car is cranking but not starting, wait about an hour, able to start? on 2001 Mazda Tribute

Car is cranking but not starting, has to wait about an hour, then it starts. It happened twice (at that time, I was in rush, stop the engine and start back right away in couple minutes). Why and what is potential issues? Also, today I have tried 4WD button for a short time (5 min) at 25-30 miles speed, hearing sharp noise couple times on the right. If I depressed the 4WD button, the noise is gone. Why? Is anything I need to be aware of? or should I not use 4WD option at all?

by in Milpitas, CA on January 11, 2011
2 answers 4 comments
ANSWER by on January 11, 2011
Intermitted crank- no start issues can be tricky and frustrating. We have to catch a component in the act of not functioning if there is no DTC's in the PCM. This takes a scan tool that monitors and a manual fuel pressure gauge. A fuel pump or a crank sensor could cause your concern. 4X4 vehicles should not be operated on road surfaces that are dry. The noise you heard very well could be driveline windup. This is an operating condition where all the wheels are being powered at the same RPM, but when we turn the steering wheel, the inside tires rotate at a slower speed than the outside tires. The 4x4 components usually groan and make popping noises. This will harm your transfer case if yoou keep driving in this manner. If the road surface you are driving on does have a slippery surface, then you might have a problem.
COMMENT by on January 11, 2011
Thank for the advice. I have not used 4x4 for a while (in two years) and my friend told me, I should try to use it once in a while (in town) to be sure it is working when you need it on the slippery surface/icy/snow condition
ANSWER by on January 11, 2011
Would want to check ignition module. security system if equipped and fuel delivery system. Would also have to research 4WD system.
COMMENT by on January 12, 2011
The first time the car's not starting, the security light's on when the car's off. Thank for info on website, I was able to deactivate it and started the car (getting no help from Mazda). Two months later, it's happened again, this time no light on, no code. After the car's starting again, I brought it to local shop to replace battery (even the battery is still ok, but old ~5years old, so it's time to change), check the alternator (good), doing the fuel system service with fuel injector cleaning, air filter change as well as oil/oil filter change ... (please note, the mechanic guy could not recreate the issue). Then last week (three weeks later), it was happened again, I guess it might be some sensor. I know it's no use to bring it to the shop for the intermitted failure; especially if it is not recreated. I guess I have to wait for a while to see. In the meantime, I would like to educate myself so that I can communicate and understand the work from the shop later.
COMMENT by on January 12, 2011
Did the mechanic have the same key you were using when you had the problem or was it the spare key? I had that happen last year with a Toyota Highlander. Her spare key was never used and new while here key was used daily and was the problem. Once we had a new key made the problem was solved. Good luck.
COMMENT by on January 12, 2011
We (I and mechanic used the same key) as I only have one key now (lost the other one. Maybe I should try to have new key made. Thanks.