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1981-1983 Imperial Fuel Injection Tour - Fuel Starvation

Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Fuel -> 1981-1983 Fuel Injection -> Fuel Starvation


Question from Jay:

I had a problem with my car staling.  I pulled the fuel filter and checked for a clogged filter, but that was okay. I used a little starting fluid (ether) to start the car for a couple second of idle with the fuel line disconnected at a point after the fuel pump. Seems the fuel pump doesn't pump anymore. Either that or it is vapor-locked, which I know nothing about.

I could have a blockage in the fuel line somewhere between the fuel pump and tank, but I haven't had an opportunity to check that yet. I do have a new fuel pump for the '62 but I just haven't got around to installing it yet. It just might be time if the fuel lines check out okay. Anyway, we had the car towed home.

Anybody have any ideas why I can't start my car?


From Dick:

Did the car start normally after it cooled down? If so, vapor lock is most probably the culprit. If it didn't, it sounds like either a failed pump or another blockage, probably at the pickup sock in the tank.

One of the more subtle causes of vapor lock is a very small leak on the vacuum side of the fuel pump, allowing the pump to ingest air with the fuel. This can be anywhere from the fitting on the fuel pump all the way back to the tank connection. The leak can be too small to be a fuel leak, but still admit air to the system under vacuum. The only way I know how to identify such a situation is to (Mildly!) pressurize the tank to say about 10 PSI, then carefully inspect the whole fuel line and fittings from the tank to the pump for any seepage.

If you've got another blockage, its time to blow back from the front again 'til you experience those lovely gas bubbles, then figure out what's causing the recurrence.

If the pump is still the one that was on the car during its "big sleep", the modern fuel coupled with the unaccustomed activity has probably wiped it out. If this is the case, check the engine oil for contamination with fuel before restarting the car. We don't want to hear a BOOM all the way down here in Temecula.

Good luck. These are just normal teething problems for a car that has gone unused for a while, don't get discouraged.

 From Jeff:

The fuel starvation situation is certainly one of the little joys of owning almost any classic car. On the 1959, the previous owner had a supplemental electric fuel pump installed to correct the situation. I added an on-off switch so that, before starting, I used the electric pump to fill the float bowl. Once started, I turned the electric pump off and drove normally. In instance of vapor lock, a turn of the switch overcomes it.

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