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Thread: failing fuel pump

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    failing fuel pump

    Does a mechanical fuel pump fail all at once, or display intermittent problems like stalling, no start, sputtering while driving etc.? I have the 230 six in my first gen. The other day I came to a stop light, put it into neutral as I braked and it just stopped running. Did this a few times as I nursed it home, couple of times it wouldn?t restart for a minute or two. But when I got home I left it running and it just purred like a kitten at idle. Then restarted, then wouldn?t start. This morning, fired right up.

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    hmmmm, found this on the inter webs:

    If your vehicle has a mechanical fuel pump, it?s unlikely that the fuel pump has failed. This is because mechanical pumps tend to fail entirely?if you have a mechanical fuel pump with a problem, your engine isn?t getting any fuel at all. There?s no such thing as an intermittent mechanical fuel pump failure. Any power loss, engine ?choke? problems, etc. are being caused by something else.

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    VCVC Member van-itti's Avatar
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    Not sure where you found that info...

    In my experiences, a failing pump will act like that. Sudden stall, wont start, then runs fine...Repeat.
    Then it will quit entirely. Just swap it out.
    Mike

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    My money's on the fuel filter, if there is one. Or the ceramic filter in the carb fuel inlet. If there is one.

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    Could it be the plug connector in the doghpuse?

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    Yes, fuel pumps can fail intermittently. It's not common but does happen.
    108VanGuy...
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 ring 4 Spd. with OD, 2.73 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
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    Unlikely!
    More likely that there is a plugged filter after the pump and the backpressure is causing the pump to idle......Replace/clean all filters first!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tinlizard View Post
    My money's on the fuel filter, if there is one. Or the ceramic filter in the carb fuel inlet. If there is one.
    ceramic filter, that?s a possibility. The inline one is new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 65dream View Post
    Could it be the plug connector in the doghpuse?
    plug connector?

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    VCVC Member SAVAGE's Avatar
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    My guess he taking about the doghouse(motor) wiring harness connector
    1st gen connecter by carb
    2nd gen on driers side of doghouse, under seat(for wires that run across floor to motor)
    Hope that makes sense & helps
    Tom

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    Thanks savage. Yes that's what I was trying to say

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    OK, the wiring looks OK and undisturbed.

    The I6 230 fuel filter is not so easy to find, most parts shops online showed me electric inline pumps which might be great, but then I gotta figure out how to wire it. I ended up finding a mechanical one at Brothers, LMC was more expensive.

    I have a fuel filter in between the tank and pump which I will replace (again, just did it a couple months back). Do I need one in between pump and carb?

    The ceramic filter in the carb looked fine but I got a new one just in case. As soon as everything arrives I?ll do the swaps.

    BTW - how many of you have pulled your tank to have it flushed? I really don?t want to do that but heaven knows what crap might be sloshing around in there. However, when I last changed the filter I tore open the old one (not a see-through type) and it looked OK, not clogged with a bunch of dirt or rust.

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    Replaced the fuel filter before the pump, the pump itself, and the ceramic filter in the carb. Went for a test drive and everything working great, even seems to idle better. Then yesterday I get up and drive the three miles to the beach to go surfing. Get clobbered by a few big waves, ride a few, then head home. Going down a steep hill I come to the red light and stop, and so does the engine. At a busy intersection, of course. Restart and it dies, Restart and it dies. Restart and it keeps running, make it the final mile and a half home.

    So what gives now? Already rebuilt the HEI. it always cranks over for the eventual restarts. Bad voltage regulator? horn relay? ignition switch? Rebuild the carb? Maybe the carb has some issues from all the additives in current gas???

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    My fuel filter would always get clogged and make the van die I always would carry a spare. I'm sure my tank just needs to be cleaned out

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    Maybe the filter got clogged again. Or just a your tank clean.

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    I put on a clear plastic filter so I could check it, but clogged with only 15-20 miles on it? I have not looked at it with a bright flashlight yet but I will. No telling what crud is in the tank, I?ve never really wanted to pull it out from under there. Tank is 2/3 full right now.

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    VCVC Member Richie66's Avatar
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    When I got my 66 GMC running 10 years ago I had the same problem. After a few months of daily driving I had to drop the tank because it would stall all the time. I was able to shake out at least a cup or 2 of rust and 2 lengths of plastic tubing I guess from back in the day of the gas shortage when people were stealing gas. I never had it professionally cleaned and it ran ok but I had to constantly change the fuel filter. It turned rust color about every other week and I did carry spares for a quick change on the road. The shop that recored my radiator said they could dip and seal the tank for like $250 bucks at that time but I thought it was good enough to drive. It was not a good choice and wished I had done it then. Being a novice mechanic I watch to many of those car repair shows on TV and the first thing they all do is check the gas and tank and replace or have it cleaned before they build whatever they are working on. Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
    1964 Sears van current project
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richie66 View Post
    When I got my 66 GMC running 10 years ago I had the same problem. After a few months of daily driving I had to drop the tank because it would stall all the time. I was able to shake out at least a cup or 2 of rust and 2 lengths of plastic tubing I guess from back in the day of the gas shortage when people were stealing gas. I never had it professionally cleaned and it ran ok but I had to constantly change the fuel filter. It turned rust color about every other week and I did carry spares for a quick change on the road. The shop that recored my radiator said they could dip and seal the tank for like $250 bucks at that time but I thought it was good enough to drive. It was not a good choice and wished I had done it then. Being a novice mechanic I watch to many of those car repair shows on TV and the first thing they all do is check the gas and tank and replace or have it cleaned before they build whatever they are working on. Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
    Ugh?. been hoping its not that. I suppose somewhere on here are a couple of threads on dropping the tank. I still have 2/3?s of a tank of gas so I guess I?ll be driving to the beach a little longer on pins and needles.

    Anyway, the clear fuel filter still looks fine (as it did the other day when the van died). While researching possible electrical issues I noted I did not have a ground strap from the engine to the body so I added that. I doubt that is the issue. The red power wire to the HEI was dangling so it could touch the crossmember so I secured that as well. Can?t hurt.

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    VCVC Member SAVAGE's Avatar
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    Do you have a vented gas cap???
    Tom

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    VCVC Member LedZeppvan's Avatar
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    My van gave me terrible fits. It would just die while driving. Then it would start and go for awhile... we checked the line by blowing in it and listening at the tank. Changed the filters. I dropped the tank three times. Just put a jack under it if it has gas... if I can do it 3 times... you can. But most likely if the filter inside is clean when you remove it from the tank, Your tank is ok, but I am not expert by any means.
    I even did an electric pump inside a gas can to carb in the van to see if that made a difference. Nothing made a difference. I finally had my carb professionally rebuilt. Never had an issue after that once carb was remanufactured and adjusted. Good luck!
    Jacke

    1964 GMC Handi-Van Custom 350
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    1957 Karman Ghia Project

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    Quote Originally Posted by SAVAGE View Post
    Do you have a vented gas cap???
    . No. It?s One of those chrome caps with a lock, presses in place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LedZeppvan View Post
    My van gave me terrible fits. It would just die while driving. Then it would start and go for awhile... we checked the line by blowing in it and listening at the tank. Changed the filters. I dropped the tank three times. Just put a jack under it if it has gas... if I can do it 3 times... you can. But most likely if the filter inside is clean when you remove it from the tank, Your tank is ok, but I am not expert by any means.
    I even did an electric pump inside a gas can to carb in the van to see if that made a difference. Nothing made a difference. I finally had my carb professionally rebuilt. Never had an issue after that once carb was remanufactured and adjusted. Good luck!
    There is a filter inside the tank? If so its gotta be toast.

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    just ordered a carb rebuild kit from Mikes Carburetor Parts, we?ll see how that goes.

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    why does the forum replace all my apostrophes with a ? mark???

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    Making some headway

    A friend suggested it could be a bad PCV valve causing issues so I researched that and bought a new one even though the one I had seemed fine but they are cheap. While I was researching PCV valves I concluded that my air intake and valve cover setup seemed out of whack. It seems like no one likes to post pictures of GM inline sixes from the carb side as 95% of Google images searches show the passenger side but I managed to realize hardly anyone with the stock connector can on top of the one barrel carb had any hose going in or out of the can. My can has two tubes coming off it, one was plugged, the other connected a hose coming out of the front driver side of the valve cover. I am guessing the theory would be for clean air to go in to the valve train area so that air/blow by gases could get sucked out of the PCV tube and into the intake manifold. But I kept scratching my head thinking wouldnt the carb sucking in air through the air cleaner/filter also suck in air from that tube coming out the side of the valve cover? The inside of the can was all dirty/greasy, the inside of the top of the carb also greasy and dirty. My son was nodding his head and thinking there should be a one way valve in that connection, which is what the PCV valve is. My thought now is that somewhere along the line the coffee can was replaced by a later 70s model with some smog crap on it?

    I wish I could post a picture so you could see what I mean.

    So I removed that hose and plugged the connecting tubes and got a new vented oil fill cap for the top of the valve cover. I also cleaned up and painted the valve cover and air cleaner assembly (that could be part of the solution ha ha). I previously had an old fashioned simple oil fill cap that I don t think sealed all that well and maybe the nice chrome bow tie cap I added a few months ago sealed tight, causing the PCV to be starved?? Who knows. So I started it up and sprayed a lot of CRC carb cleaner down the carb. Now it runs really smooth and very quiet. I went for a long test ride and had no issues.

    So far I have:

    - Replaced the cap, rotor and HEI module - everything running fine for three months then stalling came back.
    - Changed fuel filters including the one in the carb, replaced the fuel pump - seemed to work then stalling returned.
    - replaced PCV and deleted the hose on side of valve cover and carb can which no one in online photos seems to have.

    So what I have left now if the problem persists is to rebuild the carb and if that doesnt work, drop the fuel tank and see how that is.

  26. #26
    VCVC Member Kedvan4's Avatar
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    Many years ago I ran into the same kind of issues with my 69/90. Idled fine in the driveway. Seemed to stall when stopping at the busiest intersections but also sputtered under acceleration sometimes. Chased it with ignition, fuel pump, filter, rebuild carburetor. Finally hooked a boat fuel tank to test line from tank and it ran fine. When I dropped the tank I found the short piece of rubber hose from tank to fuel line was cracked, leaking and hard as a rock of course. I figured It was sucking air and couldn't keep fuel bowl full. Cleaned out the tank, installed new hose and that seemed to solve my stalling, hard to restart after stalling and sputtering on slight rapid acceleration problem. The hardest part removing the tank was fill and vent hose removal without damaging them. Just my 2 cents. These girls are labors of love.

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