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johnbell

92 tracker starting issues when warm

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My tracker will bust right off in the morning, or anytime when it has sat awhile. But when warm it cranks for 20-30 seconds before it starts, to me, it acts like no gas at first. It always does start, it just takes a while. We didnt used to think about it when a car cranked for 30 seconds before it started, now they crank really quick! Appreciate any help from you old hands! I just got this thing as a project and I already love it!

 

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JohnBell...The Tracker brings back memories, we took two mid-nineties 4x4 models over the Rubicon Trail, turning a normal 8-hour Jeep trip into a 46-hour marathon.  We made it, though, and Chevrolet/Geo got a national ad campaign from this stunt.

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The basic considerations here are whether your engine is getting spark and fuel.  If you have a timing light, attach it to #1 spark wire and crank the engine hot.  See if you get a flash from the timing light.  If not, carefully remove the #1 spark wire at the spark plug with the turned engine off.  Put an old spark plug on the plug end of the spark wire and ground the metal base of the spark plug to the engine.  Do not hold the plug.  Crank the engine and see whether the spark is strong or not.

If you have plenty of spark and the distributor cap-and-rotor are okay, check the fuel supply.  While the engine is hot, do not crank the engine, just turn on the key and listen for the fuel pump running in the tank.  You should hear the pump, this may take two people. 

If the pump runs, carefully disconnect the fuel line at the throttle body.  With a hose and safe metal can to catch gasoline, again turn on the key and see whether fuel is reaching the line at the throttle body.  If there a strong and steady stream of fuel as the pump runs, that's good.  If not, try replacing the inline fuel filter.  (You may want to replace the filter before disconnecting the line at the throttle body.  A fuel filter is cheap insurance in any case.)

If you have the fuel line disconnected at the throttle body, again check fuel flow to the throttle body after changing the fuel filter.  If you suspect low pump pressure, you can measure the fuel pressure at the disconnected throttle body line with a pressure gauge.  The fuel pressure regulator is a common issue with the Geo.  Check the pump/line pressure and also check the fuel regulated pressure.  If the regulator is defective, there may not be enough fuel pressure for the engine to start readily. 

Some other basic tests and comments:  With the air cleaner removed above the EFI throttle body, see whether there is a spray of fuel into the engine when you crank it hot.  (This takes two people.)  If there is no fuel or just a dribble, you may need a fuel filter (inexpensive) or regulator.  There could be an issue with the fuel return or the evaporative emissions system:  A simple issue is a defective or poorly sealing gas cap.  You could have an electronic issue with the ECU/ECM.  However, do not rush to changing the ECU/ECM.  The simplest fix is a new gas cap or fuel filter (not the sock/pickup filter at the base of the fuel pump in the tank, which is difficult to access).  Other possibilities would be the oxygen sensor and/or other parts that you can see in this convenient parts array at partsgeek.  Start simple before throwing money at parts;  the map or oxygen sensors could be an issue but try the less costly fixes first:

https://www.partsgeek.com/ymm/1992/geo/tracker/fuel_injection.html

Trust this helps...Let us know what works!

Moses

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Good, johnbell...Pleased that you're good to go. 

One thing that helps with some EFI systems:  Before cranking the engine, turn the key to the ON position and let the pump prime the system for a few seconds.  (You'll hear the pump run then stop.)  Now crank the engine, it should fire right up. 

If the pressure regulator and anti-drainback check valve at the fuel pump work "perfectly", this step should not be necessary.  The check valve holds pressure in the fuel supply line; the pressure regulator holds fuel pressure at the common rail or a TBI unit...If pressure bleeds down while the vehicle is parked, priming can cut down cranking time and starter/battery wear.

I use a variety of SUR&R niche products, and here is a handy device for EFI systems that have both a supply line and a return line to the fuel tank:  https://surrauto.com/kits/ckv5-ckv7/.  The inline check valve gets placed on the fuel supply line.  This add-on device functions like the built-in fuel pump check valve. 

If the check valve is not holding and allows fuel to drain back when the engine is shut off, this SUR&R device will restore the anti-drainback function and can save replacing the fuel pump.  If the pump has this level of wear, however, test the pump to be sure it's not at the end of its service life.  Replace the pump if necessary.  The two kits are currently available in domestic 5/16" and 3/8" sizes. 

Enjoy the Tracker!

Moses

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I am fairly certain that this fuel pump was the original, car just turned over 100,000 miles and I did not get any history. I decided to change wear items while I had it in the shop instead of on the side of the trail in Big Bend. Pretty sure the check valve in the pump was the culprit. I also changed a very dirty fuel filter, Wix brand, so it probably got changed sometime in the past. Also, did the timing belt, which was easy and then realized the altenator would be a booger without taking out the grill and radiator, which I already had out, so I changed it to a brand new one. It still was a booger!! I cant imagine trying to get that dang thing out with no room.  Also the water pump. In other words, I jacked it up and ran a new car under it!! Timing belt was worn out, cracking etc. I'm lucky I made it home I guess. She's purring like a little kitten now tho.  Working on a base plate for a Blue ox tow bar I picked up on Craigslist. Managed to have enough metal laying around to not have to buy anything, but from the looks of my welding, I forgot how....Taking it to the welding shop to get a pro to finish. Guess I'm gettin old!

 

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johnbell...Smart to change the fuel pump and filter.  Also smart to change the timing belt!  That's an often overlooked item that can cause catastrophic damage if the engine is not a "free spin" design.  A new water pump and alternator were also smart moves...Your age actually paid off:  You capitalized on experience to drive your decision around the fuel pump, fuel filter, timing belt, water pump and alternator!

Moses

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If the pump runs, carefully disconnect the fuel line at the throttle body.  With a hose and safe metal can to catch gasoline, again turn on the key and see whether fuel is reaching the line at the throttle body.  If there a strong and steady stream of fuel as the pump runs, that's good.  If not, try replacing the inline fuel filter.  (You may want to replace the filter before disconnecting the line at the throttle body.  A fuel filter is cheap insurance in any case.)

Thanks for explanation.

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