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Gatores

2002 Bonnville- No Start

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Posting this for a friend

He drove his car. Parked it for the night and in the morning it would not start. It cranks over fine but will not fire. It seems like it sputters and trying to start. He checked for spark and the spark seems fine. On the fuel rail it seems like it has fuel pressure, but not sure if that is the problem.

It is a 2002 Pontiac Bonneville with the 3.8 V6.

Any insight would be wonderful.

Thanks

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Give it a couple of shots of carb spray as you crank it and see if it fires up. If so a closer look at fuel pressure would be a good idea.

Also make sure the security light is not flashing.

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Security light is on when key is on, but goes off when you start cranking it over.

I will get a can of ether tomorrow and see what happens. So if it does start I assume you are saying the fuel pump is out. Is there a way to test it to know for sure before throwing a pump in?

Thanks again Jeremy for all the help

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May have ice in the fuel lines with this cold weather. Dump some HEET in the fuel tank and if possible get it into a heated garage.

Please do not do this! We live in minnesota. We have ethanol in our gas. Ethanol absorbs moisture. Unless you have stuck a garden hose in the fuel fill tube and filled 'er up, the fuel lines are not frozen. Not to mention that every bottle of Heet raises the octane making it that much harder for the fuel to ignite, causing even more issues.

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The fuel pump can be tested with a fuel pressure gauge and a volt meter. Confirming the lack of fuel pressure with the fuel gauge and then checking for power to the pump, large grey wire, and a good ground, large black wire is all the is to it. Check as close to the pump with the pump plugged in I the best bet.

You can also try tapping the fuel tank about dead center with a large rubber mallet while somebody cranks the engine over. If it starts replace the pump. This is not a fix, but a band aide to get you out of a pinch.

A/c delco/Delphi are your best two options for replacement pumps.

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Q: If ethanol absorbs water, how can you have water contamination in a gasoline/ethanol blend?

A: A gasoline/ethanol blend can absorb a certain amount of water. In general, the greater the percentage of ethanol in the blend, the larger the amount of water the blend will hold. Also, the higher the temperature, the greater amount of water the blend will hold. A blend that contains the maximum amount of water it can absorb for that temperature and percentage of ethanol is saturated.

If a saturated blend drops in either temperature or percentage of ethanol, the water will start to precipitate (fall) out of the solution and settle at the bottom of the tank. This water will be mixed with ethanol since ethanol bonds more easily with water than gasoline. The gasoline mixture at the top will still be saturated. It will continue to precipitate out a water/ethanol mixture as the percentage of ethanol drops until there is either no more water in the gasoline, or another saturation point is reached (if the temperature is rising at the same time, for example). This is what is referred to as a phase separation. A phase separation can occur in a storage tank or in a vehicle's gas tank. As soon as water/ethanol begins to precipitate out, an in-ground tank's sensors will be able to detect its presence and signal the operator that there is a problem.

I would say it is highly likely that his fuel experienced a significant drop in tempurature due to being parked over night. Not saying you dont know what you are talking about, but I have personally seen it happen more than once. Even with E 10 fuel. One small bottle of heet in a tank full of fuel is not going to raise the octane level enough to make a difference. It is a cheap and easy thing to try before you start replacing parts. Pulling the vehicle into a heated garage would be my preference but is not always possible.

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Phase Separation in Gasoline’s containing Ethanol is now a major problem for all users of gasoline.

Whether you use gasoline as a fleet operator or for your family car, classic car, boat, personal water-craft, motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV, RV, lawnmower, weed-whacker, generator, or any of the thousands of other types of equipment that use gasoline engines; you are being affected by Ethanol in your fuel.

Phase Separation describes what happens to gasoline containing Ethanol when water is present. When gasoline containing even small amounts of Ethanol comes in contact with water, either liquid or in the form of humidity; the Ethanol will pick-up and absorb some or all of that water. When it reaches a saturation point the Ethanol and water will Phase Separate, actually coming out of solution and forming two or three distinct layers in the tank.

Phase Separation is also temperature dependent. For example, E-10 can hold approximately .05% water at 60°F. To better understand the amount of water that we are talking about, picture 1 gallon of E-10 at 60°F. This gallon will hold approximately 3.8 teaspoons of water. However if the temperature drops to 20°F it can only hold about 2.8 teaspoons of water.

We recently were called to consult for a fleet where a fairly large number of vehicles were being regularly fueled from a single tank and about one-half the vehicles were stored inside and the other half were stored outside. After a night with a 30°F+ temperature drop, several of the vehicles stored outside developed problems with significant amounts of water found in the vehicle tanks. After checking the storage tank and finding no measurable water, they looked for other possible causes including sabotage. After looking at many possible causes this customer consulted with us and we were able to describe the Phase Separation through temperature change scenario and determine that this was the most likely cause of the problems.

There is another quote to explain how this can and does happen.

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And once again I mean no disrespect to you Jeremy. But you specifically stated that our fuel contains ethanol and it absorbs water. That coupled with temperature drops is exactly how water can end up in pumps, filters, and lines and freeze.

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The likelyhood of ot happening on a modern vehicle is very remote. 20 years, thousands of crank no starts, not one with frozen fuel lines.

The ethanol is doing the same thing as the Heet. It is absorbing the moisture and moving it out of the tank. One is methanol and one is ethanol.

Furthermore, if the fuel lines are frozen, how is the Heet supposed to get to the frozen part?

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A few years ago I had a 95 Bonne. One fine summer day I parked the car and few hours later I had the same problem. Had it towed to a garage for repairs the next day because it still wouldn't start.

The guy at the garage just replaced the battery. I was told that if the battery doesn't have 12 volts or more the injectors will not fire when starting.

HTB

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The likelyhood of ot happening on a modern vehicle is very remote. 20 years, thousands of crank no starts, not one with frozen fuel lines.

The ethanol is doing the same thing as the Heet. It is absorbing the moisture and moving it out of the tank. One is methanol and one is ethanol.

Furthermore, if the fuel lines are frozen, how is the Heet supposed to get to the frozen part?

I am with Jeremy on this one Heet is a preventive additive not a wonder thaw fix! With ethanal gasoline it is no longer necessary to use an additive. A gasoline engine needs three things to operate, Fuel, Air and spark. Check your psi out of the fuel rail schrader valve while engine is cranking over and then check your engine spec for what it is suppose to be.

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I had a similar issue a few years ago with my daughters vehicle. I unplugged the air flow sensor and magic, it started. We were able to drive it home and put a new Mass Air Flow sensor in.

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Checked for power to the fuel pump which we did have power. Hooked up a gauge to test pressure and we had around 54 pound s of pressure. So now I am at a stand still again. Any other ideas?

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To check for that I assume you have to pull each spark plug and check if it arcs when you turn the car over? We only checked one plug before when we checked for spark.

When we did pull that one plug it did seem that the spark was constant but not consistently the same. Sometimes the spark seemed to be less intense, if that makes sense?

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I like to use an adjustable gap spark tester on these. You should see a minimum of 30k volts. It is important to check each coil. There are three with two terminals each. It is possible for one or more to be dead.

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Update:

We checked for spark at all the coils, not totally knowing what we were doing. Anyway seemed like we had spark and was good. So like someone said a few days back, we unplugged the MAF sensor. Low and behold it started. So to town we went. picked up a new maf sensor and after running rough for a minute or so his car is running like new now. Thanks for your help on getting this car going. We did alot of messing around for a such a simple fix, but it sure felt good to get it fixed.

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