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  • Fuel pump and gas tank question.

    Hello all, new here and new 59 Thunderbird owner.

    Trying to get her back on the road I've run into two (many... those later) problems. Spent all my money on getting her, so I'm hoping to start cheap

    First my fuel pump works great but spits out fuel to the side also, I've been looking for a rebuild kit but have only seen the diaphragm, would this potentially be all I need? Can I even rebuild it?

    Second, the fuel tank seems great but I get no gas coming out of it, I know there is plenty in there and it isn't the fuel line going to the pump. Is there a filter/screen or anything inside the tank that could be clogged? Could I gently 'rod' through the hole for the fuel line? I don't want to mess anything up and end up getting a new tank so any advice would be great.

    Thanks all!

    -Robert

  • #2
    Robert, I don't believe in throwing new parts at a problem, BUT...

    Think about this: Rust and junk inside your gas tank has only one way to go... through the pickup filter (and that just ain't going to happen).

    I suggest you drain your tank, drop it, and work on it outside in an open space. Carefully look inside with a flashlight. Once you take the top sending unit out, you can see almost everything inside.

    My '55 had FIVE HANDFULLS of Missouri rust, and so much sludge around the walls, I gladly bought a new tank. New tanks are zinc plated inside and out.

    After close inspection, if you think you can salvage yours, get the garden hose out and start washing. Stand it on one corner so all the crap collects there, and drop a magnet on a cord to pull out the big stuff. Use one of those drill motor pumps to suck out the dirt and small debris.

    When done, air it out. If a little water remains, alcohol will take it out. Gasohol has 10% alcohol, which sucks up water, too. I would install the tank, and only fill about -tank at a time to keep your gas fresh. After a few of those, go ahead and fill it.
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

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    • #3
      Rebuilding kits for fuel pumps are pretty rare these days. The diaphragm may be all you need if you can find one. Most people just buy a new or rebuilt pump although the '59 pumps aren't cheap. As for the tank I'm pretty sure it has a screen inside as well as a tube to pick up the gas. When you say it seems great have you taken the sender out and looked inside. If it's an original tank chances are it's full of crud even if it looks good from the outside. I wouldn't recommend doing it full of fuel though. You should siphon most of it out. That will also give you a chance to see how clean or dirty the gas looks.
      John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

      Thunderbird Registry #36223
      jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

      http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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      • #4
        I was told there is a filter (screen) inside the tank - this from the guy that plasti-coated my tank (a waste - 1/2 as much as a new tank - which would have been fine if it worked). Even after boiling the tank out and having it plasti-coated it still has junk clogging the filter screen on the outlet. I finally rammed (gently is not going to work) a long steel rod with a sharp tip in the fuel line connection on the tank to make a hole in the filter screen for the rust and junk to come through ( the tank was empty but it's a wonder I didn't blow myself up). Added a good glass see through filter before the fuel pump. Now if I see the filter is getting full of crud I can just clean it. Still get rust and scale and possibly some of the plasti-coat clogging the outlet and line leaving you stranded until you blow air through the line so I'm with simplyconnected - go for a new tank. If you have to get 2 or 3 tows home for a clogged tank or line it's already paid for itself.

        Got tired of being stranded until I got my air tank out so ordered a new tank from this seller on flea bay - seems good quality but haven't installed it yet. Item number: 130542156847 $180 + shipping

        Replaced the entire fuel line with NAPA stock roll that I bent to match the original line - reused the tank connector on my new line by re-flaring the end. $25

        The pumps are rebuildable - I have 2 fuel pumps that just need a seal. Concours used to sell the seals a good while back but don't see them listed any more. Check your local parts houses for a rebuilt pump (no shipping charges). NAPA has the ones for a 352 with vac wipers for $67 AFP 3461 and without the vac wipers pretty cheap. NFP M4008 $34

        A few parts suppliers that specialize in Tbirds:

        http://www.parts123.com/parts123/yb.dll?parta~partsort~1~cadeficd~~10

        http://www.tbirdparts.com/main.htm


        These cars weigh 2 tons - do the brake system first. You'll want to be able to stop that big 'ole beast or the guy you hit will have his lawyer take it all away and then some.

        Good luck - post some pics when you can,
        Eric
        registry 5347
        http://www.tbirdregistry.com/ft.asp
        Last edited by DKheld; July 13th, 2011, 12:03 PM.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the info everyone! I'll pull the tank and check it out and while I'm at it I will pull the fuel pump and see if I can find out what it needs.

          I would love to just buy a new tank since my current one already has a repair in it, but since I'm out of a job and trying to go back to school money is scarce. If a part can be safely reused I need to, I'm trying to go cheap where I can and spend what little I have where I have to (brakes!!)

          Thanks again,
          -Robert

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          • #6
            and there other things that can be done with a new tank.....

            http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...ryNumber=33517

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            • #7
              Robert, the rust in my tank about drove me nuts. The car would run, then stop. A couple minutes later it would start, run, then stop (over and over).

              Finally it dawned on me that I wasn't smelling any gas. The last thing I suspected was rust in the fuel tank.

              There is a pickup tube with a large screen (but fine mesh) at the bottom of your fuel tank. It took a while, but when the mesh was filled with tiny particles of rust gas stopped flowing. After the engine stopped, the fuel would backwash some of the pickup screen and allow fuel to flow again.

              I had filters at the carb but the clog came from inside the tank. At first I thought the coil was overheating, or something electrical was bad. 'Starved fuel' finally made sense. The amount of rust inside that tank was amazing. - Dave
              My latest project:
              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
              --Lee Iacocca

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              • #8
                Yup...You might say I needed a new tank...
                Attached Files
                "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"

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                • #9
                  Wow 60 T-Bird that's crazy!

                  I pulled the tank, cleaned out the pickup line which was horribly clogged, but it looks like someone was here before me and the mesh is gone from the pickup! Going to try and get something in there temporarily so I can at least get her running and keep going through the systems. i figure I won't be driving her till Nov-Dec anyway so the current tank will be temporary and I'll get a new one when I am going to be on the road. Bleh.

                  Pulled the fuel pump also and as I thought it needs to be rebuilt... sadly nobody seems to make kits for it (as was stated before) so looks like a new one it is.

                  I was wondering, my wipers don't work right now anyway so I am going to convert them to electric, does the vacuum from the fuel pump run anything else? Or am I safe getting the non-vacuum fuel pump?

                  As always thanks for the great help!

                  -Robert

                  P.S. what does everyone do with their glass bowl pump when they want to run original or are concourse correct? Hope for NOS or something??

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you go to electric wipers you can ditch the double action pump and get the cheaper single action pump.

                    If you can't get a screen in the tank you can always put a filter between the line and the fuel pump. I would put one there anyway.

                    I still see some of the glass bowl pumps at the larger car shows around here like Carlisle and Hershey. I usually pick them up if they're around $20 and new in the box. You still take a chance since most are 20-30 years old or more.
                    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                    Thunderbird Registry #36223
                    jopizz@verizon.net 856-779-9695

                    http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                    • #11
                      I went to enough swap meets to find NOS repair kits for the glass bowl fuel pumps. I also bought up a good condition fuel pumps for parts doners. Clean with alcohol.

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                      • #12
                        I suppose another inexpensive way to get around the fuel pump problems would be to go with an electrical pump. I'm installing one anyways just to get fuel up to the float bowl when the car sits for too long and the fuel drains back to the tank. Faster starting means less cranking which means longer starter life. The electric fuel pump will be a good back-up when (not if) the main pump fails.
                        "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"

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                        • #13


                          Vintage!!
                          I bet you can sell it on Ebay!
                          Last edited by Anders; July 18th, 2011, 09:45 AM.
                          sigpic..."Lil darling Ruth"
                          http://www.tbirdregistry.com/#33158

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 60 T-Bird View Post
                            I suppose another inexpensive way to get around the fuel pump problems would be to go with an electrical pump. I'm installing one anyways just to get fuel up to the float bowl when the car sits for too long and the fuel drains back to the tank. Faster starting means less cranking which means longer starter life. The electric fuel pump will be a good back-up when (not if) the main pump fails.
                            I was thinking about installing an electric pump, but I didn't realizes you could run both the electric and mechanical pumps at the same time. Any drawbacks to this?
                            VTCI# 11860
                            58HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37043 (Sold)

                            60HT - Thunderbird Registry Number: 37252 "Lucille" (Sold)

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                            • #15
                              Fuel pump and gas tank question.

                              Hi Marcelo! My Yellow Rose has had an electric fuel pump on her for the last couple of years and the OEM one and I have not had any problems with that. Mine is located inside the left rear fender area. It is also higher than the tank. Someone posted that it should be. Also, it is a good idea to install a filter in that line coming out of the tank before that electric fuel pump so it can catch anything that might be coming out of that tank.

                              Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                              '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                              "It's Hip To Be Square"
                              Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                              Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

                              http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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