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2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue


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MrTroy03
Novice

Mar 12, 2016, 12:47 PM

Post #1 of 17 (1085 views)
2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

Hello!

I need some help with troubleshooting my 2002 Buick Century (3.1). It has around 170k miles. I am no mechanic by any means but have learned a bit over the past few years due to YouTube tutorials etc. Here is what has happened and what I have done and observed up to this point:

While driving on the interstate, my car rumbled and died. I was able to get on the shoulder. It started a few times, but it was a lot of cranking. I couldn't get up to speed and it died again. Probably a half hour before that my gas gauge went crazy and went from full to empty to full a few times.

After speaking with my shade tree mechanic father he said to try some starter fluid, he said that if it ran for a short time and died it was likely the fuel pump, if it wouldn't start with starter fluid, it could be something like the ignition control module. I sprayed starter fluid directly into the bore and I couldn't get it started.


1. My dad got a new coil pack set/ignition control module. We installed it. It still wouldn't start (turn over but not start). But now spraying starter fluid in the bore caused it to start for a few seconds and die of course. Perhaps I didn't do the starter fluid right the first time, but I did the same thing he did.

2. He figured it was the fuel pump. I then replaced the fuel pump with a new one off of Amazon that was rated 4.5 stars by around 80 people. It had a new plug type but the color on the new plug wires matches the OEM wires, so it was a simple matter to splice them together into those sleeve things and crimp it together. Still won't start.

3. We put some gas in a bucket and placed the new pump down in and plugged it in and cranked it over. The fuel only shot about 3 inches tops. He figured it was a lemon pump. I confirmed with a multi meter that we were getting 12 volts on the large gray line, which I think is supposed to be the line for the pump.

4. I got a "DOA swap" from Amazon for another fuel pump. The second new pump shoots fuel about 2 feet or a bit more during the prime when the key is on.

5. I installed it all the way, still won't start.

6. I figure maybe the fuel filter is clogged. I order a new filter and the plastic fuel line removal tool (not needed for filter). Upon install still no start after several attempts at cranking. The old filter definitely seemed pretty clogged. Put water in on the inlet side and nothing came out the other side.

7. I take the new filter off which was full of gas now. Also when I turn over the engine gas shoots out of the hose that plugs INTO the filter out onto the ground, so I know gas is at least getting to the filter.

8. I disconnected the "top" line under the hood and hook up my air compressor. I blow air IN the line at the point where the fuel filter would push gas in under the car. Up top a good amount of air comes through. So I think I've identified the line that fuel should be getting TO the engine on. I also blew the other direction just in case any loose debris was in there.

9. I hooked the new filter back in and placed the unhooked line up on the engine side in a bucket and started cranking over. I did this many times. NOTHING came out. (Yes I know this is a stupid way to test, as gas is very volatile).


This is where I am now. I know air leaks can kill gas delivery, SHOULD gas have come out at the top of the line into the bucket when I was cranking over?

Even if the line was only partially clogged I would think that SOME gas would have come out? I didn't see an gas leaking out along the line on the ground. Could the line be cracked somewhere letting AIR in? Would it be trying to suck in air and therefore not allowing the gas to be pushed up the line and out? I just don't know HOW it should work to proceed from here.

I was going to replace the fuel pressure regulator but I don't think I am getting any gas to the engine at all or the pressure regulator. What can I do next? What am I missing? Should gas come out of the line up front when I have it unhooked? Could I still have a pump problem?

None of the shops near me offer a loaner fuel pressure gauge, but since I am not getting fuel to the engine I can guess my pressure would be low or none.

Any help for this noob appreciated!

(This post was edited by MrTroy03 on Mar 12, 2016, 12:55 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Mar 12, 2016, 1:09 PM

Post #2 of 17 (1076 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

 
All "crank, no start" conditions are approached in the same way. Every engine requires certain functions to be able to run. Some of these functions rely on specific components to work and some components are part of more than one function so it is important to see the whole picture to be able to conclude anything about what may have failed. Also, these functions can ONLY be tested during the failure. Any other time and they will simply test good because the problem isn't present at the moment.
If you approach this in any other way, you are merely guessing and that only serves to replace unnecessary parts and wastes money.



Every engine requires spark, fuel and compression to run. That's what we have to look for.

These are the basics that need to be tested and will give us the info required to isolate a cause.

1) Test for spark at the plug end of the wire using a spark tester. If none found, check for power supply on the + terminal of the coil with the key on.


2) Test for injector pulse using a small bulb called a noid light. If none found, check for power supply at one side of the injector with the key on.


3) Use a fuel pressure gauge to test for correct fuel pressure, also noticing if the pressure holds when key is shut off.

4) If all of these things check good, then you would need to do a complete compression test.

Once you have determined which of these functions has dropped out,
you will know which system is having the problem.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Mar 12, 2016, 1:24 PM

Post #3 of 17 (1071 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

You need to pressure check fuel not just see it or how far it sprays!
Water isn't going to flow thru a filter like gasoline ever if at all on some so don't do that again. Rather pour fuel into glass jar if you think it's dirty or contaminated you should see something wrong and that's another project on it's own if so.
What's with the wiring not right and you changed it? I've heard of that and personally would not alter wiring unless specially noted on replacement to do so and how exactly or keep looking.
You need real fuel pressure readings that hold pressure. If it runs at all on it's own it should build up pressure to spec even if not running well. Just key on, engine off to rule this in or out of the diagnosis of pump alone,


T



kev2
Veteran
kev2 profile image

Mar 12, 2016, 1:27 PM

Post #4 of 17 (1068 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

tell us about the check engine light - is it on? if so how long?
Always a start - is to read codes...


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Mar 12, 2016, 4:36 PM

Post #5 of 17 (1062 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

The fuel should definitely shoot out of the line at the fuel rail if you have it disconnected and in a bucket. Do you hear the fuel pump run for a few seconds when you turn the ignition to on? If you have no fuel coming out of the line, a fuel pressure gauge is worthless right now to use.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Mar 12, 2016, 4:37 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Mar 12, 2016, 4:51 PM

Post #6 of 17 (1058 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In


Quote
I got a "DOA swap" from Amazon for another fuel pump. The second new pump shoots fuel about 2 feet or a bit more during the prime when the key is on.


It is shooting out according to him.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MrTroy03
Novice

Mar 12, 2016, 6:28 PM

Post #7 of 17 (1048 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

Alright, thanks for the replies. I am going to try to reply to everyone at once.

Hammer Time: Yes we are getting spark. The engine will run for a few seconds with starter fluid. None of the auto part shops around me offer a loaner fuel pressure gauge or rent one. I am not going to buy one for this.

Tom Greenleaf: I understand the car won't run without proper pressure, but I have no free or cheap access to a pressure gauge. I am just trying to "ballpark it" with diagnosis using what I have.

Pouring water through the filter was an uneducated test that I did to the OLD filter (never to be hooked to a car again). I did not do it to the new filter.

For wiring, alot of aftermarket pumps have a different plug on the pump itself. The wiring was the same (as in 4 wires, matching color). So it was easy to splice the old wiring harness to the new plug it came with (purple to purple, gray to gray etc). A pump with an OEM electrical connection to match my car was double the price. I am getting 12 volts on it with a multimeter.

My car will not start at all (without starter fluid). I think its a fuel delivery problem. Either with the pump still or getting TO the engine.


Kev2: I don't have a code reader and there was long a check engine light on for something with the ABS system.

Discretesignals I have no fuel coming out up on the engine side when disconnected. I was asking if it SHOULD be coming out into a bucket if I have it unhooked up there.

Sorry for the confusion on the "shooting fuel" part. What I am saying is that the pump will shoot fuel out of the line BEFORE going into the filter.

I disconnected the line coming out of the firewall and placed it in a bucket, NO fuel is getting to that point, at all. I would think it is making it past the new filter? Could there be cracks in the fuel line? I don't see any leaking. If the pressure was low coming from the pump I would think that with enough cranking I could still get SOME fuel to come out on the engine side into a bucket? Should it shoot out at the engine side if I have it unhooked up there?

Could my fuel line be bad? Or is it possible the new pump isn't putting enough pressure in to get it past the filter?


(This post was edited by MrTroy03 on Mar 12, 2016, 6:35 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Mar 12, 2016, 6:31 PM

Post #8 of 17 (1041 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

You don't have a fuel pressure gauge and refuse to get one. You don't have a noid light and refuse to get one. You don't have a code reader and refuse to get one.

It's time to tow it to a shop and pay them to do your diagnosis.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MrTroy03
Novice

Mar 12, 2016, 6:38 PM

Post #9 of 17 (1037 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

I am not going to pay $150 for a tool that I will use once. I guess my real question boils down to whether or not fuel should come out of the line that comes out of the firewall if I have it disconnected or if having it disconnected creates some kind of pressure or air issue and no fuel would ever come out.

I am leaning towards my pump not being powerful enough (defective) or maybe a clog in my fuel line after the filter. I am just asking for a few tips from you guys. People aren't going to have these pro tools if they aren't hobbyists. I am not asking for exact diagnoses just a bit of education.


(This post was edited by MrTroy03 on Mar 12, 2016, 6:40 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Mar 12, 2016, 6:47 PM

Post #10 of 17 (1027 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

I don't know what you expect from us. We don't use a crystal ball. We have to buy these tools and a whole lot more. We have to do this testing to conclude anything. We don't guess at things. We don't use ESP or a crystal ball to diagnose problems. You have no idea if the fuel pump is working or even getting power. You have no idea if the fuel injectors are working. Without data or test results, we have no advice to offer except pay someone else to do this for you.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MrTroy03
Novice

Mar 12, 2016, 6:52 PM

Post #11 of 17 (1024 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In


In Reply To
I don't know what you expect from us. We don't use a crystal ball. We have to buy these tools and a whole lot more. We have to do this testing to conclude anything. We don't guess at things. We don't use ESP or a crystal ball to diagnose problems. You have no idea if the fuel pump is working or even getting power. You have no idea if the fuel injectors are working. Without data or test results, we have no advice to offer except pay someone else to do this for you.


This isn't true. In my original post it clearly states that the pump is getting 12 volts and that it it is shooting fuel at least our of the line BEFORE the fuel filter. I am not asking you to use ESP. I am asking if fuel should come out of the line after the firewall IF I disconnect it and put it into a bucket. I know the pump runs and gets fuel at least to the new filter.

I don't think fuel is making it from the new filter to the engine. I don't know how these systems work, I am not even an armature mechanic. To me it seems like either the pump isn't powerful enough or perhaps could my line be clogged? Not to be rude but my post does detail exactly that the pump is getting power and shooting fuel at least to the filter. My new filter is full of fuel when I remove it again.

I appreciate your knowledge. I am an IT professional who diagnosis and troubleshoots computer servers, workstations, printers, networks etc. so I know how it is when you can't guess someone's problem away, but I just want someones opinion on what it could be based on the info I have given.


(This post was edited by MrTroy03 on Mar 12, 2016, 6:55 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Mar 12, 2016, 6:57 PM

Post #12 of 17 (1016 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

OK, you do it your way.

Maybe you'll see the light when you finish throwing parts at it.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MrTroy03
Novice

Mar 12, 2016, 7:11 PM

Post #13 of 17 (1010 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

I like how you won't even answer me on whether or not fuel should come out of the line coming from the firewall into the engine if I disconnect it and put it in a bucket.

That would tell me whether fuel (at all, not necessarily the right pressure) is making it to the engine. It looks like no fuel is even making it to the engine even though the pump is working. I just wanted to know whether fuel should come out there or not (when disconnected), for all I know disconnecting the line causes some sort of air pressure issue where no fuel would come out at all.

What good is it using a pressure gauge or testing the fuel injectors with a noid light if fuel isn't even making it into the engine at all? That's my point.

I am guessing that fuel SHOULD come out into a bucket if I disconnect the line at the engine but I wanted to make sure. If it should be coming out but isn't I think I still have a pump problem or some kind of clog in the fuel line? As a reminder, yes my pump is getting power and if I disconnect the line just before the filter, and turn the key on, fuel shoots out of the line (the line that would go into the filter).


(This post was edited by MrTroy03 on Mar 12, 2016, 7:14 PM)


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Mar 12, 2016, 7:39 PM

Post #14 of 17 (993 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

Fuel should come out of the line at the engine when the pump is turned on. Seems that you don't have a restriction in the supply line because you could blow air through the line. That is strange. If there was a leak in the line, you would see a fuel leak spraying out of the line. There are two lines at the fuel rail. One is supply is one is return. The supply is usually the larger line that connects to the rail and the return comes off of the fuel pressure regulator.

The fuel isn't going to shoot 6 feet out of the line, but it will flow out. It should be able to pump out at least a quart in 30 secs.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Mar 12, 2016, 7:50 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Mar 13, 2016, 3:44 AM

Post #15 of 17 (973 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

Troy - there's your answer to that - fuel should come out. If you are unwilling to pay for tools or can make your own and you can with cheap junky A/C gauges, tire pressure gauges meant for wet filled things (they really make those) and hours at a hardware store to make them work go for it that way or send it out.
There's no way to justify costs of many tools for one or two uses. However you ARE wasting a lot of parts for not knowing!
It's a real stopper for this as a hobby or just fun.
So your thing is IT. You can find how easy some things are quickly but it's failing you at how much know how and equipment it took plus experience to do one simple thing whatever it is.
Just dealing with fuel if you used the wrong device the fuel would ruin it at once so don't think all this is flaming magic it does take some real bucks for tools and equipment and NOT for everyone,


T



MrTroy03
Novice

Mar 13, 2016, 8:05 AM

Post #16 of 17 (966 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

Thank you Discretesignals, that is the answer I needed. I know its annoying to not have the right tools to diagnose the problem properly, but this tells me I either have a pump problem of some sort or a problem in the line somewhere since fuel should come out when the line is disconnected at the firewall into a bucket. I will recheck for gas leaks on the line, but since I was able to blow air through I would guess there is no significant blockage.

Tom, I knew going in I was potentially wasting money, but that's the way it goes when you don't have the right diag tools up front (same for IT), or the proper knowledge. Still a LOT cheaper than taking it somewhere if I can get it figured out myself. For example the pump off of Amazon is $80 bucks, I called a few repair shops around here and it was around $275 for the pump not counting labor. I figure even with a few mis-steps I am still saving hundreds. So yes, I am being a cheap ass, wouldn't you?

I actually got a nice little plastic set of those fuel line / AC line removers from Amazon as well for under $10, that I can live with for one time use.

I wanted someone who knew if fuel should come out there when disconnected and now I know. One thing IT people and car people have in common is the ability to troubleshoot problems, the key factor, above the right tools, is knowledge of how it works. That is what I lack in automobiles. You guys could probably be pretty good at troubleshooting computers and networks given the proper education on how every component of the system works, its role, how it works with other components etc.

Thanks for the help, I will be tinkering with it more today.


(This post was edited by MrTroy03 on Mar 13, 2016, 8:06 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Mar 13, 2016, 8:57 AM

Post #17 of 17 (960 views)
Re: 2002 Buick Century fuel delivery issue Sign In

Nobody wants to waste $$ nor do we. Cheap isn't always the bargain in anything. So - just to the point of a pressure tester I think this one is enough look one up yourself elsewhere this from Autozone just because it's easy to find junk and pics for me.
This.............
Not Vehicle Specific Actron/Fuel pressure tester kitPrice: $44.99
  • Part Number: CP7818
  • Notes:

Yup just that price and lower if you catch sales. The adaptors for a wide assortment of vehicles really adds up costs you don't have to do for one vehicle.


So, for lack of that you are spending both time you may enjoy fussing around or up to causing problems messing with stuff or acquiring parts known to be lousy like non GM total whole units when needed that do cost more naturally so best KNOW it's the issue not guess and be done with it and move on to next something you want to do.
Also know you are dealing with assorted techs at this place probably 100s of years of busting knuckles, made enough mistakes and could buy a small town some place for what we have in tools! Years of training which really begins when the first thing fails in the real world because you aren't told XYZ doesn't work unless ABC first type of thing for those type cars.
In short we are sharing what we know and ask questions or for tests and the results for certain things which many just can't do, wont do so we're stuck with that problem to move on.
Of the trades it's way up there with costs to do stuff. IDK - you can be a hard working plumber as an example and not own a building or parking area never mind if you do anything at all the costs stop, it doesn't for a shop if there's work or not.
That's why is costly just to send out. The trade gets a bad rap for being expensive but you do have to know it's costly to even do is deducted from anything first.
You do IT work which is great. I don't and it can stink for many things that inexplicably go wrong! Do watch out for the YouTube type things, some are like infomercials of how easy everything is and one tool can do everything crap. Real world isn't like that at all for auto work. Some is some isn't and knowing the difference is even a learned skill!


Tom







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