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1993 Explorer sitting for over 2 years. Doesn't start

Kesp4.0

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1993 Explorer XLT
Well I was an idiot and neglected to start the thing so I'm not very surprised. I did some axle repairs back in January of 2012 and then parked it and never started it again. I did drain the gas tank of as much as I could get out.

Now I have purchased many parts and am ready to get back to work on it, and I filled the tank with about 4 gallons of gas and some B12 additive. The vehicle cranked and cranked but wouldn't fire. I checked the inertia switch, seems fine. I checked the fuel pump relay and even replaced the stock one with a new Borg-Warner relay, and while it seemed to really pick up the cranking it still wouldn't fire.

Lastly, I opened up the Schrader valve on the fuel rail and held it open while cranking and- nothing. Do you guys think the fuel pump is gummed up/shot? Maybe a clog in the line? I have a brand new fuel pump to install but I'd rather get it started and get it in the garage to start work on it instead of dropping the tank out in the cold and replacing it. I figure I might just hook a tow strap to it to get it into the garage. Any ideas? Here's a pic of her 10 years ago back when she was 100%
113_zps32b6a926.jpg


Add 100K miles, a car accident and some neglect - current condition:

image_zpsb91e257d.jpg
 


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natenkiki2004

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Do you hear the fuel pump run? Turn the key but don't crank it, you should hear a humm that quits in a few seconds. If you do, you might have to do that a few times to prime the system.

If the hum is there and it still won't start, try some starting fluid and see if it fires, if so then you have a fuel delivery issue. Could just be stuck injectors or a rotted fuel pressure regulator that's dumping all the pumped fuel back into the tank.
 




rhauf

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I've had several ford fuel pumps go bad from sitting (for a year or more) without being run. especially if the tank is "empty" i think moisture condenses in the pump and jams up the vanes.

replace the pump, it'll probably fire right up.
just don't get a crappy autozone pump.. i had 2 bad ones in a row from autozone and got one at napa which finally worked. I don't remember the manufacturers.
 




Kesp4.0

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I'm not hearing any audible hum but I have turned the key and listened near the gas tank opening with the cap off and can hear sort of a sloshing sound. Also, when I try starting a few times with the cap tightly fitted, after it fails to start I remove the cap and air is released or sucked in (I can't tell which). Does that indicate anything? And as for the pump- I didn't buy the crappy Vatozone one, and instead went for a Spectra Premium that I found online.
 




natenkiki2004

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You should be able to hear the pump, even inside the vehicle with all the doors closed.
 




Anime

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As mentioned, you should hear a pretty loud whirring when the fuel pump primes when you first turn the key before starting. If not, and there is just some gurgling / buzzing, it might be that the fuel pump is bad or isn't getting full power. Check the fuel pump relay and swap it out with another to see if anything changes.

You should also consider that most fuel these days is ethanol, and when that sits for a long time, it often turns to a slimy goo. At this point, the stuff that was left in the gas tank could have turned into a thick paste and mixing it with new gas doesn't do much since the fuel pump pickup is at the bottom of the tank deep in the goo.

It might even be that the fuel pump was fine until it tried to suck up that goo, and then it burnt up.

You should probably pull the fuel neck hose from the back of the fuel tank and shine a flashight in there and/or stick a siphon hose in to see what's what.

The air getting sucked into the tank when the cap is opened indicates that the tank vent system is probably clogged. Usually this means the charcoal canister, but in this case I'd suspect the line going to the canister is what's clogged, with the same thick goo as what's in the tank.

This may not be the case, and hopefully you can get it running again without much trouble, but this is just a best guess based on what I know about Explorers sitting around for a few years with fuel in the tank.
 




Kesp4.0

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Looks like I will have to drop the tank. I will also pull off the evap canister and rebuild it since I was planning on it anyways. Is the vent line from the tank to the evap canister a rubber line? If so, should I just replace it or should I purchase some type of gas line cleaner? I think when I drop the tank I'm going to clean it myself or have a radiator shop clean it out since it has all that ethanol goo crap in it.
 




natenkiki2004

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Take pictures of what you find, I'm rather curious as to what might be inside :)
 




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The vent line is probably just another fuel line along the inside frame rail, with rubber hose on either end, going to the tank and the charcoal canister.

Dropping the tank would be the easiest way to fully clean it out, you can probably just do it yourself just draining the tank, scooping out any goo by hand (wearing chemical-resistant rubber gloves, of course) and then scrubbing the inside with mineral spirits, letting it dry, then rinsing with some ethanol-free gas.

You'll probably want to replace the fuel filter as well.

I don't think you'll need fuel line cleaner, you can probably use mineral spirits or ethanol-free gas in a plastic syringe and push it through the lines to clean them out, or maybe just do it dry so the air pressure forces any goo out. You can also use compressed air for this, but I would keep the pressure pretty low so a rusty or corroded line doesn't burst under high pressure. Safety goggles when doing any of this would be a good idea so you don't get any of that stuff in your eyes if it splatters.

If you don't find any goo in the tank, that at least will let you know the problem is something else, but cleaning it out is probably still a good idea.
 




Kesp4.0

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Thanks, guys. I'll try to tackle this thing within the next few days and I'll be sure to take some pics of what I find along the way. I've got a can of thinner to clean the tank and lines out, and everything I need to rebuild the charcoal canister. Looks like I need to pick up a fuel filter as well.
 




Kesp4.0

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Quick update on this one. It took a long time to get any time to work on this issue because of, well, life happening. But I am back on it and finally dropped the tank today. The sending unit is rusty as all hell, the filter had broken off and was sitting in the bottom of the tank, along with a lot of debris. The wiring on the sending unit was eaten up and corroded as well, and the gasoline was dyed green because of the wiring being rotten. I will take pictures and post them up as soon as I can.
 




shucker1

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My guess is that the ethanol gas absorbed water and the water helped corrode the wiring.

Kinda of a good thing that none of the wrecked wiring shorted out inside the tank with gas vapors inside.
 




2stroke

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That sounds like good old ethanol gas. If you ever store a anything in the future, only use non-ethanol gas and treat it with a fuel stabilizer like Stabil. You might benefit from running new fuel line as well. Ethanol separates from water and the insides of metal lines can corrode, and ethanol eats rubber lines.
 




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