Tell me I can do this



I own a '97 GMC Safari van. A GMC mechanic diagnosed the van’s hard starting problem as “possible fuel pressure regulator leaking.” (I guess he said “possible” to cover his butt if I pay him to swap it out and the problem persists). He also said the fuel/air mixture is rich. Then he dropped an estimate of $532 on my head.

I priced the part at about $60. My question is, can I swap out the part myself without too much trouble? I work on motorcycles and have stripped those engines down to the crank, so I’m familiar with tools and skinned knuckles.


That GMC series had a common problem with pinched fuel injector wires, apparently they get pinched when the air filter gets reinstalled you might want check that first.

Did your mechanic run a fuel pressure test to eliminate the fuel pump ?

If he did then it is most likely a blown regulator diaphragm - if it is then you’ll also need to change your oil since fuel will through the diaphragm into the engine and contaminate the oil.

Other possibility is the mass air sensor.

All of these are DIY jobs. I’d suggest getting the workshop manual though.


If there is a check engine light (or, engine symbol) on, Auto Zone, or other large auto parts store, will read it for free. You could come back here with the numbers. Several things will make an engine run rich: The coolant temperature sensor tells the engine computer that, “OK, comp., the engine is warmed and ready for you to begin controlling”. The oxygen sensors tell the computer how well it’s controlling the air and fuel flow (rich/lean). Of course, you’ve changed the spark plugs, and air filter?


Thanks for responding.
No the mechanic didn’t run a test on the fuel pump, but that was replaced about a year ago so I’m suspecting it’s something else.
If it’s a DIY job then I think I’ll tackle it myself–along with the engine coolant temperature sensor mentioned in the next response.
BTW: The mass air sensor was also replaced recently.


Thanks for responding.
Wish I had known about Auto Zone before I paid $100 to have GM hook up their gadget.
The check engine light is on. Changed spark plugs and air filter. Previous response has given me the courage to take this on. I think I’ll replace the engine coolant temperature sensor while I’m at it, since it’s only a $16 part.


So your CEL is still on? If it is then have the codes pulled to see what is causing the CEL and post them here for further help.