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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, wanted to make my first post because I haven’t been able to find any that conclusively identify the fuel pressure regulator as the culprit for hard starts. Below are the symptoms, troubleshooting steps, and repair steps. Because my minivan has two car seats in it, I didn’t have time to do proper engineering documentation with pictures, but I hope this explanation is helpful anyway.

These are my experiences. Take this for what you will at your own risk.

Symptoms
  • Consistent long crank before startup – even after sitting only a few minutes. It would take probably 3-4 seconds of cranking.
  • No performance issues.

Troubleshooting
  • I could hear the lift pump prime the system at key-on for two seconds (which is correct).
  • If I turned the key on for a couple seconds before cranking, it would start with less revolutions.
  • Thinking that the regulator was the culprit, I rented a universal fuel pressure test kit from Autozone. A 0-60 PSI valve, a Tee, and a couple hose barb fittings would also work just as well. The universal test kit does not have the J2044 fittings for a direct fit, so I had to make do with some hoses I had on hand.
  • After bleeding fuel pressure, I installed the gauge under the hood by the firewall in place of the rubber hose that connects the hard line (from the tank) to the fuel rail. I disconnected both ends of the rubber line, and since it has female connections on both ends, I just slid my own rubber hose over the J2044 nipple (about 5/16”-3/8” diameter by my guestimate) and hose clamped them snug.
  • I then turned the key on (after reinserting fuse 19 for the fuel pump) and watched the fuel pressure
  • The fuel pressure came up to 55 PSI immediately but then immediately started bleeding down. Within 5 minutes, the pressure basically stabilized around 20 PSI. I timed it twice taking several readings over 5 minutes.
  • Since this could be caused by either the reg or a leaky injector, I then clamped off the hose between the gauge and the fuel rail and repeated the test twice with the exact same results. That means that all pressure is bleeding through the regulator, not the injectors.

Repair
  • Opening a pressurized fuel system is dangerous! Even with the relatively low pressures (~60 PSI) of a gasoline system you can be injured or cause damage by improperly opening the system, so make sure you do your research and do it right. To relieve pressure on the 2007 model (yours may be different), remove fuse 19 from the fuse panel by the driver’s left knee then crank the engine for a couple seconds.
  • There is a check valve integrated into the fuel pressure regulator. That is what is intended to maintain rail pressure with the fuel pump off. My testing proved that the check-valve-portion of the valve was broken.
  • On the 2007 model, the regulator is in the tank as part of the sending unit. Some older models had it attached to the fuel rail, but that is not the case for mine.
  • You can buy the regulator from several places – I found Summit racing to be a good potential, but ended up buying it from Autozone because it was a little less than $80 there. The Autozone one is branded as GP Sorensen, but that appears to be the same manufacturer as the OEM part as best I can tell.

  • Remove the middle row of seats. For easier access, fold down the rear row.
  • Remove plastic pieces on the floor of the van for the middle row of seat latches.
  • Pull the carpet back until you get to the A/C vents under the third row seats (no need to go farther than that).
  • Then you’ll see the metal hatch for the sending unit. There are plenty of YouTube videos of how to get to the sending unit.
  • Take the hatch off, disconnect the fuel line (after bleeding it), unplug the electrical connector, then unscrew the big, black nut (about 5-6” diameter). I didn’t have the big spanner wrench for that, so I used a board and mallet to gently loosen it.
  • Wiggle and pull the whole sending unit out. Fanagling the sending unit out is a bit tricky, but just be gentle and keep it clocked in the original orientation (don’t twist or rotate the assembly or it will bind).
  • Put in into a clean wash basin to take it to the work bench. You’ll see the little steel regulator valve. To get to it, there’s a little latch hidden behind the regulator that you’ll need a little flat screwdriver (or similar) to press away from the regulator. Then the reg slides back a bit so you can pull it after removing the retainer clip. It took quite a bit of force to twist and pull it out.
  • I oiled all the gaskets and seals with a thin film of 5W-20 oil before reassembly to make it easier and avoid damaging any.
  • Put the sending unit gasket on the sending unit, not on the tank. Then work the sending unit and gasket back into the opening in the tank.
  • Note: I don’t know the method or spec for properly tightening the big plastic nut (please post if you do).
  • Reassemble in reverse order, put fuse 19 back in, and hit the road.


Hope this helps!


Logan
___

  • 1987 Mercedes 300SDL daily driver, ~402k+
  • 2007 Honda Odyssey EXL, ~225k+
 

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I have a lady who brings me her van for maintenance and complains of this sometimes. I have a Snap-on fuel pressure tester that does have all the fittings. I checked the fuel pressure and didn't see the fuel pressure bleed off, but then I couldn't duplicate her complaint either.

Thanks for this write-up. Very helpful!

So, I assume your longer crank time is resolved?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have a lady who brings me her van for maintenance and complains of this sometimes. I have a Snap-on fuel pressure tester that does have all the fittings. I checked the fuel pressure and didn't see the fuel pressure bleed off, but then I couldn't duplicate her complaint either.

Thanks for this write-up. Very helpful!

So, I assume your longer crank time is resolved?
Yes. Now it cranks for 1.5-2 seconds before lighting off, which is the same as when I would turn the key on before cranking.
 

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It's rare to see anyone do actual testing, find the problem, and then replace the part. Would have been interesting to see your fuel pressure after the repair. Most of the time it's "Hey I had this problem, replaced the fuel pump, and it hasn't done it since.

Thanks for sharing this!
 

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Wow what are the chances that I'm figuring out the same issue! Lol Our crank times were 8-9 seconds. Fuel pressure was low around 48psi and left the guage on for about 30 mins to do something else and went down to 18ish. They did have a bad injector on cylinder 1 which I replaced but, still had the same issue. Psi got a little better but not by much after that replacement. I got as far as that. When I was able to get back over to my friends house, I was on here and I came across your post and here I am.

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Fuel pressure will bleed down over a period of time. The key is knowing how long it should stay up. The interesting thing is there is no spec in the factory service manual about how long the pressure should hold after the pump turns off.
 

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I was trying to figure out where the regulator was at and I found this. If you buy a new fuel pump assembly would it come with the regulator or would you have to transfer it over from the old unit?



155538
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great picture! Thanks for sharing.

The pictures on the Autozone and O'Reilly websites show it (see below). May depend on where you buy from. Anyone else have experience buying a new fuel pump?


 

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I like forum conversations like this.

An added note here, though. Because the fuel pump assembly is difficult to get at and possibly hard to correctly diagnose, I would consider buying genuine Honda parts for this repair. Someone in the business told me when they do in-tank fuel pumps, they always install the OEM fuel pumps (this fellow worked on Fords, not Honda's). Like J.C., they were experienced.
 
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