How To Tell If Your Fuel Pump Needs Replacing

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Fuel Pump Assembly 1986 Bronco II CC Image courtesy of Marion Doss on Flickr

Fuel Pump Assembly 1986 Bronco II CC Image courtesy of Marion Doss on Flickr

Your fuel pump is obviously important for your car, and it would seem as if your vehicle couldn’t move without one. That’s not always true, though. Some vehicles can limp along with a malfunctioning fuel pump for a few blocks or even miles.

But driving with a poorly performing fuel pump is not good for your vehicle, so it’s important to look out for some signs of trouble before you end up stranded or stalled out in traffic.

The fuel pump pumps fuel from your vehicle’s tank to the engine. If the fuel pump malfunctions, your engine will receive less fuel than it needs. There are some common symptoms for such a situation.

The first and most obvious symptom is that your car may not start at all, or it might start poorly. This poor start will take the form of a sputtering, stuttering, stammering sort of start, as if your car’s engine is only getting a trickle of fuel instead of the amount it needs. Your car may also stall during operation because the fuel pump is bad.

Vehicles can sputter and stall for a variety of reasons, so here’s a follow-up test. Pull your vehicle in the garage or other silent environment. When it’s not running, put the key in the ignition and turn it to the “ON” or “accessory” position. (Don’t try to start the engine.) If you have fuel injection and an electric fuel pump, the pump should start up, making a clicking or buzzing sound.

After performing the above test, if you can’t hear the fuel pump turn on, try this test. Using a fuel pressure gauge, test to make sure there’s enough fuel reaching the engine. You can take your vehicle to a technician for this test, or purchase a fuel pressure gauge at an auto parts store and do it yourself. Near the engine there should be a fuel pressure valve where you can attach the gauge. Find the recommended fuel pressure in ChiltonDIY. Compare your measurement of the fuel pressure with what it should be. If there is less pressure than there should be, that’s a sign that your fuel pump may be faltering.

Of course, there could be a few other problems causing incorrect fuel pressure, such as an obstruction in the fuel line or a bad fuel pressure regulator. If your fuel pressure is too high, suspect the fuel pressure regulator. For more information on diagnosing a fuel pump problem, check out Chilton’s online database for detailed instructions, images, and tips from our certified expert technicians to help you determine whether you need to replace your fuel pump or fuel pressure regulator, clean out the fuel lines, or something else.  Learn more about how to keep your car in tip top shape!

525 Responses to “How To Tell If Your Fuel Pump Needs Replacing”

  1. My engine in my truck, when sitting for three to eight hour, will not start when turn the ignition on,but will start on the second try and their after, only when it sit’s a long time.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Hamp.

      It sounds like a bad fuel pump regulator. Is it a Chrysler product? Install a fuel pressure gauge on the vehicle’s fuel system, and then check the running pressure. Turn of the vehicle off. With the fuel gauge installed check to see if the fuel pressure slowly drops off. If it does you may be dealing with a faulty fuel pressure regulator.

      If you have a leaking injector causing the problem, you will have a fuel smell, blue smoke and a possible misfire when trying to start the vehicle.

  2. John Pineda says:

    I have a Bronco II with a return line issue that causes an internal leak issue. Sounds about the same problem, you have to cycle the Key On Engine Off. You’ll hear the fuel pump working building pressure. Once the pressure is met you will hear a distinct sound out of the norm from the fuel pump letting you know that the pressure is there. At that point the Vehicle with crank over with no problem.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Pull the vacuum line off the fuel pressure regulator.
      If the diaphragm goes bad, fuel will be sucked into the vacuum hose, directly into the intake. Usually this will cause a rich running condition and hard starts.

  3. Tim Lintemut says:

    I have a 99 chevy blazer. Thought tranny was going bad. Now after reading I am not so sure. Problem is intermittant, can not find common denominator. May go a week may act up daily. Highway speed surges about 200 rpms. cruising at 70mphs, maybe up a hill but honestly not always… From a stop moving out of first to shift to second (automatic)chugs and starves it seems to starve for fuel. Always felt it wanted me to put foot in gas. Does not do it at all if I manually shift into “2″ then move it to 3 at 30mph but even in 3 she seems to have this surge or hesitation… been doing it for 8 months…took to tranny shop, she was not acting up that day, computer said no problem. No codes being lit up on dash..Fuel filter changed, MAF cleaned, Air filter changed, TPS changed, cap and rotor changed, left with either vacuum leak, tranny issue, plugs, or …..Fuel pump Any thoughts?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Tim.
      Check the spark plugs. Carbon tracking on the spark plugs could cause a misfire.
      Check the EGR valve, if the pintle sticks this could cause a hesitation.
      And last but not least check the fuel pressure. You’ll find the correct specification for your Blazer and the fuel pump it was equipped with at ChiltonDIY.

  4. josh patterson says:

    i have a 95 impala ss. when i put it in gear and give it gas it stumbles and cut off. but if i don’t give it gas its fine. why is this problem happing?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Josh. Well it could be a number of problems. Check all the basics and scan for trouble codes. It sounds like a lean condition.

      Basics:

      Spark plugs
      Spark plug wires (ignition cables)
      Air filter
      Fuel filter
      Vacuum leaks
      Fuel pressure

      • josh patterson says:

        i got it fixed!! my fuel filter was clogged up spark plugs were the wrong ones (that caused it to back fire) my EGR was stuck closed and my fuel pressure regulator was no good

  5. Salina Fernandez says:

    I have a 2006 Chevy Equinox. For the past couple of months it would take two or three turns of the key to start and the other day I was at a red light and my car just shut off. it cranks but wont start. is it the fuel pump?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Salina, I would suspect the fuel system. When you turn the key on with the engine off, listen for the fuel pump to energize. You could very well have a bad fuel pump.

  6. myra says:

    How do you test if a fuel pump is going bad on a 2005 ford freestar? and where is the fuel pump located at?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      The fuel pump is in the fuel tank.
      Have you checked the inertia fuel shut off (IFS) switch? It sits behind the jack access cover. If this trips it shuts off the fuel pump. (Reset the IFS switch).
      The fuel pump is controlled by the powertrain control module (PCM). Electrical power to the pump is provided through the IFS switch located in the jack access panel on the right-hand side interior rear quarter panel.
      Turn the Key On Engine off, listen for the fuel pump to energize.
      Install a fuel pressure tester to the fuel rail and check the pressure. Refer to your ChiltonDIY for the correct fuel pressure specification, here’s the navigation path: Engine Mechanical > Specifications > Gasoline Engine Tune-Up Specifications.

  7. amber says:

    I have a 1996 Nissan maxima. a couple days ago i’m driving to work and my car stalls and shuts off while driving. my cars smells heavily of gasoline. so I left my car at work. today I try to go to lunch with my car and I don’t make it out of the parking lot before loosing a 1/4 tank of gas. my exhaust pipe smells of gasoline and my car shakes while running. I have no clue as to what’s happening.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Amber, have the car towed to your house or a repair shop! Do not drive it! You may be causing more damage to the engine, not to mention the fire hazard.

      The issue could be a faulty fuel injector.

  8. Molly says:

    I have a 1996 chevy s-10 6cyl. As I was driving on the highway today I noticed that my truck seemed to be slowing down as if I let my foot off the accelerator. If I pushed the accelerator down it would pick up speed again. As I paid more attention I made sure it wasn’t me letting off the gas. Later I noticed the same thing in town. If I gave it more gas it would be ok, but if I didn’t push the accelerator down more the truck would start to buck. I had the fuel filter changed and this didn’t make a difference. My dad thinks it might be the fuel pump.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Molly.

      There is a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that may apply to your situation. General Motors identified a situation that can occur called: “Intermittent engine low power, hesitation, and/or stall.” It is #66-65-06.

      When you subscribe at http://www.ChiltonDIY.com you can access the Technical Service Bulletins and Recalls that apply to your Chevy S10, as well as maintenance interval charts, specifications, and service and repair procedures. Your automotive technician will also have access to Technical Service Bulletins.

  9. Jazmine says:

    01 Chevy Blazer- I have problems starting it when it’s lower than a quarter tank, but eventually does. It will stall on the freeway and I have to pump the gas pedal. I think it could be fuel pump but I’ve also heard it could be the alternator…?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Jazmine.

      Any time the vehicle stalls out on the road it can be dangerous; repair the vehicle asap.

      Check the fuel pump pressure and the fuel pump relay connection. Scan the vehicle for trouble codes. Due to the fact it acts up with less than a 1/4 tank makes me think it is fuel related.

      TSB #04-08-49-018E may apply.

      What’s a TSB? Technical Service Bulletins, or TSBs are communications from the original equipment maker (OEM). For your Chevy Blazer, it is General Motors Corp. In this case, General Motors identified a concern related to the fuel sensor and issued a bulletin. Technical Service Bulletins and Recalls are provided for your vehicle, along with service and repair procedures when you subscribe to http://www.ChiltonDIY.com.

  10. joshua wilkins says:

    My 2007 toyota solara starts up normal and shakes and cuts off after seconds.. I needed oil so I put 2 quartz in and now when I crank it up it does the same but if I try to hurry up and drive it stalls and won’t go full speed and if I make a complete stop it’ll shake and cut off.. I have 60, 000 miles on it

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Josh! Check all the basics, air filter, plugs, vacuum leaks. It could be a mass air flow sensor, throttle position sensor, or a dirty or binding throttle body. Install a scan tool and check for diagnostic codes.

  11. marie says:

    My car starts fine, it is during the process of driving and stopping that it might cut off. At times it takes at least 15 minutes to restart it. I think i got gas with water in it and it jerks while driving to the point of cutting off. Dignostics show no problems, but i think its my fuel pump going bad.

  12. meo says:

    I have a 2001 Saab 9.5 aero,turbo engine.my symptoms at first were random short periods of time the car wouldn’t turn over.I’d have to let the car sit for about 5 minutes to even an hour then after several tries it would finally start.The car would drive great for days and then eventually the same problem would reoccur.It wasnt until recently the car just started stalling out while in operation,then again sitting for about 5 minutes to even an hour it would start back up. yesterday I ran an errand and came back to the car and the car starts but wouldn’t turn over after several tries an hour and a half later the car turned over for about 5 minutes and stalled out. When trying to restart the car it wouldn’t stay running long enough to do anything. Yesterday was the worst.If I had to describe it any further I’d say it’s very similar to the staking that happens by not having your foot on the clutch when driving stick. But my car is ofcourse an automatic.
    Also I noticed before the stall happens I don’t feel pressure under my gas pedal.

    I hope this makes sense and maybe you can offer so advice as to what maybe going on. Fuel pump maybe?
    Thanks

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi there.

      There is a technical service bulletin (TSB# 248-2473) that describes symptoms similar to what you are describing. Saab sends out a TSB when it identifies an issue that affects a number of vehicles.

      This TSB also explains the need for a scan tool, which will help diagnose the problem. The vehicle needs to be scanned to see what has been going on.

      Coincidentally, the last Saab I worked on did have a bad ignition module, as described in the TSB.

      Expert diagnosis is the way to determine the cause, as it may be the ignition module or something else.

      With a subscription to the 2001 Saab 9.5 information at http://www.ChiltonDIY.com you can access the TSBs, service and repair procedures and more.

  13. Kegan says:

    I have an 02 mini cooper. Filled up with gas (11gallons) and drove home after work one night. Its 1.7mi to my house from fill up. The car only registered half full on the gauge. Thought that was weird. Tried to start it next morning and it turned over and sounded like it was going to start but didn’t.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Kegan. Scan the vehicle for trouble codes. Sounds like the fuel pump and sending unit may be faulty or it has a connection problem. The fuel pump and sending unit are located in the fuel tank.

  14. heather says:

    I have a 98 Chevy Monte Carlo 3.7L. I have to give her gas when I turn her on and must keep my foot lightly on the gas pedal at all times. Sometimes she will just stop n run normally but just s quickly revert back. Does this sound like a sign of the fuel pump going out? Also if she doesn’t die without my foot on the pedal the rpm’s stay at below 1 and a smell will accompany the rough idle.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Heather. Scan the Monte Carlo for trouble codes. It sounds like you have an idle issue. The Idle Air Control (IAC) valve is supposed to adjust the idle. Check for vacuum leaks at the intake manifold and vacuum lines. Clean the throttle body and inspect for carbon build up.

      IAC Description:
      The purpose of the Idle Air Control (IAC) valve is to control engine idle speed, while preventing stalls due to changes in engine load. The IAC valve, mounted in the throttle body, controls bypass air around the throttle plate. By moving a conical valve, known as a pintle, IN (to decrease air flow) or OUT (to increase air flow), a controlled amount of air can move around the throttle plate. If RPM is too low, the PCM will retract the IAC pintle, resulting in more air being bypassed around the throttle plate to increase RPM. If RPM is too high, the PCM will extend the IAC pintle, allowing less air to be bypassed around the throttle plate, decreasing RPM. The IAC pintle moves in small steps, called counts.

      During idle, the PCM calculates the proper position of the IAC pintle based on battery voltage, coolant temperature, engine load and engine RPM. If the RPM drops below a specified value and the throttle plate is closed (throttle position sensor voltage is between 0.20 and 0.74), the PCM senses a near stall condition. The PCM will then calculate a new IAC pintle position to prevent stalls.

      If the IAC valve is disconnected and reconnected with the engine running, the idle RPM will be wrong. In this case, the IAC has to be reset. The IAC resets when the ignition switch is cycled ON then OFF. When servicing the IAC, it should only be disconnected or connected with the ignition switch in the OFF position to keep from having to reset the IAC.

      The position of the IAC pintle affects engine start up and the idle characteristics of the vehicle. If the IAC pintle is open fully, too much air will be allowed into the manifold. This results in high idle speed, along with possible hard starting and a lean air/fuel ratio. DTCs may be set. If the IAC pintle is stuck closed, too little air will be allowed in the manifold. This results in a low idle speed, along with possible hard starting and a rich air/fuel ratio. Another DTC may set. If the IAC pintle is stuck part way open, the idle may be high or low and will not respond to changes in engine load.

  15. Danielle says:

    Hi I have a 2006 pontiac g6. I am having the same problem as the person above, when my car sits for 3 or more hours and I try to start to car it sputters & heistates. Then on the second or sometimes third try it comes on. I have now began to smell fuel. I was told it was the fuel filter but that is located in the fuel pump. I don’t want to send $400.00 bucks on a fuel pump until I know for sure!!! Please help!!!!

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Danielle. What engine does the G6 have?
      If you smell fuel, the system is either rich (not the fuel pump) or an injector is leaking inside or outside the engine. It could also be misfiring at start up, are the spark plugs okay? Does the vehicle run okay after it warms up? If it misfires it should set the check engine light. Are there any trouble codes present?

  16. Danielle says:

    Hi ChiltonDIY
    I have a V6. I had the spark plugs changed less than 3 months ago. After the vehicle warms up it runs just fine. But if I park the car & run an errand & come back sometimes it hesitates to start. I don’t know what codes are. I’m sorry but I am not familar with that. And I have 115,000 miles on the car.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      You smell fuel, and it runs rough and hesitates after sitting, that sounds like a leaking injector or fuel pressure regulator. But the ignition coil, plug wires or spark plug could cause the same symptoms. If the plugs were changed recently, start there. You could have a bad connection at the coil or spark plug. Have your vehicle scanned for diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs).

      There are many hundreds of error codes (DTCs) that can occur; a DTC code indicates that some system of the car is experiencing a problem. When one of these errors occurs, it can turn on the “check engine” light on the dashboard. You will need a scan tool to retrieve DTCs. Chilton provides information about the DTCs the 2006 Pontiac G6 can generate with a subscription at http://www.ChiltonDIY.com.

      • Danielle Watson says:

        Where do you recommend I take it to have that diagnostic check for a low cost. I am on a tight budget right now, but I really need to find out whats wrong.

        • ChiltonDIY says:

          Danielle, here are some ideas:

          - Some auto parts stores scan for free. Try Autozone.
          - Basic scan tools just to read codes are $40.00 to $60.00. Innova has an OBD11 scan tool for around $60.00; it covers Domestic, Asian, European, Diesel, and Hybrid cars.
          - If you have an auto tech school in your area, they may work on the public’s cars and offer reduced rates. Check out their work and consider that the students are not professionals.

  17. Carrie says:

    I have a ’93 Ford Escort with 47,000 miles. Once when I was in the middle of traffic (in a turning lane stopped and ready to go left), my car completely shut off and would not turn over. I had to get it towed. When I got my inspection, we fixed a faulty idle air intake valve and reattached a disconnected hose. I think that solved the idling-then-stopping problem. Then, I got some body work done and the mechanic unplugged the battery. When he plugged it back in, I heard the buzzing you describe as my fuel pump working (apparently that happens when you reconnect the battery). That was 2 weeks ago.

    The sound actually startled me, as it has never done that before. Is it normal for me to never get that buzzing when I turn the car to ON without starting it? Just today I was heading up a hill, and suddenly I got a slight clanging under my driver’s side and the car seemed to not want to go. I’m wondering if it’s a sign of a faulty fuel pump (that’s the only time I felt like she wasn’t getting adequate power) or if it’s because I may have eased off the gas, thereby keeping the car in a low gear, then gunned it a bit and the low gear wasn’t ready to handle it. What do you think? Fuel pump problems? Car inspection was 2 months ago, and the fuel filter was changed then. I don’t know if they check fuel pumps during inspection though.

  18. Nicole says:

    Have a 97 acura RL car stopped on me at a Red light early in the morning. I started it right up and ran and errand parked car and it would not start again…I ran out of gas three days before. Is this a fuel pump, relay, or filter problem. Tow truck guy said this.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Nicole. It may be a filter problem; do you run the fuel down close to E often? Have you changed the fuel filter? It should be changed at 60,000 miles. I like to change my filter every 30,000 miles.
      Import vehicles don’t seem to have as many problems with fuel pumps as domestics do.
      I would have the vehicle scanned to see if the PCM/ECM recorded a malfunction in the fuel system or ignition system.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I have a 2000 Chevy Malibu that stalled while driving the other day. I assumed I ran out of gas (I was very low) but even after filling it up to half a tank it wouldn’t start. I did quite a bit of research and after resetting the anti-theft system the car will start, but it doesn’t stay on and putting the gas peddle to the floor does nothing. My dad suspects that running out of gas clogged the fuel filter, and not the fuel pump just because the car WILL start. Do you have any thoughts?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Elizabeth.

      Verify it is a fuel problem:
      - Scan for diagnostic trouble codes
      - Check the fuel pressure. You can find the correct fuel pressure specification in your ChiltonDIY by following this path: PATH: Engine Mechanical > Specifications > Gasoline Engine Tune-Up Specifications.
      - Check/replace the external fuel filter. If you suspect the fuel sender/pump screen that means the fuel tank will need to be removed. I would replace the fuel pump at the same time.

      Caution: Observe all applicable safety precautions when working around fuel. Whenever servicing the fuel system, always work in a well-ventilated area. Do not allow fuel spray or vapors to come in contact with a spark or open flame. Keep a dry chemical fire extinguisher near the work area. Always keep fuel in a container specifically designed for fuel storage; also, always properly seal fuel containers to avoid the possibility of fire or explosion.

      There is a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) that may be related. It is #00-06-04-044 Engine Hesitates, Stalls, Will Not Start (Replace Modular Fuel Sender Strainer). General Motors sends TSBs to its dealers when they identify an issue that affects a number of vehicles. You can access TSBs for your 2000 Chevy Malibu by subscribing at http://www.ChiltonDIY.com.

  20. jay says:

    I have a 2002 Dodge Neon and am experiencing similar issues. Sometimes it starts with some hesitation but recently, it would start with hesitation and then die, start up again and then die, repeat. And after several false starts, it wouldn’t start at all. Not the battery though — a/c, radio, etc come on, but the car won’t start. I can only get it to start if i pump the the gas a bit to around 1.5 RPMs. Took it in this week and was told the fuel pump needed to be replaced. $800 later, I have a new fuel pump, but after picking it up yesterday, the problem persists exactly as it was before. Now I’m at a loss. Any insight is appreciated. Thanks!

  21. Rickard says:

    I have a 1985 ford f150 with a 351 windsor 4 barrel holley carburetor. When I go to start it each morning it has a hard time starting but once it warms up it idles fine. When i go to pull out of my driveway or from a stop light the engine will start to wind up and then hit a dead spot where it stalls for a second and then revs back up and drives fine with plenty of power. Its only when you are starting from a stop. Its almost like it has a dead spot on the pedal. Once your past a certain rpm it has all the power in the world.

  22. Ashley says:

    Hi, I have a 1997 Chevy Suburban 2500 7.4L/454. I’ve owned it for a little over 2 years but I’ve only put right under 5000 miles on it. As soon as we fix one thing and start driving it another thing acts up. Well when we first bought it there were a couple of times it died out of nowhere. We thought it was related to the battery at the time because it had a loose connection. It sat for a year due to leaking intake manifold gaskets and a locked up smog pump pulley. When we had those fixed we found the culprit of why it would randomly die. Pin 30, the direct terminal that initially powers the fuel pump is becoming heated and melted. I’ve heard this could be due to a failing fuel pump that’s pulling too much current but have also read that a loose connection between the connector and the terminal can cause it to heat, as well as a wire short, or a faulty ground on pin 87a. I don’t know if the fuel pump has ever been replaced as I bought it through a dealer and didn’t receive any service records. The only time that it won’t start, or dies while running, are when the relay switch has become heated/melted enough. We keep a spare and all we have to do is pop in the new fuel relay switch and it fires right back up. It used to be that we could drive on one fuel relay for 2-3 months. We now have a lot less time and I don’t know if that’s due to the connection site becoming more and more damaged or does a failing fuel pump continue to increase the amount of current it pulls causing it to continuously heat up quicker and quicker? Also could a fuel pump be failing that long? We have had down periods with it but we’ve still put nearly 5000 miles on it since we bought it and it first died on us very soon after purchasing. I don’t know how long the problem was present for prior to purchasing but does it sound possible for it to fail for 5000 miles and not have given out yet? Also I put in the key and turned it forward and I do hear something turn on. One initial louder noise (on the driver side) and then also a soft continuous buzzing type noise (pretty much heard on the passenger side of the engine). I’m assuming the buzzing is the fuel pump but I’m not positive. The relay box is the opposite side on the driver side. I don’t experience any problems during acceleration or freeway driving. Also even if the connection site of the fuel relay switch (which is damaged (melted) and looser than the other terminal slots (metal pieces in the terminal slots are opened up more than the others)) could be part of the problem I don’t understand how it could cause the engine to die since I thought the oil pressure switch powers the fuel pump once the truck is running. I’ve read I should be able to remove the relay once the truck is running and it should continue to run. I tested this and it cause my vehicle to die. Any input is greatly appreciated.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Ashley. I would install a new relay connector and relay, a poor connection can cause resistance and overheating at the relay.

      Check the fuel pump operation. Check the fuel pressure. You can find the correct specification in your ChiltonDIY. Inspect the grounds and wiring. Perform a voltage drop test on the fuel pump. It may be a bad connection with the fuel pump harness. The procedure and specifications for the voltage drop test are available when you subscribe to the information for your 1997 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 at http://www.ChiltonDIY.com. (Ashley you can use the navigation outline to follow this path: Chassis Electrical > Understanding & Troubleshooting Electrical Systems > Voltage > Voltage Drop)

      There are some Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) for your 1997 Chevy Suburban 2500 that may be related. TSBs are information the vehicle manufacturer sends to their dealers. When there are issues that occur repeatedly a vehicle manufacturer might release a TSB to help dealer technicians make repairs more cost-effectively. TSBs are available with your subscription for your Suburban at http://www.ChiltonDIY.com.

      TSBs that may help with your issue are:

      #77-63-06A: No Start, Stall …
      #04-06-04-088C: Replacement of Connector …
      #02-06-03-012: Proper Diagnostic Procedures …

      • Ashley says:

        Thank you so much for all of the information!! You’re awesome! I purchased a subscription but the TSBs that you listed, specifically the one on replacing the connector, is not showing up in my TSB list?

  23. Kristina says:

    I’m having similar problems with slight differences.
    I drive a ’00 Ford Focus. About 3 weeks ago there was a flood and my car was a little below seat level in water for a few minutes.
    After the water went away she ran fine with a little sputtering.
    My friend works on cars and put Lucas in the tank to get the water out. Then for a few days it would sputter then die on me. So we tried several things: replaced the ignition coil. Seemed to work for a few miles, then repeat what it used to do. Then tried replacing the fuel filter. Again, it worked fine for a few miles then would stall out and die. Directly after the fuel filter replacement, I would drive and would start to show signs that it was gonna die and the only way to keep it from dying is to give it gas, but then at some points it seemed the more gas I’d give it, the lower the RPMs got and then eventually die.
    The next day I drove it to run errands. Ran fine til about 3/4 of the way there when it died and refused to turn over. Finally after about 2 hours of sitting there, it starts and I make it home. My car guy says he thinks it just a lot of water in the tank. My other friend that works on cars in a different state swears it’s the fuel pump. So my friends gonna replace it tomorrow but if that doesn’t work, do you have suggestions as to what else it could be?
    Oh yeah and before the fuel filter replacement the guys at Valvoline checked it for codes. The first time it read out 2 codes. One being a misfire in one of the ignition coils and one they said wasn’t related to what my problem was. I accidentally left my lights on over night which drained the battery and after the battery was fully charged again, it wasn’t reading any codes. (We replaced the ignition coil so that fixed that misfire code)
    Sorry for the long post.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Kristina.

      When your car has been submerged in water, there can be problems immediately and problems can crop up in the future. Things can start to corrode. If it was salt water, it can create havoc.

      Contact your insurance company. They should be able to help with flood repair. For example, car manufacturers specify solutions that can be sprayed on wires and connectors to help disperse the moisture and protect against rust and corrosion. A technician can apply additional dielectric grease where needed, and perhaps take other measures to protect your car.

      Regarding the stalling condition:

      1. Make sure there’s no water in the tank. If there’s water in the tank, your engine can’t burn water. When you take the tank down you can test for volume of water and pressure.
      2. Check all electrical connections. In addition, with all that moisture, if the computer got damp it could cause the problems your vehicle is experiencing too.

  24. Mary Jane says:

    Hi! I have a 96 Ford Explorer Sport. Have not started the car in 4 years. I finally did last week, got A brand new battery, reset the alarm system, got some fuel cleaner, and tried to start the car. It cranks but won’t start so I got a Starter Fluid. It started but would cut out right away. What could it be?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Mary Jane. Take the gas out of the tank. After 4 years it will turn to varnish. If you smell the cap it won’t smell like gas, it will smell like a lacquer. If the gas is old it won’t burn.

      If they pull the tank they can check the fuel pump while it is down.

      The fact that it started when you sprayed it means it’s getting a spark but not getting fuel.

  25. Aubrey Copeland says:

    How you doing? I have an 95 9c1 caprice, I replaced my fuel pump because it had went out. Just purchased the fuel pump only and now my gauge isn’t working I double checked all connections. Do you think I need a new sending unit or what pls help!! Really need that gas gauge lol

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Aubrey. When the fuel pump was replaced, it is possible the sending unit was damaged. The sending unit is very sensitive and can be damaged if bumped. Check the sending unit. Check all the connections. Make sure the fuel gauge has the capability of working.
      In addition, General Motors released a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) which may be related to the concern. If you read the previous posts, you saw that a TSB can give information about how to address a recurring issue. Rule out TSB #67-65-19 as a potential cause of the inaccurate fuel gauge.
      You can obtain the Recalls and TSBs for your vehicle, along with service and repair information at http://www.ChiltonDIY.com.

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