders, and bleeding down any fuel rail pressure. Extra fuel makes it hard to start, loss of rail pressure takes a few seconds for fuel pump to build pressure back up.
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Could possibly be a short or open wire. As a rebuilder, I see these computers a lot. The engine computer (ECU) should be mounted under the hood, passenger side near the air filter. You can also identify issues by scanning the fault codes. I would be more then happy to help you define the codes if you can get them
firstly have a load test done on the battery as an attempt to turn over indicates a faulty battery. Next as it is an EFI engine any pumping of the accelerator only adds to your frustration as it does nothing to the starting ability. What you need to do is have the fault codes read and fix what shows up as faulty
I love my Rangers, and it sounds like you need a new starter drive, better know as the bendix. It is cheaper to buy a new starter. As far as the door locks, I would get the starter fixed first and the door lock problem may go away. sounds like the starter is dragging the power down and could cause a number of strange thing to happen. Hope I have help you solve your problem. I think It will.
If it takes several tries to start on the first attempt, you may have a problem with the fuel pump relay or the check valve in the pump. The relay may not be powering the pump until the engine has oil pressure, and the check valve in the pump may be letting the fuel pressure drop back into the tank. I would have the fuel pressure checked after sitting overnight.
Most likely your starter. The heat from the engine heats the starter, and a hot electric motor is not as strong as a cold one. I had the same problem on a 1985 S-10, I had replaced the starter about a year earlier so I thought it couldn't be the starter. It was.
Some auto parts stores can test the starter (on the car), if you want to be sure.
take a little bit of starting fluid and spray into the air cleaner and try starting it. if it fires this way you have a bad fuel pump. and also take the cap off and spin the motor over to see if the rotor is moving because i have seen the distributor shafts in these older trucks break off so they will not spin