Buick Regal Owners & Service Manuals

Buick Regal: Fuel System Description

Fuel System Overview

The fuel system is an electronic returnless on-demand design. The returnless fuel system reduces the internal temperature of the fuel tank by not returning hot fuel from the engine to the fuel tank. Reducing the internal temperature of the fuel tank results in lower evaporative emissions.

An electric turbine style fuel pump attaches to the fuel tank fuel pump module inside the fuel tank. The fuel pump supplies fuel through the fuel feed pipe to the high pressure fuel pump. The high pressure fuel pump supplies fuel to a variable-pressure fuel rail. Fuel enters the combustion chamber through precision multi-hole fuel injectors. The high pressure fuel pump, fuel rail pressure, fuel injection timing, and injection duration are controlled by the engine control module (ECM).

Electronic Returnless Fuel System

The electronic returnless fuel system is a microprocessor controlled fuel delivery system which transports fuel from the tank to the fuel rail. It functions as an electronic replacement for a traditional, mechanical fuel pressure regulator. The pressure relief regulator valve within the fuel tank provides an added measure of over-pressure protection. Desired fuel pressure is commanded by the engine control module (ECM), and transmitted to the fuel pump power control module via a GMLAN serial data message. A fuel pressure sensor located on the fuel feed pipe provides the feedback the ECM requires for Closed Loop fuel pressure control.

Fuel Pump Power Control Module

The fuel pump power control module is a serviceable GMLAN module. The fuel pump power control module receives the desired fuel pressure message from the engine control module (ECM) and controls the fuel pump located within the fuel tank to achieve the desired fuel pressure. The fuel pump power control module sends a 25 kHz PWM signal to the fuel pump, and pump speed is changed by varying the duty cycle of this signal. Maximum current supplied to the fuel pump is 15 amps. A fuel pressure sensor located on the fuel feed pipe provides fuel pressure feedback to the ECM.

Fuel Pressure Sensor

The fuel pressure sensor is a serviceable 5 V, 3-pin device. It is located on the fuel feed pipe forward of the fuel tank, and receives power and ground from the ECM through a vehicle wiring harness. The sensor provides a fuel pressure signal to the ECM, which is used to provide Closed Loop fuel pressure control.

Fuel Tank

The fuel tank stores the fuel supply. The fuel tank is located in the rear of the vehicle. The fuel tank is held in place by 2 metal straps that attach to the underbody of the vehicle. The fuel tank is molded from high-density polyethylene.

Fuel Fill Pipe

The fuel fill pipe has a built-in restrictor in order to prevent refueling with leaded fuel.

Fuel Tank Fuel Pump Module

The electric turbine style fuel pump attaches to the fuel tank fuel pump module inside the fuel tank and supplies fuel through the fuel feed pipe to the high pressure fuel pump. The fuel tank fuel pump module contains a reverse flow check valve. The check valve maintains fuel pressure in the fuel feed pipe in order to prevent long cranking times.

  • The fuel tank fuel pump module consists of the following major components:
  • The fuel level sensor
  • The fuel pump and reservoir assembly
  • The fuel filter
  • The pressure relief regulator valve

Fuel Level Sensor

The fuel level sensor consists of a float, a wire float arm, and a ceramic resistor card. The position of the float arm indicates the fuel level. The fuel level sensor contains a variable resistor which changes resistance in correspondence with the position of the float arm.

Fuel Pump

The fuel pump is mounted in the fuel tank fuel pump module reservoir. The fuel pump is an electric turbine style pump which pumps fuel to the high pressure fuel pump at a pressure that is based on feedback from the fuel feed pipe fuel pressure sensor. The fuel pump delivers a constant flow of fuel even during low fuel conditions and aggressive vehicle maneuvers. The fuel pump flex pipe acts to dampen the fuel pulses and noise generated by the fuel pump.

Pressure Relief Regulator Valve

The pressure relief regulator valve replaces the typical fuel pressure regulator used on a mechanical returnless fuel system. The pressure relief regulator valve is closed during normal vehicle operation. The pressure relief regulator valve is used to vent pressure during hot soaks and also functions as a fuel pressure regulator in the event of the fuel pump power control module defaulting to 100% pulse width modulation (PWM) of the fuel pump. Due to variation in the fuel system pressures, the opening pressure for the pressure relief regulator valve is set higher than the pressure that is used on a mechanical returnless fuel system pressure regulator.

Nylon Fuel Pipes

WARNING: In order to reduce the risk of fire and personal injury observe the following items:

  • Replace all nylon fuel pipes that are nicked, scratched or damaged during installation, do not attempt to repair the sections of the nylon fuel pipes
  • Do not hammer directly on the fuel harness body clips when installing new fuel pipes. Damage to the nylon pipes may result in a fuel leak.
  • Always cover nylon vapor pipes with a wet towel before using a torch near them. Also, never expose the vehicle to temperatures higher than 115ºC (239ºF) for more than one hour, or more than 90ºC (194ºF) for any extended period.
  • Apply a few drops of clean engine oil to the male pipe ends before connecting fuel pipe fittings. This will ensure proper reconnection and prevent a possible fuel leak. (During normal operation, the O-rings located in the female connector will swell and may prevent proper reconnection if not lubricated.)

Nylon pipes are constructed to withstand maximum fuel system pressure, exposure to fuel additives, and changes in temperature.

Heat resistant rubber hose or corrugated plastic conduit protect the sections of the pipes that are exposed to chafing, high temperature, or vibration.

Nylon fuel pipes are somewhat flexible and can be formed around gradual turns under the vehicle.

However, if nylon fuel pipes are forced into sharp bends, the pipes may kink and restrict the fuel flow.

Also, once exposed to fuel, nylon pipes may become stiffer and are more likely to kink if bent too far.

Take special care when working on a vehicle with nylon fuel pipes.

Quick-Connect Fittings

Quick-connect fittings provide a simplified means of installing and connecting fuel system components.

The fittings consist of a unique female connector and a compatible male pipe end. O-rings, located inside the female connector, provide the fuel seal. Integral locking tabs inside the female connector hold the fittings together.

Fuel Feed Front Pipe Check Valve

The one way in-line check valve is a part of the fuel feed front pipe. The check valve is located just before the high pressure fuel pump. Fuel flows into the large end of the check valve and unseats a round check ball. Fuel then flows around the check ball and out the small end and the holes around the small end. The check ball is seated closed by a spring when the fuel pressure is very low. The spring seats the check ball and keeps the fuel from draining back when the engine is not operating in order to help prevent long cranking times. The check valve also acts as a pulse damper to help limit the high pressure fuel pump pressure pulsations from affecting the low side fuel pressure sensor located by the fuel tank.

High Pressure Fuel Pump

The high fuel pressure necessary for direct injection is supplied by the high pressure fuel pump. The pump is mounted on the rear of the engine and is driven by a three-lobe cam on the camshaft. This pump also regulates the fuel pressure using an actuator in the form of an internal solenoid-controlled valve. In order to keep the engine running efficiently under all operating conditions, the engine control module (ECM) requests pressure ranging from 2 to 15 MPa (290 to 2176 PSI), depending on engine speed and load. Output drivers in the ECM provide the pump control circuit with a 12 V pulse-width modulated (PWM) signal, which regulates fuel pressure by closing and opening the control valve at specific times during pump strokes. This effectively regulates the portion of each pump stroke that is delivered to the fuel rail. When the control solenoid is NOT powered, the pump operates at minimum flow rate. In the event of pump control failure, the high pressure system is protected by a relief valve in the pump.

Fuel Rail Assembly

The fuel rail assembly attaches to the cylinder head and distributes the high pressure fuel to the fuel injectors. The fuel rail assembly consists of the following components:

  • The direct fuel injectors
  • The fuel rail pressure sensor

Fuel Injectors

The fuel injection system is a high pressure, direct injection, returnless on-demand design. The fuel injectors are mounted in the cylinder head beneath the intake ports and spray fuel directly into the combustion chamber. Direct injection requires high fuel pressure due to the fuel injector's location in the combustion chamber. Fuel pressure must be higher than compression pressure requiring a high pressure fuel pump. The fuel injectors also require more electrical power due to the high fuel pressure. The ECM supplies a high voltage supply circuit and a high voltage control circuit for each fuel injector. The injector high voltage supply circuit and the high voltage control circuit are both controlled by the ECM.

The ECM energizes each fuel injector by grounding the control circuit. The ECM controls each fuel injector with 65 V. This is controlled by a boost capacitor in the ECM. During the 65 V boost phase, the capacitor is discharged through an injector, allowing for initial injector opening. The injector is then held open with 12 V.

The fuel injector assembly is an inside opening electrical magnetic injector. The injector has six precision machined holes that generate a cone shaped oval spray pattern. The fuel injector has a slim extended tip in order to allow a sufficient cooling jacket in the cylinder head.

Fuel Injection Fuel Rail Fuel Pressure Sensor

The fuel rail pressure sensor detects fuel pressure within the fuel rail. The engine control module (ECM) provides a 5 V reference voltage on the 5 V reference circuit and ground on the reference ground circuit.

The ECM receives a varying signal voltage on the signal circuit. The ECM monitors the voltage on the fuel rail pressure sensor circuits. When the fuel pressure is high, the signal voltage is high. When the fuel pressure is low, the signal voltage is low.

Fuel Metering Modes of Operation

The ECM monitors voltages from several sensors in order to determine how much fuel to give the engine. The ECM controls the amount of fuel delivered to the engine by changing the fuel injector pulse width. The fuel is delivered under one of several modes.

Starting Mode

The ECM supplies voltage to the fuel pump power control module when the ECM detects that the ignition is ON. The voltage from the ECM to the fuel pump power control module remains active for 2 s, unless the engine is in Crank or Run. While this voltage is being received, the fuel pump power control module closes the ground switch of the fuel tank fuel pump module and also supplies a varying voltage to the fuel tank fuel pump module in order to maintain the desired fuel line pressure. The ECM calculates the air/fuel ratio based on inputs from the engine coolant temperature (ECT), manifold absolute pressure (MAP), mass air flow (MAF), and throttle position sensors. The system stays in starting mode until the engine speed reaches a predetermined RPM.

During a cold start, the ECM commands dual-pulse mode during Open Loop operation to improve cold start emissions. In dual-pulse mode, the injectors are energized twice during each injection event.

Clear Flood Mode

If the engine floods, the engine can be cleared by pressing the accelerator pedal down to the floor and then cranking the engine. When the throttle position sensor is at wide open throttle (WOT), the ECM reduces the fuel injector pulse width in order to increase the air to fuel ratio. The ECM holds this injector rate as long as the throttle stays wide open and the engine speed is below a predetermined RPM.

If the throttle is not held wide open, the ECM returns to the starting mode.

Run Mode

The run mode has 2 conditions called Open Loop and Closed Loop. When the engine is first started and the engine speed is above a predetermined RPM, the system begins Open Loop operation. The ECM ignores the signal from the heated oxygen sensor (HO2S). The ECM calculates the air/fuel ratio based on inputs from the engine coolant temperature (ECT), manifold absolute pressure (MAP), mass air flow (MAF), and throttle position sensors. The system stays in Open Loop until meeting the following conditions:

  • The HO2S has varying voltage output, showing that the HO2S is hot enough to operate properly.
  • The ECT sensor is above a specified temperature.
  • A specific amount of time has elapsed after starting the engine.

Specific values for the above conditions exist for each different engine, and are stored in the electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). The system begins Closed Loop operation after reaching these values. In Closed Loop, the ECM calculates the air/fuel ratio, injector ON time, based upon the signal from various sensors, but mainly from the HO2S. This allows the air/fuel ratio to stay very close to 14.7:1.

Acceleration Mode

When the driver pushes on the accelerator pedal, air flow into the cylinders increases rapidly. To prevent possible hesitation, the ECM increases the pulse width to the injectors to provide extra fuel during acceleration. This is also known as power enrichment. The ECM determines the amount of fuel required based upon throttle position, engine coolant temperature (ECT), manifold absolute pressure (MAP), mass air flow (MAF), and engine speed.

Deceleration Mode

When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, air flow into the engine is reduced. The ECM monitors the corresponding changes in throttle position, mass air flow (MAF), and manifold absolute pressure (MAP). The ECM shuts OFF fuel completely if the deceleration is very rapid, or for long periods, such as long, closed-throttle coast-down. The fuel shuts OFF in order to prevent damage to the catalytic converters.

Battery Voltage Correction Mode

When the battery voltage is low, the ECM compensates for the weak spark delivered by the ignition system in the following ways:

  • Increasing the amount of fuel delivered
  • Increasing the idle RPM
  • Increasing the ignition dwell time

Fuel Cutoff Mode

The ECM cuts OFF fuel from the fuel injectors when the following conditions are met in order to protect the powertrain from damage and improve driveability:

  • The ignition is OFF. This prevents engine run-on.
  • The ignition is ON but there is no ignition reference signal. This prevents flooding or backfiring.
  • The engine speed is too high, above red line.
  • The vehicle speed is too high, above rated tire speed.
  • During an extended, high speed, closed throttle coast down - This reduces emissions and increases engine braking.
  • During extended deceleration, in order to prevent damage to the catalytic converters

Fuel Trim

The ECM controls the air/fuel metering system in order to provide the best possible combination of driveability, fuel economy, and emission control. The ECM monitors the heated oxygen sensor (HO2S) signal voltage while in Closed Loop and regulates the fuel delivery by adjusting the pulse width of the injectors based on this signal. The ideal fuel trim values are around 0% for both short and long term fuel trim. A positive fuel trim value indicates the ECM is adding fuel in order to compensate for a lean condition by increasing the pulse width. A negative fuel trim value indicates that the ECM is reducing the amount of fuel in order to compensate for a rich condition by decreasing the pulse width. A change made to the fuel delivery changes the long and short term fuel trim values. The short term fuel trim values change rapidly in response to the HO2S signal voltage. These changes fine tune the engine fueling. The long term fuel trim makes coarse adjustments to fueling in order to re-center and restore control to short term fuel trim. A scan tool can be used to monitor the short and long term fuel trim values. The long term fuel trim diagnostic is based on an average of several of the long term speed load learn cells. The ECM selects the cells based on the engine speed and engine load. If the ECM detects an excessively lean or rich condition, the ECM will set a fuel trim diagnostic trouble code (DTC).

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