Tuesday, November 15, 2011


So I drained the gas the other day, and got about 8-9 gallons out of it. Since the tank was full, and I think it's a 12 gallon tank, we had lost a fair amount to evaporation, but the gas was still usable and I put it in various cars. I got new gas, put some in the tank, hooked the lines back up and tried to start the car, but nothing happen. I ran the fuel pump manually to pressurize the fuel rail, and tried to start it again. One cylinder fired once, and that was it. This was the pattern - after waiting for a bit, I would try to start, and one cylinder would fire once and nothing else would happen.

I finally pulled off the air intake hose to the manifold and poured a little gas in from the spout of the can. I tried to start it again, and the engine caught and ran for a second or two. So now I knew everything was working, and there was a problem with fuel delivery. Somehow either the airflow meter was sending a bad signal, the computer was bad, the injectors weren't getting a signal, or - maybe they were just stuck closed, which is what I was hoping although it seemed unlikely they would all stick closed at once.  At any rate, it wasn't starting.

I left it alone for about a week, busy at work, and last night just randomly tried to start it again. Nothing happened, and I realized the emergency cutoff switch was being flaky. I wiggled it, the ignition came on, and I cranked the engine again. Two cylinders fired, and this time the engine stumbled and miraculously kept running, belching smoke and coughing on two cylinders while I did a delicate dance on the accelerator pedal. Then another one caught, and it smoothed out a little. It gained some revs as it warmed up, and then suddenly the last cylinder fired and it was running smoothly!

My excitement knew no bounds, in spite of the smoke beginning to pour from under the hood from a bad oil leak which had been caking on the manifold for two years.  The injectors had apparently been stuck closed, and the cold start injector probably as well.  The fresh gas sitting in the fuel rail must have dissolved some of the deposits - perhaps we'll run some injector cleaner through in our first tank of gas. The car sounded really good, missing occasionally, but it idled quite smoothly. We'll have to fix the various fluid and vacuum leaks, but we've taken a long step towards rectifying two years of neglect!

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