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Mike S.
Mike S., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 7368
Experience:  ASE certified
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1996 firebird: fuel ran fine--however, gad gauge

Resolved Question:

1996 firebird--fuel relay was replaced Friday because it wouldnt start--mechanic said he tested spark and fuel pump..circuit system check, fuel pressure test--he checked ign system and battery and starter..turned out to be fuel relay--replaced it and it ran fine--however, gad gauge was fluctuating wildly untilI filled the tank--. Yesterday it sputtered and missed once on start-up and then ran great all day--today it started--went to breakfast--car sat an hour and then began with the sputtering, stalling and finally no sdtart at all. Engine cranks, shudders like it wants to start, then nothing--any suggestions?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  Mike S. replied 6 years ago.

Almost sounds like bad gas. Is that gasoline more than 1 year old? Also, water in the gas will cause spitting and sputtering. Empty some of that gas into a clear glass jar and let it sit for about an hour to settle then look for a distinct line of separation between the gas and oil.

Any codes set? Any fuel leaks? Also, try loosening the fuel cap enough to relieve the pressure/vacuum and see if that helps. if so replace the fuel cap with the correct type (vented or non-vented).

Expert:  Mike S. replied 6 years ago.
Also, since you said the gas gauge was fluctuating it may be a loose ground wire or possibly loose connections back at the fuel pump and sender.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I loosened the gas cap--and the fuel tank was filled Friday night--the kick plate where the relay is located behind ( the dead pedal just to the left of the clutch) was loose--When he replaced the relay apparently he didnt fasten the kickplate and trim enough---It is the EXACT SAME SYMPTOM as the Friday problem that warranted a replacement of the relay. He did say he tested the old relay and there was no power to it--and no power getting to the fuel pump--but upon replacement of the relay the car started right up--there has always been a check engine light illuminated on the dash--i dont know enough to understand or read codes or listen to hear if the fuel pump is priming--Im wondering if theres a different reason thats causing damage to the relay--Is that a symptom of a computer going bad or anything of that magnitude? Could a failing fuel pump cause multiple relay failures?--Im not sure if you can do this but my number is XXXXX if you can call--
Expert:  Mike S. replied 6 years ago.

Well, in that case anything that may cause the current draw to rise may cause the relay failure, whether it be a faulty fuel pump , fuel pump going bad or a short circuit in the wiring. On a 1996 you would need a scan tool to check codes but auto-parts stores usually check them for free.

Has any cleaner been added to the fuel tank, if so it may have knocked loose some dirt, rust, etc from the fuel tank and is now clogging the fuel filter.

Its also possible you may have a few fuel injectors clogging. I hear walmart stores with an auto shop will clean them for $20.

Has the PCM BATT fuse #3 15A ever blown? If so, you may want to check the current draw on the wiring, click here for the wiring diagram.

It would be best to use an inductive (clamp-on) type ammeter. Harbor freight usually sells one for about $20 and sears has some also.

Actually harbor freight has it listed for $12.99.

Cen-Tech  96308 Digital Clamp Meter

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