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Moon Lake Refuge

Gas pedal to start fuel injected car

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Just got a call from my niece(never a good sign) long story short I just found out for the last year since she bought her 2001 grand am(fuel injected) she has had to hit the gas pedal to get it started.  Didn't know that did anything with a fuel injected car.  Sounds like something is plugged up with fuel or air somewhere.  Told her to start with having her boyfriend replace the spark plugs, fuel filter and fill up with some premium and a little octane booster to see if something is just fouled up.  If not that anyone have any ideas what I'm looking at?  Fuel pump, injectors? Really hoping the plugs fix it and her boyfriend can be the hero... In happy to take a back seat on this one to not have to wrench on another car.  I have warranties on mine so i didn't have to do this anymore!:-/

Edited by Moon Lake Refuge

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I'll just say forego the premium and octane booster...waste of money. Engine doesn't need that, nor will it help.Tromping the gas pedal won't do anything in a fuel injected car, either...could be injectors, pump, or a long  laundry list of things with that issue. Have her get a qualified diagnosis from someone before the ol' hit and miss fix it. Will save her time and money in the long run, I'll bet. :)

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2 minutes ago, RebelSS said:

I'll just say forego the premium and octane booster...waste of money. Engine doesn't need that, nor will it help.Tromping the gas pedal won't do anything in a fuel injected car, either...could be injectors, pump, or a long  laundry list of things with that issue. Have her get a qualified diagnosis from someone before the ol' hit and miss fix it. Will save her time and money in the long run, I'll bet. :)

I always thought the same, but without the gas pedal the car doesnt start.  With the gas pedal it does, so there has to be something there.  I read in another forum that holding the gas down can actually limit gas when flooded so the car turns over.  Starting with plugs and a fuel filter because thats a 20 dollar try which needs to be done anyhow.  Next up, look into the codes, but I think there is just an emissions code for O2 sensor.

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6 minutes ago, RebelSS said:

Hopefully Jeremy will jump in.....he'll know the codes right off the top of his head. :grin:

For crying out loud... Just told her to have the codes pulled.  Here's the response:

Yeah I have had one since I bought it, my mom has the same one, its something to do with the fuel that isn't worth fixing....  Well it seems to be worth fixing now!!  I want to say I'm done with this car but I have a feeling I have plans with the garage floor coming up.  Told her to pull the codes so I'll post what she comes back with.

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6 minutes ago, RebelSS said:

HAHAHA!! Never fails, does it?!  :grin:

I want to say I'm done working on the cars but I know I'm not.  Its my sister in law and her daughter.  Single mom and all that so I try and help when I can.  Then you have the other sister who drives a lexus and has the dealer come pick her car up from her house and drop off a courtesy car for a $900 brake job.  Definitely both ends of the spectrum there.

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What engine?

I'm betting the Cope is a P044? (fill in the question mark with 0-9). Its irrelevant. However I do believe the current problem is fuel related and the "gas pedal trick" is doing 2 things.

1. Buying time

2. Putting the vehicle in deflood (some fuel injected cars will turn off the injectors if it sees wide open throttle during crank, also known as "deflood")

It is very possible that the plugs are worn out however the O2 sensor does not come into play until the engine is warmed up (closed loop). Then the fuel strategy will use the O2 signal to help regulate the fuel trims. There are only a handful of sensors the engine uses during startup. MAF/MAP, Coolant temp, maybe intake temp, crank/cam, throttle position and that's pretty much it.

With that being said the first thing I am doing is checking the fuel pressure regulator (especially a V-6 engine). If its wet out of the vacuum nipple replace it. If the regulator seems good than I am checking fuel pressure with a gauge to see if fuel pressure is bleeding off.

I have had fuel pressure regulators so bad that they will actually squirt fuel out of the nipple in measurable inches. If this is the case holding the gas pedal down during crank will shut off the injectors and allow the leaking fuel from the bad regulator to start the vehicle.

Typically a fuel pressure regulator that is starting to leak will give an extended crank symptom after a hot soak. Say you drive 20 minutes down to the walmart to pick up a case of slimfast and some cat food. You park the car, head on in, make your purchase, and within 10-15 minutes your back in the car. You try to start and it takes noticeable longer for the engine to start. This is almost always a loss of fuel pressure, most of the time a bad regulator. When fuel pressure bleeds off on a hot engine it starts to boil. Essentially vapor lock. The extended crank is allowing fuel pressure to build pushing out the vapor in the fuel rails.Once there is liquid fuel back into the rail the injectors can do there job and the engine starts.

Hope that helps, let us know what you find!

I should also add that it may not be a good idea to have the boyfriend replace the fuel filter. The metal lines can get pretty ugly and the quick connect on the other side can be a nightmare. If he manages to get the quick connect off and the vehicle is an average MN car the threaded end will not come off without either damaging the line or rounding off the fittings. I usually have to heat up the nut end and worst case scenario I have to slit the female side and break it away from the threaded fitting on the fuel line. I think I can recall one going smooth about NEVER times!!

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Airjer, how did you know I go to Walmart for Slimfast?!?!... ;)

Have a 98 Malibu with 3.1 and had the same symptoms, and same fix that Airjer stated, years ago. I can tell it is starting to do it slightly again, so the pressure regulator is the next thing that car will be getting.

Also check that black plastic tubing that goes to the PCV (?) right in the same area. Mine had cracked once and had similar symptoms. $12 and 3 minutes later and it was fine.

Edited by BoxMN

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8 hours ago, troutkingmaster said:

I had an 01 Alero with similar symptoms.  EGR valve was stuck open so car did not want to run/idle well.  Could also be MAF sensor.

Typically there are other symptom with an EGR. The rough run at idle or wont run unless RPMs are higher and a hard brake pedal are a couple.

MAF sensors typically will be a start and then stall.

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