Car Repair Tips: Fuel Pump Strain, Gasoline Odor and a Hard To Start Car

Car repair tips from MOTHER's Mechanic column includes questions about fuel pump strain, gasoline odors and a hard to start car.

| October/November 1996

  • 158-014-01.jpg
    MOTHER's Mechanic Jon Gail Blair shares his car repair tips with readers.

  • 158-014-01.jpg

MOTHER's Mechanic Jon shares his thirty-five years of car repair tips and know-how . . . under the hood. Getting that cold feeling in the morning when your car just won't turn over? Jon Gail Blair comes to the rescue.  

Car Repair Tips

I've had the fuel pump in the tank of my 1989 Tempo replaced three times this year. Every time the temp exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit (and this is Texas, for Pete's sake) or the tank gets down to half full l can hear the pump straining its little heart out. Should I have it relocated? Can you help?
Mrs.Dawn Bellemare
Taylor, TX

Well, Dawn, you will have to answer some questions that people who usually guarantee such pumps would ask. Was the screen on the new pump replaced as well? No warranty would apply unless this was done. Was a new fuel filter included when the new pumps were installed? I also would have broken the line loose up front at a convenient place and blown compressed air back through the line with the fuel filter off. I've even had to replace lines on cars younger than yours. Do yourself one more favor though; go and get a proper replacement gas cap for this system and put it on, just in case. Don't replace it with a piece of junk, ever. In your owner's manual in the glove box you should be able to find the manufacturer's 800 number. They may want to know about your problem. Call them!

I have a 1985 Mercury LYNX which has 91,000 miles on it. The problem started at 30,000 miles. Just after starting, and only with the heater fan on, I get a very strong odor of gasoline. It continues as I drive but the odor isn't as noticeable then as when the car is parked. I have mentioned this to several mechanics but they treat it casually. Any insight would be appreciated.
Karen Coleman
Steelville, MO

Karen, you better get this car to somebody who knows what to look for before it catches fire on the road. Your car has a fuel leak on the top of the engine or around the fuel pump. All connections that have clamps must be checked and/or replaced soon. Are you filling the fuel tank right to the top after the pump tries to shut off? This has caused some carbon canisters to overflow, causing just such a gas smell. Take this problem to somebody local who cares, right now!

I have a 1986 GMC Vandura 2500 with a 4.3 liter V6, manual transmission. My question deals with my factory-installed cruise control. I could drive 10 miles or 300 miles before the problem starts. It may happen once or repeatedly. I'll be on cruise at 55 and slowly the speed starts to reduce (on a flat road). I can get my speed back by giving some gas and resetting the control. The module has already been replaced at a cost of $200. What do you think?
Joseph Kaye
Phenix, VA

Adam Je
8/24/2015 6:40:00 AM

Car repairing is really a big headache and often people failed to perform it well. As I care so much for my Mercedes that's why looking for every possible things that I can do for its maintenance. Thanks for the great tips. I think choosing a good repair center is almost done with a proper maintenance. Glad to find your blog. Keep posting.

3/18/2015 1:32:49 PM

I'm glad you answered that question about cruise-control at the end. I have been experiencing some similar issues but have been afraid to bring it in only to be told that it's an expensive repair. I'll have to test the vacuum hose as you suggested.

Gary Birtles
3/12/2015 8:27:04 AM

My wife noticed a gas odor in her car whenever she drove. We put off having it looked at for a few weeks and it ended up costing us quite a bit. I guess it turned out to be her catalytic converter. Now I definitely agree, that it is best to get a vehicle looked at asap when something like that occurs.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April, 27-28 2019
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me