Fuel Pump Failure in 97 Mercury Sable

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  #1  
Old 12-16-04, 04:27 AM
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Fuel Pump Failure in 97 Mercury Sable

Fuel pump fuse went out twice this week on a family member. She was towed two times.

First time, they changed the fuel pump fuse, suggested she quit driving so near empty all the time, and sent her on with a $120 bill, including the tow.

then it stranded her an hour later. An affilliate station towed her again and now says the relay in the intank fuel pump has failed.

they said either she got some bad gas that caused it's demise, or someone put something in her tank. They said when the emptied it, they would be able to tell which.

She uses the cheapest gas and the lowest octane, and her valves knock.

I thought I had read somewhere that using a lower octane gas CAN cause a fuel pump to fail, but I can't find proof anywhere and can't say this is true.

I CAN find places that say the gas source CAN be important more than the octane. (I stick to a Shell station and never have problems)

She also feels that since the stations are owned by the same person, and since she paid so much the first time and was sent on her way, that what she paid there should go toward this 2nd bill. I mean, should she have to pay double labor, double diagnostics, etc? It sounds like the 2nd bill will be around $500.


Thoughts anyone?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-16-04, 04:53 AM
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LOTS of thoughts...

...where to begin is the question.

First time, they changed the fuel pump fuse, suggested she quit driving so near empty all the time, and sent her on with a $120 bill, including the tow.

driving on empty all the time IS hard on electric fuel pumps...but a pump that blows fuses shouldn't be gambled on...that was stupid to suggest that by keeping more fuel in the tank that current draw of the pump would go down.

then it stranded her an hour later. An affilliate station towed her again and now says the relay in the intank fuel pump has failed.

absolutely NO way would I pay to have it towed a second time with in an hour...that's absurd.

bad gas did not cause the fuel pump to fail electrically...age and heat from keeping the fuel level very low contribute greatly to this type of failure.

low octane fuel doesn't cause pump failures either...the pump could care less...and as far as "valves knocking" (detonation)...octane can play a role here...bu there are many other causes as well and it should probably be investigated as bad detonation can lead to piston failure.

the bottom line here is that she received NO service (beyond the tow) on either occasion from that service provider and should run , not walk...to a competent technician. chalk up the original $120 to experience...but don't give that place another dime.

BTW...there is no relay in the fuel pump. the pump is controlled by a relay, it's just not in the tank. a competent tech with a wire diagram will be able to analyze the circuit with the blown fuse and focus on only that or those components associated with that fuse. FP relays can cause shorts to ground (this is what happens when a fuse blows) but fuel pumps are a far more common cause...good luck!
 
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Old 12-16-04, 03:44 PM
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Most reputable shops would have picked up the tab for the second tow, but considering their troubleshooting record, I wouldn't hold my breath. I'm hoping you didn't take out your frustrations on the tow guy!
 
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Old 12-16-04, 04:15 PM
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They took the 2nd tow bill off at my request.

And they said it was junk stuck in the fuel pump from having a low tank frequently.

Or gas that was bad somewhere.
 
  #5  
Old 12-16-04, 07:49 PM
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good advice

I have to concur that is not good practice to drive with a close to empty fuel tank because of condensation on cold days and also the risk of improper fuel pump cooling and also sucking up junk from the bottom of the tank.
I avoid gas stations that are not modern or have a low volume of customers.
I might be wrong but it seems that a gas station that does not care about there appearance also does not care if fuel is contaminated with water or whatever.

I try to always buy from name brand like Mobil, Shell, Chevron, etc., were there quality control is a little better then the no name brand fuel.
It used to be in the days were cars had fuel filters inline it was not as critical but now with fuel injection and filters in the tank a small piece of rust or dirt can ruin your trip if it lodges in the wrong place.
 
  #6  
Old 12-17-04, 09:21 AM
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About Your Knocking

I Have A '94 Taurus That Had A Knocking Problem. I Don't Know How Similar The Engines Are, But My Egr Passage In The Upper Intake Manifold Got Blocked Enough To Cause A Lot Of Knocking. The Knocking Started Years Before The Passage Was Blocked Enough To Set The Check Engine Light. I Live In A High Altitude Area Where The Octane Ratings Are Lowered A Couple Points. I Cleaned The Passage And Still Burn The Cheap Gas With No Knocking.
 
  #7  
Old 12-18-04, 05:48 AM
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Did you clean the passages with like a fuel injecter cleaner, or how?
 
  #8  
Old 12-20-04, 02:19 PM
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foreverkeeps, lot and lots of carb cleaner

YES SIR, YES SIR, two cans full!

I have a single cam 3.0l v-6, so yours may be different.

I first tried the carb cleaner with the upper intake manifold on the car. I removed the egr valve and shot gumout onto the passage until it backed up and flowed out. I started the car and it really did not run like it had a vacuum leak. I then shot the carb cleaner into the idling car with no change in idle, so I knew nothing was getting through. Before I tried this, I could barely detect vacuum at this port. Covering and uncovering the port with my thumb made no difference.

I took the upper intake manifold off. This was an easy 15-minute job and only required removal of six bolts and a few electrical and vacuum lines and the accelerator cable.

The next 3 hours involved cleaning the passage. I worked from the egr port and from the other side, which is behind the butterfly. I took great care not to damage the throttle valve and the throttle position sensor. You will need a helper to hold it or some way to tie it open. The egr passage makes a sharp bend behind the butterfly so I never got anything through but carb cleaner. I picked with the plastic nozzle from the carb cleaner and copper wire and a long screwdriver and cut-up and bent coat hangers. The carb cleaner did not dissolve the built-up carbon but did help blast off the stuff I loosened.

When I started, I got no carb cleaner through and when I was finished it shoot through easily.

I reassembled the car using a new $5 gasket. Before I put the egr valve back on I started it and it did run like it had a vacuum leak and would smooth out with my thumb over the egr port. The car ran great and my 3+ years battle with knocking was over. I had even paid the dealer for $70 worth of bad advice.

Before you do all this, make sure the passage is blocked. If you take off the egr valve and have good suction at the port, you do not have this problem. If you have, a vacuum pump and can get 10 of vac., on the egr valve and the idle changes while idling in park, you do not have this problem.

Good luck
 
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