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Old 04-06-2013, 11:53 PM   #1
pope_face
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Question '97 2.2L Engine Not Starting - Any Ideas?

Hey guys,

So I've been working on getting my car back on the road, but I'm having a starting issue. I think it's a problem with fuel delivery... Specifically, the injectors. I've got a brand new battery in there, and it cranks well. I've got spark in at least two plugs (haven't checked the rest), and I can hear the fuel pump priming when I turn the ignition to "On". I've also got fuel after the filter (going into the rail), and fuel in at least one of the return lines (I wasn't able to check the other). However, I don't have a pressure gauge, so I don't know what my pressures are. The car seems to have power, and it will crank, but it won't catch. It will start if I spray quick start into the intake pipe though, but it won't stay running (so it's just the quick start causing the engine to fire). The spark plugs also look dry if I pull them.

So, I'm thinking it's the injectors... I've tried pulling the connectors off of all the injectors, but the only reading I'm getting is between 0-0.01 VDC. Mind you, this is with a digital multimeter, so it might be too slow to catch the pulse, and the reading might just be an error (there may not actually be any power going in). I've got a little analogue dash voltmeter that I was planning on wiring into the car at some point, so I can try to test them out with that tomorrow. Someone posted in a different topic that the injectors should have constant power, so I'll check that tomorrow. If not, I'll start looking for a short or disconnected wire. I would check the injector relay (or relays), but I don't actually know where it (they) are.

Some details on what's happened since the last time the car ran:

- I started the car about a week ago to drive the front end up onto ramps so I could do some work on the steering rack and front suspension. The car started, drove in reverse, and drove forward up onto ramps without an issue. I left the car running to go inside, and when I came out (maybe 15 minutes to half an hour later), the car was dead and the cooling fans were running. I shut off the car, tried starting it again, and had no power. This persisted even with a battery charger hooked up.

- I spent the past week dealing with the steering rack... In order to get to it, I had to remove the exhaust manifold from the heads, but left it attached to the rest of the exhaust, so it was hanging by a bolt near the cats and the hangers in the back. I was also moving it around a bit, and didn't bother disconnecting the O2 sensors, but I didn't think I damaged them.

- Last night, I found that the wire leading from the battery to the fuse box in the engine bay had separated from the terminal, so I crimped and soldered a new ring terminal onto the wire and hooked it back up. The car wouldn't start though, so I pulled the starter to check it. It seemed fine, so I cleaned up a few contacts (basically the cables to the starter, and the battery terminals), and replaced it. As far as I know, all the cables have been reconnected.

- Desmond and Morgan suggested I check the battery voltage when cranking it, and I found that the old battery was down around 6-7 V, so I replaced it with a brand new one today.

- In this entire time, the dashboard has been out, but that hasn't changed in a couple weeks... The dash was still out last time the car ran. I had pulled a small bracket with three relays off of the firewall over the fuse box a while back, but I replaced it tonight and I'm still getting the same issue (I thought maybe the relays weren't grounding out properly).

I don't have an OBD scanner, so I can't check the codes, but I can try to get ahold of one. I'll also try putting the original dash back in tomorrow, just to make sure I don't get any other codes. However, I'm not sure if I've missed something in the meantime, so if you've got any suggestions, I'd appreciate them.

Sorry for the long post... Just trying to be as detailed as possible. Thanks guys.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:00 AM   #2
REED FLEMMMMING
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Try pinching the fuel return line by the filter with a set of vise grips. If you can get a sputter out of it it can help point at the fuel pump, mind your this is hit and miss.
It might be easier to just swap a used fuel pump in rather than go after injectors. But at the same time the fact u got no power going to injectors is off. Ya I'd check power going to your injectors again. Last time I fooled around with an issue like this I made a jumper connector out of an old wiring harness and hooked up a test light to both wires going to the fuel injector.

And last, check your mad. Especially if its a green labeled jecs or autecs. They do weird things like this. And by check, swap it with a known good one.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:01 AM   #3
REED FLEMMMMING
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Autocorrect.........I ment maf as in mass air flow, not mad
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:28 AM   #4
Zefy
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You should be able to at least start the car with the maf disconnected at least a little bit. Same with o2 sensor. Keep in mind that with them connected, it might not start if they are bad. Also crank/cam sensors.

The injectors should have one side constant 12v (even with the key off). They are pull to ground style so if you're reading across them you should see 0 potential as the ecu is not connecting them to anything.

If that doesn't work, I have a fuel pressure gauge you can borrow along with a maf, other sensors, all that good stuff...
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:36 PM   #5
Heavy Rippin'
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But before you do any of that, check your engine, chassis, and battery grounds. If you've already had to replace one of your battery connections, there is a good chance a ground could be loose. My Outback was doing similar weird things and I was able to trace it back to a poor ground.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
pope_face
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Thanks for the suggestions guys... I did a bit of testing, and here's what I found:

- I checked the power to the injectors, and with the key out of the ignition, all the injectors unplugged, and the negative terminal of the battery unplugged, each of the injectors had about 0.8 VDC (between 0.78 and 0.82) at the wires... Although come to think of it, I can't remember if that was in both wires, or only one wire per injector (with the other being 0 VDC). I think it was the latter.

- With the negative terminal of the battery hooked up, key out of the ignition, and the injectors unplugged, I get 0 volts at each of the connectors.

- With the battery connected, key in the ignition and in the "ON" position, and the injectors unplugged, I get about 11.7 VDC in one connector, and about 7.5-8.0 VDC in the other. Could this and the previous point indicate a short somewhere in the injector harness?

- I unplugged the MAF, crankshaft, and camshaft sensors and cranked the car, and got no start. MAF should be good... It looked like it had just been replaced before I got the car, and it looks OEM as far as I can tell. However, I haven't actually taken a look at it since then, so I can check again. I didn't pull the O2 sensors, however... I was moving the exhaust manifold around in order to access some bolts under the car, so perhaps I damaged the O2 sensors unknowingly. I can pull them and give it another try.

- I clamped both fuel return lines (the ones not connected to the filter) and had no change... Still no firing.

- With everything connected back up, I pulled the intake pipe from the TB and sprayed some quick start into the intake again, and it starts up fine (at least as long as it's getting the quick start sprayed into the intake).

I'm in the process of going over the grounds, so I'm pulling them off and cleaning the gunk off of them. However, I didn't touch any of them since the car was last running (with the exception of the starter), and it starts fine with the spray, so I'm still thinking it's a fuel delivery issue.

I'm still not sure if there's a relay for the injectors, or where all the connectors are to check them. I also doubt that there's a blockage in the rail, as I'm getting gas to the return line. There also can't be a blockage in any of the injectors, as I suspect the car would run on only three cylinders otherwise, and the likelihood of all four being blocked at once is very slim. Since the fuel pump is priming, and I'm getting fuel from the lines, I know the fuel pump is running (and getting power). So, that seems to leave two main issues: Either the fuel pump is weak (I need a fuel pressure gauge or replacement pump to check that), or there's an electrical issue with the injectors (which appear to be getting power, but I'll try a test light on them to make sure they're being grounded).
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:45 PM   #7
alexinvancouver
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the easy way to check if fuel gets into cylinders is to pull spark plug/plugs out right after cranking.
if a plug is wet then injectors spray. and obviously if dry then they don't work for some reason
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Old 04-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #8
pope_face
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Yeah, I pulled the plugs yesterday, and they seemed to be dry. Or, at least the three I pulled seemed dry. Mind you, if fuel was getting into the cylinders, I think it would at least catch. It's not even catching a little while I crank it... The only way to get it to catch is to use the quick start, so I'm pretty sure it's a fuel delivery issue.

However, I pulled all the injector plugs and used a little LED to see if they're firing, and I'm not getting anything. I've got power if I connect one end of the LED to the injector plug, and ground the other end, but nothing while it's plugged in and cranking. I've even reversed the polarity on all of them. Mind you, it's light outside, and maybe the pulses are too quick and brief for the LED to light up completely, so I'll test it again when it gets darker to see if I'm getting any light at all.

I think my next plan of action will be to figure out which wires go from the ECU to the injectors and see if I get continuity through them... Maybe the positive side is getting power from the battery, but the circuit isn't completing through the ground, causing the injectors not to fire. At least, that's assuming the ground goes through the ECU... If there's another relay or control module somewhere, then I'll have to track it down first. I've got parts of the FSM, so I'll see if I can figure out the ECU pins and go from there.

EDIT: One other possibility might be a bad fuel pressure regulator... Looking at the diagrams, it seems that the fuel goes from the filter, into the fuel rail, past all the injectors, and then finally into the FPR before being directed back towards the fuel tank. If the FPR was bad and stuck "open", it might be allowing all the fuel to simply bypass all the injectors, rather than forcing it into the cylinders. However, that seems unlikely, given that clamping the fuel return lines seemed to do nothing... Which also seems to reduce the chances of it being a weak fuel pump.

Last edited by pope_face; 04-07-2013 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Found more info on fuel delivery.
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:03 PM   #9
REED FLEMMMMING
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Ya pretty sure those injectors are ground side control. Maybe an ohmmeter on the ground side of the connector while cranking might tell you something.
You said one of the injectors is only getting 7 volts? I'd confirm that again, could be part of your problem if it felt like a miss when running. But it should still start at least.
I think ur on the right track with fuel delivery but right now I'd focus on the fuel pump before you get into injectors. Be nice if you could just throw any fuel pump in there to check. Fuel pumps can have low pressure but also flow. A quick check for flow would be put the fuel line in a clean container and cycle the key to on. It should be a steady full stream.
Sorry if this description is vague and jumpy, way easier to diagnose hands on lol
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:48 PM   #10
Zefy
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Alright first off, when pulling sensor plugs to see if one of them is bad, you need to do it one at a time. It def won't start with all disconnected.

Second, when testing the injector connectors you need to have your meter grounded somewhere on the engine or battery, not across the connector. I believe the yellow wire on the connectors should be +12v. You said one connector is at ~12 and the other is at ~7? What about the other two injectors?

Lastly, might sound a little dumb, but are you out of gas? You said it died after sitting on the ramps for 15+ minutes... The gas also will slosh to the back of the tank (pickup is at the front) so you might be out or the pump is not submerged. If that is the case the pump might have also died.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:14 AM   #11
pope_face
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Sorry, I should clarify:

I pulled all the injector connectors. Each connector has two wires: One that's supposed to be hot, and one that's supposed to be the ground. Of those two wires, when the ignition is on, one reads ~ 11.5 VDC, the other reads ~8 VDC (I checked them again after posting, it was about 7.95V). This is the same for all four injectors.

When testing them, I had one probe grounded on the negative battery terminal, and I was using the other one to probe the connector to check the voltage. I did that every time (battery connected and disconnected, ignition on and off). I also used an LED across the connector to check if it was pulsing... With the ignition on and the battery plugged in, I could ground one end of the LED on the chassis and probe the connector with the other and get it to light. However, when I had it across the connectors, I got nothing (even reversing polarity).

I haven't had a chance to check anything since then, but my dad was poking around and said he managed to get it to start for a few seconds before it died again. He's going to show me tomorrow what he did, but he was basically poking around under the hood for loose connections. He also said that the fuel pump relay (behind the dash) looked corroded. Given that, it may be a fuel pump issue... When I was cranking it and testing the feed and return lines, I wasn't getting a steady stream; It was coming out in spurts. I'm pretty sure I've got plenty of fuel, since I filled the tank before I parked the car, and I've only run it at idle a few times since then. Mind you, I think most of those times the car's been on level ground, so if the pump is bad then maybe the combination of a weak pump, intermittent (corroded) connection to the relay, and an "uphill" flow managed to overcome the ability of the car to get fuel to the engine.

I will retry the crankshaft and camshaft position sensors disconnected one at a time tomorrow though... I tried only the MAF disconnected, and only the O2 sensor disconnected, with no change.

But, I'll try to get a price on a new fuel pump tomorrow, as well as the relays. I'll probably end up with a Walbro rather than an OEM one though, if I end up swapping it.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:27 AM   #12
REED FLEMMMMING
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Check voltage and ground at the fuel pump. If that fuel pump relay looks corroded, replace it. Also the connector under the rear seat on the passenger side likes to corrode as well.
If the fuel is sputtering I'd definitely suspect fuel pump.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:45 PM   #13
pope_face
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Well, I called DD, and they don't have any relays in stock... Looks like it'll take about a week to get one. However, I pulled the original one and used some sandpaper to clean up the contacts, then reinstalled it and tried the car. It started on the first try. It seems to be running OK now... I'll check the fuel pump voltages later, when I'm working on the car again. However, the alternator may be making funny sounds... I'll have to check the voltages on that later as well.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:46 AM   #14
REED FLEMMMMING
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That relay is a generic one. Check the wreckers probably cheaper and u won't have to wait.
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:50 AM   #15
REED FLEMMMMING
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Also one of the bearings in your alternator could be going but Shouldn't affect voltage unless its right gone. Subaru alternators are also generic. Square plug or round plug. If its round and three wire it's easy to convert it to a 2 wire square plug. Just gotta snip one.
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