First, as harsh as it sounds, Bill's comment is correct. Doing your own
repairs without the proper tools or knowledge can be very expensive. It may
very well be that you can not afford to fix this car at this time. I have a
large amount of tools and knowledge and have still had to face this very
issue. One of the most frustrating things is to sell a car you know that
your could fix if... The other is to do the same thing AFTER sinking a lot
of money into it chasing your tail.
The fuel filter was a valid suspect. A good first choice, but now it
looks like this repair could get expensive. When you run dry you get
debris, as well as what ever sludge is in the bottom of the tank. As this
car sits up a lot, it would have a lot of varnish and sludge, as well as
possible inert gas. Step one, is to disconnect the fuel line at the fuel
distributor and check pressure. (While cranking) Also, pull a sample of
fuel from that point, and light it far away from the car. If you have poor
fuel, or water in the lines, it will burn differently from fresh gas... If
the pressure and fuel are good at this point, do the same thing at each
injector to eliminate the fuel distributor as an issue. Still OK, and you
have to pull the injectors and test them. Good luck.
Lee (A different one)
Given the history I believe that the fuel pick-up strainer inside the
fuel tank is plugged up.
You can confirm or disprove this by opening the exit fuel line (from the
pump to the engine) and activating the ignition to START. Fuel, under
considerable pressure, should gush from the line, if so, be ready to
capture it. But if a mere trickle dribbles from the open line the
problem is either in the fuel pick-up screen, also known as a sock, or
the pump(s) are bad.
Removing and cleaning the screen is the next step and much cheaper than
replacing the pump(s) which will be the last step, if necessary.
As I proof read this message it occurs to me that given the erratic fuel
gauge and this incident you should inspect the fuel tank sump for sugar.
If sugar is found inside the fuel tank the tank must be cleaned and the
fuel system purged to eliminate it. Sorry to dump such a thought on you
this holiday but it's a possible cause of the problem.
Another possible problem could be water in your gas. Someone may have put
some in your tank or you may have picked up some bad gas at a filling
station. Since water is heavier than gas it settles to the bottom where the
intake line and filters are. The water can clog the intake thus stopping
the fuel supply to the engine. After the engine has been off for a period of
time the water in the tank will move away from the intake...you can then
start and run the engine again, but soon the water will stop the flow of
fuel to your injectors (or carb if the car has one) and the engine will die.
The only solution for this problem is to remove and wash out the fuel tank.
Auto stores have a water detector compound. You might want to give it a
I had a very similar problem with one of my 1985 190e's. I had spark, It
was getting fuel, & sounded like it was about to start....but not quite.
It I pumped the gas pedal A LOT while cranking it, it would start after
about 25 seconds of cranking - sometimes.
My problem turned out to be where the throttle cable attaches under the air
cleaner - The spring was simply worn out. Therefore was not returning the
linkage to the fully closed position.
When I replaced the spring - problem solved. It's my "parts" car, and now
starts easier than my other 85.
It's a longshot, but if it happened to me. I'm sure someone else is going
through the same nightmare I was. It slips past the basic troubleshooting
Anyway, good luck.
writes: (at end of message)
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