I have heard a lot of people report this same problem. It could be a
tired fuel pump or it could just be as simple as letting the pump prime
before you try to crank it. You know how you can hear the fuel pump
kick on when you turn the key to "On"? Well let it go off before you
hit the starter. It only takes 2 or 3 sec. and it could save you some
Not the obvious thing, but easy to check: try giving the starter a quick
"bump," wait a second or so, then try cranking when the fuel is low. If the
pressure in the fuel rail bleeds off you will experience hard starting like
you describe, and the bump-and-crank procedure allows the fuel pump to
repressurize the rail before you actually try to start the engine.
If the bump-and-crank makes the difference, try a bottle of injector cleaner
first - cheap, quick and easy. The next step is to replace the check valve,
which is probably in the tank (yuck!) Why the symptoms would care about the
level of fuel in the tank I don't know, but it *is* an easy test.
This is my experience as well (94 civic). The workaround is to turn on
the ignition (but don't start just yet), wait a few seconds until you
hear the fuel pump relay turn off, then start the car.
My personal theory on this is that there is a check valve (well, there
IS a check valve, that part is not just theory) to maintain system
pressure when the pump isn't running. I speculate that this check valve
is in the pump assembly in the tank, and that when the tank is far from
empty, the whole check valve is submerged in gas. Thus the seals would
be nice and wet, and the check valve holds pressure. When the fuel level
is low, the check valve sits above the fuel and the seals dry out and it
does not seal properly.
> rob wrote:
> > I have a 2000 civic dx 5-speed with 85,000 miles. When my
> gas tank is
> > below 1/4 tank, the car doesnít want to start. It will, but
> it turns
> > over a lot. When the tank is full there is no hestiation at
> all. Iíve
> > replaced the fuel filter, and and gas cap a (thinking a
> > vacuum/pressure issue). Iím wondering about the fuel pump.
> > thoughts?
> This is my experience as well (94 civic). The workaround is to
> turn on
> the ignition (but don't start just yet), wait a few seconds
> until you
> hear the fuel pump relay turn off, then start the car.
> My personal theory on this is that there is a check valve
> (well, there
> IS a check valve, that part is not just theory) to maintain
> pressure when the pump isn't running. I speculate that this
> check valve
> is in the pump assembly in the tank, and that when the tank is
> far from
> empty, the whole check valve is submerged in gas. Thus the
> seals would
> be nice and wet, and the check valve holds pressure. When the
> fuel level
> is low, the check valve sits above the fuel and the seals dry
> out and it
> does not seal properly.
Your theory is the same as mine. My hearing is pretty good, but I
canít hear anything noticable before hitting the starter. Maybe thatís
the problem. HMMMM. Iíll have to draft a outside listener before I
condemn the check valve or pump. Thanks to all. :D
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