: My '97 STS tune up experience...



ellives
11-20-04, 04:25 PM
I just finished a "tune up" on my '97 STS and I thought I'd share my experience... For those interested in the fuel rail recall... there's info in here about that too... !

For those who don't recall, this '97 is my "ebay special" and it's had an engine "skip" since we bought it earlier in the year. It's been getting worse so I decided to do the same work to it that I had done by the dealer on my '96 in February: plugs.. wires... PCV valve, air filter and fuel filter..

I did the air filter and PCV valve last night -- a breeze.... My son & I did the plugs and wires... The old plugs appeared as expected when we removed them... white at the tips.... the only anomaly was I noticed some fluid in the cylinder 3 well. I sopped it up with a q-tip but couldn't tell whether it was oil... gas.. or just dirty water... but I thought... "not good."
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When we were putting the wires back in we couldn't remember the exact routing/path so we pulled the modesty panel off my '96 SLS to compare.... The dealer had done a poor job routing the wires when they replaced them on the '96... but we were able to use it to route the new wires on the '97...

When we finally got everything buttoned up we finally decided it was time to turn her over and hope the skipping problem was resolved and amazingly enough... the problem is gone... WHAT A PLEASURE TO DRIVE THIS CAR NOW!

I'm not quite sure about the fluid in cylinder 3 yet but time will tell...

One other observation and comment:

When we were looking at the '96 I remembered we had the fuel rails replaced on this car for the recall... Those stainless steel rails are beautiful.... and oh by the way, there was a question a while back about whether they replaced the fuel regulator.... and I think the answer is ""yes." It appears the regulator is now part of the whole fuel rail...

I know BBoB has commented that he would focus more on fuel problems when diagnosing skipping problems as the plugs and wires should definitely last over 100K. While this doesn't seem to be the case with my '97 I really wonder about my '96. When it started skipping back at the beginning of this year I brought it to the dealer. They charged me a $117 "diagnosis" fee and determined the problem was plugs and wires.... and suggested I have the 60K mile maintenance done... which I gave them the ok to do. While they were doing the work, they discovered the fuel regulator was leaking and recommended strongly in a followup call that I replace this too.

I really wonder now about the original diagnosis and I'm really annoyed with the dealer, now that I've been into the engine myself. It's not clear to me how they could have had the modesty panel off as part of the diagnostic process and not noticed the leaking fuel regulator. It tells me they never had the modesty panel off until they went to replace the plugs and wires. In fact since the car only "skipped" under heavy load I wonder whether the original problem wasn't simply the regulator. The car only had 65K miles on it and has been garaged so under the hood looks like new other than road dust.

I am impressed with the simplicity of the engine after the cover comes off... it's really a work of art. I'm hoping this car will be good for a while. I *will* say the factory service manual is not easy to follow sometimes... but it got the job done...

Ells

chazglenn3
11-20-04, 05:36 PM
The fuel pressure regulator is not part of the recall. They remove the old one and put it on the new fuel rail. Since they tend to leak after awhile, and the labor was covered by the recall, I just paid for the new part and had the dealer put it on while they were replacing the rail.

ellives
11-20-04, 07:46 PM
Interesting because it APPEARS to me that it's attached to the rail... not an add-on.... (which made me wonder what happens when the regulator fails in the future.) I'll take pictures and post them... the regulator looks different on the updated '96 from the original '97...

Ells

Pjs
11-21-04, 08:26 AM
the only anomaly was I noticed some fluid in the cylinder 3 well. I sopped it up with a q-tip but couldn't tell whether it was oil... gas.. or just dirty water... but I thought... "not good."


I would say either the wire boot wasn't seated all the way and some water worked it's way into the well or ... there is a seal inside the cam cover around that hole that could be seeping. I had the same thing on my # 6 hole...it was the seal.

Ranger
11-21-04, 05:21 PM
Interesting because it APPEARS to me that it's attached to the rail... not an add-on.... (which made me wonder what happens when the regulator fails in the future.) I'll take pictures and post them... the regulator looks different on the updated '96 from the original '97...

Ells


The cup (for lack of a better word) that holds the FPR is part of the fuel rail but you should see a clip on it that holds the FPR in it. Remove that clip and the FPR comes out for replacement.