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Fueling issues

I have a 2007 Suzuki XL7. About a year ago it started having trouble starting after fueling. Every time you put fuel in the vehicle it would take a few times before it would start. We’ve had it to several mechanics. They replaced the gas cap and did a few other small things. Nothing helped. We took it to have it diagnosed on the computer 3 different times (twice by the dealer). They only tell us that there is something with the timing sync code. The vehicle now has 190,000 miles on it. Recently, it’s started to act up more often. As the car warms up and is used more throughout the day it becomes more and more difficult to start. It has also had a few instances where you would get it started and you push on the gas and it won’t go. This problem is getting increasingly more frustrating. I’ve talked to my regular mechanic about these issues and his belief is that it is some sort of fuel issue. Unfortunately, he is more of a backyard mechanic and doesn’t have a computer to diagnose it. I recently took it to yet another mechanic and have gotten the runaround by them. The man there told me he would get me an estimate written up with an explanation of what he feels is wrong with it. It’s been two weeks since then and I’ve called a dozen times with no luck. Mechanics are truly frustrating to me. My friend said, call Car Talk, so here I am…desperately hoping you might have a clue as to what is going on with the vehicle.

Well, you didn’t find the place where you call CarTalk. That’s 888-well-whatever-it-is. But you found CarTalk’s discussion boards. No one here is at all involved with the radio show - just so you know.

Is your check engine light on? If it is then there are error codes stored in the computer. The codes look like “P1234” and many auto parts stores read them for free (except in CA). If you have invoices from dealer visits its possible that codes were read and printed on the invoice. Once again they look like “P1234.” If you get any just post that. The words that people give (such as “timing sync code”) are normally ambiguous with regards to codes.

When you fuel up do you use the automatic shut-off to tell you when its full? And when it shuts off do you often start pumping again to try to top it off? If so, don’t do that. Either way, the connection to refueling suggests a problem in the evaporative emissions system. Do you know whether or not the dealer has done a complete check of that system? Perhaps your backyard mechanic friend can just look it up somewhere and give it all a once over.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

BTW have you or another driver been in the habit of topping it off when you fill it? You really should stop filling the first time the pump shuts off. Continuing to fill it can cause the problem you have.

You really should stop filling the first time the pump shuts off.

If I stopped filling my '02 Taurus the first time the pump shuts off, the math would tell me I’m getting about 100 miles per gallon, and I’d get 50 miles down the road and be stranded (gas gauge crapped out some time ago)!

Dear jt1979,so often there are TSB’s relating to filling problems so I went and looked if any existed for your car, sadly none could be found dealing with a issue like the pump shutting off too early. There was a TSB dealing with the problem with your fuel gague (it does not say that the exact issue is “crapping out”). The problem with inaccurate fuel gagues has been traced back to the calibration of the fuel level unit. The TSB’s says the problem is a calibration one but the fix is a new “part” of some type. The fix involves lowering the tank and pays 1.3 warranty time. TSB #04-14-14 and part # 3F12-9275-AA,perhaps you can get that gague fixed.Maybe Ken Green has something to say about this part and job.