'87 LeSabre 3.8 - Fuel Pump Issues? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 02-12-2013, 08:15 PM   #1
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Unhappy '87 LeSabre 3.8 - Fuel Pump Issues?

Hello!

Sadly, my '87 LeSabre Custom 3.8L, 127,800 miles, needed a tow last week, the day of a massive snowstorm in New England. Being that we have two more storms threatening, and that the snow we've already had has somewhat melted (I can almost see the car in the yard now!) I need some advice...

It started on my way to work, at one point the car literally started falling on its face, light throttle caused a low groan and a noticeable loss of power. Hills were darn near impossible to climb, rarely would the transmission downshift, and when it did, it would slam violently. I had a max speed of 23-24 mph.

Leaving work the next morning, I was able to drive 35 mph, gradually losing speed and power, until I had to pull over - max speed of 3 mph. No, that'* not a typo.

So after the tow (and subsequent snow), and after 3 hours of shoveling and snow-blowing, I was able to get to the driver door. I have spent some time attempting to diagnose from the driver seat. I can't quite get under the hood yet, but I need to soon... The car idles between 200-400 rpm (guesstimated from the factory tach) and *any* throttle pressure causes that low moan/groan, a massive engine lethargy, which often results in stalling unless I ease off the throttle (too quickly will stall it). When it does, restarting is tough.

Key-on F/P prime varies in sound. Sometimes it'* average hum, and the car won't start. Other times it'* the average hum that quickly becomes lower pitch and seems labored - as if the fuel rail is pressurized and having to work harder to overcome that. When I get the car started, the F/P doesn't hum as usual, it sounds more like a hissing in the tank. There are no apparent leaks in tank or fuel lines.

I have plans to look really quickly at the filter and relay, to eliminate those as causes.

My question, finally, is this: it seems that the fuel pump is the problem. It'* original, as is fuel filter. Of course I'll replace the pump and filter. My issue is, there are two different fuel pumps for the car (1.45-in. or 2-in. diameter, and with different electrical connections). How do I know which one I should get, without dropping the tank? Otherwise it may be late spring before I can work on it, since I've got two more storms heading into the state and have no place to work on it (and no money for a shop...).

Thanks for any help anyone can provide!
--Andy
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:21 PM   #2
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Service engine light on?
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:22 PM   #3
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Oh - and also, dropping the tank is impractical, because I have it 3/4 full. LOL Can I do a temporary fix with an add-on external pump?
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:24 PM   #4
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No SES light. No codes stored either. (Thank goodness for OBD-1!) I have the extended gauge cluster, voltage, oil pressure, temperature all stay within ideal ranges.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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Derek - BTW, nice Regal. I have a '99 Intrigue GX 3800 Series II. Being from Enfield, you know my pain in regards to the snow - I'm out in Salem CT. :-\
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:26 PM   #6
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Being that the car is 26 years old, and having the original pump, and with the noisy symptoms you are describing, I would be safe to say the pump is on its way out. The cost of the repair would probably be more than what the car itself is worth.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Mike, thanks. I'm almost positive it'* the F/P. Believe it or not, the NADA value on my car is $2,100. Interior and exterior are almost mint, I have almost every option, and I got her just after Hurricane Irene with 110,000 miles - I'm the fifth owner, all mature adults, and who can complain for $200?

As far as I am concerned, anything I put into her is an investment. The transmission and radiator are newer, I just put a new tensioner assembly and P/* pump, and my neighbor replaced the ICM not too long ago. Problem is, which pump do I get? LOL
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #8
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Im not too familiar with that generation car but is there an access panel somewhere in the truck under the mat where you can peek at the connector? You mentioned the connectors are different between the 2 pumps so that would troubleshoot the question for you.
Thank you for the compliments on my regal. Yes the snow in CT does suck at times but the good news is that our cars are incredible in the snow so its nice to tool around once in a while
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:52 PM   #9
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Derek:

No, sadly I don't have the access port to the fuel pump. Weird thing to these pumps, one of them has a plug on the top, and the other possible pump has two nuts (opposite from each other) that wires connect to. Both connectors are inside the tank. So, without helpful advice, I have to drop the tank and pull the lock ring off... Or guess and hope. LOL
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:55 PM   #10
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If they arent crazy money just have both on hand when you drop the tank and return the unused one.
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