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Mike Kelly
Mike Kelly, Auto Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 5470
Experience:  17 years experience as a auto mechanic,foreign and domestic.5 years running my own repair business.
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2003 olds alero: wont start..fuel pump, fuel filter..rail

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2003 olds alero won't start...replaced fuel pump, fuel filter, has new plugs and wires.. doesn't sound like new fuel pump is working when the key is turned on...have checked fuel pressure at rail with no p.s.i. present. should I get into the electrical and troubleshoot that or is there an easier fix?
Hi,how are you?The first thing to check is the fuel pump relay if you have not checked this all ready.If the relay is good than your issue is most likely the fuel pressure regulator.
  1. Properly relieve the fuel system pressure.
  2. If not done already, disconnect the negative battery cable.
  3. If equipped, remove the intake manifold plenum.
  4. On the 2.4L engines, remove the fuel rail.
  5. Detach the vacuum line from the regulator.
  6. Place a shop towel under the regulator to catch any fuel that may drip out. Unfasten the fuel pressure regulator retaining screw, then remove the regulator by twisting and pulling it from the fuel rail.
    NOTE Be sure to use a backup wrench on the fittings to prevent turning.
  7. Unfasten the pressure regulator mounting screw or retainer.
  8. Remove the pressure regulator from the rail assembly by twisting back and forth while pulling apart. Remove and discard the O-ring seal. Inspect the filter screen for contamination and replace if necessary.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Cross-sectional view of the fuel pressure regulator which is located on the fuel rail assembly

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. When disconnecting the fuel lines, be sure to use a backup wrench

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Before removing the regulator assembly, place a clean shop towel under the regulator to catch any fuel drips

To install:

  1. Prior to assembling the pressure regulator to the fuel rail, lubricate the new rail-to-regulator O-ring seal with clean engine oil.
  2. Place the O-ring on the pressure regulator and install the pressure regulator to the fuel rail.
  3. Install the retainer or coat the regulator mounting screws with an approved tread locking compound and secure the pressure regulator in place. Tighten the mounting screws to 85-102 inch lbs. (9-11 Nm).
  4. If removed, install the fuel rail assembly to the engine.
    NOTE The fuel return pipe must be connected before tightening the regulator retaining screw to prevent the regulator from rotating. Rotation of the regulator could damage the retainer and spacer bracket and lead to a fuel leak at the regulator inlet.
  5. Connect the fuel feed line and return line to the fuel rail assembly, use a backup wrench on the fittings to prevent turning.
  6. Attach the vacuum line to the regulator.
  7. If equipped, install the intake manifold plenum.
  8. Connect the negative battery cable. Turn the ignition to the ON position for two seconds, then turn it to the OFF position for ten seconds. Turn again to the ON position and check for fuel leaks.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
First, I have the 3.4 V6. I have checked the relay and it is fine. The fuel pump is not making a whining sound when the key is turned on, therefore no fuel pressure is built up. I have used a gauge to check this. So, I am not understanding how it could be the fuel pressure regulator if my system isn't pressurized before it gets to the regulator.
Ok,when you replaced the fuel pump.i am assuming that you disconnected the negative battery cable.So if so this could be an alarm issue,lock all doors and windows hood and trunk.Insert key in the drivers side lock and lock and unlock the door and then try to crank the vehicle.Let me know.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok, I tried that with no success
Ok,where did you purchase the fuel pump?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
at checker auto
Ok,since you are not hearing the pump come on at all,you are going to have to verify that the pump is not bad,even though you just replaced it.And to also make sure that all connections are made to the pump.I am going to upload the instructions for the 3.4 engine.

Removal & Installation

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the precautions section.
  2. Relieve the fuel system pressure.
  3. Drain the fuel tank.
  4. Remove or disconnect the following:

  5. While holding the modular fuel sender assembly down, remove the snapring, if equipped or if equipped with a cam lock ring use Fuel Sender Lock Nut Tool J-39765 to press down and rotate the cam lock ring to remove it.
    WARNING If the modular fuel sender assembly is retained by a snapring, it may spring up from its position. When removing the modular fuel sender from the tank, be aware that the reservoir bucket is full of fuel. It must be tipped slightly during removal to avoid damage to the float.

    Fuel sender assembly External fuel strainer Connector retainer from the wiring harness and the fuel pump
  6. Gently release the tabs on the sides of the fuel sender at the cover assembly. Begin by squeezing the sides of the reservoir and releasing the tab opposite the fuel level sensor. Move clockwise to release the second and third tab in the same manner.
  7. Remove or disconnect the following:

    Fuel pump electrical connection by lifting the cover assembly Baffle and pump assembly from the retainer by rotating the fuel pump baffle counterclockwise Fuel pump outlet by sliding it out of slot Fuel pump outlet seal

To install:

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the fuel sender assembly mounting to the tank

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Exploded view of the fuel pump assembly


  1. Install or connect the following:
    NOTE Gently pull on the fuel pump reservoir to assure it is secure. If not secure, replace the entire fuel sender.

    Fuel pump outlet with a new seal by sliding it in the reservoir cover slots Fuel pump and baffle assembly onto the reservoir retainer by rotating it clockwise until seated Lower retainer assembly partially into the reservoir by aligning all 3 sleeve tabs and pressing the retainer onto the reservoir making sure all 3 tabs are firmly seated

    Connector retainer to the wiring harness and the fuel pump External fuel strainer Snapring, if equipped to the retainer slots while holding the modular fuel sender assembly down or use Fuel Sender Lock Nut Tool J-39765 in order to install the cam lock ring Fuel tank Negative battery cable
  2. Pressurize the fuel system and verify no leaks.
Also if the pump checks out,than the wiring of the vehicle is going to have to be trouble shoot for an electrical short.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
just doesn't make sense when it all started, was after I took it to put rear tires on it and made it home. when my wife went to start it to go to work on the next monday it wouldnt start ever since.
Ok,i want to try something else,so bare with me,i really want to help you on this.This is from gm.First, use an OEM key that has the proper chip in the key. Second, set the parking brake and turn off all accessories. Turn the key on and leave it on for 10 minutes, turn the key off for at least 10 seconds. Repeat this three times and on the third time the car should start. This resets the system and you shouldn't have any further problems.
When the anti-theft system is activated this kills the fuel completely.this is why i want to rule this out,before pain stacking wiring trouble shooting takes place.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
sorry Mike that didn't help either
ok,well this really has to be an electrical issue,going to have to start trouble shooting the electrical harnesses for a dead short.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
any ideas where to start? fuel pump connectors for sure. maybe PCM?
Yes,check fuel pump connectors,pcm,as it might not be communicating,and get a test light and check all fuses in the fuse box,also i know you cant drive it,but if you can borrow a scanner maybe and check for trouble codes stored.

Edited by XXXXX XXXXX on 12/8/2009 at 4:59 AM EST
Also check for any burnt or frayed wires under the dash or hood.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

would a code reader be able to clear all codes from the computer or does that have to be done at the dealer?


A code reader would clear the codes,but what ever issue that is causing a trouble code would still be there.Clearing the codes would just keep the light off.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok but in my case, the light is not on and I was doing some reading today( not sure what site it was) and it mentioned taking it to the dealer to wipe the computer fresh. I was just wondering if its the OBD readers are capable of doing this or if its dealer specific?
Oh,ok no the OBD readers are not capable of doing this,what you are referring to is having the computer flashed,this process has to be done by the dealer.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Mike thanks so much for all your help. One last final question I hope. I'm leaning on believing that it is something to do with the anti-theft system. would having the computer flashed erase this problem? hope that makes sense.
Yes flashing the computer would reset all systems for the vehicle,thank you.
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