I have a LaserJet 3390 that won't pick up paper from the tray. I hear it grinding and spinning for a few seconds (normal sounds) but then gives up with this message "no paper pickup".

I can manually feed with tray 2, which is single sheet fed.

I've opened up parts I can, blown out dust and debris, it's actually pretty clean and not that old. I cleaned some of the plastic rollers, but the rubber ones still seem to have good grip and aren't too dirty. The plate under the paper with a spring to press the paper up into the rollers functions right. Everything looks good.

With the paper tray out, I can press up the little tab and watch the rollers, it does spin 3 times before giving up, so I know mechanically it's working.

Can it really be the rubber roller? I have a hard time believing it can scrape against the paper 3 times and not even budge it since it feels pretty sticky still.

Any ideas?

I understand your reasons to think that the roller should take the paper---if everything is as you say, it should work. Without sticking my own nose into the works, I would suggest that you try filling the paper tray with as many sheets of paper as it will take--it might just be that the roller isn't pressing down hard enough on the paper (not reaching it but just going through the motions from close). You can test for this by trying to pull back on the top sheet of paper while the roller should be grabbing it and see if you feel resistance.
If you were to stack your paper higher, maybe there will be better contact with the roller.
If this solves the problem, you have two choices--the easier one is always to have a lot of paper in the feeder. The riskier one is to try to adjust the roller so it hangs lower and reaches the paper more easily.
If filling the feeder works, I would stick with the first solution--messing around with the adjustments if not totally necessary can lead to other problems, unless you really know the insides of the machine.
LOL :)

After sending you the previous response, I was mulling over other possibilities and I realized that your printer might be experiencing problens with the "one direction only" gears for the roller. In principle, the roller should turn only when it moves back, to get ready for the next sheet of paper. When it moves forward, to push the paper in, the roller should not turn, and that way the friction moves the paper forward. If for some reason the "brakes" that prevent the roller from turning at this point fail, it will simply roll over the paper and not push it forward, even if there is good contact.
Check to see if the roller turns one way only (the "pull paper while feeding test" should show this). If your roller turns in both directions, it has to be replaced (or if you can figure out how,repaired).

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