Phantom fuel problem

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  #1  
Old 05-26-04, 10:21 PM
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Arrow Phantom fuel problem

2000 Chevy Venture Minivan with 3.4 L V-6
This fine piece of automotive (explicative) has left my wife stranded 4 times now in as many weeks.

Engine cranks but does not start, wait an hour or two and come back to it, and it acts like nothing was ever wrong

This symptom is very sporadic also, twice now it has happened while my wife was out running around town, and once first thing in the morning after sitting all night

After the first occurrence I thought fuel problem for sure, so I started simple and replaced the fuel filter (and the air filter that I neglected some time ago) hoping to get rid of the Service Engine Soon light.

After the second occurrence I checked to see that it was getting good fuel pressure and flow, at least past the filter. It was. So I then relied on my past experience with GM and replaced the fuel pump. That will take care of it!

Nope.

I then took the vehicle to a local mechanic with a diagnostic machine, and he informed me that $700 should take care of it. (Ignition module, coil pack, wires, plugs [it is nearing 90,000 mi. so I took the bait]

And again it happens, so I have it towed back to the garage, and he tells me I'm out of gas! Charges me for the tow and $5 in gas (a finger swirl around the nozzle at the filling station) and it runs for another 200 mi before leaving wife stranded again this time with a full tank of gas.

We tow it back to the garage and I ask them what next, they say fuel pump even though it's less than 2 weeks old and has the same symptoms that it did before anything was done to the van.

The fuel pump seemed very easy to me to install, don't believe there is a problem with the pump or lines.

Anybody seen this before ??????????
 
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  #2  
Old 05-27-04, 02:49 AM
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suggest having codes checked if the check engine light has been on it could be related to the problem and stored a code.
there is lots of things which could cause this problem including what has already been replaced if poor quality parts was used.
you can either take it to a shop and leave it with them and have them drive it until the problem does occur which may be a couple of weeks so they can diagnoss the problem when the vehicle does die and wont start.
or you can attempt to find out what the problem is on your own next time it occurs by checking for spark, injector pulse and fuel pressure and these things need to be done before the vehicle cools off and starts back up.
the problem with towing the vehicle to a shop when it quits, is more than likely by the time it gets to the shop and they are able to work on it the problem will no longer be occuring.
 
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Old 05-27-04, 03:36 AM
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I would take Bejay's advice and do some checks for spark and injector pulse while the truck is dead. This may lead you to a crank sensor problem.
 
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Old 05-27-04, 06:59 AM
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Thank you both for the reply, I may have not stated that I did have the shop check the codes, for the service engine light and they told me I needed a new ingnition module, and some other items that amounts to a general tune up, and that seems to have eliminated the light.

Are you saying there might still be more information even though the light is off?

And I also left the vehicle with the garage until they were able to duplicate the symptoms (since I had already spent $700 for the ignition module and $250 for the new fuel pump and filter).

When he was able to duplicate the problem he had a fuel pressure gauge attached to the vehicle, he was doing a flow test and a pressure test, and he seemed to be happy with the results he was seeing while the fuel pump was working.

He turns the key off for a minute or two then turns the key back on and nothing.

After the mechanic was able to see the problem first hand he began to trouble shoot the fuel system, first by trying to "jog" the fuel pump ( he crawled under the van and hit the bottom of the fuel tank )

When that didn't produce any results, he went to the large fuse / relay box under the hood to see that it was getting power to that point, everything looked good but still no fuel pressure.

Thats about as far as he got, before he wanted to replace my new fuel pump.
I explained to him that I had already replace the fuel pump and inline fuel filter and that the symptoms have not changed for the better or worse.

The pump I installed was a Delphi.
 
  #5  
Old 05-27-04, 12:15 PM
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If the vehicle has no fuel pressure and he checked to make sure it was getting power and ground at the tank I would agree that the pump is likely bad or a bad connection in the tank.
 
  #6  
Old 05-27-04, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bejay
If the vehicle has no fuel pressure and he checked to make sure it was getting power and ground at the tank I would agree that the pump is likely bad or a bad connection in the tank.
He never said he checked for power and ground at the pump, just rapped on the tank and checked the fuses. He need's to do a little more troubleshooting before condeming that pump.
 
  #7  
Old 05-27-04, 06:35 PM
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I agree with Desi..... Dont let him just throw parts at it. That can get very expensive for YOU. If he cant handle doing the proper diagnostic work then you need to take it elsewhere.
Billy
 
  #8  
Old 05-27-04, 07:37 PM
cheapfurcoat
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I would be looking very closely at the wiring to the pump, including and especially the ground wire(s).
I had a Nissan Pathfinder that did exactly what has been described here and I went months trying to figure it out. Changed the fuel pump but eventually took a second look and found charred wiring to the pump that when run for a while, got hot and lost continuity.
Then years later I had an 88 Lincoln Mk IIV LSC that did the same thing. This time I looked there first and found a bad ground strap at the fuel tank was the cause.
 
  #9  
Old 06-04-04, 02:41 PM
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I followed your advice and got underneath and pulled all the wiring to the fuel tank out of the split plastic conduit, lo and behold! There is a splice in the hot wire !!

I played with it a little bit while my son is cycling the key on and off,
I never did hear the pump totally quit, but it definitely was fluttering.

So I cut the splice out and re-spliced, this is almost a week gone by now and it has not left my wife stranded so far, woo hoo!!!!

Hopefully that was the problem, a 2 cent connection that only cost me $1,000 to find.

I laugh because thatís all I can do!

Thanks for the help fellas, I love the professional and courteous attitudes in this forum !!
 
  #10  
Old 06-04-04, 02:44 PM
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We just love good results. Thanks for telling us the outcome.
 
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