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Hi guys, I have a bit of a mystery on my hands. I have a 200 Cirrus, with the 2.5 V6.

First a bit of background:

The problem I have is that when I get to about 1/4 tank the car would not start. The first time this happened, I took the car to Merchants, where they said it was a problem with the fuel pump, so they replaced it. Once they replaced the assembly, the car still wouldn't start. So the mechanic took the new one out, replaced the old one, and "discovered" that the problem was with the distributer. He replaced it, and viola, she started right up.

A few weeks later, and my "Check Engine Light" comes on, and I take it back. They tell me the mechanic didn't seal the fuel pump properly, so they replaced the gasket gratis.

This happened again (CEL), and I took it back, this time, the manager put in a brand new fuel pump assembly at no cost, since the mechanic had probably damaged it the first time (his words).

Fast forward a few months, and the same exact thing happens, in that with low gas (about 1/4 tank, she wouldn't start again). I take it back to them, and they claim it's my "Crank position sensor". I smell a rat ( his is a new manager), so I decline their offer to fix it, instead having them do some regular maintenance things (oil change, new breaks) and went on my way.

Now, we come to a week ago... once again, the fuel indicator said it was at about 1/4 tank, and she wouldn't start. This time, I took her to a local mechanic who my parents trust, and he said she was simply out of gas.


Now that I've hit you with the long story, here are my questions:

1. I religiously keep track of my fuel economy, and I can count on 20MPG every time I fill up. I use the method of topping the tank off, and dividing the miles driven since the last fill up by the amount of gas I use to fill her up. According to Allpar, the car has a 16 gallon fuel tank, which means I should be getting about 285-320 miles per fill up, yet each time this has happened, I was at about the 225 mile point. Does this mean I have about 5 gallons of water in my fuel tank?

2. Is the crank position sensor a legit cause of these issues?

3. The second mechanic mentioned that the float valve may have been damaged by the installation, and therefore not giving me an accurate reading. This makes some sense to me, but then why would I be getting such low miles between fill-ups, since I always fill the tank up every time I get gas?

4. Is there a product or a procedure I can follow to remove water from my fuel system, especially if it's this much?

5. Could there be another explanation for my problems?
 

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An intermittent crank sensor would fail regardless of fuel level. I doubt that it would fail only at a 1/4 tank. Next time it doesn't start, check for spark.
The fuel level sensor float may be hanging up inside the tank and there may also be wrong parts (pump or tank) causing problems. I have found some aftermarket (non-OEM) pumps very different than what came out of the car.
Mis-positioned pumps or bent float arms can also rub and stop on the inside wall of the tank. There should be an arrow on the pump and on the tank for lining up (clocking) the proper position.
I doubt that you have a 1/4 tank of water as fuel sloshing around while driving would cause stalls a lot of the time.
The tank should be drained and come down to remove the pump and be examined by a competent service technician.
 

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Agree above. If it were water you would be having problems every time you started, gas floats on water, thus the pump and filter sits on the bottom of the tank and it would suck water first. If indeed you are only putting in 11 gallons (roughly) fuel to refill the tank at the quarter tank mark when she dies on you, something is preventing that last five gallons from accessing the fuel pump, whether the pump is too high in the tank or something about the filter itself is preventing fuel from getting low enough to pick the gas up from the lower level.
 
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