It starts fine and runs well most of the time but once in a while it won't start when the engine is warm. It acts as if the battery is dead but I know the battery is fine. All the dash lights light up and I can hear the fuel pumping for a moment but the engine doesn't turn at all. When this happens I have to wait until the engine is completely cool and then it starts normally and runs just fine. I have been smelling a strong smell of gas ocassionally when I stop at a light. I don't know if this could be related or not?
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This sounds like the temp sending unit for the ecm is bad. There are 2 temp sensors, 1 for the light/gauge and 1 for the ecm. The sensor sends a signal to the ecm to tell it engine temp, the ecm them adjusts fuel mixture for cold or warm engine.This works much the same way as the choke does on a carb for cold starts
Assuming the battery is charged, you would first need to find out why it won't crank. I would use a meter or test light to check for power at the starter. Once you get it to crank you would need to figure out if you are lacking fuel to the injectors or spark to the plugs to proceed.
the engine tickover is too slow when the engine is cold its running on cold start, ie:choke,, after it warms up the engine slows down this is what is causing it to stall in gear,, get some one to hold the brakes hard on and with the engine running in gear ajust the tick over till its reving at 750 - 850 rpm the revs will go up a bit when its out of gear,, before you pick a gear to go into push the foot brake down to stop the car lurching,,,
Try to reset the IAC valve on the throttle body it has 4 wires t it . procedure is as follows
turn ignition key on (don't start the engine), unplug the IAC valve, turn the key off, replug the IAC .Do this 3-4 times .Then start the engine while holding the pedal down at about 2000 rpm then let the rpm down slowly till idle. Sometimes the throttle requires cleaning then redo the reset.