I recently acquired an 86 GL wagon with 230,000 miles. For a few days after I brought it home, on cold starts in the morning it would fire up but idle at a very low RPM. It would stall, and have to be restarted until it seemed to warm-up and then it was fine. Then one day, after starting it and getting the same start-up symptoms I was driving it down the road and about four miles from my house, it stopped running while driving at 55mph down the highway. I coasted it to the side of the road and attempted to restart it. It presented symptoms similar to those when it was cold started, as described above --- fired but would not stay running or even idle. After repeated attempts, the engine progressively showed no sign of starting.
When I dump gas into the open throat of the carb the engine will start for a few seconds and then stall out. On seeing this I changed the fuel filter closest to the gas tank hoping that might be the problem. I attempted to start the engine equipped with the new filter but it would not start. Since the new fuel filter is clear, I noticed that after my prolonged attempt at starting, that almost no fuel had filled the new filter. If the fuel pump is pumping shouldn't all of the excess air in the filter be pumped toward the carb and thus get the air out of the fuel filter? Could my problem be anything else than a bad fuel pump?