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FYI - Ran Out of Gas...

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Old 24 May 2005, 04:04 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: May 2005
Location: sacramento, ca.
Posts: 1
Default FYI - Ran Out of Gas...

I thought this info might come in handy for y’all, and I hope that I’m not too long winded…

My friend ran out of gas in his 2001 PT. After which he complained of it being hard to start and when it did start it lacked power. When I got to the PT it was parked on the level road, I got in and it started right off and ran fine (my friend looked shocked that it actually started!). I then pulled it up onto an inclined driveway (with the nose of the PT uphill) and left it running. After just a few minutes of good smooth idling I turned the PT off, waited about one half hour and tried to start it again. My friend seemed vindicated when the PT would barely start and ran so badly, well let’s just say it ran so badly that I would barely consider it running… I had my friend help me push it back onto the level road where it sat until the next morning.

I’ll imagine that many of you see where this is heading, but at any rate, I reckoned that an electric fuel pump either works or it does not, and I was leaning towards a clogged fuel filter until I discovered that there is only a pump pick-up strainer. That left only a couple of causes, clogged injector(s), or… air had somehow gotten trapped in the system.

Being one who prefers the lesser of two evils I fashioned a tool out of a 6” piece of 8-32 all-thread by bending the last inch or so of it over to form an “L” shape and then dressed the short end of the “tool”. Taking the tool, a couple of rags and a pair of goggles out to the PT I popped the hood and located the Fuel Injector Rail pressure test port (on the drivers side of the Rail). After removing the test port valve cover I started the COLD ENGINE, put on the GOGGLES, made sure that everyone understood that there was to be NO SMOKING, positioned the short end of the tool on the end of the test port valve stem and held one of the rags over both the tool and the end of the Rail. The rag didn’t get really wet with fuel until the third half second depression of the tool. I swapped the wet rag for a dry one and gave the valve stem a couple more depressions for good measure, turned off the engine and replaced the test port cap. I then had my friend drive the PT back up onto the driveway where it sat, engine off for a good thirty minutes. When we returned to the PT it started up without a problem.

Please allow me to qualify this technique by saying that my friend was very lucky in that he usually fuels his PT when the level of the tank is at or about one-quarter remaining. Because of this the fuel pump did not have to endure the damaging effects of overheating that being constantly ran in a tank with a low level will cause, also I don’t expect him to have the same luck should he run out of gas again.

Lastly let me touch on some safety aspects of this job… only attempt this on a cold engine, always wear eye protection, ensure that there is no smoking permitted in the area and wash any skin exposed to raw fuel as soon as you can. Care should also be taken when storing rags soaked in any flammable liquid, these rags were allowed to dry outside placed on top of a trash can cover that was located in the shade.

I hope this helps!

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Old 24 May 2005, 04:45 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 27,750

Glad it worked out for you and your friend. Could have been much worse with damaging the fuel pump itself or clogging the strainer. So what your saying, is that air got into the system and releasing the pressure from the test port got things going again. Think I'll just keep an eye on the level and not run out of gas...but thanks for the info. [^]
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Old 24 May 2005, 11:00 pm
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: May 2003
Location: South Bend, IN.
Posts: 473

A much safer method is with an inexpensive fuel pressure test gauge. They have a bypass button that allows the pressure to be bled down and also check for insufficient fuel volume.

The bleeder hose is simply inserted into a gas can to bleed the system.

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