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You need to determine whether or not it is getting fuel and spark. It needs both to start. Remove one plug wire and hold it close to the engine while someone cranks it over. There should be spark from the plug wire. If there is spark, you will have a fuel supply issue. Possible fuel pump/relay/wiring/fuel filter/injectors not working to name a few. If no spark, possible crank sensor/ignition module/wiring.
I have a 98 explorer and had a similar problem. It wound up being bad spark plug wires. So I changed them and the spark plugs while I was at it. It ran great and still does. I'm not sure if that's your problem I would need more information.
Anything done to car, or happened recently that might affect this? If starter fluid doesn't work, and starter is cranking normally (too fast may point to a timing belt broke, too slow may mean battery run down and not producing sufficient spark), there's still a problem in your ignition. Pull a sparkplug or two. After cranking a little they should be wet with gas. Check for compression while a plug is out: hold your finger over plug hole when cranking. You should feel pressure buildup and release over and over as long as cranking. A properly timed engine needs spark, fuel, and compression to start. Keep reviewing your procedure. Something is not right. You may want to have the computer scanned for possible trouble codes. Check plug wires for proper routing. Were plugs gapped right?
If you can, have the computer scanned for active codes. Always check for fuel and spark. with fuel injection it isnt enough to know that the pump is running you need over 35 psi, line pressure. Let us know.
Honestly it's probably just dirty spark plugs. Did you pull any of the spark plugs and inspect the tips for build up? A couple things to remember:
1.) If the timing chain broke, the valves wouldn't be opening so you wouldn't have any air coming out of the exhaust during crank. You said it smells like you're getting fuel, so I'm assuming that means you're smelling the exhaust fumes, right?
2.) The crank sensor tells the ignition system when to send a spark to the plugs. If you're getting good spark, it's unlikely that the crank sensor is faulty.
If it's too soon for spark plugs to need replacing, check your sensors. A faulty oxygen sensor for example could cause your engine to run 'rich', resulting in faster crud build up on spark plug tips.