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contaminated fuel?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 darsdoug

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 07:44 PM

Just had a 2001 Legacy L dropped in my yard that doesn't seem to like autozone fuel pumps? Will not run. I got a small amount of fuel to come out after taking the fuel line off the filter and blowing air into it with my super hero lungs a couple times. (yeah right-ha ha-cough cough)  Anyhow I got the two fluid ounces of fuel that dribbled out when I turned the key to start. I caught it in a clear drinking glass and it appears darkish grey and cloudy. The owner told me that the filter had just been replaced last year but I'm speculating she may have been thinking the fuel pump instead? I dunno? It's a clean Subaru L sedan and only has 115K miles on it. Fuel pump primes and the pigtail connector vibrates when key is turned to start. (not the crank position). No fuel coming thru the lines on either side of the filter. Warranty on the fuel pump is still in effect so I guess I'll see if I can get a replacement from autozone. I'll try to talk her into an OEM pump and filter though. I imagine there isn't a drain plug on the gas tank. I'll purge it from the top of the tank if it appears contaminated.



#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:07 PM

Not many cars have a drain plug on the fuel tank.

How many pumps have been put in over what length of time? Where do they normally get fuel?

Autozone pumps don't have the best reliability but cruddy fuel will kill even a good quality pump in no time.

Dark grey crud might be a collapsed fuel hose.

01 has the fuel pump cap problem, but you should still get SOME fuel at the engine. Maybe it fell off completely?

Edited by Fairtax4me, 04 April 2014 - 10:09 PM.


#3 nipper

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:16 PM

It is easy enough to pull the pump assembly out of the car, I would start there. Also you can take out a sample of fuel and let it sit in a clear glass container (covered) for an hour or two (usually I will let it stand over night). If the fuel is contaminated you will see dirt drop out, water raise to the top, and gasoline in the middle.

 

it is normal for a fuel pump on a roo to run a few seconds when it first turns on to pressurize the system. if the car does not start it will not keep running. You can if you feel adventurous hot wire the ump (still in the tank) and take a rubber hose to the outlet to get a bigger fuel sample. 



#4 darsdoug

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 10:56 PM

Not many cars have a drain plug on the fuel tank.

How many pumps have been put in over what length of time? Where do they normally get fuel?

Autozone pumps don't have the best reliability but cruddy fuel will kill even a good quality pump in no time.

Dark grey crud might be a collapsed fuel hose.

01 has the fuel pump cap problem, but you should still get SOME fuel at the engine. Maybe it fell off completely?

Not sure how many pumps it's gone thru but it sounded like it's been going thru them regularly the way she described it?(sheesh) I haven't found any receipts or invoices in the glove box related to the issue. I'm getting what I can from the mother. i.e. (info). Her kids drive the car but end up calling good ol' mom when it conks out. The auto repair garage in town wanted $575 to fix it. She promptly had it towed here instead. I'll disconnect the battery and pull the pump in the morning for a look see. Thanks.



#5 darsdoug

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 02:41 PM

Well I found that one of the lock tabs on the fuel pump cap had slipped off like Fairtax said and part of the O ring was hanging out. Local Subaru dealer here said he had just what I was looking for but when I got there all he had for me was a gas filler cap. See my avatar? ha ha. I specifically told him I wanted a fuel pump cap and O ring but I failed to tell him the parts were a component of the fuel pump assembly. (My bad) Naturally they didn't have what I needed so I put the cap and O ring back together and bent the tabs in a little for a better grip. I couldn't get any fuel pressure to the filter at first when I tried to start the engine so I disconnected the return line at the pump (thinking it was the supply line being a novice and all) and BINGO! I was now getting plenty of fuel pressure at the filter. I hooked everything back up (except the return line) and it started after cranking it over for about 15 seconds. (lost a good amount of fuel from the disconnected return line but shut it down quick as soon as I remembered that)  I think it was probably my fault for forcing air through the fuel line at the filter outlet with my air compressor? I may have also popped the cap and O ring off too when I did that? I think I'll just put a new fuel filter on it and call it good.


Edited by darsdoug, 06 April 2014 - 10:54 AM.


#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:42 PM

The cap is a common failure. They fail over time and once cracked/bent it will not hold for long.
There are aftermarket replacements available. They changed the design later to include a small filter so the replacement cap is different, but it fits the earlier pumps. If you search here you can find a link.

Did you get a sample of fuel from the tank to see what color it was?

#7 darsdoug

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:58 PM

The gas inside the tank looked o.k. but I'm still sort of stumped as to why I wasn't getting any fuel pressure at neither north or south of the filter until I pulled the return line off the tank? airlock??



#8 nipper

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 06:55 PM

stuck pressure regulator?



#9 darsdoug

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 12:22 AM

stuck pressure regulator?

Yes that came to mind. I'll pursue that. I think the ten percent alcohol in todays gasoline is slowly dissolving the inside of neoprene fuel lines and clogging fuel filters? Strongest industrial solvent known to man from what I've heard.



#10 nipper

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:41 AM

This car is designed for 10% alcohol in fuel. Now if someone put in E85, then yes that could be a problem. Ethanol has been around since the 70's so thats not an issue. BUT, and i do mean but, if someone put in E85 or loaded up on dry-gas along with regular fuel, then that could do it.



#11 darsdoug

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 11:13 AM

It looked like someone had been in the tank before because one of the locking tabs had broken off on the fuel pump cap and had been godzilla soldered back on. The threads on most of the ten little screws that anchor the fuel pump assembly to the tank had been stripped at some point too.



#12 Gloyale

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:15 PM

For future you don't want to blow compressed air though the fuel supply line.  Espescially not though the filter.

 

Compressed air could have trapped pressure between the regulator and the 2 way rollover valve.  Fuel could not enter until the pressure was released.

 

If you have to back blow a line use regulated air below ~20 psi.



#13 darsdoug

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 07:12 PM

For future you don't want to blow compressed air though the fuel supply line.  Espescially not though the filter.

 

Compressed air could have trapped pressure between the regulator and the 2 way rollover valve.  Fuel could not enter until the pressure was released.

 

If you have to back blow a line use regulated air below ~20 psi.

I thought I may have exacerbated the issues it was having by doing that? Thank you. The owner came and got it today and went flying off up the hill toward the horizon. :)


Edited by darsdoug, 06 April 2014 - 07:25 PM.





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