, Salem, MA


October 5, 2013

Auto Scanner: Recurring problems starting pickup truck

Q: I have a 1997 Chevy K1500 Pickup 350 CID. I have used starting fluid to start it every morning, and now when I leave work. It runs great after it starts. I don’t want to give up on it; it’s a good truck.

A: It sounds like your truck is losing its fuel pressure when it is parked for an extended period of time. The most common cause is the fuel pressure regulator. The regulator’s job is to maintain the fuel pressure that the truck needs and send the rest back to the fuel tank. The way to test this is to put a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel pump rail. Run the truck to build proper fuel pressure. Turn the truck off and watch the fuel pressure gauge. If the gauge drops down, you definitely have a leak. Block off the return, and if the pressure stays, you know you have a bad regulator. If the pressure still drops, it is most likely a leaking fuel injector.

Q: I have a 1999 Lexus RX300 that is having problems. Here are the symptoms: check engine lights (on here and there, sometimes off for weeks after I clear them, then back on again). Codes: P0300, P0302, P0304, P0306, P0171. Also, on the highway, the car starts to buck/hesitate when keeping the speed constant. To remedy this, I either take my foot off the gas or accelerate. This also happened and the engine light flashed as opposed to just lighting up. After this, the code was only P0171, and I can’t seem to clear it. It seems like it happens when the gas tank gets to half or lower, then it goes away when I fill up, although this could be my imagination. Do these symptoms ring a bell?

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