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Pete, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 29070
Experience:  17 years automotive training and experience.
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fuel problem, no fuel delivery? 91 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

Customer Question

fuel problem, no fuel delivery?
91 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme 3.1 Multi Port V6 96,000 miles

Won't start - sometimes. Also, sometimes the car dies or surges back after feeling dead spot wile driving along.
Started and ran well earlier today. Left it idle for over hour to charge battery. Came out and it wasn't running; ignition still on. Plenty of charge now, cranks well. Will sputter/run on ether in intake tract but won't keep running after the ether is gone.
Had changed fuel filter. Did it because I was fishing for this problem. It had been changed ar 45kmi. too. Doesn't seem to have changed anything.
A few months ago my daughter stalled in a low spot/deep puddle, near flooded. Car stalled dead. Towed it home, removed plugs, vacuumed water out of cylinders, one or two had a full dose of water. Since then the car has been used for few thousand miles.
Another side note, Low Coolant light comes on. I think that may be just the reservoir but I haven't checked; though the radiator is fine.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Pete replied 7 years ago.

Hello,I will be glad to try and assist you with this,Welcome to Just Answer.


your coolant level sensor on this vehicle should be located in the radiator on one of the side tanks of the radiator,even if the radiator is full you can get this message as I have seen some of these sensors fail and cause this issue,most likely this is why this light is coming on.

I dont think the problem you are having now is related to the water flooding out the vehicle because it was a few months ago and you have put some miles on it since then.

Since it will sputter and run on ether we know it has spark,we also know its not the fuel filter as this has been replaced and I dont think you have a crank or cam sensor fault as well as coils or ignition module since it runs or sputters on ether,most likely what has failed here is the electronic fuel pump in the fuel tank,these tend to fail often and if this vehicle hasnt had it replaced yet it sounds like its due.I believe the fuel pressure should be around 40 to 45 psi you can check this with a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail under the hood at the pressure port,if you turn the ignition key on just before the start position you should hear the fuel pump run by humming or buzzing coming from the fuel tank,it should do this for two seconds before starting the vehicle and then turn back on when the vehicle starts,if you dont hear this noise most likely you have a bad fuel pump,even if you do hear this noise it may be running but not pumping any pressure,To replace this pump the fuel tank has to be lowered out and then the fuel sender ring removed from the tank and the sender pulled out.These pumps usually run for about $100 and a shop usually will charge 3 to 4 hours labor to do this.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hi, thanks for getting back to me. I considered the fuel pump and was remiss in not mentioning my awareness of dealing with it.

I started the car this morning and have an interesting detail to add for the sake of diagnosing. The fuel pump does run briefly when the key is turned on. When I hear that noise, the car starts. I'm not sure about yesterday when it didn't start. Today, heard it, and started it.

However, it died while driving. Hmm. I was on a hill... it seems that a burst of accelerator will kill the engine. It happened quite a few times and yet would restart pretty much every time, right away. Every time I heard the pump, it started. I think one or two times I wasn't sure that I had heard it.

So, now I see that flooring it will stall it.

Could that be some part of the controls or sensors?

Perhaps it is still fuel pressure. I see a valve on what is probably the fuel log. I'll check and se if i need a certasin tyoe of guage now.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

This catches my attention. This was a response to someone with suspected fuel pump problem on a different vehicle:

"I am not sure if this is the answer for you or not but I have a 99 with 156000 miles on it and it was experiencing almost identical symptoms as your truck. I thought for sure it was the fuel pump as well, but turns out it was a stopped up cat and leaking intake gasket. Had the Intake Manifold Gasket and one of the Catalytic Converters replaced on it and it is running like new again.

Question is, how to test that stuff.

In the mean time, there is an Autozone nearby and it sounds like they lend testers if it needs something special.

Expert:  Pete replied 7 years ago.

ths still could be fuel pressure because at full throttle the engine demands more fuel so it may stall out if the fuel isnt available,this can be common.

As for the catalytic converter if it is restricted or plugged then it can cause this issue as at full throtle you have allot of exhaust flowing and if you have a restriction it will stall out the engine.The converter can be tested with an exhaust back pressure tester,this tester screws into the oxygen sensor port and reads pressure in the exhaust when running all the way from idle to full open throttle,you shouldnt have any more then 1.5 psi of pressure at idle all the way to wide open throttle,if you do have more then you need a converter to correct this fault,I dont know of anyone lending or renting these tools out but they can be purchased to test fuel pressure and exhaust back pressure.The leaking intkae gasket if sucking in extra air woulod udually cause a rough running feel and not so much a stalling or no start concern.