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2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse V6 Convertible

As it says in the title, the engine will turn over but will not catch (mostly).

I have been experiencing leaking on my cloth top for a few months and usually cover the car when a heavy rain comes, but had one crop up on me without me realizing and the car got very pretty wet inside. This might be important because water pooled under the foam back seat and I recently discovered that the fuel pump is installed directly under the middle of the back seat area. I have tried turning the key to the ignition setting and don't hear anything from the fuel pump, but that may or may not mean anything.

After the heavy rain, on a very cold morning my car failed to start so that I could get to work. I just replaced the starter a few months ago so it turns over with no issues as long as the battery is charged. But that morning, and most every time since, when I try the engine will not actually catch to start.

Further backstory, a few months ago (summer) a radiator hose sprung a leak and the engine ran hot for two weeks with me fighting it with coolant while I tried to locate the leak. There does not appear to be any coolant in the oil, but the engine is fairly old and probably has a couple of exterior oil leaks that aren't easy to find due to grease and grime.

I have pulled one of the plug wires and put in a spare plug to confirm that there does seem to be a spark getting to the engine. I do not have the tools to perform a compression test at home and the only code that is throws is an EGR recirculation valve one that it has had since the hose incident but I have also been unable to pinpoint as it does not appear to be the valve itself (likely the solenoid).

Finally, I say mostly unable to start because while looking at it again today it actually started to act like it was going to catch and then did. It ran (a bit roughly) for about two minutes before dying. While it was running there was a bit of white smoke coming from the exhaust.

I was pretty convinced that it was a fuel pump issue. Especially when I pulled the backseat today and noticed how damp the foam of the seat was and how close it was to the wiring for the pump, but after removing the protective cover it seems to be plenty dry in there. Also, when it was running for the few minutes it was responding to the throttle just fine which doesn't seem like something that would happen if the fuel pump was the issue, but I am just an IT/Computer guy who dabbles in auto repair by necessity more than anything else.

So, does anyone have any further suggestions or ideas, cause I'm having trouble narrowing down where else to look for possible root causes?

[Update] The issue was the Camshaft Position Sensor, which is part of the distributor assembly on my vehicle, so I replaced the entire thing and solved the issue that I was experiencing once I finished installing the new assembly and recharging the battery.

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You don't list mileage, that would help, because I've had two fuel pumps go out right at 170k. You also don't mention if the CEL is on? If it is there is a good chance it's something else, depending on the code. If it isn't then keep looking at the fuel pump.

I have a Mitsubishi Galant and when the fuel pump went out it just died and never started again. I had another car that did the same, but I was able to start it a few more times and then that was it.

Remove your gas cap, have someone turn the ignition key to the on position with you at the gas filler tube and listen if the fuel pump tries to engage. You can also turn the key on and see if voltage is getting to the fuel pump itself with a multimeter. You are doing this to determine if power is getting to the fuel pump. If it's getting power then it's a good chance the fuel pump is bad. If you have a fuel pressure tester and a fuel port to hook it up to that will tell you right away. If the fuel pump is getting power and there is no fuel pressure, the pump isn't working.

However, getting back to the CEL. I recently had a situation where the Camshaft Position Sensor went out. It exhibited the same symptoms as a failed fuel pump, except it threw a code letting me know the problem: P0340. I've read that sometimes a bad Camshaft position sensor will allow the car to run and then die or not start and later start, like a bad fuel pump might do.

Also, I would invest in a OBDII scan tool. You can't always get to the auto parts store for a free check and I've found it's paid for itself in just the few times I've used it. From one IT guy to another.

  • This sounds promising. I didn't specify in the question exactly, but I do have a scanner and had not gotten any codes other than the EGR one when I checked before, however I just went out and sure enough I now have both a Camshaft and Crankshaft Position Sensor code being thrown. Quick google says that on my car the camshaft sensor is in the distributor and replacing that could get rid of both codes as well as hopefully fix my problem. Guess I'll be trying that next. – Prof. Bear Dec 23 '16 at 23:57
  • Like I said I had the same issue and thought the fuel pump at first was the issue because of the similar symptoms, till I got the code. I replaced the Camshaft Position Sensor and that fixed everything. – James Drinkard Dec 27 '16 at 23:12
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I'd say the first thing to check is for fuel flow. Pull off the fuel line pre-filter and put the hose into a gasoline resistant container. Try briefly turning over the engine and watching to see if any gas comes out. If it does, then you should make sure your fuel filter is clean. If you don't have any fuel flow first try replacing the fuse to the pump, followed by other diagnostics like voltage testing and taking the pump out and running it on a bench. There are other things which could be wrong but fuel seems likely and it's also pretty easy to check for.

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