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My 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been acting up for a couple of months with symptoms that don't make sense to me and I need help if anyone has suggestions.
When cool it starts and runs normal, but if running around town for several minutes turning off engine and re-starting, it progressively starts rougher each time and runs extremely rough the first couple of times I take off. Once I get fuel flowing, it’s fine until the next start after not sitting long enough or sitting idle in traffic jam for 15 minutes or so.

When having trouble starting, it helps if I hold the key an additional second or two when I turn it forward. Then it wants to stall so I have to give it gas but not too much or it stalls, forcing me to give it a little then back off, then give it a little, then back off until it seems to get enough fuel that it'll stay running. When this happens, I have to do the same type thing to move once in gear, because too much gas when taking off creates a major lag or delay before it'll move then it bucks and occasionally might backfire. I have to be careful because I can't pull out into any kind of traffic because it's so sluggish at first. If I gun it, it seems to force enough fuel to get past the sluggish delays.

I am wondering if it’s likely the fuel injector or simply a clogged fuel filter, maybe too much garbage in the tank. I tried fuel cleaners twice with no real luck. My thinking is that the garbage in the tank clogs the filter as it runs, then stick to the filter until it cools and dries out which makes the garbage fall off the filter and start normal. It does seem worse when the tank is lower, but still happens some when the tank is full.

Would spark plugs make sense if it's fine when cold and get worse the more it runs?

It does seem worse when the tank is lower, but still happens some when the tank is full.
 

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Has to be air, fuel or spark.
Sounds like spark since it's backfiring/appears to be flooding. Ignition wires, coil, spark plugs in good shape? What type of coil does it have? Any bare/near bare wires? Squirrels and other rodents can chew on them and cause problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the suggestions. Would spark plugs make sense if it's fine when cold and get worse the more it runs? My thinking is that the garbage in the tank clogs the filter as it runs, then stick to the filter until it cools and dries out which makes the garbage fall off the filter and start normal.

What and where is the coil?
 

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Dirt in the gas tank can cause the problems you stated. The dirt gets stirred up and clogs the filter. Been there, had that happen in an old 1979 LeBaron. Somebody put sugar or sand in your gas tank? My experience was that the vehicle would operate hundreds of miles and no problem .... until I hit a bump in the road that shook things up. I didn't get any backfiring though. A quick sit would cure it until the next time. Backfiring says to me that there is excess gas in your cylinder(s). How's the air intake?

Coil:
Follow the spark plug wires back to the source of the spark. Is there a distributor or a coil pack there? If you have a distributor, then follow the center wire back to a single coil. Bad coils can give intermittent problems. You most likely have a coil pack.

How to Tell if You Have a Faulty Coil Pack http://www.carsdirect.com/car-repair/how-to-tell-if-you-have-a-faulty-coil-pack
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Again, I appreciate your ideas. The back firing has only happened like twice. The main issues are the warm starts and initals take off or two (with major delay, sputtering, jerking, etc before kicking in) from what seems like a lack of fuel.
It's a very consistent pattern, not spuratic. Does this sound like air intake, o2 sensor, coil, or spark plug issues? I seem stuck on thinking it's fuel related, but may need to get over that. Your thoughts?
 

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Again, I appreciate your ideas. The back firing has only happened like twice. The main issues are the warm starts and initals take off or two (with major delay, sputtering, jerking, etc before kicking in) from what seems like a lack of fuel.
It's a very consistent pattern, not spuratic. Does this sound like air intake, o2 sensor, coil, or spark plug issues? I seem stuck on thinking it's fuel related, but may need to get over that. Your thoughts?
Any difference between warm/cold, wet/dry weather conditions?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Whether conditions haven't made any difference at all.

Reading other stuff makes me think its a sensor of one type or another.
 
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