Fuel Pump Question

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Stacey R, Nov 29, 2003.

  1. Stacey R

    Stacey R Extra

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    I have a 96 Saturn SL2 with about 150,000 miles on it. Recently it has started exhibit some problems starting and running rough for about 30 seconds. I suspect that the problem is the fuel pump regulator or maybe even the fuel pump. I've just recently replaced the fuel filter and had the fuel injectors cleaned a couple of months ago.

    When I try to crank the car, the engine will turn over but it is very difficult to crank. If I turn the key to the on position without cranking the engine, I can here a buzzing sound which I've read means that fuel pump turning on. Once the buzzing stops(usually in 3-5 seconds), I can immediately start the car.

    My question is: Can the fuel pump begin to fail gradually or does it just normally fail suddenly? I've always know them to fail quite suddenly.

    Thanks
    Stacey
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Stacey,

    I'm not sure about Saturns of that vintage, but most fuel injected cars around then had fuel pressure regulators that would maintain enough fuel pressure for starting the car without having to have the pump run for a few seconds to bring up the pressure.

    So usually about 20 psi or so of pressure would be in the fuel rail even after the car's sat overnight, so you should not have to wait for the fuel pump to build up pressure in the system.

    Loss of fuel pressure could be due to bad regulator allowing fuel to return to the tank after shutoff and bleeding off pressure, or a leaky injector. If it's a leaky injector you should experience a flooding condition on startup, and need to keep the gas pedal floored during startup or immediately afterward to clear out the excess fuel, usually accompanied by black smoke out the exhaust.

    If the car runs ok after startup, not cutting out under heavy load or acceleration, I'd tend to think the pump itself is ok.

    Again, I'm not that experienced with Saturns (I'm a Toyota dealership tech).

    You really should take the car to a shop with lots of experience on Saturns--preferably a dealer--and let them keep it overnight or long enough to duplicate the problem.

    I know dealers charge a higher labor rate but they have enough experience with the common problems of their specific make to save you money by not having to perform as much diagnosis or just throw parts at the problem until they chance on the right one.
     
  3. Vincent_S

    Vincent_S Second Unit

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    You may also want to check out the fuel filter.
     
  4. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  5. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Could it be a problem with a flow back valve?

    B
     
  6. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  7. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    I have a similar problem. I'm real close to buying a new car so I haven't posted one of my "American made cars suck" threads for a while. When I start my car the engine will chug and the tac will drop to about 300 RPMs and then bounce up, then chug again. But I know it's just a piece of crap. It's almost similar to what happens when you are out of gas.
     
  8. Stacey R

    Stacey R Extra

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    I dropped the car off at Saturn this morning and they just called me back and said that the problem with my car is the cooling fan is longer working. If this really is the problem, I was way off in my own diagnosis. Something tell me there might be other problems.

    Since the fan is not working, this has caused couple of sensors to burn up. It only going to cost $362 to fix this problem which includes flushing the cooling system, replacing the fan and replacing the sensors.

    Stacey
     
  9. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Cooling fan causing sensors to stop working! Thats interesting[​IMG]

    Sounds like they needed to make a few bucks.

    Ask then if they tested the fuel system, and whether they ran a diagnostic.

    B
     
  10. Stacey R

    Stacey R Extra

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    When I turned the car in, I told the them that the car seemed to have a problem in the fuel system. The sensor that they are saying is bad is the ECT sensor. Evidently, this controls whether or not the fuel mixture is lean or rich and from what I'm reading on the web it can cause problems with the car starting.

    Stacey
     
  11. Steve_Tk

    Steve_Tk Cinematographer

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    Where did you drop the car off, just curious? Here in Atlanta if I drop it off somewhere and say "there is a problem in the fuel system" then I never get it fixed. I now only say "this is what happened, fix it".
     
  12. Stacey R

    Stacey R Extra

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  13. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  14. Stacey R

    Stacey R Extra

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    I did have a small problem overheating late in the summer and did not recognize at the time that the cooling fan wasn't running. The overheating only occurred once and I chaulked that up the horrible traffic that I was sitting in at the time. Another thing that I've notice recently is that my temperature gauge no longer appears to be working. I've purchased a new thermostat which I intend to put on myself along with new radiator hoses. I don't think these things have ever been replaced on that car.

    Man, I hate having car problems.

    Stacey
     

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