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Old 07-08-2006, 10:11 PM   #1
Moz
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Default 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I have tested my car and it looses fuel pressure as soon as the engine shuts down. I have changed the fuel filter, engine coolant temp (which was bad), plugs, wires and coils. I then tested the fuel pressure and it reads 38 psi when running, but has a leakdown to 0 at shut down. What is the problem. I searched the tread and saw leakdown overnight was bad, but what about right away? the car hesitates hard when you go from coast to throttle. Since I have done all the changes listed earlier, the check engine light no longer goes on.

The fuel pump also does not run when the ignition is on, only when the starter turns does it run. I changed the fuel pump relay. but that made no changes in the action.

I like wolfmans comment about checking the oil. I replaced the engine at 100000 miles when my kids ran it out of oil. Now they check the oil!

I am new to the thread, so I appoigize if this was discussed on another thread, but I could not find it.

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Old 07-08-2006, 10:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I'm not a saturn tech but to me I think your fuel pump is shot.

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Old 07-09-2006, 12:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

Welcome to the Board.

The 97 fuel pumps can have issues much like you describe. Loss of residual fuel pressure will lead to hard starting as the inital fuel pump prime will not be enough to get full pressure. The most likely cause of your pressure loss is the check valve in the pump. THer eis a chance that it may be the pressure regulator letting the pressure by when the engine is shut down but that would be lower on my list of likely culprits. Especialy if the engine is operating normally when it runs and has good fuel pressure.

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Old 07-09-2006, 06:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

would the fuel pump check valve cause the hesitation when I accelerate? I checked the regualtor and it checks out with a 10 psi change in pressure when the vacume is removed.

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Old 07-09-2006, 08:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

My semi-fix for it is aparently a bad idea and dosn't solve/actually fix the problem so I won't say again what I did (dosn't work 100% of the time anyway).
Wolfman's "official" fix is to: Get in car, sit down, turn key to "run", put seat belt on, start car.
Not sure about the hesitation, mine dosn't have any.

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Old 07-09-2006, 09:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moz
would the fuel pump check valve cause the hesitation when I accelerate? I checked the regualtor and it checks out with a 10 psi change in pressure when the vacume is removed.

For the 1997 fuel pumps there was a special policy--now long since expired due to age and mileage of the cars--that covered the fuel pumps. It also explained the conditions and detailed the checks to verify the problem.

Basicly the symptoms were hard starting and hesitation while driving. Driving more so at higher speeds. Stumbling while driving was also in there, if I remember correctly.

So the more you mention and explain things the more it is the fuel pump.

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Old 07-09-2006, 09:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I have searched the web for replacment fuel pump assemblies, but I can only find pumps and screens. I belive the pump and screen will not fix my problem if it is a check valve in the assembly. The pump runs and has pressure that makes the car run. Where do I find the item I need to fix this problem.

Thanks for the comments

By the way I just had a awesome trackday today with my Alfa.

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Old 07-10-2006, 05:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I believe the check valve is inside the pump, which requires a new pump to fix it. If not, I'd like to know where to get the check valve as well.

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Old 07-10-2006, 11:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I have purchased a fuel pump assembly from a local yard and have discovered that the check valve is seperate. The part they gave me was different than the pump I pulled out of the gas tank. The check valve on the 2 pumps were in different locations. Same assembly frame, but different optional construction. I will need to return the part tommorow.

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Old 07-11-2006, 09:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

Why?

Find out what year they pulled it out of.
Perhaps phone your local saturn parts department and sweet talk them to let you know the range of model years of fuel pumps that will fit your car. What you have just may have come out of a 97 or another year that is compatible with your car. Perhaps what you have gotten is a newer improved pump assembly than yours.

More importantly if all of the lines on the replacement will connect and and the electrical connector is the same then most likely it will work fine.

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Old 07-12-2006, 10:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I replaced the fuel pump assembly, and now the fuel system holds pressure. This did not fix my hesitation problem. Thanks for the advise. I will have to look at another solution. I did replace the engine and my have to relearn the cpu, as I have read in another post.

Note: Having a lift in my garage, I purcased last month, helped alot with removing the gas tank, change the fuel pump and replace. For a first time gas tank removal, I was able to do the job in 3 hours. The gas tank does not swing down with the straps. You must move the staps 90 degrees and lower the front of the tank down then the filler openings will clear the suspension.

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Old 08-20-2011, 06:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I have a 1997 Saturn SL2 with the same fuel pressure symptoms described by MOZ, without the hesitation problem. Here is what I have found.

1. The fuel Pump will build pressure to almost 50 PSI when the switch goes to the "on" positon in about 3-5 seconds, from 0 PSI initially. The fuel pump shuts off at about 50 PSI and the pressure drops back to zero in about 3-5 seconds, with the switch still in the "on" position. So... if you are trying to Live with the situation, you will have to go to "on"... Delay for about 2-3 seconds.. then hit the starter. Otherwise the fuel pressure will be back at 0 PSI, if your check valve is completly failed. If my car does not start immediately....It will start guranteed on the second try, as opposed to keeping the starter engaged and grinding it until it starts. When the car is running Fuel pressure is about 38 PSI.

2. I bought an AIRTEX model AIR E3545 fuel Pump. (about half what the pump and housing costs) It does not include the housing, only the Pump. I verified the check valve is in the discharge fitting on the new Pump, so i would presume there is not one in the housing.

Should have the fuel pump installed in the tank in about 3-4 Weeks. The car runs great other than dealing with the starting problem caused by the fuel pressure. The difficulty with starting seems to worsen in hot weather when the engine is warm. (here 90-100 degrees)

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Old 08-20-2011, 06:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

What you describe is now a classic condition for 97s.

In my case I listen for the change in pitch of the fuel pump wine. When the pressure is up the the pitch goes down.

Hot days are a real PIA.

Never seem to have much of a delay first thing in the morning or when its cold, but later may have to pop the starter to extend the time. Almost seems to be related to the temp of the fuel and pressure in the tank.

One of these days I'll tackle the pump.

David

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Old 09-26-2011, 07:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

Got the Fuel pump replaced.............Starts great first time, every time..........Thanks to all.

This little car I think, was given up for Junk almost. I bought it a small local used car dealer for $2K. He said he had just bought it the previous day at a sale. Body had a couple of minor scrubs from a garage door it appeared and interior was in great shape, never smoked in. Basic 5 speed. 110K miles. Drove it, tires were bad and caused it to ride rough, the car missed, but only when lugging it under load since it was a 5 speed. Suspected a weak firing system. The A/C worked great. Did not smoke or have engine rattles. Bought it, put new tires on it, solved the ride issue. Put new spark plug wires and plugs, and got the miss fixed. Didn't recognize the fuel pump issue till later. Have put 7K miles on it, drive it 100Miles per day commuting to work. Saves me $10 per day on gas compared to my Dakota pickup. The car runs/rides and drives almost as good as new now. I think struts, shocks and Bushings may be next.

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Old 09-26-2011, 11:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

you might regret the airtex fuel pump, they tend to die prematurely.

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Old 05-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

I have a 2000 SL2 that seems to have the same symtoms as above. Did the 2000's have fuel pump / check valve issues as well? It has 175K on the DOHC eng. Maybe it's just worn out. Thanks.

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Old 05-19-2012, 08:32 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

The check valve problem is really common on the 97 and it still could be on your 2000 but those are more often a problem with combination filter/regulator.

"Borrow" a fuel pressure tester from the nearest parts store and check the actual pressures key on, running and decay after turning off the key.

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Old 05-19-2012, 08:41 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

Only '97s have the fuel check valve fault. Your 2000 may be just worn out, filter clogged or have wiring issues - pump ground connection sometimes corrodes and fails so pump failure seems to point to the pump. Pump ground is bundled with other grounds in the rear brake light wiring.

Turning on the ignition switch would be the best way to troubleshoot pump issues; a 2-second timer in the pcm program allows the fuel pump to prime the fuel system then shut off until the ignition switch is turned to the START position to crank the engine. Once the engine begins to turn the pcm detects engine rotation via the cps and turns on the fuel pump.

You can cycle the fuel pump as many times to listen or gauge (pressure gauge attached to the fuel test valve) pressures. Another way, if you're careful, would be to wire a jumper across the fuel pump relay socket terminals 30 and 87 to send 12v immediately to power the pump. Wiring isn't an issue going to the pump but pump ground can be problematic.

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Old 05-19-2012, 09:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

FWIW, when my second pump failed I could hear it run but still had 0 pressure at the rail.

...
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:58 AM   #20
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 Looses fuel pressure rightaway

Thanks everyone. This really helps a lot! It started out as just hard to start and would loose power / run rough at random. Now it takes a long time to even get it started. I have already changed the fuel filter, but no change. Next step looks like checking gnd and cycling pump to check psi. Just to verify: Regulator is part of the filter and the psi check valve is part of the pump? Is there a way to also check the cps?

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