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Hi from Canada. 1955 Buick Special HT


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Bought the car in February of 2021. Pretty much an original car might have been painted once. Runs well except for a weird fuel issue which is why I joined this group. 

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Weird fuel issue is this,

First drive on the car since acquiring it. Driving the car with no issues, power was good, no sputtering, missing etc. Running premium fuel. I wasn't tracking how far I had driven when it began acting like it was running out of fuel and then it died. The fuel gauge was still reading fuel so thought maybe it was possible that the tank was empty. Got my wife to bring me a 10 gallons of fuel. Put the fuel in the tank and it only took 8 gallons to be full. Its a 17 gallon tank. The car started right up afterwards and I drove home about 20 km with no issues. Did a rough calculation on how far I had driven before the issue a it turned out to be about 100 km. 

 

I continued to take shortish drives with no problems.

 

I still wanted to test if this was a one off event or is it re-occuring. Took the car out for a long drive, I packed fuel this time just in case. At about the 125 km mark it began acting like it ran out of fuel. Pulled over and put about 8 gallons in it. Which filled the tank. The car started right up and we drove the 10 km home with no problem. 

 

The car is equipped with an electric and mechanical fuel pump.

 

This spring I dropped the tank an pulled out the sending unit pickup tube thinking maybe the pickup tube was cracked or broken but to my dismay it was in perfect condition except for the float not moving smoothly through the range of motion. I have subsequently changed the sending unit and installed a new tank. I have yet to run the car as I decided to change the fuel line but that is creating a whole new headache

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39 minutes ago, BWA1955SP said:

The car is equipped with an electric and mechanical fuel pump.

Where is the electric pump located?...at the tank or under the hood?  Is it used full time or just to fill the carb after sitting for a few days.

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The electric pump is on the inside of the frame rail just infront of the rear tire on the drivers side. As for if the electric pump stays on when the car is running I'm not totally sure. If I turn the key to the on position I can hear the pump so my assumption is it stays on the entire time.

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19 hours ago, BWA1955SP said:

If I turn the key to the on position I can hear the pump so my assumption is it stays on the entire time.

You should check to confirm that the pump runs continuously.  While you're there, you should also verify that it actually pumps fuel (both volume & pressure).  If the electric pump is functioning as intended that would seem to eliminate vapor-lock as the culprit.

 

Have you checked the ignition system - specifically condition of breaker points (including dwell angle) and coil?  My '64 GP quit running last summer as I was driving along and turned out to be the points.  They were worn, but didn't look terrible.  Installed a new set and it fired-up immediately...

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1 hour ago, EmTee said:

If the electric pump is functioning as intended that would seem to eliminate vapor-lock as the culprit.

The electric pump needs to as close to the tank as possible, since vapor lock occurs on the suction side of any pump.  Also if the pump is a cheap Airtex "clickity-clack" unit, expect it to give up pumping after about an hour of run time.  Also if the wire to the pump is not 10 or 12 gauge, any pump will fail if  only 14-16 gauge..  As soon as it quits, verify fuel  at the carb and spark.

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5 hours ago, old-tank said:

The electric pump needs to as close to the tank as possible, since vapor lock occurs on the suction side of any pump.  Also if the pump is a cheap Airtex "clickity-clack" unit, expect it to give up pumping after about an hour of run time.  Also if the wire to the pump is not 10 or 12 gauge, any pump will fail if  only 14-16 gauge..  As soon as it quits, verify fuel  at the carb and spark.

 

 Must be different Airtex pumps.  The Airtex E 8094 that came with my EFI is still going.  About 18,000 miles since early 2013. Runs constantly as mechanical pump is gone.  12ga hot and ground direct to battery, through a fuse at battery.

 

  Ben

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Does this not sound like a clogged fuel filter?  Here's my theory.

 

There is debris in the fuel filter that with pressure clogs up the filter over time.  Once the pressure is relieved, the debris releases and fuel flows again.  I have experienced this before.

 

Was the fuel filter looked at?

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2 hours ago, usnavystgc said:

There is debris in the fuel filter that with pressure clogs up the filter over time. 

Yes, however, it sounds like the tank and pickup have been checked or replaced...  Maybe a disintegrating section of rubber hose?

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Thanks for the responses. Sounds like I need to do a few more changes. Power supply to the electric fuel pump is only 16 gauge so upsizing to 12 gauge is a good idea and ensure the pump runs all the time the engine is operating. Change the fuel filter just because and they are cheap insurance. I'm currently putting in new fuel line from the tank to the mechanical fuel pump cause the old line was looking rusty. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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