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Fuel Pump for 1997 Trans am, Anyone here change one before? by FieroMonkey
Started on: 11-03-2007 01:49 PM
Replies: 18
Last post by: jscott1 on 11-05-2007 01:51 PM
FieroMonkey
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Report this Post11-03-2007 01:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroMonkeyClick Here to Email FieroMonkeySend a Private Message to FieroMonkeyDirect Link to This Post
I tried 2 forums for F-bodies / LT1's and both had those retarded images with the squiggly lines where you have to enter the numbers and letters in to prove you aren't a spammer / bot. Like so many times on the net either the codes don't work or i am too lame to read them properly so I threw in the towel and decided to some to the only forum on the net that I can seem to understand and get real help from.

At any rate, my 1997 WS6 Trans am wont start and I am not hearing the familiar fuel pump sound when i turn the key to the on position. If I squirt starter fluid into the mass air flow it fires right up and then dies after the starter fluid is spent, so that tells me the fuel pump must be bad. Cant find a single fuse or relay for a fuel pump on this car (inside fuse panel or engine bay panel...)

Anyone change a fuel pump on a 4rth gen camaro / firebird before? I have no idea where to look and wanted to see if anyone here was more knowledgeable about it before I started taking things apart.

info and or tips are welcomed

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Joseph Upson
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Report this Post11-03-2007 04:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Joseph UpsonClick Here to Email Joseph UpsonSend a Private Message to Joseph UpsonDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by FieroMonkey:

I tried 2 forums for F-bodies / LT1's and both had those retarded images with the squiggly lines where you have to enter the numbers and letters in to prove you aren't a spammer / bot. Like so many times on the net either the codes don't work or i am too lame to read them properly so I threw in the towel and decided to some to the only forum on the net that I can seem to understand and get real help from.

At any rate, my 1997 WS6 Trans am wont start and I am not hearing the familiar fuel pump sound when i turn the key to the on position. If I squirt starter fluid into the mass air flow it fires right up and then dies after the starter fluid is spent, so that tells me the fuel pump must be bad. Cant find a single fuse or relay for a fuel pump on this car (inside fuse panel or engine bay panel...)

Anyone change a fuel pump on a 4rth gen camaro / firebird before? I have no idea where to look and wanted to see if anyone here was more knowledgeable about it before I started taking things apart.

info and or tips are welcomed



First stop using the starter fluid before you really screw something up, (causes massive explosions if it pools and can remove your valve covers from the engine with the screws in place).

Although a bit different on the outside I doubt the frame is much different in the rear than the 80s and 90s models. First make sure it's the pump by checking the pump relay which is usually the same as several others on the car and can be swapped around. If that doesn't work and it is the fuel pump I sympathize with you because it is one of the most difficult to change requiring disonnect of the rear suspension, possible removal of part of the exhaust and heat shields and a serious fight to get the tank out. I've even heard of someone cutting a hole on the inside rear of deck area of an F-body to change a pump. I've done two or three of the earlier models and hated every minute of it.
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Report this Post11-03-2007 04:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Joseph UpsonClick Here to Email Joseph UpsonSend a Private Message to Joseph UpsonDirect Link to This Post
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FieroMonkey
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Report this Post11-03-2007 07:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroMonkeyClick Here to Email FieroMonkeySend a Private Message to FieroMonkeyDirect Link to This Post
Just to be clear, I didn't use copious amounts of starter fluid ( I learned well the devious explosive properties of the stuff at an early age). As far as the relay for the pump is concerned, I can not find the damn thing. I opened the fuse /relay panel on the drivers side wheel well under the hood and none of them are marked for fuel pump, so I have no way really of ruling a relay out since I can't seem to locate one. I can make a scan of the fuse / relay diagram it has to show you. You wouldn't happen to know which one or where the relay is for the F-pump would you?

I appreciate the walk through you posted. I was hoping against all hope that this would not be as tough as a Fiero Fuel pump (which I absolutely detest doing since I have done 4) looks as though this one will make the Fieros look like happy sunny stroll through the park....ugh

You know, I bought this car new in 97, and it has been good to me up until now (106k miles) However I have never owned a vehicle which is more unbelievably mechanic unfriendly as a 97 F-body Firebird. Changing the spark plugs is listed as a 2-3 hour job because of the difficulty in reaching and removing them. Replacing the ignition rotor? a $1,500 job because you have to remove the radiator and the water pump just to get to it.

There really is nothing wrong with this beautiful and powerful Bird, but I am convinced I no longer want to own it because it is more expensive to work on than the car is actually worth. It is getting sold after this fuel pump problem is solved.

[This message has been edited by FieroMonkey (edited 11-03-2007).]

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Hurricane
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Report this Post11-03-2007 08:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for HurricaneSend a Private Message to HurricaneDirect Link to This Post
i dont remember where i saw it, but somebody has posted a template online of exactly where to cut the car online if you want to take the quick/easy route. a lot of guys make trap doors or just pop rivet it back where they cut a hole in the sheet metal to access the pump. whether or not you want to go that route is up to you. otherwise its going to be a real pita project
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Report this Post11-03-2007 08:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for TM_FieroSend a Private Message to TM_FieroDirect Link to This Post
I had a 96 TA back on 2000. Only had 39k miles when I had it. I had loads of problems with the fuel system. Fuel pump went out, didn't have the tools or place at the time to do it myself so I took it to the pontiac dealership to get fixed. $900 later it had a new fuel pump, but never ran right the rest of the time I had it. The spark plugs are a nightmare to change on the LT1 TA's. In the end I decided I couldn't keep up with maintenance so I traded it in on a new 2001 Grand Am GT, then I traded that in on a 2005 GTO which I really like. I do miss the t-tops, but I do have t-tops on my Fiero. So it's all good.
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Joseph Upson
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Report this Post11-03-2007 08:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Joseph UpsonClick Here to Email Joseph UpsonSend a Private Message to Joseph UpsonDirect Link to This Post
The Fiero fuel pump change is a piece of cake compared to the F-body pump. As for the relays most if not all of them are the same so if you shifted a few of them around it should help you rule it out. One last option to pulling the tank is installing an inline pump to suck fuel through the bad pump if it is the culprit. It should work fine and you could probably get an extra flex hose to the fuel rail and put it in line at that point underneath the hood. If you think changing a Fiero pump is bad, go ahead and hold your arms out in preparation to get your butt handed to you because you're facing a real challenge with that Firebird.

[This message has been edited by Joseph Upson (edited 11-03-2007).]

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Frustrated 3800 SC
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Report this Post11-03-2007 09:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Frustrated 3800 SCClick Here to Email Frustrated 3800 SCSend a Private Message to Frustrated 3800 SCDirect Link to This Post
Hi, I have currently have 4 4th gen camaros,and have had to change 3 fuel pumps over the years. My best advice is dont try the "trap door" method, I run a muffler shop and everyone I've seen done that way makes a real hack job. It takes a large hole! You've got too nice a car for that. It is a real pain, but dont waste all your time trying trying to find short cuts, I've already done that for you.There just aint no easy way! If theres any way you can,do it on a lift,its alot easier. 1st drop the rear end completely out and roll it out of the way.Then drop the exhaust at the cat or front and at all the hangers and get it out of the way. Then drop the brace above the panhard bar,next the heatshields. Unhook the fuel lines and wiring harness and fuel neck hardware. Finally the real fun,getting the tank down and out. The biggest problem is getting the tank turned to get the neck out. Even on a lift, its a real pain, theres just one place it'l come,and its tight! On the ground, the higher you can get it off the ground, the better, probably at least 3 and a half or 4 feet minimum. Now just change the unit and put everything back. Probably will ruin a whole saturday on the ground,my last one took about 2 or 3 hours on a lift with air tools and experence. Oh yea,do yourself a big favor and completely drain the tank, in makes things alot easier and safer. I just siphon it from the return line, it goes right to the bottom of the sump Also, I get all my fuel pumps off e-bay from Global Automotive out of Maimi FL.,genuine AC_Delco for usuall less then off brand chain store brands! .Hope this helps, good luck.Oh buy the way think you need a new mechanic if you paid $ 1500 for a new rotor. You do not have to pull the radiator,you can do it on a lift form the bottom in about 1 and a half hours. Just drain the coolent, pull the belt, water pump the pulley off the hub(the hub doesnt even have to be pulled off the crank!), distributor cap and your there> I'd rather do it than change the plugs! You dont even pull the radiator to pull the engine!

[This message has been edited by Frustrated 3800 SC (edited 11-03-2007).]

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jscott1
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Report this Post11-03-2007 09:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Direct Link to This Post
It could also be your injectors not firing...have you checked the fuel pressure on the fuel rails? You might have plenty of fuel pressure but no injector pulses. Several things can cause that like a bad ECM or blown fuses on the injectors.
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Report this Post11-04-2007 12:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for brandon87gtClick Here to Email brandon87gtSend a Private Message to brandon87gtDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Hurricane:

i dont remember where i saw it, but somebody has posted a template online of exactly where to cut the car online if you want to take the quick/easy route. a lot of guys make trap doors or just pop rivet it back where they cut a hole in the sheet metal to access the pump. whether or not you want to go that route is up to you. otherwise its going to be a real pita project


I wouldn't say alot of guys make the access door in the back. In fact if you do some searching most people will call that a hack job. And for good reason, it is. And its not something you would want to weld back in place because of the proximity of the gas tank. Just do it right!
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Rodrv6
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Report this Post11-04-2007 02:19 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Rodrv6Click Here to Email Rodrv6Send a Private Message to Rodrv6Direct Link to This Post
The fuel pump relay is located under the carpet on the left floor panel next to the door hinge pillar trim piece under the dash. (about where you rest your left foot) Take the hinge pillar trim off and pull the carpet away from the floor panel to access the relay. This is according to AllData, not my personal experience..........
The fuse is in the instrument panel fuse block, marked PCM BATT. It is a 15 amp.
There is also a test lead located in the right hand back corner of the engine compartment. It is a red wire, single terminal connector that is hanging loose out of the engine compartment harness, possibly near the vacuum check valve. If you apply 12 volts from the battery positive terminal, the pump should run. This bypasses the relay.
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[This message has been edited by Rodrv6 (edited 11-04-2007).]

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Report this Post11-04-2007 07:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for vafierroClick Here to visit vafierro's HomePageClick Here to Email vafierroSend a Private Message to vafierroDirect Link to This Post
Make sure you check all the relays and that there's power to the pump before you do this. The fuel pump is controlled by the ECU so there's lots of things that could go wrong besides the pump itself.

As for the spark plugs and distributor. If you plan to keep the car you need to work on it yourself and learn a few tricks. When doing the plugs you can pull both motor mount bolts and jack the engine up a few inches. That will take 1/2 hour to do and save you at least an hour and lot of cursing. Headers significantly improve access by the way. Also for the ignition, Optispark. If you ever have to replace one and you will, it can be purchased at Autozone (I think you have those in Cali) for about $150 reman. It will have a LIFTETIME warranty so you can replace it whenever. Did mine yesterday and it only took 2 hours. Done it a few times though. You don't have to pull the radiator by the way, just the fans to get room. You DO have to pull the damper and water pump though.

If you ARE going to cut the trunk for pump access make sure you replace the cut part with something nice. It should be a piece of aluminum or painted steel at least 1/4 in overlapping the hole. Either use a rubber gasket or silicon sealer and metal screw to allow access in the future. Personally I wouldn't drop the rear to change the pump but my car is more a racer and isn't as nice looking.

There are a LOT of mods that make the F-body a more liveable car. I've learned to love mine even though most people would have sold it because of repair costs. I do all my own work however so its easier for me. You won't find a better performance for the buck car anywhere. They are nearly bulletproof and fast stock.

One more piece of advice. Only 1 company makes the pressure plate for this car - Valeo. The $199 clutch kit has the same pressure plate as the $300 one and its the LT4 high performance design, only the disc is different. So for street driving there's no reason to by the expensive one unless its a Centerforce or other top end clutch. If you want to mild upgrade replace the disc with a higher end one but use the pressure plate from the cheaper kit.

Wow, didn't expect to write a novel here. Just have a lot of info on this car.
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Report this Post11-04-2007 09:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JrgicehcClick Here to Email JrgicehcSend a Private Message to JrgicehcDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Rodrv6:


There is also a test lead located in the right hand back corner of the engine compartment. It is a red wire, single terminal connector that is hanging loose out of the engine compartment harness, possibly near the vacuum check valve. If you apply 12 volts from the battery positive terminal, the pump should run. This bypasses the relay.


+ 1 on that, jump the test lead and tell us what happens.
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FieroMonkey
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Report this Post11-04-2007 10:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroMonkeyClick Here to Email FieroMonkeySend a Private Message to FieroMonkeyDirect Link to This Post
i am very impressed by a lot of the replies in this thread, wow. I will apply 12v to the test lead tomorrow and see if that will get the pump to work.

As far as the plugs go, i do have JBA full length headers so I may try removing the mount bolts and jacking it up like recommended above if as you say the headers make this easier. I tried once a few years back to replace the plugs and snapped off the first plug i tried to remove, was able to remove the rest of it and ended up replacing only that one and getting discouraged about trying any others as it was the easiest one to reach that i broke.

If the pump is indeed dead, I am torn as to whether to cut an access door to it or remove the back half of the car to get to it. I hear some saying it is a hack job, and others saying it is no big deal and a nice mod...

I am heartened though from some of the comments in here as to the job of the ignition replacement not being as bad as I have been told. at 106k miles I can only assume the clutch will be going out soon. Will this be a job I will want to run from as far as clutches go?

If I can conquer the fuel pump and plugs and not want to hang myself I may keep this car. It is possible that like those not familiar with Fieros, I may have fallen victim to people telling me the Firebird is worse than it actually is if you have the right info, tricks, and tips.

As far as the performance of this car goes. It has a custom exhaust, JBA full length headers, K&N filter for the RAM air, and a tuned computer. This car has been dependable and has walked away from a lot of fast cars, including newer LS1 Firebirds and Camaros (stock I assume) and the new mustang GT's. It has been a fun car to own and drive.
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Hurricane
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Report this Post11-05-2007 06:31 AM Click Here to See the Profile for HurricaneSend a Private Message to HurricaneDirect Link to This Post
i wouldnt necessarily call it a hack job. im not usually one to take shortcuts, but i would probably go this route

This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.

http://www.taekwondoplus.org/z28/fuelpump.html
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Joseph Upson
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Report this Post11-05-2007 11:13 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Joseph UpsonClick Here to Email Joseph UpsonSend a Private Message to Joseph UpsonDirect Link to This Post
I wonder what the chances are that some mechanic has done that to some unsuspecting customer's car?
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FieroMonkey
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Report this Post11-05-2007 11:35 AM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroMonkeyClick Here to Email FieroMonkeySend a Private Message to FieroMonkeyDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Hurricane:

i wouldnt necessarily call it a hack job. im not usually one to take shortcuts, but i would probably go this route

This images is larger than 153600 bytes. Click to view.

http://www.taekwondoplus.org/z28/fuelpump.html


I typically do not like cutting into any car, but given the scope of the job and the sensibility of an access panel (which GM should have made in the first place....crackheads) I must say that what the guy in your post has done looks respectably clean and practical.

I'll likely go that route as I went out this morning and ran 12v directly to the pump via the red wire plug on the harness near the firewall on the passenger side of the engine bay and got no reaction. I was kicking around the idea of just adding an external holley pump in the line near the fuel filter, but that looks to be as much work in the long run with wire splicing and fuel line extensions. I think I'd rather have the stock system working with an access panel.

[This message has been edited by FieroMonkey (edited 11-05-2007).]

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tesmith66
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Report this Post11-05-2007 12:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for tesmith66Send a Private Message to tesmith66Direct Link to This Post
My 97 Grand Prix has an access panel in the trunk, which makes the job relatively easy. but still could have been done better. It was almost too small, the wiring harness was not attached at the top and it fell down (causing me to go under the car anyway) and the extremely small space (inside the trunk) was uncomfortable and dangerous with all of those fuel vapors.

At least there is a panel, though. It would be stupidly easy to have an access panel there for just such a purpose. Think of the money they would save on warranty work. Sometimes they overlook the obvious trying to save a few bucks.

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jscott1
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Report this Post11-05-2007 01:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by FieroMonkey:


I was kicking around the idea of just adding an external holley pump in the line near the fuel filter, but that looks to be as much work in the long run with wire splicing and fuel line extensions. I think I'd rather have the stock system working with an access panel.



Depending on how the stock pump failed it's usually impossible to draw fuel through it with an external pump. The best solution is to replace the pump.

That access panel looks top notch. Unless I had a lift and was extremely bored I would cut the hole before I dropped the rear suspension and exhaust to get to the tank.

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