Van won't start - no gas

Van won't start - no gas

Postby gillbates [OP] » August 20th 2011, 12:27am

Condition - the car cranks but no fire.
test1 - turn key on and listen for pump check
test2 spray starter fluid down throttle body and start - van starts, runs a few seconds, stalls diag: no gas
test3 push schrader valve gas spews
test4 hook up pressure gauge, zero pressure
plan of action - change filter, if no pressure change pump
(I still have the original filter at 130,000 miles (i know)).
I sprayed it with a lot of pb blaster but it's rusty as hell. A thunderstorm came rolling in so I thought I'd go ahead and post to see if anyone has any suggestions for getting it off without destroying the fuel line. If I end up having to replace it does anyone have any insights into that job?

Thanks.
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby Leeann_93 » August 20th 2011, 1:47am

More PB, sprayed liberally and often. Give it a couple taps with something metal here and there - that helps jump-start the capillary action to suck the stuff into the joints.

Use the proper flare nut wrenches so you don't round the nuts.
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby Phantom » August 20th 2011, 2:04am

If worse comes to worse there are options with using fuel line compression fittings and couplers to put a short piece of new line on ; but PB Blaster will likely work if you give it time to work , it sometimes takes several times and a few days to dissolve the corrosion , It may not look like it removed the rust as it only needs to dissolve enough to turn the nut , when it starts to move , slowly work it turning thread in and out and it will work free , It be better to wait it out than to use the fittings
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby RECox286 » August 20th 2011, 2:20am

This is going to be scary:

The problem is that the flair nuts weld themselves to the hard pipe. (rust and corrosion)

(There is no way I can recommended the following proceedure.) Even I cringed, however:

If you are really careful (really careful) you can cut the filter in half, then it becomes much easier to unscrew the 2 halves from the fuel fittings, then carefully loosen the fittings, one at a time, from the fuel line.

It is not an easy job, but in the end, I was able to save the fuel line fittings, and after cleaning them up and with an application of antiseize compound, I was able to get a new filter to fit like just like when the truck was new.

Bob

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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby AstroWill » August 20th 2011, 2:30am

Yea, need to change that filter anyway, should do it more frequently for good pump life.

Seems odd that you are getting fuel spewing out of the schrader valve, but no pressure? Was that a key on engine off test, or was that cranking? Any check engine lights?

Could also be a sensor, someone with a better memory than I can tell you which one(s) tell the fuel pump to run while the engine is running. This could make it where the fuel pump runs when you first turn on the key, but maybe it isn't running after cranking the engine.

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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby RECox286 » August 20th 2011, 3:23am

The OIL PRESSURE SWITCH near the distributor runs the fuel pump while the engine is running, or at least making pressure enough to keep the switch closed.
(This is why some engines are hard to light off. No prime, but continue to crank engine until there is enough oil pressure to run fuel pump.)

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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby gillbates [OP] » August 20th 2011, 3:27am

Hi all, My power went off right after I posted. I'm actually running off of a portable generator right now.

I had hit it with PB Blaster and then gone inside to get my ASE flare wrenches which I found out were not even close. I got some metric wrenches and the flare nuts seem to be 16 mm. I tried to lightly turn them but it wasn't looking good and the storm was rolling in so I hit it with more pb and went in. After the power went off I drove over to sears and got some metric flare wrenches so at least I'll have the correct tool tomorrow when I try again. I've also got some fancy BG in-force penetrating oil. This stuff actually has a paint ball inside the can so you can shake it up before using but I don't think it works much better than pb.

I was wondering about the pressure test too. It's not like the gas is shooting across the cabin when I push the schrader in but it's getting some pressure. It's a brand new gauge (well actually it's a couple years old but it's the first time I've used it) so it should work. I hooked it to the schrader and cranked the car and didn't get any reading. But when I unscrewed it some gas came out so there has to be some.
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby AstroWill » August 20th 2011, 4:33am

gillbates wrote:I was wondering about the pressure test too. It's not like the gas is shooting across the cabin when I push the schrader in but it's getting some pressure. It's a brand new gauge (well actually it's a couple years old but it's the first time I've used it) so it should work. I hooked it to the schrader and cranked the car and didn't get any reading. But when I unscrewed it some gas came out so there has to be some.


I would try connecting it again and do a KOEO test without trying to start the engine, might have to cycle it a couple of times to let it build up pressure.

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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby gillbates [OP] » August 20th 2011, 5:14am

I'm back on main power. I had thought about the cut it in half trick but I think I'll try to avoid that. If I have to do that I think I'll cut it off just past the flare nut and maybe use my dremel tool to try and split the part the flare nut screws into.
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby Phantom » August 20th 2011, 12:40pm

gillbates wrote: If I have to do that I think I'll cut it off just past the flare nut and maybe use my dremel tool .

AVOID SPARKS ,,,,,,maybe if be better to squash the filter with channel locks then cut it with
tin snips ......
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby RECox286 » August 20th 2011, 2:16pm

When I cut mine, I used a tool that was designed to cut exhaust system pipe. It looks like the cross between a bicycle chain with cutters and the handle end of an oil filter wrench (the metal strap type)

I believe they are still available and they don't produce any sparks.

Ref: KD Tools # 2031

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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby gillbates [OP] » August 20th 2011, 4:13pm

Good and bad news on the Astro front. The good news is I was able to replace the fuel filter. Also when I blew through the old one it was clogged. The bad news, the car still isn't getting gas. My gauge still reads zero but I know there's some pressure there as I could hear a hiss when I took it off. I hooked the gauge up to my Buick, to make sure it worked, and it came right up to 40 psi when I turned the key on.

I took a look at fuel pump prices and I'm looking at $350 for an ac/delco. Bummer. Does anyone have any suggestions before I go for it? I don't usually mind being a parts changer but at that price it hurts.
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby Phantom » August 20th 2011, 4:31pm

Can you hear the fuel pump prime for a few seconds when you turn the key on? if so have you tried
turning it on then off and on /off and let let it prime 4 or 5 times then try to start ? does it fire up and then die without the starting fluid ?
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby gillbates [OP] » August 20th 2011, 4:39pm

I have not tried the multi prime trick yet but I just got off the phone with my gm parts buddy (the stars must be lined up cause he was working today) and he found one for 280 which is 50 better than rock auto. So I'm happy about that at least. I'll try the multi prime trick before I go get it.
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby RECox286 » August 20th 2011, 4:40pm

As far as I am concerned, I have always used the Airtex brand. You will hear that Airtex is "crap" when other members see this post, however, I have been using this brand for about 20 years with no

problems. They are built to OE specs, and I get as good a service from them (mean time between failures) as with the factory originals. Ethanol eats the small piece of rubber that connects the

pump to the rest of the module. Can you hear the fuel pump running ( gas cap off, ear to the filler, have someone twist the key to RUN, (not Start) the pump should be audible for 2 seconds while

it "primes" (pressurizes) the fuel rail. If you do hear it, then drop the tank and inspect the small piece of rubber hose that connects the pump to the rest of the module. Ethanol has been eating this

piece, thus rendering a no pressure situation in the fuel rail due to a leak in the plumbing at the pump end. (not visible from the outside) and causing many good pumps to be changed. Depending on the age, and

mileage, (10 years, 150k mi to set a number) consider that the pump should be changed as a matter of pending high time failure. If the rest of the module is OK, and you can just get a pump, I would suggest you

remove the module and replace the pump only. If you have a problem with the fuel gage not working correctly, then replace the entire module. There should be a harness upgrade with the kit, be sure to use it.

When changing the pump, there is a "sock" on the bottom of the pump, be sure to change it also, the warrantee is not valid with out proof of replacement of the sock, as well as the in line filter.

Good hunting, sir.

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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby Phantom » August 20th 2011, 5:20pm

gillbates wrote:I have not tried the multi prime trick yet but I just got off the phone with my gm parts buddy (the stars must be lined up cause he was working today) and he found one for 280 which is 50 better than rock auto. So I'm happy about that at least. I'll try the multi prime trick before I go get it.

The multi prime trick is mostly to help confirm if the pump is weak, if you plan to change the pump then the multi prime thing won't be needed , but you may do it just to see how it does , changing the pump should help resolve the problem
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby gillbates [OP] » August 20th 2011, 5:57pm

Thanks Bob, that's good info. I have 130,000 miles on it (and a brand new ac/delco fuel pump) so I guess if I have to drop the tank I might as well change it. It's interesting that you mentioned Airtex as the AC/Delco distributer, where I picked up my pump, had one sitting on their counter. But it's not just this site that convinces me to by AC/Delco (although that's a big part of it). I have to listen to my GM parts buddy too.

I don't have to put my ear to it to hear it prime. I can hear it plain as day from the drivers seat. So I suspect you are correct that the pump just doesn't have a good seal. The new pump came with the sock and wire harness so I'm good there.

Time to review the fuel pump sticky.
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby AstroWill » August 20th 2011, 6:34pm

Good job on the filter! Once you drop the tank you will see that it's not too bad. Hopefully the fuel pump change goes smoothly.

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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby gillbates [OP] » August 20th 2011, 7:59pm

OK, the guard is off, the filler neck is loose from the body, the hose clamp to the filler neck is loose but the hose is welded on but the whole thing should come down, I've loosened the inside bolts. Now before I drop the tank how do I disconnect the fuel lines? They look like some kind of quick release deal. Do I need to run over to advanced and get a special tool?
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Re: Van won't start - no gas

Postby Lumpy » August 20th 2011, 8:28pm

RockAuto has Delphi and/or ACDelco fuel pumps for ~ $40.
FP strainer (required for warranty) is another 5 bucks.


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Van Model Year: 1989
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Extra Info: 11 in. lift Camo

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