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Lean Condition 171 Driving Me Nuts!

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Old 01 Sep 2014, 06:52 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3
Default Lean Condition 171 Driving Me Nuts!

Hello all. I am new to the forum. I am a lifelong mechanic, I have owned several PT Cruisers, but currently just have my wife's bone-stock 2006 touring edition. A few days ago, I was about 35 miles from home, and the car wouldn't start. It seemed to be not getting fuel, so I got a ride home, gathered lots of tools and a fuel pump and went back to change the pump in the parking lot. A bit of a pain, but not too bad, all things considered. However, because I live on a dirt road, I found a thick layer of very fine sand on top of the tank and I had no way to blow it all off. Inevitably, a pretty good bit of it went into the tank when I pulled the pump module - not good! But at that point, I wanted to get the car home. I put the new pump into the module, put everything back together, and voila - runs just like new. Well, for about 10 miles anyway. Wife and I stopped to get some food, and when she came back out, the check engine light came on. Car seemed to run fine for her going home though. I scanned the codes and got 171. But it was running fine, so I cleared the codes and proceded to drive the car. Well, about 100 miles later, I've got another 171 code and now it acts like it's starving for fuel. So, I pulled the tank again. Yep, new fuel strainer all clogged with dirt. Ooh, this is expensive - bought another fuel pump, drained all the fuel out, swished it around until it looked clean, put it all back together, and hey, runs just like a new one again. For a few days then it's back to the won't go thing. So, at this point, I'm thinking maybe I managed to get some of the sand into the line and it got to the injector screens. Soooo, I bought new injectors. I figure at 150K miles it wouldn't hurt - particularly with the 30% discount at Advance. Well, that didn't fix it. Heck, might even be a little worse, and I got a 2096 code to go with the 171. Remember, this is an 06, so I don't have any way to check the fuel pressure, but I strongly believe it's still a fuel pressure problem. I'm leaning toward replacing the whole fuel pump module because I guess some dirt must have somehow messed up the pressure regulator. Does anyone have any other suggestions, or perhaps some dynamite?
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Old 01 Sep 2014, 07:07 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 27,757
Default Re: Lean Condition 171 Driving Me Nuts!

Welcome to the forum and I agree it might be the fuel pressure. Sorry to say, you didn't say that you pulled the tank for the third time, only that you replaced the injectors. I think you managed to get a lot more dirt/sand in the tank than you thought. Might have to clean out the entire tank and not just the filter. Maybe blow out the lines from the tank up to the injectors.
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Old 01 Sep 2014, 07:29 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 3
Default Re: Lean Condition 171 Driving Me Nuts!

Right, I haven't had it back down since I put the second new fuel pump in. But when I did that, I drained every bit of gas out, put some more in and swished it around and drained it out again. We're talking hold it up over a bucket and drain out through the filler neck. It was looking very clean in there before I put it back together, and I have a hard time believing I left enough in there to clog another filter. That's why I think it may now be the regulator. But that price tag is getting tough to swallow. I've never been one to throw parts at a problem, so I'm feeling pretty foolish at this point! Still, I'm scratching my head as to what else to do, and I've already ordered the new complete module. If I magically discover something else before I install it, I can always take it back. The good news is that I'm really good at dropping the tank...
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171, 2006, 2096, fuel pressure, lean

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