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I had an intermittent starting problem last week on my '99 Ody w/ 225k miles. After much diagnosis I placed my bet on the fuel pump assembly. I could hear a funny sucking sound coming from it when the ignition was turned to "ON". I figured it was either the motor failing or a plugged fuel filter. The fuel pump assembly is supposed to be a lifetime part, never needing replacing, but I bet they were not counting on many people running it past 225k miles

First my description of removing and replacing the assembly. Not to difficult. Remove 2nd row seats. Pull back carpet from under the left side 2nd row seat. Start at the upper left corner. You will have to remove the plastic trim pieces that goes around the seat latch bars to get the carpet up. The access panel for the fuel pump is about where the left side seat was. Remove access panel. Remove gas cap and bleed fuel pressure. Then remove 2 fuel lines to pump and electrical connection. I was able to get the big plastic retaining ring off with gentle taps with a very large screw driver and a hammer. Ring will barely turn at first but eventually loosens nicely. Make a mental note of how tight it felt when you started tapping. Pump assembly comes out easy enough. New one goes in just as easy. I could not get the new big plastic retaining ring to thread on properly without knowing if I had it cross threaded or not even after applying some KY to the thread. So I reused the old ring which was much more positive about it threading on at first. Tapped the ring just about as tight as I took it off. Hooked everything up and busted it off.

Now on to the forensics. I wanted to know what that old pump and filter looked like so I took it all apart. Excellent step by step in Haynes. The suction strainer was clear. No back pressure when I blew through it. It did however have some fine metal filings on it that it trapped. The fuel filter was another story. It was very hard to blow through and black crud came out of it when I did manage to blow through it. I think I found my culprit but didn't stop there. I then hacksawed the filter apart and noticed that the pleated paper filter innards where stiff and hardened. Finally I hooked up the motor to a 12V power supply and looked for dead spots on it with an oscilloscope. I could not find any obvious indications of that. So I figure it was the fuel filter that was bad and causing my problem. Since the filter is not sold separately (after all it is a lifetime part) the purchase of the entire assembly was the only and correct solution.

Hope this helps someone,

Todd K.
 

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Wow. I have the same spinning, shuffling noise coming from the back of the car when I try to start it. It has trouble starting when engine is warm, I suspect the fuel filter is plugged as u described.

Was the replacement fuel pump expensive?

Is there any way to reverse flush the filter clean & reinstall the pump?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The new fuel pump assembly is expensive. About $230. Which is why I really did a thorough diagnosis and finally had to just make a high probability bet. I do not think you can back flush the filter. Its pretty tightly wound and mine was hardened from deposits.
 

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2011 Odyssey LX, 120k miles
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Thanks for the detailed analysis.

I had to take my fuel pump assembly out a year or so ago to investigate a problem with the fuel gauge. Some tips, as I remember:

when removing the big ring, I needed several hard taps with a hammer on a block of wood against the ridges. I hoped that the wood (vs steel) would reduce the marring of the plastic, and it probably helped. Before doing that, I marked the ring relative to the car, so I could tighten it back up to the exact same position when re-installing.

The electrical plug in the top of the fuel pump can be useful for debugging. Two of the 5 connectors are for +12V and ground, which powers the fuel pump. Another pair are a variable resistance used by the fuel gauge.

It seems that if there were suspected flow problems, you could power +12V to the pump and measure how fast it fills a gas can (with appropriate fuel hose as needed). This could all be done before removing the pump, which is a lot harder than just getting to the pump.

I'm at ~205k on my '99 and don't have problems yet, other than with the fuel sending unit (the float fell off and disappeared into the tank a while ago). But if I'm due for the fuel filter to clog, I'll keep an eye out for that. Thanks.
 
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