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Jerry, Master Mechanic
Category: Buick
Satisfied Customers: 17220
Experience:  ASE Master tech. 30+ years mechanic, shop forman, service manager
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Buick Century Custom I have a 90 buick century 3.3 V6. A couple

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I have a 90 buick century 3.3 V6. A couple of days ago it developed a cold starting problem. It takes 2 or 3 tries to start cold.Turnthe key off and back on again. It never did that before. It would always start imediately without touching the gas pedal. After it starts it runs fine , no fault codes , lots of power. It starts fine hot. This began suddenly one day. I blamed it on wet weather. We had a tremendous amount of rain. It sits outside. Any ideas. I am an engineer and work on my own vehicles. I don't remember if I heard the fuel pump run when I turned on the key cold.

Hello and welcome to Just, Super mechanic here. About your vehicle.

That sounds like a bad fuel pump relay.

When the key is first turned "ON," without the engine running, the ECM will turn the fuel pump relay "ON" for two seconds. This builds up the fuel pressure to normal operating pressure. If the engine is not started within two seconds, the ECM will shut the fuel pump "OFF" and wait until ignition reference pulses are present. As soon as the engine is cranked, the ECM turns the relay "ON," which powers the fuel pump.

A faulty fuel pump relay can result in long cranking times, particularly if the engine is cold.


The Fuel Pump Relay is located in the RH front of engine compartment, on relay bracket.

You will want to check the voltage at the relay and also to the fuel pump when the key is turned on.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That was not it. The relay seemed to be a little sticky. I connected the coil to the battery and it did close. The ohmeter said it was working. The connectors for the relay and fuse seemed to be clean. I changed the relay anyway because it was only $11. But the car still does start slow cold. I did notice it started quickly after an hour or so. Almost like a check valve in the pump is letting the gas run back into the tank when it sits overnight. The gas lines are plastic so I don't suspect a leak. The guy at the auto parts store wondered about the fuel pressure regulator.
That could be. You would want to check the fuel pressure when the key is first turned on, (and the pump is running) to see if it comes right up.

Please don’t forget to hit the accept button though, that is the only way we get paid, thanks.

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