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Old 07-27-2010, 08:59 AM   #1
Hondaeat-r
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Default Hard Starting, HOT fuel pump relay.

OK,

So the past few days my car ('02 wrx) does not like to start when the engine is "cold". Don't confuse this with weather, I'm talking engine temp here. First start of the day is tough. Probably 5 -7 cranks to get it going. It then stumbles to life, and after a minute is idling / running fine.

I drive for 20 minutes, I'll turn the car off, run in to a store (hypothetical) and be back out in 10 minutes, and the car starts fine then, maybe a bit slow compared to past cars, but waaaayyyy better than the first start of the day. Then, I'll get to work (it's 80F outside) the car will sit for 8 hours, and when I go back out to start it...it's back to being tough to start. I don't get it.



Maybe I have a clogged fuel filter, or the fuel pressure regulator is malfunctioning in someway ?

Battery tests good in all categories.


Also, the car idles a bit rough initially, after the rough start-up, eventually smoothing out. BUT overall, it's a very "shakey" motor at idle...anyone else ?



I have a decent tune-up coming up this week: Plugs, Air filter, Fuel Filter, PCV, oil change...etc Maybe a few of those will help, but I doubt solve the problem. Was also considering doing Seafoam or something of that nature, because the previous / original owner was a woman who probably never saw 3500 RPM's....


Thoughts ? Thanks guys.
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Last edited by Hondaeat-r; 07-27-2010 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:00 AM   #2
Hondaeat-r
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OK, I looked at the fuel pump relay yesterday, and it was HOT to the touch. I can touch it, but it's very very hot when compared to the main relay next to it....

Also, two of the four copper male pins on the fuel pump relay were not "scorched" but definitely a different shade of copper.... Will pull fuel pump tomorrow.


UPDATE: Looked again today, the relay itself has 4 ( i think) male spade connectors inside it, 2 of which are a much different copper color than the other two. Also, looking at the plug that mates with the relay, I noticed that two of the female spades in the plug were silver looking, and two were normal copper color..... I think it's safe to assume that Subaru didn't use two different material spades, and it's also safe to assume that the discolored connections on the relay and plug match up to each other. I now need to know what those two connections go to exactly (load, ground, hot, etc.. ?)

I'm going to pull the pump when I get home today, and look at the pumps connectors to see if it shows the same signs on the connector(s).

Can someone looks at their fuel pump relay and tell me A) Is it hot to the touch and B) Are your spade connectors different colors (or shades).

Last edited by Hondaeat-r; 07-27-2010 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:24 AM   #3
Cougar4
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It appears that the relay is bad from what you say and possibly the connectors to it. Hopefully just replacing it will take care of the trouble. There could be a problem with the fuel pump drawing too much current and that damaged the relay. I suggest you check the current draw of the pump to make sure it is not drawing too much current. I'm not sure what the normal current draw is for a pump but I would guess it is around 3 to 5 amps.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:28 AM   #4
Hondaeat-r
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Thanks. Not sure how to test for that though. I have a good multi-meter.

If the relay was bad though, why does the pump still work and car turns on ?
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:29 PM   #5
Cougar4
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The relay contacts are damaged and the resistance of the contacts is causing the heat damage. You may also have to replace the wire connections to the relay if they are badly burned. The damage may have started there if the connection was loose.

To check the current of the fuel pump you will need a meter that can handle 10 amps of current. If your meter can do that then you can remove the fuse to the fuel pump and place the meter leads between the fuse contacts of the panel and measure the current that way. I assume you know how to measure current with your meter.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:06 PM   #6
Hondaeat-r
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My car doesn't have a fuel pump fuse.


Looky:

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Old 07-27-2010, 11:05 PM   #7
Cougar4
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The device in the picture is a relay. There is a fuse for the fuel pump circuit and it is most likely in the main panel under the hood. Other things will be tied to the same fuse also.
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Old 07-28-2010, 06:17 AM   #8
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