'07 Saturn Vue fuel pump leak. SAFETY Warning. NickD will sympathize.

twicelow

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Vehicle: '07 Saturn Vue, 3.0 L eng, 80K miles. My daughter had noticed a gasoline smell around her vehicle. It seemed to be coming from around the back of the vehicle, the fuel tank area. At first we thought may be the gas cap was leaking. I checked, but the smell was not from the fill area. I drove the vehicle onto ramps so I could check for leaks from underneath. No visible or obvious leaks, but a definite smell from the fuel tank area where the lines come out of the tank. I was not about to mess with dropping the fuel tank so I took it in to a reputable shop. They put it on a hoist and observed it with the engine running for some time. They could finally see a film of gas coming down the side of the tank. Long story short. They dropped the tank and found that one of the PLASTIC nipples coming out of the fuel pump assy was the leaky, cracked culprit. Had to replace the whole f,;-=*?ing fuel pump assy at $550+. So with labor at 120/hr and tax it came out to $850+. Needless to say I'm incensed at Saturn and GM. What kind of f"+>?ing design is that? Putting a PLASTIC part where it's inaccessible to replace without having to drop the fuel tank? And the the whole fuel pump at $550+ for a ten cent piece of plastic? It's not like the vehicle was driven over washboard roads or something...and vibrating like hell. The fuel pump assy looked like an octopus, it came with all the lines and electrical harness assy hanging from it.
If this wasn't my daughter's car,(she didn't have the luxury of me messing around with it,since I have the time), I might have been tempted to drop the tank myself and see if I could have sealed that hairline crack. Even though the vehicle is out of warranty, I feel this is a safety issue(fuel leak around hot exhaust system) and GM should have a bulletin or something out on it. Even though it's too late for us, is there someplace to voice our concerns about this? I realize nothing lasts forever but PLASTIC nipples in a fuel system that failed in 7 years and 80K miles. I have two 20 year old Fords (E350 RV and a Ranger) that never had fuel system issues. Enough of my venting, but I'm still ticked off even though it was my daughter's $$.
 
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#2
Price range for this pump assembly is 175 to 375 bucks at rockauto.com, latter is for a Delco. Plastic get brittle with age and breaks, steel turns into rust. Can't seem to win either way. Not too long ago, had to drop four tanks in roll, miserable job using every trick in the book to drain the tank first.

Maybe if all of us in purchasing a vehicle walked out without buying one because they don't have an access plate, they would start put in this very low cost option. When the IRS started treating inventory as profit at retail prices, cost of all automotive parts skyrocketed. Not only automotive but in everything that you try to service.

Did you get the Delco pump? Don't know about you, but I couldn't even afford to drive a car unless I did a net search for the lowest possible price and did all the work myself. And a number of my family members. You are not the only one if this is any consolation.
 

Gus

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#3
Call it sh*t luck......I have never seen those plastic lines leak....they are part of the whole module......what I have seen is fuel pump failures, and you have to replace the whole thing anyway......being 7 years old, that fuel pump could have been on it's way out, especially if you have a person driving the vehicle, that constantly lets the level of fuel drop close to "E", instead of keeping it above 1/4....

When GM went from sending units, to modules, the replacement price skyrocketted, but it didn't make the end product any better....

All vehicles should have trunk access to the fuel pump, to keep repair costs down, but they don't....
 

Gus

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#5
If it had an access hole like a "C", "H", or "W" CAR, those plastic lines would disconnect right at the module....
 

nickb2

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#6
Damn, likes gus response 8) Driving on empty will kill a gm pump. Look to dans octopus pic, get at it and drive. :thx fixed a bit of lube and long nose pliers will free the clips. But don't hope for mercy here. $.02
 

twicelow

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A little confused by nickb2 response. My daughter always fills up when the gage drops below half and never lets it get to below a quarter. The fuel pump operation itself was not the issue. The problem was one of the plastic nipples at the top of the "module", to which the fuel lines are attached, was cracked. That's where the leak was. The lines were OK.The whole fuel pump assy( "module")had to be replaced, because the "nipples" were part of the module.To get to it they had to drop the tank. Don't understand the "long nose pliers...clips" comment.
 

nickb2

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#8
Sorry for bad english I am french, but you can fix these issues with a bit of patience. http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Performance/Fuel-Line-Repair/_/N-26cq

I use a small pen torch or heat gun, have even used hair dryer to flex nylon and insert fitting, saves a buck or two. ouch :thx $.02

long nose pliers helps to disengage clips from the said NIPPLES :thx

I have some of these in my tool chest http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Dorman-5-16-in-8-mm-x-12-in-with-barbs-flexible-nylon-fuel-line-repair/_/N-26cq?itemIdentifier=193135&_requestid=1060833

Here is other version of nylon flex tube but without brass fittings, I hope you get it nowhttp://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Dorman-Nylon-fuel-line-connector-and-retainer-repair-kit/_/N-26cq?itemIdentifier=963501&_requestid=1062574 :thx fixed

The goal here is to educate ppl, hope you are not offended by my comments. It is for others who may encounter this same problem. Vibration and nylon do not mix. If you add fuel pressure, bingo, something will crack, as I said before, have fixed so many of these cheap cars, but they are all made this way now. Volskwagen has had this for years, need to keep those nylon lines fixed down tight. :idea:
 
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#9
this is what the fuel pump assembly looked like in my old 92 DeVille also using those plastic nipple where on broke for whatever reason.



Three lines are fuel pressure, return, and vent, determined it was the vent that broke, won't repeat what I said when I saw this.

Cut the ends off, cleaned that line, found a piece of fuel line hose, coated the old line with fuel proof RTV and jammed it into that piece of fuel line augmenting it with clamps. This happened around seven before I got rid of the thing, never had a problem with it. But granted, it was a very tight space to work in, did not drop the tank.

Also around the same time, the fuel sender quit working, electronic display with -- showing. Dropped in a bottle of fuel system cleaner in the tank that said removes varnish, after driving it a couple of hours, fuel gauge read accurately, with no further problems.

As I recall, this was the year around 2004 when the state was really pushing ethanol, and not easy to find ethanol free gas. Least now practically all gas stations sell ethanol free gas, except in the Milwaukee area, but have to buy 91 octane. But worth it as the fuel economy more than pays back for the extra price. Been using this every since without problems like this and many others.
 
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#10
Add me to the disgruntled Saturn owners. I have a 2001 Saturn L300 V6 3.3L engine. I've had a fuel odor near the fuel tank as well as when running the A/C. Like others, it turned out to be that one nipple on the fuel pump assembly had cracked. The only fix is to replace the entire assembly! It meant dropping the exhaust. Dropping the tank. Then putting on a new assembly. Total cost $450. Considering the number of Saturn owners having this IDENTICAL part failure (Saturns of all years and all models), I'd think GM should take financial responsibility, or that a class action lawsuit is in order. Having a fuel leak is unsafe and can lead to a car fire and death. This is a safety issue and GM should be held accountable.
 

billr

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"Considering the number of Saturn owners having this IDENTICAL part failure (Saturns of all years and all models)"

I don't know about the later Saturns, but I have never heard of this problem with the '91-'02 S-series on the Saturn forum I visit. I own three of those, '94/'95, and certainly have never had that problem.
 
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"Considering the number of Saturn owners having this IDENTICAL part failure (Saturns of all years and all models)"

I don't know about the later Saturns, but I have never heard of this problem with the '91-'02 S-series on the Saturn forum I visit. I own three of those, '94/'95, and certainly have never had that problem.
I'm glad you've been so lucky with your particular model. But from what I found on multiple forums (researching this issue with my vehicle), it wasn't limited to the L-series. Many Saturn Vue owners of later years also reported the identical problem. For some reason, GM/Saturn used plastic nipples on the fuel pump assembly which will expand, contract, and then crack from the heat. Worse, they made it so you can't just replace those connections, but have to replace the entire fuel pump assembly ($250 part) even if the actual fuel pump is in perfect working order. This also then requires you replace the fuel sending unit, costing additional money. And because of where this is located on the vehicle, mechanics have to remove your exhaust and fuel tank to get to it. This incurs at least three hours of mechanic labor. Any way you look at it, this was an ill-advised design flaw.
 

twicelow

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#14
I'm glad you've been so lucky with your particular model. But from what I found on multiple forums (researching this issue with my vehicle), it wasn't limited to the L-series. Many Saturn Vue owners of later years also reported the identical problem. For some reason, GM/Saturn used plastic nipples on the fuel pump assembly which will expand, contract, and then crack from the heat. Worse, they made it so you can't just replace those connections, but have to replace the entire fuel pump assembly ($250 part) even if the actual fuel pump is in perfect working order. This also then requires you replace the fuel sending unit, costing additional money. And because of where this is located on the vehicle, mechanics have to remove your exhaust and fuel tank to get to it. This incurs at least three hours of mechanic labor. Any way you look at it, this was an ill-advised design flaw.
 

twicelow

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#15
Second that PaigeT. I feel there should be a safety recall, since there is huge potential for a fire, the lines being fairly close to the hot exhaust system. Heck, Ford had to recall the Pinto for a tab that could puncture the fuel tank, BUT ONLY IF the car was in a rear end crash.