Fueling Around

One of the many — many! — things I had to do during my last trip to Phoenix was see about getting my father’s old car started. Why he didn’t trade it in when he bought a new car a few years ago is something I don’t understand, but so be it.

The car is a 2001 Ford Focus wagon with under 13,000 miles, and because it had been sitting in the garage for a very long time, that’s only a thousand miles per year. Heck, I used to run twice that much, averaging 40 miles per week on foot!

I already knew from my previous visit the car wouldn’t start. I had checked the oil and the antifreeze, but when I turned the key to accessories there was nothing. Using an ancient battery charger my father bought as a joke gift for my mother 50 years ago — that she did not appreciate — I charged the battery. It took and held the charge.

The engine cranked but it wouldn’t catch. So a couple of weeks ago I had the car towed to a garage. Thanks to a small engine repair class I had taken, I knew the problem had to be in the fuel system. This video link should start at a point that shows exactly what the garage found. Starter fluid got the engine going, but the fuel pump was shot.

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Blog of Douglas E. Pratt

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