hard starting 1997 sts
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, hard starting 1997 sts in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; hi all! i finally got a 1997 sts. after a few cross-country trips it's got ~160k miles on it. since ...
  1. #1
    aberlin3 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    hard starting 1997 sts

    hi all!

    i finally got a 1997 sts. after a few cross-country trips it's got ~160k miles on it. since i got it, it's been rather hard to start. the starter has to turn for ~30 seconds just to start. once started, it idles fine, doesn't really hesitate on throttle and has no other problems. it behaves this way in all weather and at all temps - even if i just shut the motor off five minutes before.

    we put in new plugs a few months ago and although it feels peppier, it doesn't start any easier. the plugs that were in it were not too terribly fouled. i replaced the wires and the coil packs appear to have mostly been replaced - only two looked original.

    is this the fuel filter? what else should i look at? fuel pressure regulator? how accessible is the fuel pump?

    thanks so much for any pointers! i've got a laundry list of other items i'll be digging into as i tackle them, so ask questions and i'll give lots of info. sorry if these are dumb questions, but i don't have any manuals for this car yet...

    thanks a lot!

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  3. #2
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts

    Forget the filter and the pump. If either was the problem, you'd have had problems on your cross country trips at higher fuel demands (highway speeds).
    Check for a leaky FPR.

  4. #3
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts

    Yep, check the FPR. Remove the engine beauty cover and pull the vacuum hose off the FPR - in the rear (right) run of the fuel rail. Any raw gas at the nipple or hose is replacement time. Bleed off fuel pressure using the black-capped Schrader valve (tire valve) on the fuel rail. Pull the hairpin clip, pull out the FPR. Oil the new FPR )-rings, slip it in, hairpic clip, hose. Turn the key On for 10 seconds, off for 30 - do this twice to prime the system. Start up and check for fuel leaks.

    Click on my login name and get to my profile. There are two picture albums there. In one of those albums is a diagram of how your spark plug cables should be connected - use it - it's important. Google "waste spark ignition" to find out why.

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    aberlin3 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts

    that's great information guys - thanks a lot.

    so - since i don't have a manual for this car, can anyone get me a part number for the pressure regulator? is there a site similar to realoem.com for caddys?

    i'll try to find/order a part this week and get on it this coming weekend.

    thanks!

  6. #5
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts

    Talk to Chris in parts at Rippy Cadillac - ^^^ vendors.

    Spend a few bucks and either find a real GM/Helm service manual on eBay or www.helminc.com (Chilton and Haynes are FAR too generic). or..........look at www.alldatadiy.com.

    Get into the CompNine parts sites (use the sticky thread ^^^ "VIN to RPO converter" for the home page) and use www.rockauto.com for ideas and pictures of parts in question. Your car, model, year, system, click on the tiny pic or INFO for larger picture. Drill into www.gmpartsgiant.com for more parts and diagrams. Use the "more info" tab in your car/system.

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    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts


  8. #7
    89falcon is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts

    Your fuel pump is in the gas tank....you have to remove the whole thing to replace it.....of course the fuel level sensor is also on the fuel pump...and NOT sold separately by GM...but is on ebay....

    If your car still has the original fuel rail, I'll bet big money it leaks.....when the car sits, the pressure bleeds off, and without pressure....no fuel to the cylinders during start up.......the start up sequence on the car is pretty straightforward WRT sequence of events and fuel spray....just as another little troubleshooting tip.....turn on the ignition (don't start then car...)...push on the schrader valve until fuel comes out (indicating a pressurized system)....turn the ignition off.....then turn it back on and attempt to start the car....if it starts right up....it's definitely a fuel pressure problem...or more specifically, your system can't hold the pressure sue to leaks, ect...

    Another little thing I've noticed with the 97....NEVER park "nose down" (pointing down an incline) when you have under a 1/4 to 1/8th a tank of gas.....the fuel pickup won't be in the fuel, and it won't start....if that happens....leave the ignition switch on.....go to the back of the car and bounce the bumper up and down...that will slosh the fuel enough to get the system pressurized.....

    Oh, and if you need some parts...like headlights....I may have them....when I bought the used engine for my 200K+ miles 97STS, they unloaded a bunch of extra stuff on me from the car they parted out.

  9. #8
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts

    Quote Originally Posted by 89falcon View Post
    turn on the ignition (don't start then car...)...push on the schrader valve until fuel comes out (indicating a pressurized system)....turn the ignition off.....then turn it back on and attempt to start the car....if it starts right up....it's definitely a fuel pressure problem...or more specifically, your system can't hold the pressure sue to leaks, ect...
    10 psi will spray fuel out of the schreader valve, but will not start the car. You really need to use a pressure gauge.

  10. #9
    89falcon is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: hard starting 1997 sts

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
    10 psi will spray fuel out of the schreader valve, but will not start the car. You really need to use a pressure gauge.
    Hmmm....Ranger, that raises an interesting point......the spray comes out due to the pressure DIFFERENTIAL, NOT simply the pressure.........so on an engine trying to be started with virtually no vacuum.....not much spray....but at cruise....with vacuum....the fuel pressure differential may be sufficient!

    Sounds more and more like a fuel pressure issue.

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