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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a mini write up based on swapping out the fuel pressure regulator following the FSM. I just wanted to document the extra stuff that I learned along the way that wasnt in the FSM that may help someone else if they attempt to swap out the fuel pressure regulator.

2008 FJ, 216K miles
Symptoms:

I started having hard start issues after the FJ sat over night or > 6hrs it seemed. No other issues were noticed, once started the FJ ran as normal and as always, never had a code thrown by the ECU. I first cleaned the MAF and throttle body, then swapped out the plugs but the issue persisted. I did some research and discovered that the fuel pressure regulator on the passenger side fuel rail is responsible for bleeding fuel back to the tank if the pressure gets too high. Makes sense to me that if the part is old and high miles like mine is that maybe its no longer doing a great job holding the pressure on the line after sitting a long time. Seems possible at least and its just two bolts, a fuel line and a vacuum line so not a big deal to change out. Took me about 90 mins working slow and taking a break to un cramp my hands - its tight working spaces doing this job.

Tools I used:
  • 1/4" drive ratchet with a 3" extension, a 1" extension and a 10mm socket
  • long punch and hammer
  • telescoping magnetic tool pickup
  • WD40
  • fire extinguisher
  • 35lb cat litter container or similar to stand on
  • Bright flashlight
Replacement notes:
I followed the FSM for everything (FU-22, FU-23) and made sure I de pressurized the fuel system properly (FU-01, ES-443) and removed the battery ground cable before removing the air cleaner assembly.
Once the air cleaner is removed you will see the regulator on the passenger side of the engine, near the firewall and bolted to the fuel rail. The regulator is surrounded by wiring harnesses and AC lines so you have to be creative in how you get your hands and tools into the spots you need to do the work. Small hands would be helpful but I dont have small hands so it was a PITA figuring out how to get to everything. I needed to stand on a bucket of cat litter to get the right lean angle over the passenger fender to work on stuff. If you are really tall this might not be needed. If you are really short you might be able to just lay across the opening.

Removing the quick connect fuel line is always a PITA for me and this one is tough to get to as well (FU-14). I soaked the quick connect fitting with WD40 as I have learned previously that can help things disconnect better. There is a white/gray safety cover that snaps in place over the actual quick connect fitting and that needs to come off first. Note the orientation of the cover as you will need to reinstall it the same way later on. It has a bigger side opening and a smaller side opening where in slides over the fuel line and the pressure regulator. It took some wiggling and cussing but it slid off without too much drama after I found a way to get a couple fingers on it, which wasnt easy. I left the actual fuel line connected once the cover was off as I hoped there would be some more room to work with the disconnect once the regulator was off the rail. Probably could also wait to remove the cover until later as well but I wanted to pry the cover off while things were otherwise still firmly in place.

Removing the vacuum line was straight forward but mine was stuck on the regulator pretty firmly and came off with some gentle twisting and tugging.

Removing the two bolts on the regulator was a PITA as there is hardly any room to get your hands and tools into place. Keep the magnetic pick up handy! I dropped things several times until I figured out how to get hands and tools into place. The bolts are 10mm and are not torqued on super tight. Once they are free they were easy enough to unscrew with my hands. As I felt the bolts free of the threads I kept pressure on the bolt with one hand and used the magnetic pickup to grab them and keep from dropping them into the dark void below.

Removing the regulator was straight forward. It has a pretty stout O ring seal inside the fuel rail and I used a long punch and hammer to gently tap-tap it out of the rail. Once it was out of the rail I was able to gently pull the regulator with the attached fuel line into a slightly better position to manipulate the quick connect fitting. This fitting requires you to use your fingers to squeeze the fitting sides while push-pulling it free of the regulator. It took several attempts, some creative cussing but I was able to wiggle things just right and free the regulator from the quick connect fitting.

Putting it all back together was straight forward. Slide the long end of the regulator into the quick connect fuel line fitting until you hear the click. Give it a push-pull to make sure its seated. You will still be able to see a ring on the regulator side of things and this ring lines up with a groove in the white/gray snap on cover. I snapped the white/gray cover back on at this point making sure that the cover engaged the visible ring on the fuel pressure regulator just above where the fuel line stops. I then put the regulator on and into the fuel rail. It takes a little pressure to get the O ring to seat into the rail deep enough to be able to start the bolts but I was able to get the regulator into the proper position with just my hands and some more cussing.

Installing the two bolts that hold the regulator to the rail is a PITA due to all the clearance issues you are now familiar with working around. I was able to start the bottom one slightly easier than the top one and used my hands with the socket on the extension to get them started and turned almost all the way. I used the ratchet to set the final torque in the FSM of 80 inch pounds. No way I could get a torque wrench into place so I had to snug it down firmly without being ham fisted and over doing it. There were some paint marks on the bolts that ended up lining up close to the original witness marks so that helped me feel comfortable that I had snugged things down properly without overdoing it.

You are basically done at this point, just reinstall the vacuum line on the regulator, reinstall the air filter housing, reinstall the circuit opening relay and the negative battery cable.

Before I started the FJ back up I rolled the FJ out of the garage away from the house and had the fire extinguisher ready..just in case. Would be bad to have a fire on the FJ but would be worse to burn down the house too :D The first attempt to start didnt fire but I expected that since the fuel system wasn't pressurized. The FJ fired up on the 2nd attempt and settled into a fast idle. I checked for leaks around the regulator and the quick connect fitting and didnt see any leaks. Its a tight look so a bright flashlight helps to illuminate the regulator behind the air cleaner assembly. I wont know if this actually fixes the first start/hard start issue until I let the FJ sit overnight but I am hopeful and will report back with the results later.

Edit: Took a ten Mile check ride around town and the FJ runs better for sure. Feels a bit peppier in the throttle response..I'm betting that the old pressure regulator was at least part culprit and had not been holding line pressure properly. Like a lot of things I've replaced on my FJ, I probably should have swapped this out sooner. No idea when it may have first started to slip but in hindsight, probably would have been a good idea to replace the regulator when I did the fuel pump. I'll update my fuel pump write up after a few more days of test rides if everything is still the same after the ECU settles in more.

Edit #2: Solved the cold start/hard start issue, ended up being a very odd battery issue and new battery resolved things. I am impressed with the amount of pep that the new fuel pressure regulator has restored to the FJ though. Its made a very noticeable improvement. I would suggest anybody with a higher mileage Fj consider at least checking the fuel line pressure. Mine seemed to be running fine but with the new regulator its very obvious that there is better power delivery all around the RPM range.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I hear you man. I don't have the time to make fully documented tutorials unfortunately. This regulator is pretty hidden in general and the FSM diagrams do a good job of detailing things. Probably having pics of how I routed my hands through the harness and hoses would be helpful but since I work solo there just wasn't a way to do that if I wanted.

I try to brain dump my lessons learned after I do something like this especially if I haven't found posts documenting things prior. Hopefully it's helpful info to the next person wanting to give it a shot and maybe they will have more time and resources to even better document stuff for the next person.
 

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A good practice for any fuel injected vehicle on first start after being off a while is to turn key to on position, then wait for a 5 count before actually starting.
Doesn’t work for push button starts though.



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Discussion Starter #5
From my research, the FJ doesn't start the fuel pump until the engine starts. The noise you hear with key on before starting appears to be related to the brakes. If you wait for the sound to stop and then step on the brake pedal, you will hear the pump sound start back up again.

Since replacing the pressure regulator the FJ runs better than ever. Very smooth power delivery and definitely has more acceleration pep. If my FJ started normal I would be totally happy with the results. I am going to add a note to my fuel pump write up about replacing the regulator on higher mile FJs because while mine was driving ok with the original, it is much improved with a new one.

At this point I have a new-ish fuel pump & inline filter, new pressure regulator and old injectors. With 216K miles on the original injectors I feel like I got my moneys worth out of them. I am replacing the injectors next but waiting to see if a bottle or two of Redline fuel system cleaner might not bring the injectors back to life now that there's better fuel delivery. Its just over $700 for new injectors, upper manifold gasket and radiator fluid to swap them out and if I can nurse them back to life for a few months that would help the budgeting :)
 

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The fuel pump most certainly starts on my 07 when key is in on position.
Listen... you can here it run ANDshut off when pressure is satisfied


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Discussion Starter #7
I used to think so too, try this: Turn the key on, let the "pump" run until it stops. Now step on the brakes and the pump runs more.

 

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"Its just over $700 for new injectors"

you can have them cleaned and tested by Doctor Injector

They clean, measure and replace seals on injectors, then engrave on each one the ideal location on the engine. Each injector also comes back with a leak and flow data sheet of its performance.
I can't find the receipt to remind me what the cost is, but it was much less than new and after their service the injectors are confirmed to be as good as new.

Norm
 

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Discussion Starter #10
ROMAD

I stand corrected. Never too old to learn new things.
All good my friend! It didn't occur to me until I followed the FSM for bleeding the rear brakes. That pump sound at startup will bleed the rear brakes for you, just roll the key on, have a helper stand on brakes and open a rear bleeder (from memory, check fsm).

And for the cleaning of the injectors..I hear you and I get it but I my FJ is only vehicle, can't be down for days/weeks waiting on cleaning. It's just a time equals money thing and the price of the injectors is cheaper than a week plus without a vehicle. If there was an exchange/core offering them I'd be interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Follow up to this one, I ended up not having to replace the injectors! Root cause ended up being a strange battery issue I had never seen before. FJ stopped turning over one day this week, would only click rapidly. Bad battery right? Sure enough. What tricked me through all this is up to and including the day the battery quit on me was that the resting voltage was always about 12.4 volts. Never seen that before, usually they stop holding a charge and read low.

New battery with new iridium plugs and new fuel pressure regulator the FJ now starts/runs better than I can ever remember.
 
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