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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2005 Honda Pilot cranks just fine, and starts some of the time. Every once in a while, it takes 3-5 sec for it to start. Some correlation to a gas smell when that happens. Also, it seems like when it won't start after 3-5 sec, letting the key go starts the car (like going back one position with the key). The problem has been getting slowly worse. The battery is 6 months old and tests good (so does the alternator). Every once in a while, the car will make a grinding sound during that 3-5 sec (like the sound you hear when you try to start a car that's already running), but then the car starts.

Once the Pilot is running, it runs great, no issues. No rough idle, no stalling, no surging. I've ruled out the camshaft position sensor and ignition switch. Somebody mentioned the fuel pump, but once the car is started, we've seen no degradation or erratic engine performance. Perhaps a bad fuel pump relay (or a bad ground in the relay)?

Is this as simple as a starter issue?

Thank you!

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #2
After more research, I'm inclined to think it's the fuel pump that's losing its prime. Could be a small pinhole in the fuel line, or the fuel pump outlet check valve, the pressure regulator, or the injectors (ideas from another site). If so, do I automatically change the pump, or start trying to test for where the air leak is coming from?
 

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Check for black smoke on startup. Hard start sometimes caused by faulty fuel pressure regulator, allows fuel to flood manifold. Torn diaphragm in regulator does this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
After more than a week of starts using the "priming" method (10 sec power on to car, then turn key off, repeat, then start the car), I haven't had a problem starting the 05 Pilot. Definitely thinking it's a fuel system that's losing its prime, either via a fuel pump, leak in a line somewhere, or the fuel pressure regulator (torn diaphragm) that was mentioned above.

No black smoke on start-up, although I've noticed a small decrease in gas mileage. Any ideas on how to troubleshoot this, or just start changing parts?

Thank you!
 

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Had similar issue on a Santa Fe

Check for black smoke on startup. Hard start sometimes caused by faulty fuel pressure regulator, allows fuel to flood manifold. Torn diaphragm in regulator does this.

I had a similar issue on my Hyundai Santa Fe. Thought the starter was going but mechanic told me it was the Fuel Pressure Regulator. I bought the part myself and replaced it and it starts right up every time.
 

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Same problem with my '04 with 145k miles - slow to start and slight reduction in mileage. Also stumbles on starting. Replacing the FPR on the Pilot not so easy. One has to remove the intake manifold. I might as well replace the injectors at the same time.
 
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