The Corvette has been a staple of the American auto industry since the first “Dream Car” was unveiled at the Motorama auto show on January 17, 1953. The first American fuel injection system, the Ram Jet, debuted on the Corvette in 1957 and forever changed the face of automotive fuel systems. With the advent of computer-controlled fuel injection systems, regulating of fuel pressure became the norm, and with it came fuel pressure regulator problems.
When you first turn the key on your fuel injected Corvette, if the engine turns over freely and seems to want to catch, but simply will not stay running, you may have a fuel pressure issue. Three common causes for this symptom are a plugged fuel filter, a faulty fuel pump or a failing fuel pressure regulator. If you are certain the fuel filter is good, then you may either have a failing pump or pressure regulator. One bad tank of fuel can plug a filter, so be mindful of where your fuel came from when attempting to diagnose this problem.
The fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator need to maintain constant fuel pressure to the injectors at all times, even when the engine is not running. When you first turn the key in the Corvette, if it does not immediately start on the first try, but catches on the second attempt, this most likely means you have bad fuel pressure. Again, if you are certain the fuel filter is good, test the pressure from the regulator and pump using a quality fuel pressure gauge.
If you are enjoying a drive in your Corvette and it begins to sputter, your fuel pressure may be in question. If the sputtering goes away under hard acceleration, chances are you need a new fuel filter or fuel pump. If not, then your fuel pressure regulator is most likely not doing its job and needs to be replaced.
The first step to working on your fuel system should be to replace your fuel filter if you are not positive if it is new and unclogged. Disconnect your battery before working on the fuel system or your fuel pump will dump gasoline all over the place when you remove the filter. Since the filter is near the exhaust, never remove it unless the engine and exhaust are cold.
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