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87 FX16 Sitting for 4 Years - No Start

2907 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  nielsorj
Yes, my 87 FX 16 has been sitting the garage for 4 years. I was going to paint it, myself, but just never got the sanding done. The engine was started maybe 2-3 years ago, just long enough to say that it started. Maybe 2 times. In any case it won't start now and the problem is fuel. NO FUEL to be more precise. If I use some starting fluid in the air cleaner, it will start, so not an engine problem, per se. Just no fuel getting to the engine.

I unhooked the fuel filter on the firewall and no fuel is making it to the fuel filter. So could be the line from the tank to the fuel filter, the fuel pump, or a clogged fuel pump inlet. I've now drained most all of the gas out of it and am ready to pull the tank but thought that perhaps there's something I should do BEFORE I go that far.

Best I can tell the fuel pump isn't making any sounds at all, so it very well could be that the fuel pump is just shot. It does have 286K miles on it and it is 20+ years old. Definitely could be the problem. I have the sending unit out and it's a little rusty but the float arm seems to have freed up a bit since it was removed and the rust brushed off of it.

I used some air pressure at the fuel filter line back to the tank/pump to see if I could blow back thru the line and perhaps clear any contamination at the fuel pickup in the tank. However, it didn't seem like it made it back to the tank. Upon thinking about this, it very well could be that you just can't reverse-flow air back thru the pump. Anyone have any specific knowledge about this?

And I was looking for the connector that you are supposed to jumper in the engine compartment near the wiper motor, but I'm not sure which of those (there are several in that area) are supposed to be used. This process is supposed to bypass the fuel pump relay. Anyone have knowledge of which connector specifically? I think there's only 1 with 2 terminals in it (it's round and it's yellow) and I tried that one, hear some clicking somewhere unknown at the top rear of the engine. But no sound from the fuel pump that I could hear.

Any suggestions what steps to take next? Or is it just 'pull the tank' because it needs to be cleaned anyway?
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After several years, the pump may have deteriorated. First thing I'd do is troubleshoot the pump and replace it if it's bad (assuming you already drained and installed fresh gas).
Fuel tank removed, cleaned, new fuel pump installed. No juice to the pump. I did the bypass with the connector in the engine dept and I have juice at the pump. That means the fuel pump relay is shot.

Where is the fuel pump relay?
And how to identify if there are multiple relays in that area? Haynes book tells you to replace the fuel pump relay, but see no where that it tells you where it is!!
That's interesting. I found a video on You Tube showing someone testing his FX16 fuel pump. The fuel pump runs when the key is turned to the START POSITION, not the run position. So when I was testing the relay, I just had the key turned to on, not START. That explains the results. Sure would be nice when people publish the auto repair manuals they EXPLAIN how the thing is supposed to work.

Well, on to testing/cleaning the line from the tank to the filter and then re-assembly.
Never did find the fuel pump relay. Well, it wasn't needed because the fuel pump seems to work A-OK. New fuel filter installed after flushing the fuel line between the pump and the filter. I don't have a fuel pressure gauge so don't know what the pressure is at the fuel log. That would be nice to know.

Got engine started though it was touch and go. Needed some starting fluid. Only running on 3 cylinders. I found that one cylinder wasn't firing (spark OK - but no fuel) so have ordered a new fuel injector that should be at the parts store in the morning. The symptom is that the plug is firing, but when you pull the pug wire, the engine doesn't slow down (more than just a little). The fuel injector is actually opening and closing as it's supposed to (Put screw driver to ear and injector and compare clicking sound with other injectors), but no fuel going thru. I guess that's what happens when you let a car sit for 4 years. Make that 5 - last time started was 2007.
Got the car out on the road today and it runs pretty well, at least above 4000 rpm. A little doggy at lower rpm. Perhaps a timing adjustment is in order. also, it starts quite slowly on first start, like it takes a few seconds (maybe 10 or so) for the fuel pressure to build up.

I would like to get the fuel gauge/sender to work. Gauge always shows empty. Of course, one possibility is that the float on the sending unit doesn't really float, it may always be at the bottom of the tank.

However, when I voltage test wires on the car side, not the gauge side, at the connector, on one side I have one white wire with no voltage (illuminates the fuel empty light when energized with 12V) , middle wire Yellow with green with battery voltage (12.67) and the other outside wire with 5.36 volts. I'm assuming that the 5.36 volt line is the line for the fuel tank gauge. I'm assuming it has 5.36 volts coming from the fuel gauge. With the engine running, and battery voltage fed to the yellow/red line, nothing happens to the gauge. It still shows empty. Is the yellow/red line the one that feeds the gauge? Must be as there isn't any other way to feed it that I can see. And is it possible that there is supposed to be a ground on the tank that makes the sender work? I didn't see any ground attached anywhere when I removed the tank.

Anyone have a guess as to whether it's the gauge or the sender?
I don't know if dealers actually have the senders, but they're like $135 in the parts catalog. OUCH.
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