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Author Topic: Gas gauge finally fixed  (Read 1433 times)

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Offline caravan3921

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Gas gauge finally fixed
« on: December 12, 2021, 07:15:39 PM »
Erratic gas gauge started last summer...Final ly got it addressed and it appears fixed.
The 2 mechanics at the shop said this was the CLEANEST Pinto they have ever seen!
The problem may or may not have been caused by a creased/dented gas tank. What!? How did the tank get dented?? We saw the crease when the car was up in the air at the shop: it looked as if someone used a tire jack on the gas tank. No scratches or scrapes, just bent upward into tank interior. How did that happen?! We'll never know. Was the dented gas tank the cause of the malfunctioning sending unit, or the defective sending unit the culprit? It's an academic question at this point, I guess. At any rate, both the sending unit and tank got fixed. We bought the car 16 years ago....has it always had a dented gas tank? You'd think some mechanic through the years would have noticed it. There's so much ambiguity in this world, huh?

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2022, 10:03:49 AM »
Gas gauge working fine but now it kills on me. A new fuel pump was installed a few weeks ago and the mechanic did some carb and choke adjustments. It idles really rough, and then kills. The mechanic says he can come to our house and get it to his shop about 6 miles away. We'll see...I'd feel better if it was towed in. It's only a 31,000 mile car. But at least the gas gauge is working!

Offline Wittsend

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2022, 11:56:59 AM »
I'm wondering it the fuel hoses on what I assume was a new gas tank fuel sender or the connectors at the replaced fuel pump are loose and air is sucking in the line. A good rule of diagnosis is to go back to the last things changed.

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2022, 04:53:47 PM »
I'll definitely keep you posted! With all the money and maintenance we've put into the car to keep it right and tight, it should be purring like a kitten.
Appreciate your feedback!

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2022, 10:01:13 PM »
Can finally give an update after a week in the shop: Recently installed fuel pump was operating correctly. Carburetor had a large vacuum leak, internal and external. Accelerator pump was dripping. Rebuilt carburetor and replaced EGR gasket. Mechanic said that all the additives in today's fuel really does a number on carburetors. No problems driving it home...yeah!

Offline PintoTim2

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2022, 07:51:41 AM »
What about your fuel pump?    The alcohol in the fuel can deteriorate the diaphragm.   I am in the process of starting to replace all my mechanical fuel pumps with electric ones.   This eliminates the issue of a ruptured diaphragm letting fuel into the crank case.  At one time, Jay Leno said he replaces his mechanical pumps every other year (but he's got an almost unlimited budget and a team to do this...).   I'd be curious if anybody has had issues with mechanical fuel pumps.... So far I've either been lucky, or this was another issue that was overstated.... 

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2022, 01:27:33 PM »
Mechanic tells me not to worry too much about the fuel pump, but if I start needing to replace the fuel pump every couple years, then yeah, could look into electrical fuel pump. I'll keep an eye on it. The last fuel pump lasted 15 years. (Watched a documentary on Jay Leno's collection of cars, and Tim Allen's collection. These guys have too much money!) I guess there's another pinto owner in my neck of the Arizona woods. He stopped at the mechanics shop to inquire about my car when he saw it sitting outside. I guess he has 3 pintos and rooms filled with pinto memorabilia!

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2022, 04:05:53 PM »
We'll, it's still  >:( acting up...


Offline davidpinto

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2022, 04:46:50 PM »
theres a gas station near me that sells 90 octane nonethanol .thats all i have put in mine the last 6 years ,no issues.i put a kit in the carb last year just to see what it looked like inside.it was good to go.it's worth the 20 cent more a gallon to me.     
D BARHAM

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2022, 09:49:40 AM »
Good idea, and would if I could, but doesn't appear to be sold in my immediate vicinity; the closest is an hour round trip. But ethanol free is definitely timely a very good suggestion, especially on older engines. The government Clean Air Act pushes the ethanol for cleaner emissions. I'm learning.....(there's a gorgeous fire red '78 pinto on eBay, reserve not met yet, or you can buy it now at $12,000. 107,000 miles. One owner, guess it was a dealer demo car. Sure is pretty....sigh ...

Offline caravan3921

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Keeps 'bucking" on me when I give it gas
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2022, 10:05:48 PM »
Frustrated as heck!
Had it in 4 times for same thing, and it's worse than ever.
Let's see, paid them over $1,500.
Vehicle still dies and stalls. To summarize visits: adjusted high idle, backed off choke tension, repair choke, free up choke pull, reset choke; remove carburetor, overhaul, reassemble and reinstall, adjusted timing. Of course it never dies or stalls for them! Grr!
It's a '78 with 31,000 miles. There's a pinto on eBay over 107,000 miles which starts great and runs good...boy, it's tempting. Now he says to bring it back in and leave it overnight so he can look at it when it's cold and not warmed up. It's been in the shop more in the last few weeks than the entire 16 years we've had it. This place only works on classics...thi s pinto is not a rocket ship. Why is this so hard!? I'm frustrated, and that's an understatement . Can someone cheer me up about this? Where do we draw the line in the sand and take it somewhere else? HELP!

Offline Mattb

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2022, 07:38:18 AM »
No expert here but a few thoughts. Given the fuel tank/ sending unit work make sure the fuel system is venting correctly. Also make sure the replacement sending unit is the same as the one that was removed. There are 2  styles one has a return line from the fuel pump.  Make sure none of the metal fuel lines have been pinched thus restricting flow.  Has the shop checked for fuel pressure and volume output of the fuel pump? Also it would be coincidental but I have had a couple of Fords from that era that were running poorly/ quitting and turned out to be the control unit for the Duraspark system that was bad.

Offline Mattb

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2022, 07:53:40 AM »
The Duraspark unit is called the ignition control module. Not too pricey and easy to change. Even if thats not the problem nice to have a spare as they do quit.

Offline PintoTim2

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2022, 09:03:34 AM »
As a rule of thumb - but not 100% of the time:   A fuel starved engine will sputter when it dies.  An ignition issue will cut it off instantly.  If the car restarts immediately, then it probably wasn't starved for fuel (the carb fuel bowl was full).   If it takes a bit of cranking and pumping the accelerator pump, then it was probably starved for fuel.   

 I have seen bad Duraspark ignition modules that caused poor running and died at idle, like Mattb suggested.    There are a couple types - if I remember right, there are blue and brown grommet modules.   The connectors are a real bear to get apart.... Tim G.

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2022, 10:34:47 AM »
Thanks for chiming in, appreciate it. Obviously I'm feeling pretty disheartened.
On 2/10, he verified the fuel pump was operating correctly, pressure and volume within specs. I'll bring all your ideas to the mechanic on Monday. If they can't resolve it we're taking it elsewhere for another set of eyes on it. This car has been such a champ for 16 years and I've just not experienced this type of on-going issues with it. (Have you seen that gorgeous red pinto on eBay? Auction ends in a day or so; reserve not met at $5000.) Thanks again for your input!

Offline PintoTim2

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2022, 12:16:19 PM »
How old is the fuel?   If it's been sitting awhile, the alcohol in the fuel sinks to the bottom where the fuel pickup is.  With E10 (10% alcohol -or- pump gas these days) this isn't usually a problem.  With higher alcohol levels, it is (a E85 vehicle will run, but very poorly until you shake up the fuel and mix it).   I have had 6 month old gas not run a newer lawn tractor.   I wondering if the gas is old and a fresh tank would help.   Just another idea.  Gasoline these days doesn't age well.  With it running great for 16 years, something changed....   

Offline PintoMan1

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2022, 04:36:08 PM »
sorry i can't help you with your problem. i seen the red car you are talking about. did you take a real good look at the pictures of the underside of the car? looks good on the outside, but underneath does not look like something i would want to take on. just saying.
1973 pinto runabout

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2022, 09:38:16 AM »
It goes back in shop Monday. The fuel is all fresh and is not old.
The mechanic repaired the existing sending unit back in December.
We're taking all of your ideas to the shop on Monday. In the meantime we're at least starting it every day. When it does die, at least it starts right back up again. (The seller on eBay has taken down the post for the red pinto, before the auction ended. Doesn't say seller accepted any offer. Maybe seller sold it local.)



Offline oldandcrotchety

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2022, 10:47:25 AM »
This may not be any help, but years ago I had a vehicle that would just die for no apparent reason. It would start back up and might go quiet a while and then die again. I spent a long time trying to figure it out with no success until one day a friend asked me if I had took a good look in the gas tank to see if I could find any pieces of debris. Sure enough, there was a flake of rust about an inch by inch and a half.  Turns out that it would periodically get sucked up tight to the pickup tube and cut off the gas. When it died the vacuum would be released and the flake would float away until the next time it got sucked up tight to the pickup tube.

Offline Mattb

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2022, 06:47:54 PM »
Reading you posts again I noticed you say the fuel tank and sending unit were “ fixed”. Were the existing units  fixed and reused or were new units installed. The reason I ask I had the fuel system redone  in my 77 and the sending unit had substantial corrosion and the pipe portion in the tank was essentially crumbling. Car was low mileage. Something to consider.

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2022, 04:53:59 PM »
Picked it up today and hubby drove it home and says it's running good, like it used to. Cautiously optimistic...m echanic "removed the vacuum delay valve from the inline vacuum hose going to the distributor advance, and adjusted the choke and air/fuel mixture."
So...we will see.....He said the vacuum delay valve is an emissions thing, and our pinto here in AZ has an exemption to that anyway. The choke/air/fuel mixture has been adjusted numerous times. Fingers crossed that the engine killing on us is fixed. This classic auto shop is tired of seeing us and we're tired of seeing them. Hah hah..We've been like a hangnail to them that won't go away! (They didn't charge us for this last visit.) Anyway, if it acts up again, I think we'll be taking it elsewhere for a new set of eyes on the problem. But I'm hopeful they know what they're talking about since they only work on old vehicles and they were highly recommended to us. (Hoping the removal of the vacuum delay valve was an ok decision on their part). Now I'm reading up on Emission Controls and Fuel System in my Chilton's manual.


Offline dga57

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2022, 12:52:25 PM »
That sounds promising!  Keep us updated!

Dwayne :)
Pinto Car Club of America - Serving the Ford Pinto enthusiast since 1999.

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2022, 05:42:13 PM »
Well we took it around a few blocks today and it killed once. The mechanics kept stressing it has to warm up, warm up.  It's never had to 'warm up' before all this started happening. So is this the 'new normal' that we just have to get used to?  😖

Offline Mattb

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2022, 03:35:25 PM »
Well if it was running fine with the vacuum delay valve in place before this all started I dont see how removing it will fix anything. I would drive it a bit more and see if its only an issue when its “cold” in which case the  choke may need more work. I would make sure its good with a lot of driving after it’s hot.  Another shop for a second opinion may be in order. By the way based on your picture I would assume you have a 77 or a 78. What engine? I have a 77 with the 4 cylinder.. I let it “stabilize” for about 10 seconds after I start it and drive off. Does not quit.

Offline 1972 Wagon

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2022, 12:55:10 PM »
We live in a small, rural area. One Shell station sells non-ethanol gas labeled as "Marine" gas. It is priced about equal to premium. We buy non-ethanol for our 1949 Chevy, 1972 Pinto, and 1983 Ranger at our local landscape/ feed store dealer. They are not listed on Gas Buddy or any sites as selling non-ethanol gas and I assume it is because they are not a gas station. They have off road diesal fuel as well. The tanks are above ground and the pumps are the old style (non-digital) with little tabs that flip over. One of the workers fills your tank (no, they don't clean the windshield!) and you go in the store to pay. We buy our horse feed there and it is how we discovered they sold non-ethanol gas. I wonder if your sending unit has failed again. Our 1989 Suburban would run fine and then suddenly die without warning. One minute the engine was running and the next it wasn't. We would wait a few minutes and the car would restart, run for a mile or two,and die again. Thankfully we were able to limp it the few miles to our mechanic. It was a bad sending unit. Less than two years later, the replacement sending unit failed. Same symptoms so we knew what it was. At least the part was still under warranty so we only had to pay for the labor.
*The Original Family Car: A 1972 Pinto Wagon*
Ordered by my folks from Bunnell Motor Company, Inc., Bunnell, Florida
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Offline PintoTim2

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2022, 12:05:17 PM »
Mattb:  Back in the mid 80s,  my 1979 2.3L m/t Bobcat had an issue with the vacuum delay valve.  I remember  getting a new one & having the same issue about 2 months later.  We took it out & it really didn't make any difference performance-wise.  The valve is supposed to prevent spark knock when the throttle closes suddenly.   The years have fogged my memory of what the original issue was, so I can't say for certain it was stalling. 

 The big issues I had with the car was a plugged cat when I got it (PO ran leaded fuel I'm certain) and I got a bad tank of fuel once that would plug up the gas filter for years afterward.  Eventually I installed a big filter before the fuel pump and had the tools to swap it out whenever it acted up.  My girlfriend was so impressed I could fix the car anywhere that she's kept me around for 34 years.....

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2022, 10:00:09 AM »
Still dying and hesitating, not all the time but enough to keep us nervous about driving it. The problems all started after the mechanic repaired the old sending unit which tested bad. We informed the shop that the problem remains; just silence on their end of the phone line. We're looking at other mechanic options and won't be returning there. This issue all goes back to early December and the 'repair' of the existing sending unit.

Offline 1972 Wagon

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2022, 11:02:26 AM »
You might want to try checking eBay to see if there is an NOS snding unit for your Pinto. Every now and then, one comes up for sale. If it fixes the problem, you know the rebuilt unit failed. For years, our '83 Ranger's gas gauge didn't work and there wasn't a "new" replacement for it. We had to record our mileage to make sure we didn't run out of gas. The correct unit finally came up on eBay. Our mechanic installed it and the gauge now works. The brass gas float on the old unit had been completely destroyed by ethanol gas. We know this because in the early 90's we had replaced the original sending unit. Within a few years the gas gauge no longer worked again so the ethanol gas had eaten the float fairly quickly. It's one reason why we only use non-ethanol gas.
*The Original Family Car: A 1972 Pinto Wagon*
Ordered by my folks from Bunnell Motor Company, Inc., Bunnell, Florida
Delivered: June 20, 1972
Entrusted to my care: August 1976

Offline Mattb

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2022, 06:23:15 PM »
Based on my experience the 74 and later Pintos use the same fuel sending unit as the Mustang II. If you have a 77 or a 78 ( and not a wagon) with the 4 cylinder you would use Spectra 179B sending unit. The 178B unit is for 74-76 although should fit the 77-78 although accuracy may be a bit off due to different resistance ratings. You do not want a 179A unit as that is for the V8 Mustang IIs. Still if you do have a fuel problem given the fact that you reported the fuel pump output was adequate the carb would remain suspect.
    However do not give up on considering this is a coincidental ignition issue related to the ignition control  module I mentioned in an earlier post. Even if this is not the problem they are not too expensive and a lot easier to change then dropping the tank again and good to have a spare especially if your unit is original to the car. NAPA should have one. Hopefully you can find another shop to help you.

Offline caravan3921

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Re: Gas gauge finally fixed
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2022, 09:29:37 AM »
Appreciate all the input....thx for chiming in.
Based on 2 conversations we've had within the last 2 days with 2 knowledgeable car people, we're going to zero in on the ignition module. We were out walking 2 evenings ago and a guy and his mechanic were working on his 1941 restored gorgeous Ford. We got to talking and shared our woes with our Pinto, and after hearing the details of the work that's been done on it the last 2 months, he said he'd look into the ignition module as being the problem. Then yesterday, we had a conversation with a member of the local car restoration club. We reached out to this club by email, detailing our problem with the pinto, and this gentleman shared our email with his son in Oregon. His son has had pintos and has had ignition module issues with them as well. So this guy and his son are encouraging us to have that looked at. So...with this advice, coupled with the same comments here mentioning to have that looked at, it's the next logical step. We brought the ignition module issue up to the mechanic shop where we've been taking it, but for some reason they didn't follow up with that suggestion. We're going to take it to another shop.   Is there a way for a mechanic to check if the ignition module is working correctly, before replacing it?? Thanks for all the input!