S10 P0171 sluggish

My 96 s10 2.2 automatic has been giving me fits again. It starts chugging and barely running sometimes. seems not to happen with a full tank. And i kind of hear the fuel pump
louder when this happens. This happened on the interstate last night. It did not quit running, but i steadily lost speed and i pulled over and let it cool off. It seemed to maybe be backfiring but it was hard to tell. I could not pick up speed going up hill. Let it cool and Started it back up and went a few miles and it happened again. The check engine light came on with P0171 (system too lean bank1) Well, its a four so only one bank.
My suspicions are fuel pump, or plugged cat. Which would be more likely to set the system too lean code? I did change the external fuel filter on the frame rail. I have not had the fuel pump out of the tank yet (dam thing is over $200 to replace). I did buy a tampon looking in tank fuel strainer from autozone that i am going to try to put on if i can get the old one off. Any ideas here? AM i barking up the right tree? Or could this be the computer malfunctioning . (when this happened yesterday, it was 95 outside and i had the air running). Today in town, 1/2 tank, it putted around ok. No interstate High speed though. When this happened yesterday, it was hot on the temp gauge (225 or so), but it was not overheating and into the red zone. (and it was 95 outside with the A/C on). Volts were OK. Oil pressure ok. The code has not come back on since i had autozone scan it yesterday and clear it.
BOB
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Get a fuel preesure gage on it and confirm the problem, could also be the press. regulator.

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Quite likely it is your fuel pump. You'd need to check the fuel pressure when it was acting up to really know for sure..
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Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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Robert Hancock wrote:

I am going to change the pickup sock and see what happens. I thought the OBDII monitored the fuel rail pressure and set a code for it?? I guess not.
Those dam pump assemblies are over $200. You just cannot change the pump itself, its the whole module with level sender in some space frame set up with a lot a junk on it.
The one thing i don't have is a good fuel pressure meter. I would hate to spend too much for one just for a few tests. Even the harbor freight one with all the hoses was $100 or so.
BOB

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Quite a few stores rent tools.
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