1992 Plymouth Acclaim - Won't Start

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  #1  
Old 04-02-12, 05:28 AM
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1992 Plymouth Acclaim - Won't Start

I own a 1992 Plymouth Aclaim, 6-cylinder with 120K miles. Recently it has had some issues starting. A few weeks ago the starter would turn, but I had to jump it in order to get enough power for it to start. Bought a new battery and all seemed well.

This weekend my son was driving it and it began to have problems. It would start, but only run for a few seconds, then die. Eventually, it wouldn't start at all. His friends dad, who claims to be a mechanic, sprayed something (?) in the air cleaner and it would run a few seconds, then die. After learning how little gas he had put in it I had him put a couple of gallons in the tank. (Seems the gas guage doesn't work well, either.) It started and ran, but he stopped to fill up and, of course, it wouldn't start again. The friend's dad said it was the fuel pump and offered to replace it for $300 (I only paid $700 for the car!) but I can still hear the fuel pump energize when I turn the key. Does that mean it is still good?

I towed the car home to check it out. The first thing I discovered was that both screws on the distributor cap were broken off so it was basically just sitting there. Replaced those and dicovered that there was corrosion on two spark plug wires and the coil wire at the distributor cap connections. Pulled a couple of plugs and they had normal markings - no burning, oil, etc. I did get a little tingle while messing with the spark plug wires when my son cranked it, so I think it's getting a good spark.

The starter turns but it doesn't sound like it's getting fuel. Even though this is exactly what it did a few weeks ago, and even though my son sat there and cranked the starter for who knows how long, I didn't think to try jumping it again until this morning. So, that's the first thing I'll try.

Do the injectors need to be primed after running it completely empty or would the fuel pump take care of that? Any other suggestions of what to try or where to look?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-02-12, 07:24 AM
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It's self-priming. Also very bad to run a tank low or empty on an -in-tank fuel pump. One of the reasons it's submerged in the tank is for cooling. Before I went any further I would get a test gauge on the fuel system and see what kind of pressure you are getting out of the pump; that's the only way to properly tell if you have a pump problem.

The fact it could be made to run by spraying a flammable substance (starting fluid or plain carb cleaner) into the intake would tend to point to a fuel delivery problem as the friend's dad indicated.
 
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Old 04-02-12, 07:31 AM
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Did a quick lookup on rockauto.com and the pump runs from $60-167 depending on whether you go with a low-end one or a higher quality one like Delphi or AC-Delco.

The labor is generally as much as the part when doing a fuel pump as the tank has to be dropped to access it.
 
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Old 04-02-12, 07:50 AM
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To add to tow guys comments, I had several K cars in my day. These are simple to work on and before you jump the gun there are several things to check.

My advice would be to get a haynes manual from a parts store for reference.

Also these cars have many sensors that can cause your issue also aside from the fuel pump or fuel filter.

Stuff like throttle position sensors, coolant sensors, idle air control sensor, etc cause what you describe Especially the coolant sensor.

Just my thoughs. Also check the codes. These cars throw pretty accurate codes for the related issue.

Thats just my experience with the K car series. I love those cars. I am sorry I sold my mint 1986 Reliant K car. 4 cylinder got 22 mpg.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 04-02-12, 08:14 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I bought the Haynes manual for it as soon as I bought the car. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as easy to read as they did 10 years ago when I was having to do all my repair work myself. Maybe I'm just out of practice.

I don't have the manual here, but but do you know if it will display codes for a bad fuel pump, ASD relay, fuel pressure, etc?
 
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Old 04-02-12, 02:00 PM
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I'm not a K-car aficionado like lawrosa, but things like fuel pump and fuel pressure aren't on any vehicle's monitored systems AFAIK.

Mike, I was thinking that the ability to run for a few seconds on a flammable added to the intake would tend to discount coolant sensor, tps, etc.
 
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Old 04-02-12, 02:39 PM
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OK, jumping it didn't work this time. I checked the engine diagnostic codes and got a 21 (O2 sensor? The Haynes manual doesn't even mention one.) and what seemed like to sets of 5 long lights? 50-50 which looks like it means "end of diagnostics".
 
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Old 04-03-12, 02:33 PM
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Replaced the O2 sensor and got rid of the check engine light.
Replaced the fuel filter. No change.

Can you tell me if being able to hear the fuel pump energize means it is still working? Is my next step to get a pressure gauge to check the fuel system pressure?
 
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Old 04-03-12, 06:43 PM
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Does this have injectors or throttle body?

I will get my manuals out tomorrow and take a look for you. I have the acclaim book in the shed.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 04-03-12, 06:59 PM
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I am pretty sure it is TBI as that came standard on your vehicle. That said you do need to at least eliminate low pump pressure by putting a guage on it to confirm you are getting enough. I also think you need to further check the ignition and do some maintenance on that beyond locking down the distributor cap. You said you think that there is alot of spark because you felt leaking from the plug wires. In reverse that could be your problem also and the fact that it would fire up with a potent start spray can also mean that the spark at the plugs is in fact weak. I would confirm the pump pressure first though as it may have overheated from a dry tank as the_tow_guy mentioned.
 
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Old 04-05-12, 05:19 AM
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How can I tell if it has injectors or TBI?

According to one website it sounds like the 1992 V-6 3.0L only came with fuel injection: "A 3.0 L (183 cu in) Mitsubishi V6 producing 141 hp (105 kW) with multi-point fuel injection was standard on Acclaim LX, optional on the others."

I'm shopping for a fuel pressure gauge, but some say they don't work with TBI. It looks like there are injectors under the plenum. I disconnected one of these to relieve the fuel system pressure when I replaced the fuel filter.

Obviously, if the pump is bad the solution is to replace it. But what do I do if there is a blocked or restricted fuel line? How big a job will that be?
 
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Old 04-05-12, 05:10 PM
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Which size engine do you have? If it is the 2.5 is it a turbo version. If not you have TBI. You did not mention further about the ignition, and are now wondering about blocked fuel lines. As already mentioned, confirm fuel pressure first before thinking further about blocked lines. If the pressure is low it can be a bad pump, a blockage at the pump from a clogged filter that attaches to the fuel suction pipe inside the tank, or even a fuel regulator problem. Did you try pouring a little gas into the throttle body to rule out a weak ignition?
 
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Old 04-11-12, 02:25 PM
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The engine is a 6-cylinder, 3.0L with multi-point injectors. Where do I test the fuel pressure??? I can't find a port on the fuel rail or a Shrader valve anywhere. HELP!!!
 
  #14  
Old 04-12-12, 04:45 PM
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On the 3.0L multiport you have to install an adapter "T" in the line between the supply line from tank and line going to the fuel rail. No valve on the 3.0L Multi.
 
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Old 04-12-12, 04:50 PM
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FYI, in future, if you want access to manuals (free) . Simply go to autozone, register/sign-up for free and you will have access to manuals on most cars you will need, as well as parts and prices.
 
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