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Old 04-10-2004, 06:30 PM   #1
IHateRice
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Fuel Problem in '03 ZX3

A couple months ago my check fuel cap light came on. Apparently there had been a problem for a while, because the owner's manual says that it takes a while to detect fuel pressure problems or something similar. I took it back to the local dealership and they said "it wasn't a problem" and apparently just unhooked my battery to clear the code. It cleared and I still have the problem because the check fuel cap light came back on on my way home from work. Of course I could just unhook the battery to clear the code again, but I think there is something wrong, maybe just a sensor but it could be something else. Does anyone have any ideas of what it could be?


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Old 04-10-2004, 07:24 PM   #2
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Yo ricehater! I don't want to point out the obvious, but are you sure the fuel cap is on tight? I had an 01 Taurus that the light would come on after my wife drove it, but only after she put gas in. She would never get the cap on tight. There is also the possibility that your cap needs to be replaced. If it can't maintain proper pressure in the tank, the light will come on. Ask the dealer if all they did was clear the code last time it was in. They will usually assume there is nothing wrong, just that the cap was loose. If there really is a problem, they need to check it further. Make sure they explain what they do if you take it back in.
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Old 04-10-2004, 07:33 PM   #3
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The cap is on until it clicks, I tighten it as much as I can. There could be a leak in the cap (threads possibly) or something farther up the line. I don't have time to take the car to a dealer anytime in the next week.
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Old 04-10-2004, 08:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by IHateRice
The cap is on until it clicks, I tighten it as much as I can. There could be a leak in the cap (threads possibly) or something farther up the line. I don't have time to take the car to a dealer anytime in the next week.
On my RSX Type S it specifically says on the fuel filler door, to make sure to turn the gas cap for 3 clicks. I have no idea why, but Acura started putting those notices on the car after the first year, because so many people were complaining about getting check fuel lights. You may want to give it 3 or 4 clicks if you can.
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Old 04-10-2004, 09:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, I'll try that and drive it around a little see what it says. But the light came on when I was below half a tank and I filled up full so the fuel cap light takes forever to come on.
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Old 04-12-2004, 07:44 AM   #6
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Okay, so here is the long version of the story. My reference for this information is a site for professional auto technicians (requires login):

http://members.iatn.net/tech/ford/03...003obd_05.html

"...First, the Canister Vent Solenoid (CVS) is closed to seal the entire evaporative emissions system, then the Vapor Management Valve (VMV) is opened to pull a 7" H2O vacuum. If the initial vacuum could not be achieved, a large system leak is indicated (Diagnostic Trouble Code P0455). This could be caused by a fuel cap that was not installed properly, a large hole, an overfilled fuel tank, disconnected/kinked vapor lines, a CVS that is stuck open , a VMV that is stuck closed, or a disconnected/blocked vapor line between the VMV and the Fuel Tank Pressure Transducer.

If the initial vacuum could not be achieved after a refueling event, a gross leak, fuel cap off (P0457) is indicated and the recorded minimum fuel tank pressure during pulldown is stored in memory. A "Check Fuel Cap" light may also be illuminated.

Note: After the customer properly secures the fuel cap, the P0457, Check Fuel Cap and/or MIL will be cleared as soon as normal purging vacuum exceeds the P0457 vacuum level stored in memory..."



Plain English translation: your car tests itself for fuel vapor leaks by attempting to pull a vacuum on the system. If it cannot reach the proper level of vacuum, it assumes a gross leak... which is frequently but not always caused by a loose/improperly installed gas cap. If you just got gas (it watches the fuel level and if it sees an increase of 20% or more, it knows you just bought gas) then it will light the Check Gas Cap light and set code P0457. Once you tighten the gas cap (or replace it, if it is bad) the system can now pull the proper level of vacuum so it knows you fixed the problem and it automatically turns off the Check Gas Cap light.

As discussed in the quoted information above, there are other things besides the gas cap that will cause this problem - however, I'd expect any of these other things would generally light the MIL (Check Engine light) and store a code.
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Old 04-12-2004, 10:21 PM   #7
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I have no CEL yet but the gas cap is on securely. And like I said this is the second time it has happened, and both times it came on I had not filled up recently. For example, I was down to under half a tank both times after filling up completely. I suspect it is not the fuel cap. It could VERY easily be a problem somewhere else because the engine was completely replaced at only 8500 miles and someone could have [:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)]*ed up on the labor. The guy before me went crazy with cheap mods and sucked water into the engine and had to have it replaced and sold the car so I got a good deal with a 7 year warranty from Ford. I'll try to see if I can get a code from test mode.
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Old 04-13-2004, 08:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by IHateRice
I have no CEL yet but the gas cap is on securely. And like I said this is the second time it has happened, and both times it came on I had not filled up recently. For example, I was down to under half a tank both times after filling up completely. I suspect it is not the fuel cap. It could VERY easily be a problem somewhere else because the engine was completely replaced at only 8500 miles and someone could have [:)][:)][:)][:)][:)][:)]*ed up on the labor. The guy before me went crazy with cheap mods and sucked water into the engine and had to have it replaced and sold the car so I got a good deal with a 7 year warranty from Ford. I'll try to see if I can get a code from test mode.
From the same reference as my previous post:

"...The evap system integrity test is done under conditions that minimize vapor generation and fuel tank pressure changes due to fuel slosh since these could result in false MIL illumination. The check is run after a 6 hour cold engine soak (engine-off timer), during steady highway speeds of 40mph to 80mph, at ambient air temperatures (inferred by IAT) between 40 and 100 oF..."

In other words, the evap monitor doesn't necessarily run every single time you drive the car. If it's too cold, or you aren't going fast enough, or your speed is changing too often, or there hasn't been a 6-hour engine cooldown, then it won't run. And if the monitor doesn't run, then the Check Gas Cap light can't come on. It is possible this is the reason why the light didn't come on immediately after filling up.

Quick side-note; if the system finds a "gross leak" it sets code P0457 but it does NOT light the Check Engine light (officially called MIL for malfunction indicator lamp), instead it lights the Check Gas Cap light. If you scan it, you WILL find the code P0457 stored in memory. This indicates that the system could not establish the initial vacuum level required to perform the rest of the test, and the gas cap is only one of many possibilities.

As you say, I agree that it may not be the gas cap, especially given the history. 7-year warranty is sweeeeet. Use it!

Please let us know if you try cluster test mode; I am not sure whether it has the ability to display P0457 or not. (I've seen a list of codes for cluster test mode which does not match up at all with the standard OBD-II codes, and I'm very curious abou this...)
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:42 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the information, I'll do the cluster test tonight. I want to get all the problems sorted out so because I really want a Vortech but then they 7 year warranty would be all but wasted. It was only 300 bucks though, long story.
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Old 04-13-2004, 12:56 PM   #10
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Do you have an amp installed in your hatch? If you mount an amp around the right rear, you run the possibility of puncturing the tank with a screw... the guy at circuit city that installed my system (I could've done it myself, but I'm lazy...) he missed my tank by less than a quarter inch when another install tech noticed and stopped him in a BIG HURRY!! I was lucky...or they were, since they would have had to pay to fix it. Then we all decided it was best to mount it on the back of the short seat until I do a custom fiberglass setup.
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