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Hi all,

At my wits end with this car and hoping you guys can help figure this out. 2004 Saab 9-5. Over the past year the check engine light has sporadically come on and off, each time bring up the code for the o2 sensor. About a month ago I started noticing a faint smell of fuel. It would come and go, mostly noticeable after driving quite a bit. I got the car inspected and they noticed the smell but couldn't find any leaks. A couple weeks later the car misfired and the check engine light came back on (after a month of remaining off) and showed the o2 sensor again. I figured it was about time to replace the sensor and maybe that was causing the fuel smell. About a week later I noticed a large fuel leak spot on the parking lot and the Saab started having trouble starting. Each time I turned the car on it took longer to start up. The smell was never in the car, always outside and near where the fuel filter is. I replaced the fuel filter, thinking maybe there was a pinhole leak or something. Now the car won't start at all. I loosened up the banjo bolt at the fuel filter thinking maybe some air was in there preventing the car from starting but that did nothing (besides spray some fuel out). There is 0 fuel pressure. From my research, it could be the CPS or MAF, but that doesn't explain the leak. I had been looking into replacing the fuel pump as I heard they tend to fail at 130k on these saabs (I'm at 135k) so I popped the cover and it appears to be intact (no visible leaking and I can hear it run when turning the key). I can't see any fuel leaking anymore so I don't know how else to find where its leaking (nothing visible that I can see). Any suggestions on how to properly diagnose this?
 

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So you have zero fuel pressure, but can hear the pump and you just installed a fuel filter? I’d say something happened with the filter install, there must be a blockage somewhere and that is the first place I’d start.
 

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So you have zero fuel pressure, but can hear the pump and you just installed a fuel filter? I’d say something happened with the filter install, there must be a blockage somewhere and that is the first place I’d start.
That's what I was leaning towards but when I loosened up the banjo bolt the filter sprayed fuel, what else can I do to verify the filter is working? Could the fuel pump have power but not work due to a blockage or something? If that was the case I wouldnt expect fuel in the new filter...
 

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That's what I was leaning towards but when I loosened up the banjo bolt the filter sprayed fuel, what else can I do to verify the filter is working? Could the fuel pump have power but not work due to a blockage or something? If that was the case I wouldnt expect fuel in the new filter...
Are the fuel filters directional? I can't remember, maybe check that?

You mention "I noticed a large fuel leak spot on the parking lot", where was the spot located in relation to the car? Front? Back? Side?
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Are the fuel filters directional? I can't remember, maybe check that?

You mention "I noticed a large fuel leak spot on the parking lot", where was the spot located in relation to the car? Front? Back? Side?
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They are, I installed the filter with the arrow pointing towards the front of the car.

I am not sure of the location of the leak in relation to the car, unfortunately I did not notice the leak spot until after I left and there aren't any lines or way of verifying exact location. What's weird is the leak went from unnoticeable to huge and now that the car won't start, not at all. If the car won't start and has fuel, could the regulator be bad?
 

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I'm a little confused, there seems to be a lot going on here.

Do you have fuel pressure the the fuel rail and if so how much?

Have you addressed the O2 sensor issue?

Do you in fact have a fuel leak?

You said "when I loosened up the banjo bolt the filter sprayed fuel, what else can I do to verify the filter is working? Which banjo bolt did you loosen in or out?

If you do have a fuel leak why hasn't anybody been able to locate it? There arent that many places to look or sniff it out.

Maybe get a TECH2 scan (broken record) regarding the O2 sensor issue and start fresh.
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Discussion Starter #7
I'm a little confused, there seems to be a lot going on here.

Do you have fuel pressure the the fuel rail and if so how much?

Have you addressed the O2 sensor issue?

Do you in fact have a fuel leak?

You said "when I loosened up the banjo bolt the filter sprayed fuel, what else can I do to verify the filter is working? Which banjo bolt did you loosen in or out?

If you do have a fuel leak why hasn't anybody been able to locate it? There arent that many places to look or sniff it out.

Maybe get a TECH2 scan (broken record) regarding the O2 sensor issue and start fresh.
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No pressure when key is on position. Won't start so I can't test pressure when its running.

I just received the o2 sensor today and will try to install this weekend.

I do in fact have a fuel leak although I wasn't able to investigate until after the car stopped running. The inspection was for registration and unrelated to the leak.

I loosened the banjo bolt on both ends. Each time resulted in a spray (I primed it several times before by turning the key a couple times)

I'm not sure how thoroughly anyone looked for the leak when it was running. I really wish I had taken a peak underneath when the car was running.

It seems like there are a lot of reasons the car would not start that is fuel related, but I'm not sure what the connection is between the leak, the fuel filter replacement and the car not starting. I'm feeling inclined to buy a bunch of parts and just replace everything. I don't want to waste a week waiting for a part to ship each time and guess at what it could be. Also not sure why its not leaking anymore, I've been looking while someone turns the key on and off and I don't see any leaks. If there is no pressure at all and no leak that sounds like the pump, but could it be a sensor? Could the pump have power but not work?
 

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You know I just realized, a couple months ago my fuel gauge wasnt working off and on, but it's been working fine for the last couple months. All this started happening with about 3/4 of tank so if the gauge stopped working I would have had to leaks 3/4 of a tank which doesn't seem likely but could be possible. I think I should add some fuel and replace the pump and o2 sensor to start. I don't know if that explains the leak but should get the car running again...
 

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Well, a car only needs 3 things to get an engine fired up and running. Spark, air and fuel. If the car is sending fuel but there's no spark, it won't start and you'll eventually get a fuel smell because of the excess fuel in the system that wasn't burned off from spark and air. Lack of air = not enough oxygen to create combustion of fuel from the spark.
Car could be running rich due to lack of air getting through the system (vacuum leak, MAF, etc).
Could also be a combination of multiple things, have you pulled your spark plugs to see what they look like, how old are the spark plugs? How old is your DIC, is it SEM or aftermarket?
When you try to start the car, does the tack needle move at all (even a smidgen over zero)? If it does, then the CPS is fine.
When my last DIC died, my car just bucked for a second and then shut off. Never to start again. It would crank all day but never start. Same symptoms I've experienced with other cars when the fuel pump dies. There was a smell after prolonged cranking but I wouldn't say it was a pure fuel smell, it was more a mixture of various smells but you could smell fuel within that mix.
 
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