I finally got the right fuel filter assembly (the LONG one), so I can
install it as soon as I figure out how.
Looks like it has push-on and lock connectors.
If all it takes to remove the old one is popping the latches on the old
connectors, is there a procedure?
I've heard you are supposed to bleed off fuel pressure by taking out the
fuel pump fuse and cranking the engine for a short time.
I really don't want to get doused with gasoline while lying under the
van, so if there's a dry way to proceed that avoids that - let me know.
If you'd recommend paying the sealer to install it just because of the
mess or hassle - that's OK to know too.
Also - please feel free to recommend your favorite service manual to
If you dont want to get fuel on you, you can put a rag around the front
line and disconnect it first. Or you can start the engine, remove the fuel
pump fuse/relay and let the engine die out.
If you pull the relay you may get a fault code stored.
Looking at the new fuel filter you should be able to figure out how to
install it. You will also have to drop the 2 15mm bolts to lower the tank
in order to get the hose off the pump. a nice floor jack would help. OR
you can have someone else install it. About a 1/2 hr labor.
I managed without the rag, without getting too much gas on my skin and
without dropping the tank at the straps. Jacked up the left side - the
right might have made access a little easier.
Released the pressure by popping out the pump relay.
If you hold up the ends of the filters' attached plastic hoses against
the floor pan while you take the old unit out, the gas left inside won't
drain out of the hoses. I let the ends droop once or twice, so I did get
a little gas on me for being sloppy. Sigh. Nothing comes out of the
metal bib ends that stay in place.
I would add the comment that pausing to let the remaining fuel drain
from one end of the filter assembly into a fuel-safe container would
make things a little neater.
The old front hose and connector was a tight fit trying to slip it out
from behind the front tank mount strap, and the new one was tight going
in, but it did go through without a scary amount of force or damage.
The 'back' fuel pump bib (middle hose on the filter) was also a bit of a
tight fit and hard to work off and on at the pump, but it came off and
went back on without releasing the tank hanging straps.
Of course, after all that, the car runs WORSE now.
50 miles down the road, at 65 mph, a/c on, cruise control on, the
"Service Engine Soon" light comes on and the engine goes back to the
stumbling, chugging and nearly stalling. I limp off the freeway and to a
stop. About 45 minutes later (after a nice dinner), I get back in and
try to drive on (like I had been able to do five times before, a week
ago, before replacing the filter). No dice.
Car would only limp along at maybe 1500 rpm and 15 mph. Made it to a gas
station and filled up the 1/4 tank to full.
Pulled out and it seemed to go relatively OK up the frontage road (35
mph or so) for a mile, and then up onto the freeway again at a slightly
slower clip (60 mph, no cruise, a/c on) than before.
Every few minutes it would cough HARD, the speedo would drop 15 mph but
the tach and speed didn't actually drop. Made it to my brothers house
at 40 mph on surface streets, about 10 miles away.
After letting it cool parked for about an hour, I put my S.O. in my
bro's Audi and drove home with her following - just in case. 45 miles at
60 mph, a/c/on, no cruise.
Every 2 minutes, like clockwork, the engine would cough HARD and the
speedo drops 15 mph (like someone turned it off momentarily), the car
didn't slow and the tach stays up without dropping to match. It comes
right back to running fine afterwards. Over and over. It didn't present
a serious impediment to getting home, so I drove on.
When I pulled off the freeway and stopped at the first traffic light,
after a few seconds the car stalled completely. Hadn't done that before.
Next light it did it twice while stopped. No problem starting it back up
though. One more surface street run to home.
I got into my driveway, and it was idling fine, and wouldn't stall while
I sat watching for a few minutes.
Logged on the computer as soon as got inside.
I figured out after Googling up a few AllPar articles that the "Service
Engine Soon" light /itself/ flashing like morse code is the actual fault
code display (I had been scratching my head - waiting and staring at the
odometer) - I finally pulled the codes.
A little more history.
When the "Service Engine Soon" light first came on about a month ago, I
had the local dealer pull the codes to find out what was up (for a
refundable $70 if I had the work required done). I don't remember the
codes, but they said three items in the EGR system needed replacing; the
EGR solenoid, leak detection pump and the purge solenoid.
The dealer wanted around $200 for the parts and about $325 to put them
in. They were all just bolt-on parts and had nothing more complicated
than the hose clamps, two hard to get to 8mm bolts, and opening the
silly protective rubber cover over the pump - so I decided to save the
extra cost (I ate the $70 rack, reader or whatever fee) and do it
myself. It went pretty smoothly.
The SES light went out after a few minutes, and I quickly had the car
state safety inspected to get that out of the way for another year.
My current codes: 12, 51, 42, 21, 32.
I tried to match these up with the codes that are online on AllPar.com,
but there seems to be some confusion as to what some of the numbers mean
for my year (97 GC ES 3.8L, 165k miles).
The "12" probably comes from my taking the battery ground off while
working in the engine compartment on the EGR stuff. Easily within 50
starts, if that's the trigger.
51 is oxygen sensor stuck on lean (bad MAP sensor probability?).
42 is auto shutdown circuit relay stuck open or shorted.
21 is oxygen sensor signal doesn't change (voltage stuck at 4. x-4.x
32 doesn't seem to jibe with my year (1997), and the reference to
overdrive solenoid/trans relay seems closest to possible. Don't know if
this means anything, but I have a new-to-me Dodge reman'd OD electronic
auto tranny in there with less than 10k miles and a year on it - still
If I need a fuel pump, it looks like this year is much easier to deal
with than my 1987 Dodge GC SE with the metal tank that needs dropping
completely (did that three times).
Are all the other codes pointing to specific devices and possible home
repairs (I'm pretty good with a wrench), or will I need to get the codes
read 'officially' again and have the dealer do some/all of the work?
Thanks again Glen for your patience and willingness to answer the
questions posed in here.
List owner of the largest Honda small-motorcycle group on Yahoo -
dedicated to the Honda C70 Passport...
Boy did you just write a book!!! You are throwing parts at this vehicle when
the fault codes you pulled have alot to do with it and not the fuel filter.
The code 42 is a shut down relay, if that circuit or relay is bad you just
lost fuel pressure and spark!! now if you have been disconnecting relays
with the key on you may have set this code yourself.
The code 21 and 51 is yelling to you.....its saying HEY MIKE replace me now,
Im the up stream 02 sensor that isn't working!!! (replace the sensor).
I don't think that is causing your speedo to drop. sounds like you have to
many problems at one time or you just let them go for a long time.
When is the last time the vehicle had a tune up? with new wires?
Im not going to read your post over again and you may have already said it
but how many miles are on this thing and is this a 3.3-3.8 engine?
The EGR parts were for codes pulled previously at the dealer. I figured
the fuel filter suggestion was relatively painless (other than the
process) and it was easily time for a new one.
I was entertained by the service writer saying the codes I pulled from
the flashing SES light were irrelevant - the OBDII P-codes they would
pull took precedence.
That one is the ONE that makes sense, IMHO, given the symptoms.
Understood. Didn't touch anything while the key was on.
OK. That's what I figured would be the logical next step.
Too many problems? Sigh. How do you approach something like that?
The van has run well and shown no signs of this before. No serious
problems other than the transmission. I like this van. Don't want to
give up on it OR get rid of it.
So - should I approach this fro the standpoint of needing to replace ALL
the small items in the systems to be sure they are functioning right, or
just the things I have codes for?
10k miles. I'm up to date otherwise on maintenance.
No wire change has ever been suggested before, so it hasn't been done
(that I know of). Mopar wires or something else?
Took the car in today for an oil/filter change ($13 coupon) and a tarot
card reading (sorry - pull the P-codes).
The service writer (who is new and young, but a good friend of mine)
comes back with a service estimate with only one thing on it - replace
ECM for $839 plus 5 hours labor. Nothing else.
Before he had a chance to say they didn't have one in stock, I said no
He couldn't say for sure it would help - just that the tech thinks it
should be done before proceeding. No refund or discount if it doesn't
Am I the only one who thinks that's a crock?
Tech said he drove it, and only got the idle failure/stall problem to
replicate itself. No other codes that he could match to the ones I gave
them before they started.
They suggested that they could flash the ECM and just wait and see. It
stood an equal chance of curing it as far as I could tell.
To that, I agreed. It's Friday, end of the day, no parts in stock and I
need the car this weekend (it's my long distance vehicle) for a trip to
my girlfriends parents place about 200 miles away.
It ran fine on the drive home, no SES light, stammering or stalling.
Here's the thousand dollar question - If it has problems again, should I
put the money into the small items first (they seem to make perfect
sense, due to the codes, AND the mileage) or the ECM?
Is it likely it REALLY needs a new ECM, or is replacing it just their
way of saying they are clueless and giving up?
Thanks again Glenn.
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