1999 Safari van doesn't start well

I have replaced plugs and wires and gas filter. The air filter looks OK. If it doesn’t start right away you have to stop cranking the engine(the motor turns over very well) If you keep trying this it will eventually start. After that it starts right up again until it sets overnight or many hours then it is back to the same old thing. I assume it is a gas problem but really have no idea. Any suggestions as to what I might try before I take it in? Centervilledon

After the vehicle has sat for an extended period of time, and you go to start it, try this. Turn the ignition switch to the run position so that the dash lights come on for two seconds and then turn the ignition off. Repeat this a half a dozen times and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts right up, it indicates that the fuel pump assembly check valve has failed, and is allowing the fuel in the fuel system to bleed back into the gas tank.


Thanks Tester, I will have my wife try that in the morning when she gets ready to leave for work. Is the fuel assembly check valve inside the tank? If so do you have to replace the whole fuel pump assembly? And finally can a guy with so-so skills do this job himself or would you leave this job to a pro? Centervilledon

If this is the problem, the tank needs to be dropped to replace the check valve.

Some fuel pump assemblies are unitized. Which means if one component fails in the assembly, the entire assembly requires replacement. And some aren’t.

As far as doing it yourslf? A ten year old vehicle is going to have rusted tank strap nuts/bolts. Once past that point, then it’s just a matter of disconnecting everything else before and during the lowering of the gas tank.

But what really makes this job easier is if burn off as much gas out of the gas tank as you can before removal!


Thanx again Tester, I did change a gas tank once before on a '90 (I think) Chevy Corsica. I remember one of the hardest parts was disconnecting the gas lines. It required a special type pair of pliers. The rust was the problem there if I remember correctly. And it took me a good while to figure out that it came out the side rather than straight down. I guess I’ll check first with a mechanic to see what they want first, to see if doing it myself might be worth it. Centervilledon

Hi Tester, I tried your method this morning of turning the key on for a 1/2 dozen times or so before trying to actually start the vehicle, this morning. It did start on the first try after that. So it may be the check valve as you say. I did a search this morning on the internet and found this— http://www.brandsplace.com/0384srrckv7.html
Do you have an experience with these in the gas line check valves? If so, do they work as well as the in the tank check valves? centervilledon

For some reason I lost part of the web site address when I posted the reply. Here it is again… http://www.brandsplace.com/0384-srrckv7.html

I haven’t tried the in-line fuel pressure check valve; but, it looks like a great idea (and the price ain’t bad).

These vans are notorious for eating fuel pumps. The symptoms are classic of a dying fuel pump on one of these vans. You might as well replace the whole sending unit and be done with it. Even if you can milk it for a while, the gauge is likely to start acting up if it isn’t already. As far as I know, that is the only way to replace the pump anyway.