Question about 1999 Pontiac Sunfire

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On first crank fuel pump doesnt hold pressure and has to be cranked on for several seconds

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If the pump won`t hold pressure and you have long crank time to start car then your fuel pump needs replacing before it quits completely and you should replace the fuel filter at the same time.

Posted on Mar 15, 2011

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Sounds like its not working properly, the fuel pump pumps or it does't, then goes to regulator this is where pressure is adjusted. check fuel pressure with gauge, sometimes even new fuel pumps don't pump enough fuel. most fuel injected cars have over 50 pounds pressure.

Posted on Mar 15, 2011

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1 Answer

Force 120, 1999, no start cold, stalls out after running for 10 min, cranks hard restarts after sitting few minutes. Think fuel pump, any mercy mechanics out there that can give me a hand with this


Don't know this car. Check fuel pressure with a fuel pressure gauge- if correct, not a problem with the pump. Also make sure the pressure will hold for some time with key off. It should hold pressure for several minutes, maybe 20 minutes, some maybe a bit less, but it must hold pressure for a time. If pressure is good, check for spark when it won't restart. If spark is lost, suspect the crank position sensor.

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The fuel pump is designed to turn on for a couple of seconds and prime with the key on. This is normal. If there is an extended crank, the fuel pressure may be bleeding back into the tank through the check valve of the fuel pump or there is an injector leak/fuel pressure regulator leak causing the pressure to bleed off causing the extended crank. Install a fuel pressure gague and monitor the pressure to see if it bleeds off to 0. If it does, one of the afore mentioned is causing the problem

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No, there is no fuse for the fuel filter. If you plan on replacing the fuel filter it is a good idea(but not a requirement) to remove the fuel pump relay and crank the car for several seconds to relieve fuel pressure before dis-connecting fuel line from filter. (Helps make sure fuel doesnt spray back into your face.) You are going to have to reference the owners manual for the location of the fuel pump relay.

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Of course you will need to check to see if the fuel pump is actually pumping, or damaged. I suggest that you remove the fuel filler cap, then have someone turn the ignition switch on while you listen through the fuel fill inlet to see if you hear the pump turn on for a few seconds then off. If you're hearing nothing and have no fuel, either the vehicle is not telling the pump to turn on, (verify voltage at the pump electric connection) or the pump is bad.

Generally, when you turn the ignition on, you should hear the pump for a second or two as it builds pressure, after replacing the fuel filter, you may need to do this several times to get pressure to the injectors, and to do that, just cycle the switch to on, then off, in 4 or 5 second intervals. The pump if working, will build pressure eventually allowing the vehicle to start. No need to crank, until you have fuel pressure, Just to "ON", then "OFF" several times.

I hope that you took the time to put some fuel injector cleaner (1/2 filled w/Gumout) into your new fuel filter when replacing it, it's a cheap fuel injector/fuel system cleaning method I've used for years when replacing fuel filters. It can cause a sputter or two initially, but does a good job.

good luck

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Could be fuel pump, or dirty or fautlty injectors. The gas additives only clean partially, not sure of recommendations here, but most mechanics claim you need to pay them to hook up a high pressure cleaning system to do a thorough job on injectors.

Best bet would be to check fuel pressure with a pressure guage, I used to have on of those, not sure if it would work in today's fuel injected engines.

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need to put a fuel pressure tester on the fuel rail to see if there is any fuel pressure. if there is then pull a plug wire off with someone cranking to see if there is spark, don't hold the end of the wire, it will shock the living tar out of you. and don't touch the car either when holding the wire. you will ground yourself. best of luck.

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Have a fuel pressure gauge hooked to it and see if you are holding good fuel pressure. Even new fuel pumps are bad right out of the box. This will eliminate a fuel problem.

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It may have good fuel pressure while running or cranking over, but sounds like it is not holding the pressure in the system.
Could be a weak fuel pump, and or fuel pressure regulator.

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FUEL PUMP WILL PUT PRESSURE IN FUEL RAIL FOR YOU. sounds like fuel pressure in the fuel rail is losing pressure usally caused from fuel pump starting to go out. check pressure with fuel gauge. screw it onto the fuel rail connection turn the key forward (do not start ) then turn key off presure should hold around 16 psi. if the gauge starts to drift back down then the fuel pump is going to go out ( sometime)

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