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Old 04-01-2006, 12:05 PM   #1
bumpdraft
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1998 SC2
1998 SW2
Question Hard Starting After Fueling

Problem:
Hard Starting After Fueling (Engine slightly warmed up and Fuel System still in Open Loop)


Hello,

I have a 1998 SC2 with manual transmission. I bought the car new in 1998. There are 120,000 mostly highway miles on the car.

Here are the symptoms which have persisted for the last 4 years:

After a short drive to the gas station to fill up the tank......car driven 4 miles or less, meaning the engine is not fully warmed up and the fuel system is still in Open Loop.

Engine shut off during fueling

After filling the fuel tank and reinstalling the gas cap, the engine is hard to start. The car cranks normally at the normal speed, but when the engine starts, it does so lethargically. There is no “varoom” upon start-up. The engine sounds and runs like it is not firing on all four cylinders, but just three. Once I notice that MOST of the cylinders are firing, I can let off the key (from “crank” to “run” position) and the engine will just barely continue running.

After a few seconds to make sure I have full oil pressure, I can give the engine some gas (meaning slightly depress the accelerator pedal) and the engine will purr normally.

The rough and slow start of the engine only happens after fueling the car after a short drive (Fuel System in Open Loop).

In all other situations (Hot Start and Cold Start), the engine is flawless and starts perfectly.

If I fuel the car after the engine has fully warmed up (meaning shut off the engine remove and reinstall the gas cap), the engine starts and runs flawlessly.

My 1998 SC2 has:

New Bosh spark plugs
Quality and in good shape Saturn SPS plug wires
New air filter
New fuel filter ($74 from dealer!!)
Oil changed at least every 3000 miles

I also have an EASE diagnostics software on a laptop and there is no code showing and the MIL are not lit.

Any ideas of what it might be?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-01-2006, 01:06 PM   #2
scsomike
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

i don't know about saturn, but a lot of other GM and Ford cars won't run right and will throw an SES light sometimes if the fuel cap isn't turned to at least 3 clicks. Also there is a seal on the cap, if it's bad it won't seal the system correctly no matter how many times it clicks. like i said, i don't know if this applies to saturn's but many GM's state this in the owner. my crown vic interceptor at work actually has a check fuel cap light on the dash. give that a shot and see, at least it might be a free fix and a good place to start.

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Old 04-05-2006, 09:56 AM   #3
bumpdraft
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1998 SW2
Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

In looking at the shop manual:

It appears the problem might be one or more leaking fuel injectors.

Here is what might be happening:
When the engine is shut off during fueling, the injector drips. This causes flooding in one or more cylinders and the result is hard starting.

When the engine is fully warmed, the fuel drip flashes to vapor and doesn’t affect starting. This is why the problem only occurs when the engine is not fully warmed up. Open or closed loop status does not mean anything except that the engine is not, or is, warmed up.

Of the possible causes, this seems most likely. After 120,000 miles or so, I have to believe that the fuel injectors are worn out.

Alternately, the fuel might be draining back to the tank with air entering the system at the leaky Fuel Injector. The Fuel Filter / Pressure Regulator is new, so the problem might be a check valve in the Fuel Pump (Not sure I fully understand this).

So, it’s either too much fuel, or not enough fuel.......both of which will cause extended cranking.

I will investigate further. If I ever figure it out, I will post it here.

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Old 04-05-2006, 10:37 AM   #4
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Next time, try starting it with the throttle floored. This (ironically) cuts OFF fuel supply, and is called "clear flood" mode. If that helps, I reckon that would support your "too much fuel" theory.

The other obvious test would be a simulation of sorts - drive the car the same distance you would to gas it up, but don't gas it up, don't even remove the fuel cap. If you get the same results, that supports your theory about the partially warmed, but not hot, engine, and removes any fuel tank/cap stuff from the equation.

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Old 04-05-2006, 11:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue
Next time, try starting it with the throttle floored. This (ironically) cuts OFF fuel supply, and is called "clear flood" mode. If that helps, I reckon that would support your "too much fuel" theory.

The other obvious test would be a simulation of sorts - drive the car the same distance you would to gas it up, but don't gas it up, don't even remove the fuel cap. If you get the same results, that supports your theory about the partially warmed, but not hot, engine, and removes any fuel tank/cap stuff from the equation.

I wonder if its one of those crappy '97 fuel pumps that got put into his 98 model year. Is it an early production model? Maybe this is part of the problem. Just a thought.

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Old 04-05-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

getting any smoke when it starts and runs bad? seems excess fuel would cause a nice little puff at the very least. a leaking injector definitely makes the most sense, my first thoughts on the fuel cap would cause a problem all the time.

...
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Old 04-16-2006, 02:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Thanks for the replies. I’m not ignoring anyone; I just have not driven the car recently. I’ve been driving my “around town” car recently.

I will continue to try to find the underlying cause and will let you know.

Thanks again

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Old 11-04-2006, 11:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Update

It’s taken a while, but I am still after the cure.

For all checks for Hard-Starting:
The car was started cold and driven about 2 miles to the same gas station.
I even parked in the same level location.
In all cases, the filler nozzle was pushed all the way in.
In Michigan, we do not have vapor recovery nozzles.
FULL means I stopped filling when the gas station pump reached auto shut-off.

Try #1:
I removed the gas cap and waited a few minutes. Replaced the cap and the engine started up without extended cranking.

Try #2:
Parked and waited a few minutes WITHOUT removing the gas cap. Same result as Try #1: Engine started without extended cranking.

Try #3:
Fill-Up
Filled the tank from about ¼ tank to FULL.
Before turning the key to start the car, I pushed the gas pedal to the floor for ‘fuel cut-off.’ The engine started with SOME extended cranking (but not nearly as much as when I didn’t push the pedal to the floor after filling tank to FULL)

Try#4:
Partial Fill (Air Temp about 45 degrees Fahrenheit)
I added 7 gallons which brought gas tank to a little less than 7/8 full. When starting, the engine cranked just a little more than normal, but not like it does after filling the tank to 100% (as in Try #3). For Try #4, I did not push the gas pedal to the floor.

Try #5:
Partial Fill (Air Temp about 35 degrees Fahrenheit)
I added 3.5 gallons of gas to tank, which brought the gas tank to FULL. Car fired right up with no extended cranking what so ever. I did not push the gas pedal to the floor.

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Old 11-04-2006, 02:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Sounds like a stuck open canister purge solenoid to me. When you fill up with gas the vapors go into the intake manifold if the purge solenoid is stuck open, could possibly be your problem.

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Old 11-04-2006, 03:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Most likely cause to your problem.

Subject: DTC P1441 and/or Hard Start or Extended Crank After Adding Fuel #98-T-40 - (01/06/2003)



Models: 1998 Saturn vehicles




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Condition
The vehicle may exhibit a DTC P1441 and/or hard start or extended crank condition immediately after fuel fill.

Cause
Some EVAP canister purge solenoids may stick open, which may cause the DTC to set and/or a hard start condition immediately after a fuel fill. Fuel vapors generated during a fuel fill may leak past the EVAP canister purge solenoid and into the intake manifold causing this hard start condition.

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Old 11-04-2006, 04:48 PM   #11
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1992 SL1
Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

If not that next i would move over to the EGR valve and make sure its not stuck. if its slightly sticky, it can do some wierd things.
As well, in your records do you have anything about replacing your ECTS (Electronic Coolant Teperature Sensor)?

Good luck.

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Old 11-04-2006, 07:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Not that it relates to this, but I noticed that you mentioned you have Bosch spark plugs. Those don't happen to be platinum do they?! If they are, swap them out with the stock NGK coppers. Our Saturns do NOT like platinum plugs. This is because of the waste spark system these cars use.

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Old 11-05-2006, 09:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Thanks for the help!

It sure sounds like you nailed it!
I have a complete set of manuals. I’ll research the Canister Purge Valve.

I try to use this car for longer trips - mostly on expressway. I read that, when decelerating to an off-ramp, the EGR Valve will cycle Full Open to Full Closed in order to scrape carbon. I have to believe the EGR is working properly.....although I will check it after the canister Purge Valve.

I can hook up my EASE diagnostic software and see what happening with the ECTS (Electronic Coolant Temperature Sensor)

About the Bosch Plugs.....I know. I figured it out when I changed the last set of Bosch Platinum. After 23,000 miles, the Center Electrode of #1 and #2 had recessed up inside the insulator. I only put in the new Platinum plugs because I had them. I plan to replace them with either AC or Copper NGK

The OEM plugs: AC 41-627

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Old 11-05-2006, 09:24 AM   #14
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

This might sound dumb but one thing to watch for? Did you happen to fuel up while the truck supplying fuel to the station was there? Could be a simple as a plugged up filter, if so. And SM is right about those plugs.. waaaay right! NGK's are soooo much better for these rides. Bosch just doesn't cut it!

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Old 11-08-2006, 08:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

Sir Trews, the problem’s been going on for years. The fill-ups listed above are just my recent trouble-shooting.

I just drove 200 miles continuous and stopped for a fill-up. With engine hot, there was still extended cranking before starting. - I stopped cranking; waited a few seconds; stomped accelerator pedal to the floor; turned ignition key....and the engine started right up.

I’m due for and oil change, so I’ll check if the Binge and Purge Solenoid is stuck in the OPEN position.

After reading the Theory of Operation, it doesn’t make sense that a P1441 code isn’t being set.

Like ssicarman wrote, it must be the “/or hard start or extended crank condition immediately after fuel fill. “

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Old 11-08-2006, 04:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

I wouldn't worry too much about it not setting the DTC code. When the CCPS (Carbon Cannister Purge Solenoid not CPS) went on my wife's car, I could clear the code and it would take 2 or 3 days to set again. I could sometimes read the codes when the light was off and it would show the code as pending. In this case the CCPS sounds right.

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Old 11-17-2006, 08:47 AM   #17
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

The Cannister Binge and Purge Valve is located between the Starter Motor (Made in France) and the Intake Manifold. The Tubing from the Fuel Tank is hard plactic with Quick Connect Fittings (w/ Locking Tab Retainers).

It is difficult to reach and I don’t feel like removing the Starter Motor.
It might be better to rock the engine forward for easier access.

This isn’t something I want to deal with in 40 degree weather .
So, once again, this thread will sleep with the fishies until better weather .

What would Mad Max do? –Probably install a fuel petcock in the Canister Purge Line just ahead of the Fuel Filter.

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Old 11-21-2006, 05:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

I'm a little late answering but, yes it's hard to reach. I was able to change it out with a 1/4 inch ratchet and a 4 inch wobble extention. If you can get the hoses off, you can just tie the new part to the old one with cable ties.

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Old 05-31-2007, 05:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

How’s this for finally getting around to it?!?!

I removed the Purge Solenoid and sure enough, it was stuck “OPEN.” Thanks for the help everybody!

While removing things to access the Solenoid, I noticed the Vapor purge Line was rubbing on the +Battery Cable at the Starter Motor.



I zip-tied a piece of foam to it to prevent further wear.

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Old 06-01-2007, 09:40 AM   #20
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Default Re: Hard Starting After Fueling

I assume you've put a scan tool on to see it's still open loop?

I ask because my cars go closed loop after less than a minute, 30 seconds of which are idling and the rest puttering down my residential road.

I would check out your thermostat and coolant temp sensor, both of which can cause or indicate a subnormal temp and slow down closed loop entry. Incidentally starting is ALWAYS open loop as the o2 isn't seeing anything.

yes I know it's an old thread.

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