Quite a few things can cause your car to not start and a failed fuel pump is one of them. The cool thing is that you can easily and quickly check the fuel pump (to see if it's bad or not).
Why? Because GM has installed a Schrader valve on the fuel injector rail that facilitates checking the fuel pump with a fuel pressure test gauge.
Don't worry, a fuel pressure test gauge is not inexpensive diagnostic tool and you can pretty much find one (to buy) just about anywhere (AutoZone, Pepboy's, O'Reilly Auto Parts, etc). If you don't have one, I'm going to show you where you can buy one and save a few bucks in the process.
Contents of this tutorial:
IMPORTANT: Gasoline is extremely flammable. Be careful and take all necessary safety precautions. Use extreme care when using starting fluid since it ignites as easily as gasoline. Accomplishing both tests indicated in this article, without any unhappy consequences, is more than possible if you're careful and use common sense.
Symptoms Of A Bad Fuel Pump
A bad fuel pump will make your 2.4L Ecotec equipped vehicle crank but not start. Here are some more specific symptoms:
- All four ignition coils, sitting on top of the valve cover, are creating and delivering spark to the spark plugs. This tells you that the no-start problem is NOT due to an ignition system problem.
- You've sprayed starting fluid (or carburetor spray) into the throttle body and the engine 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.
Where To Buy A Fuel Pressure Test Gauge
One of the most important tools any serious DIY'er should have in his/her tool box is a fuel pressure test gauge. The cool thing is that you can buy them in just about any auto parts store (although at a higher price).
The following fuel pressure test gauge kits are pretty good deals and will connect to the 2.4L Ecotec engines covered by this tutorial:
All of the fuel pump pressure test kits above have the fitting that will connect to your 2.4L Ecotec engine's fuel injector rail.
FUEL PUMP TEST 1: Fuel Pressure Test With Gauge
It used to be that fuel pressure gauges were expensive and out of the reach of the serious DIY'er. But times have changed and fuel pressure test gauges have come down a lot in price.
This is good news for you and I since it allows us to accurately test the fuel pump to see if it has failed (or not).
Fuel pressure test gauges are such a ‘must have’ tool that you can even borrow one from your local auto parts store if you don't own a fuel pressure test gauge.
If you're interested in buying your own and saving a few dollars in the process, check out my recommendations here: 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 injector rail.
With a shop towel, mop up any fuel that was released during the process of connecting the fuel pressure test gauge.
When ready, ask your helper to crank the engine while you observe the fuel pressure tester's gauge.
If the fuel pump is working correctly, your fuel pressure gauge will register 50-60 PSI as your helper is cranking the engine.
Let's take a look at what your results mean:
CASE 1: The fuel pump pressure is within specification. This tells you that the fuel pump is in good working condition and supplying fuel to the fuel injectors.
If your 2.4L Ecotec equipped vehicle is not starting, then this test result has now eliminated the fuel pump as the source of the problem. There's a good chance that the anti-theft system on your vehicle is causing the no-start problem. I suggest you take a look at the phone section Is The Anti-Theft System Causing The No-Start Condition?
CASE 2: The fuel pump pressure IS NOT within specification. This test result tells you that the fuel pump is not working. Since the fuel pump is not working, you can now conclude that it's behind your 2.4L Ecotec engine's no-start problem.