Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

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Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby aliciatownshend [OP] » April 21st 2012, 3:19pm

I have a 2000 Astro van which stopped running while I was driving last Friday night. I left the movie theater, drove about halfway home, and after my traffic light changed, I turned the corner and had to coast to a stop. Was able to re-start the van while I was waiting for my tow to arrive; unfortunately, the van only ran for 30 secs. or so before dying again. The next morning at home I tried to start my van, it idled for a moment and then died. Since then, haven't been able to make the engine catch. When I turn the key forward there is a clicking that goes on for a few seconds; it clicks on/off anywhere from two to six times. Thought it was a bad relay, but after checking the fuses under the hood and inside on the driver's side of the van, I'm not so sure--they are all good. My father thinks it's the fuel pump, but because they are so expensive, he wants to check to be sure. We've now hit a dead end with siphoning the gas out. There is apparently an anti-theft feature employed, as we cannot force our siphon hose into the tank. The tank is 3/4 of the way full. Originally, my dad didn't want to remove the gas tank while it had so much fuel inside, but after unsuccessful siphoning attempts, he thought he'd try it anyway. Now, at this point, we can't figure out how to remove the gas tank from under the van.
A few extra notes (hopefully these help):
-I've been very regular about maintenance and have never let the fuel gauge drop below 1/2 tank. I was told once that driving around 1/4 tank or below can ruin a fuel pump quickly.
-Up until Friday night, I wasn't having any trouble with my van. It's a daily driver that makes a 60-mile round trip to work 5 days out of the week, and I often take it to the beach (100-mile round trip) on the weekends.
-I drive most frequently on main streets and side roads because the highways around my house are slow and congested during rush hour.
-Recently had the throttle position sensor replaced; and 6 months ago, had my 200K mile tune-up done.
-After turning the corner the night it died, I tried to accelerate since I'd been at a complete stop, and the van didn't sputter, choke, or anything else. It just seemed to not get any more gas, so I pulled over and coasted to a stop.

Lastly, I hope this is in the right category, I didn't see one specifically for fuel issues, and I'm not exactly a mechanical genius. If it's in the wrong spot, just let me know--I'll be glad to place my question in the right category.

Thanks!
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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby RECox286 » April 22nd 2012, 12:19am

In your post, you say you hear a clicking when you go to start the engine. Does that mean the starter is not cranking the engine ?

You are wise to first find out what the trouble is. If the starter is not cranking the engine, then you may be having other than

fuel pump issues. Like the Alternator is not charging the battery, or the battery is not taking/holding a charge.

If everything seems OK with the starting system, and the engine cranks, try a bit of starting fluid down the engine intake to see if

the engine runs. Next big thing is to have the fuel pump checked out by getting a pressure test. You may want to have a

mechanic run this test, rather than getting involved yourself, unless you are not afraid to get under the hood, and have access

or want to purchase the equipment. A pressure tester can be had at Harbor Freight, or any LAPS (local auto parts store).

Dropping the tank with that much fuel is definitely not a DIY project, unless you happen to have 2 floor jacks. 20 gal of

gas is around 140 # give or take, and if dropped would be awkward at least, and dangerous at best. Usually there are fuel lines

that have to be disconnected before letting the tank down fully on to the ground. That could present a problem for you.

Not saying that it is not a doable DIY project, but it really may be a hard one to cut your teeth on. Some of our group have located

and cut out some of the floor panel to gain access to the fuel pump without having to drop the tank, but that is dangerous too, because

of the possibility of damaging plumbing or the tank itself. Let us know what the outcome of the pressure test is, and we will go from

there. If you are intent on draining the tank, then you may want to remove the first piece of filler pipe (the piece that the cap attaches

to) and then insert a hose directly into the tank. Get a self starting siphon, rather than sucking on a plain hose and getting a mouthful

of fuel. Yuck !

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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby aliciatownshend [OP] » April 22nd 2012, 1:53am

Sorry, I should have clarified before. Starting system is fine, I hear the clicking before fully turning the key to try and engage the engine. I'll have to wait until Monday to purchase a pressure tester, but will update as I muddle through this. What sort of tools would I use to remove the filler pipe? I don't think I have anything that quite fits for the job.
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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby chevymaher » April 22nd 2012, 1:59am

It a rubber hose with 2 hose clamps on it. Accessed from under the van.
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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby RECox286 » April 22nd 2012, 4:37am

You should be able to take the clamps off with a 5/16" nut driver, socket or wrench. You will also need a 1/2" socket for the bolt that holds the

filler pipe to the frame, as well as a (IIRC) 15 torx driver for the screws holding the filler door, spacer and fill pipe.

Good hunting

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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby Lumpy » April 22nd 2012, 3:40pm

You don't have to BUY a fuel pressure tester. Nearly all auto parts stores will LOAN you the device. You pay a deposit (the purchase price) then return it and they refund your money. I wouldn't trust the gauges from Freight by the Bay.

Replace the fuel FILTER. Only costs a few dollars. It's vital to replace that if you're replacing the pump, or if you're suspecting any kind of fuel delivery problem.


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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby Jasen » April 22nd 2012, 10:15pm

What gives Lumpy. I expected your post to say, changed oil, PS fluid, brake fluid, tranz fluid, Dexcool, R134 and interferon modulator fluid :shrug:
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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby Lumpy » April 23rd 2012, 3:18pm

Jasen wrote:
What gives Lumpy. I expected your post to say, changed oil, PS fluid, brake fluid, tranz fluid, Dexcool, R134 and interferon modulator fluid :shrug:



I use Dexferon. It's good for six hundred and eleventy seven thousand miles.

I'm changing the fluid in my soldering iron today.


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Re: Suggestions for removing gas tank, please!

Postby windowlesswonder » May 16th 2012, 6:55pm

Lumpy wrote:You don't have to BUY a fuel pressure tester. Nearly all auto parts stores will LOAN you the device. You pay a deposit (the purchase price) then return it and they refund your money. I wouldn't trust the gauges from Freight by the Bay.

Replace the fuel FILTER. Only costs a few dollars. It's vital to replace that if you're replacing the pump, or if you're suspecting any kind of fuel delivery problem.


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