Testing the Fuel Pressure with a Fuel Pressure Gauge can be very easily done on your 3.1L or 3.4L Monte Carlo (Venture, Beretta, Corsica, Lumina, Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, Grand Am, Cutlass Supreme, etc.), since the engineers at GM had a brain an included a Schrader Valve, on the Fuel Rail, to attach a Fuel Pressure Gauge to.
Using a Fuel Pressure Gauge is one of the most accurate ways to make sure that enough Fuel is reaching the Fuel Injectors. If you do own a Fuel Pressure Gauge, this is the test for you. If you don’t own one... well, I’m gonna’ make some recommendations to you as to which one to buy and where to buy it in the section Which and Where to Buy a Fuel Pressure Gauge.
OK, let’s get started with this test:
Connect the Fuel Pressure Gauge to the Schrader Valve on the Fuel Rail.
When ready, ask your helper to crank the engine while you observe the Fuel Pressure Tester’s gauge.
Your Fuel Pressure Gauge will register one of the two following results:
1.) The Fuel Pressure Gauge will register 35 PSI, or
2.) The Fuel Pressure Gauge will register 0 PSI.
OK, now that the testing part is done... let’s take a look at what your results mean:
CASE 1: If the Fuel Pressure Gauge registered 0 PSI This confirms that the cause of your Venture’s (Malibu, Impala, Lumina, Grand Am, Cutlass Supreme, etc.) is caused by a Lack of Fuel.
Now, I usually take one more precaution, before condemning the Fuel Pump as BAD... and this is to check that the Fuel Pump is getting 12 Volts as the engine is cranking. This is just to make sure that the Fuel Pump Relay and Fuse are OK and doing their job.
What you’ll have to do to accomplish this is to attach a Multimeter in Volts DC mode to the wire that supplies this Voltage to the Fuel Pump and while a helper cranks the engine... verify that the Fuel Pump is getting this power. If the 12 Volts are being supplied to the Fuel Pump... you have now 100% verified that the Fuel Pump is fried and needs to be replaced.
CASE 2: If the Fuel Pressure Gauge registered 35 PSI: This Fuel Pressure Gauge result let’s you know that the Fuel Pump is working and delivering enough fuel to the Fuel Injectors. The reason your 3.1L or 3.4L GM vehicle is not starting is due to another reason. The Fuel Pump is OK.
I suggest you take a look at the section Related Test Articles to see more testing options.
A Bad Fuel Pump will make your 3.1L or 3.4L Venture (or Malibu, Regal, Skylark, Corsica, Impala, Venture, etc.) Crank but Not Start. Here are some more specific symptoms:
All of the Coil Packs, sitting on top of the Ignition Control Module, are creating and delivering Spark to the Spark Plugs. So you know that the Ignition System is not at fault.
You’ve sprayed Starting Fluid (or Carburetor Spray) into the Throttle Body and your vehicle started, even if only momentarily.
Although the above list is a not a very complete list of symptoms... the theme that runs thru’ them, and any other related symptom, is that the engine will crank and crank, but not Start.
Owning a Fuel Pressure Gauge is now becoming a must. All vehicles now use an electrical Fuel Pump to deliver Fuel (under high pressure) to the Fuel Injectors and the best way to diagnose this Fuel Pump is with a Fuel Pressure Gauge.
As mentioned earlier (in Fuel Pump Test 2), in all of the GM 3.1L and 3.4L V6 equipped vehicles... GM was kind enough to put a Schrader Valve on the Fuel Injector Rail where you can tap into the Fuel System and check its performance.
A Fuel Pressure Gauge can cost you as little as $40 (US) or as much as $200 (US). The price difference depends on what type of Fuel Pressure Gauge Set you buy... this means either buying a Non-Professional Technician grade tool or a Professional Technician grade too. Whichever one you buy, it’s an investment that will pay for itself many times over.
In the next page, I’m going to review two different Fuel Pressure Gauge Sets that will shed some light into which one is the one you may want/need to buy.
Alright, now, which one and where to buy it in the next page...
“I bought a perfect second car... a tow truck.”