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Chrysler Repair/1998 Cirrus 2.5l won't start


QUESTION: Hello, Let me start with some background info. Last Winter I had recurring problems with my 98 Cirrus. It would start and run fine, but then, when I would park it and come back, it would not start until it was pretty much cold. Then it would carry on normally. Eventually it got worse and more frequent. This was finally traced to a faulty Crankshaft Position Sensor, which I replaced, and then all was well for about 6 months (and I generally don't drive more than about 800km / 500 miles per month). So the Crankshaft sensor now has maybe 5 or 6,000 km on it at most (4,000 miles).

Two weeks ago, the car suddenly sputtered, lost power and died on me late at night on a dark road. I had to get it towed home.  What I noticed this time was that there was no sound coming from the fuel pump. I did once notice, after numerous attempts to start it "no bus" in the odometer.

With the help of a friend, we replaced the fuel pump with a brand new one. We also checked the fuel filter and blew it out with compressed air, then tested it again.It seemed fine. We also checked the old pump externally and determined that it was indeed dead.

We put everything back together, unhooked the battery for about 5 or 10 minutes and filled the gas tank to the top as was recommended by the manufacturer. We also turned the ignition on and off about a dozen tines before attempting to start it, in order to draw fuel through the lines to the motor. As before, however, the motor turned over but wouldn't start.

We checked for spark and it was good. We also checked for fuel, and there was indeed fuel getting to the motor, but we were thinking there was not enough pressure. So, I bought a fuel pressure gauge and tried it out. I am not 100% sure if I hooked it up right, but, if it was right, there is 0 pressure.

I have ELM327 Bluetooth OBD2 Car Diagnostics Scanner / Code Reader for my Android and it is providing little data from the computer and no codes. Maybe simply because the battery was disconnected?

As I understand it, if there is spark, the problem can't the crankshaft sensor. Correct?  And what are the chances of a brand new fuel pump (and the entire assembly) being defective? Especially when I can clearly hear it when I turn the key to the on position?

I'm also quite sure that there was no crimp in the fuel lines after installing the pump, and that the electronic connectors were replaced properly.

Might it be that the auto fuel shut off is some how stuck? Or perhaps that the computer is toast?

I have seen no further "no bus" messages.

Finally, I should add that, only two days before this latest problem occurred, I had to take the car in for a gov't emissions inspection. So, I first took the car to a mechanic and had it scanned and no errors came up. All seemed perfectly fine. I also took it for a good long highway drive. The next day it then passed the gov't inspection with flying colors. But two days later, however, dead car!

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Hi Wayne,
Thanks for all the details of the history of this problem. If you are hearing the fuel pump hum for about 1 second when you turn the key to 'run', that is proper and shows the pump and the ASD relay are working. If the pump runs while you are cranking it over and you are getting spark at spark plug socket while you are cranking then the rotational sensors are good. And you have no fault codes either via the key 'on-off-on-off-on and leave on" in 5 seconds or less and also with the code reader.
My suggestion would be that you check the valve stem of the exhaust gas recirculation valve as that valve may be stuck slightly ajar, which thins the mixture too much to sustain an idle. It is located near the oil filler cap and the thermostat housing and is mounted sideways in a pipe that branches off from the front exhaust manifold and is routed to the rear near of the engine. It has a round vacuum operated device on the top and between that top and the body of the valve there is a flange behind which you will see the valve stem. It has a circumferential slot into which you can insert the tip of a screwdriver to move the valve back and forth, against spring action which tries to close the valve. Spray some WD-40 on the stem where it enters the valve body and the exercise the stem back and forth to be certain that the internal spring brings the stem to a dead closed stop. Then see if it will start and run.
I found your question in the "pool" to which it had been referred by Kevin. Let me know what you learn.
Please read the PS (below) and respond to it.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Roland, thanks very much for the quick reply and suggestion. I am defintely hearing the fuel pump buzz each time that I turn the ignition on. It seems to be working. I opened the fuel line in the engine compartment and then by-passed the gas relay using a piece of wire, and observed fuel coming out. I pulled the three front plugs and they were also moist. So there is defintely fuel getting to the motor, but I am unsure about the pressure. I bought a brand new fuel gauge and tried to test it. I had to insert a plastic T-adapter as I found no Shrader valve. However, I got no reading whatsoever. The needle did not budge. Maybe I am not doing it properly?

To confirm, I have no "check engine" light and tried the key 'on-off-on-off-on and leave on" method several times, but nothing comes up on the odometer. I have also checked the front 3 cylinders for compression. They are all at exact factory specification. There was never any issue with smoke or burning oil. So the motor is good.

Using your description and the Haynes manual, I was able to locate the part. I had to remove a rad hose to get better access to it. I then saw the bronze colored valve stem through the side slots and tried inserting a flat head screw driver, as you suggested, but I could not detect anything moving or even movable. Again, perhaps I am not doing it right. I didn't want to damage anything either. It appears to be held in place by just one bolt. If I remove it to get a better look, will it need a special gasket when I put it back on? For the moment I have left it and just sprayed some WD40 on it and will look at again tomorrow.

Is it possible to upload some pictures to you showing how I tried to use the fuel gauge? I also took a a few close up pics of the exhaust gas recirculation valve if that might help.

ANSWER: Hi Wayne,
If the tip of a flat head screw driver, when inserted into the slot of the valve stem of the egr, doesn't allow you to move the valve stem back and forth (axially) then I would believe that the stem is stuck. Spray the WD-40 on the place where the stem enters the valve body proper, let it sit, and try again. That stem opens and closes the valve and is spring-loaded to close it but it should not be that difficult to move it back and forth. It may be stuck open in which case try to firmly move the slot toward the valve body.
I doubt that I can give you advice about the fuel pressure gauge question as I haven't done that to any degree. It does sound like you did find the egr. So lets hold off on the photos for the moment.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Ronald. I have been unable to determine anything regarding the EGR valve. I have poked around at it with a flathead screw driver, as I do not know what a healthy one looks like and how it works, where to put pressure or should react, it seems not a good idea to mess with it. It must have been working fine prior to the fuel pump dying on me. If it is still OK, I may end up damaging it.

As to checking the fuel pressure, I went to a dealership and showed the pictures of how I had hooked it and they said it was correct. It seems the pump is the problem. They said that it, when cranking the motor for 30 seconds, it shew spew out at least litre or quart of fuel. So hooked up a hose to a gallon milk jug and cranked it. What came out was less than half the amount of a pop bottle. So it is not getting enough fuel.

That said, I wonder if power may be an issue? I killed the battery trying to start this thing so many times. I have been jump starting it each time now with a second car (leaving it running) which has a strong battery. When doing this, the Cirrus does seems to have lots of cranking power to work with.

Hi Wayne,
The egr, if you have identified it and its stem, should be a simple verification. The stem moves back and forth a fraction of an inch and you should feel spring-action when you move the stem toward the top of the valve.
Based upon what you describe about the pump and its output volume it does sound like it might be an issue with the fuel pump module. It should not require more electric power than you have already provided so that is not an issue.
But the pressure regulator is a possible issue if it is allowing fuel to return to the tank too easily and thus not allowing the fuel pressure to build up to the operating level. The regulator is attached to the fuel pump proper and is inside the tank, therefore. Did a new regulator come with the new pump or did you just place the old regulator on the new pump unit?
Those are the items I can suggest you consider.
Good luck!
Feel free to do another rating and nomination if I have been helpful.

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Roland Finston


Get a Free Fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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