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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just discovered ZCAR. Greetings! This is a beautiful blue-black machine.160k mi. Sitting in the garage. Financial considerations have kept me from keeping it running. This could be an interesting thread, because I'm going to sell it once the engine is running. I have an urgent question, but first a quick history. Rack and pinion began spewing fluid a few years back. I continued to start it every few months without a problem. Always quick starting, smooth running. As the battery waned, I began using a Black & Decker jump starter. Didn't start it for six mo or so and the battery completely died.

It's been a year and a half. Still won't start, even with the Jump Starter. Gas is really old. No stabilizer. I tried starting it a few mo ago, the engine was trying to kick off, but... I think it's the gas. So it seems the best way to syphon the gas is thru the opening for the fuel level sensor. Reached it and guess what: It doesn't look like most sensors. It's loose, but completely fills the opening and that sucker won't lift out. From the pick you can see some prongs that look like they're designed to prevent it from lifting out. It can be turned a bit to right and left, but not much. I've heard they break easily so I came here, to get some expert opinions.

I'll keep you guys posted on how the process goes and the subsequent sale. Should be interesting to see how much I get in this market. I've attached a pic of the car and the Ebay sensor. Thanks in advance..
 

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Welcome! Nice 84/85 Turbo you have there. First of all, I would recommend checking the ECU codes before just assuming the gas is bad. It may be, but a car like yours sitting in a garage with what I assume is an otherwise unmodified fuel system will likely have preserved the fuel well enough to still be very usable. Whats more likely is something like your MAF or CAS failing causing a hard or no start scenario. The fuel pump is also a consideration but generally easy to rule out as when you kick ignition to ON you should hear an audible hum which is the fuel pump priming and building fuel pressure.

I see you're in Texas. Whereabouts may I ask? I'm in San Antonio myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Fredericksburg, just north of you.

Good comment FlawleZ31. It has occurred to me that the gas is still good, but I've driven it so little over the last ten years, I'm kind of hoping this is the easy solution - especially since I'm right there at the fuel sensor, ready to pull it out, drain the gas and eliminate it as the problem. Any idea how to get that sensor out? I'm thinking that I can grab the nylon tab at the top with pliers and be just a tad more forceful. However if it needs to be turned or aligned with something before pulling on it, I'd like to know that now.

Without Power Steering or a battery, it's gonna be tough to get it to Autozone to get an ECU reading. Once I've replaced the gas, my next step is to disconnect the fuel line at the engine (here, see the pic with the arrow) (past the fuel filter) and drain the gas still in the line using the fuel pump. Then try to crank it up. I'll see with my eyes if the fuel pump is still working. (I may be putting the cart before the horse. See my next paragraph.)

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Does this sound reasonable?

You've given me pause. I know the fuel pump hum you're talking about. I'm recharging the B&D to make sure that's working. I'm a little nervous about replacing the fuel pump myself, but now would be a good time to tackle it. There's a lot on Youtube about that. Assuming it's still working, does the draining of the line sound like a good move?
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here's a better pic of my sensor problem. There's an outer sheath, a big blue plate (A) which I've already removed the screws from. It will come up, but not easily as it is glued (or at least stuck) to some kind of insulating layer which is on top of what looks like a very solid sheet of metal (B) which extends to just inside of the brass ring. Each metal layer has a hole allowing access to the sensor. You can see it's a tight fit. It looks like there could well be a metal,spin-on ring (C) keeping me from lifting the sensor out, but there seems to be no way to unspin that ring, even if I take the sheath (A) off. Any suggestions? It looks like I'd have to drop the gas tank to get to that ring.

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It's a little frustrating because every other pic of a sensor in other cars looks like there would be room simply to drop a syphon hose into the gas tank. Not with this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
FWIW, I actually can get a syphon hose down the filler tube, but it seems to get caught at that last right hand turn where the tube connects to the tank, about a quarter of a way up the tank. At that point, I've got about six inches of syphon hose left. Doesn't sound like it will get the job done.
 

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The fuel sending unit should pull straight out without removal of anything else. It can get caught if the angle isn't just right. It takes a bit of Wiggling and pulling but it should come straight up like pictured in the diagram.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Check out the bottom of this sensor. That's a curious little pin running across it. Anyone ever see anything like this, like perhaps it's clipped onto something at the base of the tank and needs to be jiggled just right to unclip it?
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In order to check the engine codes on the ECU, you don't bring the car to AutoZone. Those auto places use the OBDII ports on cars newer than 1996 to get the engine codes. The Z31 does not have a OBDII port. The ECU has its own engine code system. Check out the Z31 factory Service manual EFEC section for the Z31 diagnostic system. If you need the FSM, you can get it for free form the below link.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Scott. I happen to have the PDFs on an external hard drive. Let me do some reading.

Appreciate the comments so far. I'd like to ask another couple of questions - in regard to the battery. I need to go ahead and buy a battery if I'm going to sell the Z, but I need to keep my costs down. What are the minimum specs I can get away with in terms of cold cranking amps, etc? Any suggestions on where to go? NAPA, Autozone, O'Reilly, Walmart, Costco?
Also, the last battery was a cheap one that lasted several years. As long as it seemed to hold a charge, my low-end Stanley Jump Starter (450 amp, 900 max) was able to crank it and start it. Now, with that battery completely dead, the engine still turns (albeit a bit slowly) and I can crank it for a couple of minutes before the Stanley is out of juice. The engine tries to kick off, but doesn't. Here's the big question: is it possible that that engine wouldn't start under any circumstances with a completely dead battery?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'll answer my own question on the battery. What's in the Z now is an Energizer top post with Cranking amps at 680/CCA @550. NAPA has an 800/650 for around $122. Walmart has a 550CCA for as low as $54 (a 1yr model)(whatever that is), $89 for the 2yr and $113 for the 3yr. Costco looks like the winner @ $79 for a 3yr battery. I thought the prices would be a lot higher, actually. For a really good battery, they would.
 

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Just discovered ZCAR. Greetings! This is a beautiful blue-black machine.160k mi. Sitting in the garage. Financial considerations have kept me from keeping it running. This could be an interesting thread, because I'm going to sell it once the engine is running. I have an urgent question, but first a quick history. Rack and pinion began spewing fluid a few years back. I continued to start it every few months without a problem. Always quick starting, smooth running. As the battery waned, I began using a Black & Decker jump starter. Didn't start it for six mo or so and the battery completely died.

It's been a year and a half. Still won't start, even with the Jump Starter. Gas is really old. No stabilizer. I tried starting it a few mo ago, the engine was trying to kick off, but... I think it's the gas. So it seems the best way to syphon the gas is thru the opening for the fuel level sensor. Reached it and guess what: It doesn't look like most sensors. It's loose, but completely fills the opening and that sucker won't lift out. From the pick you can see some prongs that look like they're designed to prevent it from lifting out. It can be turned a bit to right and left, but not much. I've heard they break easily so I came here, to get some expert opinions.

I'll keep you guys posted on how the process goes and the subsequent sale. Should be interesting to see how much I get in this market. I've attached a pic of the car and the Ebay sensor. Thanks in advance..
If the gas is a year and a half old, it's bad. The problem is that the tanks are not lined and if the tank wasn't kept full, there is probably rust where the gas doesn't touch. If you try to start the engine the rust will go straight to the injectors and then you'll have a bitch of a time starting it or keeping it running. Maybe that is why it won't start now. I'd at least look inside the tank through the fuel pump opening and feel along the top. If it is at all rough or flaking off, have ethe tank cleaned out before you go any farther.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
If the gas is a year and a half old, it's bad. The problem is that the tanks are not lined and if the tank wasn't kept full, there is probably rust where the gas doesn't touch. If you try to start the engine the rust will go straight to the injectors and then you'll have a bitch of a time starting it or keeping it running. Maybe that is why it won't start now. I'd at least look inside the tank through the fuel pump opening and feel along the top. If it is at all rough or flaking off, have ethe tank cleaned out before you go any farther.
Good tip. I'm hoping I don't have to drop the tank. If I can get the fuel sensor out.... Cleaned the battery posts/cables today on a lark. Hooked up a good charger for an hour and a half. When things warm up tomorrow I'll try cranking it. It's likely I'll be heading to Costco (San Antonio).

Until a couple of days ago, I was under the impression that I couldn't syphon the gas thru the filler tube because of the anti-leak valve. Just read a blurb in the Haynes Repair Manual that said you can. My siphon is too short, however, dammit. Also, the manual said that if the battery is dead, then a jump starter won't do the job - or something like that.

Will know more soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
News from the front!
Things were learned today. First, the Performance Tool siphon pump is a piece of crap, leaking almost immediately right where the tube connects to the pump. Also 5 1/2 feet of tubing isn't very much tubing. I engineered an extension using two pieces of plastic...
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I now have 8 gallons of gas (plus a two-liter coke bottle (will it hold that gas?)) that is good enough to run my lawn mower. Tested it. The gas was clear or transluscent, or whatever.
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Using two pair of pliers did the trick in pulling out that fuel level sensor. My hand is small enouth that I could reach into the tank and touch the top inside. There was a very fine WHITE smudge on my finger - that's oxidation, but it isn't going to rattle down in any quantity that would affect the injectors. The rest of the tank looked "okay" inside. Couldn't see much.

Cleaning the battery terminals/leads helped, but the battery is so dead, and perhaps the jump starter is so old that the engine wouldn't turn over (it turned decently in the fall), but the fuel pump did cycle up. With new high octane gas, I think this beautiful machine will start. Questions remain. There's about a half inch of gas in the bottom of the tank. Should I ignore it, add say five gallons of gas and give it a go. Or continue to get the rest out, once I secure another gas can?

Also, I was thinking about pumping out the fuel in the fuel line, but I might wait. If the Z doesn't start, should I pump it out at the fuel filter, or past that where the rubber line attaches to the steel tubing at the engine? (Pictured above with the arrow.)

Seems like there's another question or two, but I'm tired and starving. Going to Costco on Tu for that battery.
 
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