2012 Versa 1.6 fuel pump issue - Nissan Versa Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-09-2019, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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2012 Versa 1.6 fuel pump issue

I have a 2012 versa with 50k miles on the 1.6l engine with the CVT transmission that is not starting. The fuel pump I believe is not kicking on when I go to start it. We did get it to start by slapping the fuel tank while cranking the engine... This is a somewhat repeatable process to get it to start.

I've found very little information on fixing the issue short of replacing the entire fuel pump. I pulled the rear seat and the fuel pump out today to see if I could find any part numbers for any serviceable parts on the pump itself similar to replacing the fuel pressure regulator on the older Versa fuel pumps. I did not find anything abnormal looking at the pump or in the tank.

Battery is good, have spark on the plugs, and once I get it to start it runs great and I did the 30 mile commute home after it stranded me at work the first time.

This is my beater car for commuting so I'd like to know what options are there for fixing this short of spending $500 for a fuel pump which is outrageous... Has anyone tried to tear into the pump itself and try to fix it? I know the fuel filter is in there somewhere as well. I'm an engineer by trade and mechanically inclined to fix this myself.

Last thing would be double checking the fuel pressure relay again, and checking the actual voltages with my meter when I have an extra set of hands to help me. I checked the fuses which were fine and replaced them just to be sure. I think I got them all but finding the actual diagram for this car was a chore so I'm hoping I did the right ones...

Thanks for any and all help or recommendations.
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-10-2019, 12:05 AM
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Even if you could get it apart, I'd think trying to find individual parts would be about impossible.

I know on some FSUs, you can dig the fuel filter out of them and replace it if they're available somewhere. Same with the fuel level sensor. According to shop/dealer data, they tend to say they have to replace the whole FSU.

How many miles on your 2012? I haven't heard of too many fuel pump issues on Nissans in general.

2017 Ram 1500 4x4 pentastar
2016 Nissan Quest SV
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6S
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-10-2019, 01:27 PM
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Foreign cars do not often have the 'pump only' (the pump by itself with no module) option domestics often do. The individual pumps are often weirdly designed as well and not like the generic modular type pumps often used here that can interchange with some minor mod work done.

The entire fuel pump/sender outer module thing is one more of the unitized parts things I bring up as new ways the car companies turn the engineers inward to find more ways to make more expensive parts that bump up company profits, they redesign to make several parts all into bigger subassemblies that force you to have to buy several parts to get the one that commonly wears out. That process often replaces the oldschool thinking that said to mod the assembly to be better, if they can get away without doing it now they do, it sells more parts not doing it unless the government forces them too.

I have replaced pumps 'alone' like you propose and saved big $$$$$ but only on domestics, you have to have a fairly easy to change basic pump that works there without totally redesigning everything to even begin to work. The strainers commonly can be recleaned to work fine unless ethanol has ruined them and that part is always unpredictable. The last Ford pump I did involved modding the OD and length to work and the outlet changed position to have to mod up a one-off special top of module cover to work, not hard but very few will go that far. Parts were easy to make and basic pump was $35 on an entire module assembly price of $450 so it was worth it to me as I had done it on 2 cars. The pump itself will generally be junk and even more so if ethanol is part of your daily fuel, it either eats the wire insulation to short or the glue that commonly gets used to hold the permamags in place, then they come loose to grind up on rotor. I have replaced NLA strainers with other bastard shapes that fit the pump inlet, they work fine if you work out the physical fit issues and make them end up at close to tank bottom to feed pump right. That involves getting the filter just right with the level sensor float height to still have tank run to zero before running out of gas. It can be helpful to know that now usually part of the pump output is used to fill the plastic module up to keep it full so pump never runs dry even at very low tank levels. So, look at how they accomplish that, it helps to understand some of the perceived to be excess plumbing there.

When you ultimately meander about in your mind to realize that the OEMs by making that whole pump thing one part has you paying roughly $100+ just for the plastic case I just want to kick the **** out of somebody.

I would say yank the pump module connector and check for corrosion, most are clean but then there is that occasional one that did not seal at the weather seal and then water gets into it to do the same thing. Some even melt if the connector used there is substandard and getting to be a common OEM problem as they try to make things continually lighter. They then use connectors that overheat due to not being substantial enough at the cross-section of the connection itself. Ford does that all over their cars now and more of the engineering turned inward thing I spoke of above, to get more parts sales and repair throughput into the dealerships too. That means look close at pump relay socket too (part of main harness usually), think of what part will cost the most to replace, that is the one they will choose to under-design to fail early. The sockets overheat to let the relay pin not be tight in socket but you think it's fine since you are forcing multiple pins in place, the good high friction ones make you think all are OK when maybe one isn't. The socket has often distorted too due to excess temperature. I always rebend the socket contacts to be tighter when working a relay, and if not satisfied I will cut it out and cobble up my own individual wires to make sure the relay has 100% contact on all pins. My fuseboxes sometimes can be ugly inside but they are absolutely rock solid in performance, the only thing that matters.

If you go into the pump module don't be surprised to find a whopping mud layer of sediment inside, depending on your area red rust dust from gas station tanks will pack up in the pumps to shell them out and sometimes water based trash in the ethanol to make like a white gluey snot mess that is just gross. Use water to clean it, nothing else will work.

https://forums.nicoclub.com/nissan-forums.html

Go there, enroll for free and service manual link at the banner across top of page, drill down through the pages to get to your year and model and download the different sections. You'll need 'FL' for fuel system and any others referred to in that one, the first 2 letters in green are the other sections needed.
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Last edited by amc49; 08-10-2019 at 02:19 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-10-2019, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. I'm going to dig into this more next week. I'm going to fully tear down the fuel pump to see what I can find once I 100% have ruled out electrical issues at the relay. I'll try to document my findings so maybe others can benefit before they drop 500 bucks on a cheaply made POS fuel pump. At 50k miles I'm curious how much junk and gunk I'll find inside it...

I totally agree on the feeling of why make it that way other than to make it hard or expensive to fix. I had a crank shaft position sensor that way that costs only 30 bucks but took 7 hours of labor to get to it buried under cross frame on bottom of the motor on a Dodge... Drives my engineering brain crazy.
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-10-2019, 08:52 PM
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Dodges are the worst, I hated them back in the '70s because they did everything like that.

The world is different, engineers go out of their way to now make things harder even for their own mechs, it again allows higher charges to repair. The only engineering they go for is the sequence type, everything on an engine will be made to go on using a gloved hand only as the tool there and then the parts become impossible to get to once engine is mounted inside frame. Before that you could see the easiest install design possible, but then the assembly sequence buries it to be lost. They brag about 85% of the car assembly using no tools at all but it only works in that exact sequence and no other.

Whatever you do, do not slight the amount of fuel you put back in tank before first crank on the (new) pump. I used to sell pumps when I was in parts and commonly the major reason for new pumps being 'bad' was due to failing to have enough fuel in the tank to prime pump instantly. They think one gallon is enough and stop. Wrong! Overdo it to be sure, I never use less than 3 gallons and prefer 5 if I can get it. Why so many 'bad' pumps are claimed, they burn them up when they don't prime instantly. The typical pump can fail with less than 60 seconds of trying when the plastic impeller melts due to no fuel to cool it off. I voided so many warranties over that I could not count, the impeller shows the abuse instantly. Turn key on for say 3-4 seconds at a time and several times on and off, you will clearly hear the sound of the pump change when it loads up with fuel.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-14-2019, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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So I tore into the actual fuel pump tonight. First checked all fuses and relays again to make sure I was getting good readings. Everything checked out. Pulled pump out and started the tear down. Everything looked as it should so we hooked the motor up directly to the battery.

Please be careful anyone doing this at home... Wear eye pro and you are dealing with gas going all over and everywhere which has the potential to ignite. At first the pump would not start. We checked the wiring and put clips right on the motor terminals. Still nothing until I have it a smack then it fired right up... All o have to do is flick the motor and it would spin right up.

We thought maybe just a bad spot on the motor or debris in there. Used a compressor to blow it completely out but the housing on the motor prevented me from going further.

The motor is made by Aisan and had this written on it 52°1f2a. I'm now on a hunt to find just this motor. I'll make my own tubing if I need to add it doesn't appear they made it serviceable... Rest of the pump is fine minus a piece of crap likely $10 junk motor. Looks like this company makes these for multiple manufacturers. Guess I just got lucky getting a crap one.
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-14-2019, 08:44 AM
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I don't know if this would work at all. Several years ago I wired an electric fuel pump in-line bypassing the pump that was on the vehicle. You can buy a generic from AutoZone or any of the cheapy stores for somewhere between $25 and $50.

Just a thought
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-14-2019, 05:45 PM
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The generic walbro 255 l/hr fuel pump should work, they are on eBay for a little under $80 bucks. Shipping might be extra. The fuel pump module can be torn right down to the shell. The only impediment is the factory fuel line on the pump itself, which has to be cut off. Replace with quality hose clamps and high pressure fuel line. Even the fuel level sensor can be replaced, if necessary. That's on eBay too.

But I don't think the fuel pump is your problem. There were I believe a spate of these fuel modules that had a sloppy fit between the four pin connector on top of the fuel pump module and the harness it attaches to. I've seen enough of these in service go bad, even new fuel pump modules from NISSAN have had this problem. And they are quite pricey.

To see if this is indeed your problem, while your vehicle is running, hold the WIRES that come out of the connector and twiddle (GORILLA FORCE IS NOT NEEDED HERE) with one hand on the pump. You should be able to feel the pump stop running. If it does, I'll tell you what I do. I break out the ol' 40 watt soldering iron, add a little solder to the pins ON THE PUMP. This will make them a little bigger, and proper contact is made. You don't have to do all the pins, just those that attach to the two thickest wires in the harness. *WARNING* I should note that doing this takes a fair amount of soldering skill, you don't wanna mess up the plastic that surrounds those pins. Be honest with your skill level. If you don't feel comfortable around a soldering iron, or if you don't already have one, this is not the kind of job you want to learn on.

An easier way is to use a screwdriver (flat) and bend these pins away from centre, enough so they will enter the harness and scrape one side. This works but does not solve the fit issue. I have had no come backs, with this method either, however.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by BoogWar; 08-14-2019 at 05:58 PM. Reason: warnings added
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-14-2019, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the replies. I did narrow it down to just the motor by hooking leads directly to the tabs and bypassing all of the wiring. There's a short in the motor somewhere, but being sealed I don't think I'll be able to tear it down. Still searching for the correct replacement motor and then I'll just cut the stock tubing and replace with high pressure fuel line. Still just find it absurb the price they are charging for the whole unit, and it's intentionally made to not be user serviceable...
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-14-2019, 10:20 PM
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Hey, how do you think the OEMs pay for all that showroom glass?

Most domestics use some version of a Walbro pump, I'd be comparing the shape and fit there. Walbro quit in most cases selling to the general public over the incompetence I mentioned earlier, I used to sell the pumps of all brands and the buyers ruined fully 1/3 of them just in the way they bring the cars back online similar to what I posted. Walbro reacted to that by simply selling the pumps to be used in somebody else's 3rd party branded module. That way they don't get hit directly with nearly so many returns due to 'bad pumps' that were not bad at all until the last buyer got ahold of them. When you go inside say Carter or Delphi or Spectra brand pumps, likely the actual pump inside will be a Walbro, they usually laser etch the name on the case of the motor. Carter themselves make basic pumps too. Ford, Mopar, and GM will use them too as OEM suppliers.

I would NOT be working the pump out in the open with fuel in it at ALL, the reason you can't blow them up is because the module is in a fuel tank and that stops fresh air hitting it (100% fuel laden air is difficult to ignite), when you bring it out in the open you expose the module to fresh air and if you run the fuel down in the module to expose the pump it can spark and it was nice knowing you. I pointed out above that running them dry destroys them in seconds but I would be yanking pump out of module and dry run it anyway as you already suspect it of being bad, and risk running it in short spurts, or run it in a very thin oil like 3-N-1 that won't ignite. ATX fluid (most are #10 weight or less) would likely work. Use the squirt can to lube it up. We're talking living or dying here guys. One spark in open air and any fuel there goes off.

Any module line work MUST use high pressure fuel line and there is more than one rating there, read the printing on the bulk line. Don't use like 30 psi CFI line when 60 psi MPFI is specced there.

OP, is there any way you can pic that pump? For the benefit of others..........
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