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fuel pick up tube inside the gas tank
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Flat in the back
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: fuel pick up tube inside the gas tank Reply with quote

hi folks, been lurking and searching around here for a while now, but i can't seem to find any good leads to help my problem. i got my first vanagon (88 GL) about a year ago, and so far i must say i've been pretty lucky that i haven't had too much trouble... till now this latest vanagon i just bought. (an 89 bluestar) i drove it home and ran ok except it had a hard time getting going in low rpm, but once it was up it just kept going smoothly. shortly after i took it out for a drive to run errands, it started to take a couple try to start up. i later pulled into tommy's burger and after that it just didn't want to start back up. i started to suspect my fuel sender might not be exactly accurate.. it started to have hesitation even on the freeway as i was heading to the burger joint, but i still had about 1/8 to 1/4 of a tank left when i arrived at tommy's burger. i didn't have any tools with me, but i put a gallon of gas from the can i had with me, and that didn't seem to help. so i decided to call AAA..

got it towed home and started to investigate. i tried to start it again next day morning, it almost started on the first try. but took a lot of cranks and the battery finally got too weak to do the job. after recharge the battery, i went straight to the general fuel area. first i removed the little 7mm bolt at the fuel line inlet metal T, it had a lot of air but almost no fuel. so i replaced the fuel filter, and started to swap out the fuel pump with my 88 GL to see what would happen. now this is where the funny thing happened.. as i removed the fuel pump from the 89 bluestar, there was no fuel leaking out of the hose coming in from the tank, even tho i had put an additional gallon of gas from a spare can. i then totally saw the difference of massive fuel pouring out, as i pulled the hose coming from the tank off the fuel pump on my 88 GL. i then decided not to swap the fuel pumps, but go back to my 89 bluestar, plug the fuel pump back in, but this time installed only the hose after the pump, and put another hose on the before pump inlet from the fuel in the gallon gas can. it worked like magic and the van fired right up!

so ok, there's an issue from the fuel pick up on my 89 bluestar. now i have found a couple posts on this mystery fuel pick up tube that is inside the task tank. a post said the tube pick up in the center of the tank, goes up before it comes back down to go to the fuel pump, and if there's an air pocket caught in that section, the engine doesn't want to start. and another post i read that it'll require up to 4 gallons of fuel to somehow squeeze this air pocket out? also another post, someone has suggested the pick up tube might be bent facing up? wow.. what's going on in there?? Shocked Rolling Eyes so my million dollar question is what does this fuel pick up tube look like exactly?? does any one have any pics or drawings on this? or any additional info on this would be totally awesome too! i really would like to understand more about what's going on in the gas tank. and should i drop the tank to either fix or improve this problem in case next time i run out of gas..??

thank you all very much in advance for your expertise and wisdom. Blue Vanagon
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pioneer1
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=276798&page=8
Great pictures of the info you requested
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MidwestDrifter
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never experienced your particular issue. You are correct that the pickup line goes up a bit then down. It is possible for the internal tube that goes from the fuel outlet to the pickups head to develop a leak. If it does your fuel pump can pull air when the tank is partially empty.


A few suggestions to get you started.

You might try using a separate tank/fuel source to try to isolate the problem.

The bentely has a procedure to check fuel volume, do it, it should tell you if the pump is pulling lots of air.

Checking your fuel pressure can't hurt either.

The fuel pump is running for a second when you turn the key to run correct? (when you are having this issue)
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devesvws
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

on my old 91 vanagon the tube had some sort of problem picking up fuel when it was showing 1/4 full, and sounds just the same as your problem. a new tank fixed the problem, they are cheap now days, last i paid was like $78 bucks a few months ago.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my case, the van would not run with anything less than 7 gallons.k
I bought a new tank from IC Withney (two actually the first one came all banged up, and the second one just had some small shipping damage on the same spots).
What happened to the old tank, was that the plastic pick up line had come off the outlet end of the thank.
Not sure if it can be fixed without cutting the tank open. Perhaps inserting a new tube through the fuel pump metal tube.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pioneer1 wrote:
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=276798&page=8
Great pictures of the info you requested


thank you! this is very helpful. can't believe the pick up tube has plastic parts instead of metal? it looks so weak it reminds me of my fish tank air pump set up..
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MidwestDrifter wrote:
You might try using a separate tank/fuel source to try to isolate the problem.

The bentely has a procedure to check fuel volume, do it, it should tell you if the pump is pulling lots of air.

Checking your fuel pressure can't hurt either.

The fuel pump is running for a second when you turn the key to run correct? (when you are having this issue)


yes, that's exactly what i did after i realized gas wasn't pouring out of the hose from tank, by placing another hose onto the inlet of the pump from the spare gas can. i don't have a fuel pressure gauge nor i have the special fitting to go into that T connection, but yes the when i had it running from the gas can, it started right up and reved smoothly. and yes, i do hear the fuel pump come on for a second when i turn the key on. i guess i'd have to be a bit creative to somehow have that gas can safely mounted inside the van, and drive it up and down my block to see if it hesitates. perhaps that'll be my knuckle dragging way to see how the fuel pressure is.. Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

devesvws wrote:
they are cheap now days, last i paid was like $78 bucks a few months ago.


GOOD LORD!! 78 bucks???!! Shocked Shocked Shocked that's a damn good deal dude. would you mind sharing where you got it from? any idea where it was made at? i've learned that every time you come across a good deal like that, it's typically chinese made with a hand full of modifications to make it work, or just crappy quality and barely worth the material that's made out of.. but hey, it it works good and it's actually decent quality then i'd def consider it Very Happy

btw, how much did the shipping cost..? prolly another 78 bucks? Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Racerrojo wrote:
In my case, the van would not run with anything less than 7 gallons.k
I bought a new tank from IC Withney (two actually the first one came all banged up, and the second one just had some small shipping damage on the same spots).
What happened to the old tank, was that the plastic pick up line had come off the outlet end of the thank.
Not sure if it can be fixed without cutting the tank open. Perhaps inserting a new tube through the fuel pump metal tube.


7 gallons? wow that's horrible.. ok, i'm just gonna put more gas into this tank so i could at least drive to short distance for the time being. i do recall when i bought the van it had half of tank in it. at the time, i only knew about the bad venting tubes that would cause the gas to leak if you try to fill it up (from my 88 GL), and i was thinking to myself hey maybe it had already been fixed and i might be lucky on that... ha! Rolling Eyes

now did you mean JC Withney by chance? but ya, looking from the pics on the link that poineer1 provided, it does look like the plastic part breaks off after a while (sorta like just about every part that's made of plastic in the vanagon.. Mad ) now do you recall how much you paid for the new tank? i'm def interested in this, cuz it looks like that's my best option. at least for the next 100k miles or so..
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes JC Withney (using my phone to post,), the tank with shipping came out under $100.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Racerrojo wrote:
Yes JC Withney (using my phone to post,), the tank with shipping came out under $100.


ah ya, i did a quick search on their website and looks like its 80 bucks. now i've never seen a fuel tank out of the vehicle, so i can't tell from the pics that they showed.. is this it? http://www.jcwhitney.com/replacement-oe-style-stee...1989g244j1
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flat in the back wrote:
Racerrojo wrote:
Yes JC Withney (using my phone to post,), the tank with shipping came out under $100.


ah ya, i did a quick search on their website and looks like its 80 bucks. now i've never seen a fuel tank out of the vehicle, so i can't tell from the pics that they showed.. is this it? http://www.jcwhitney.com/replacement-oe-style-stee...1989g244j1


Hell no! That's. Not the right tank picture. For the right image check Go Westy, Van Cafe or The Bus Depot
http://m.autopartswarehouse.com/details/QQVolkswag...IVW3C.html
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Last edited by Racerrojo on Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that, running a tube or a hose through the outlet pipe could work for the time been. BTW the after market tanks don't have the screens that OWN tanks have, they tune a metal tube from to the center lowest part of the tank
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Racerrojo wrote:
I think that, running a tube or a hose through the outlet pipe could work for the time been. BTW the after market tanks don't have the screens that OWN tanks have, they tune a metal tube from to the center lowest part of the tank


meaning to insert a metal tubing to stiffening up the fuel pick up? (or even something like a coat hanger wire just to keep the pick up tube in shape) according to the pics from poineer1's link, it looks like just a rubber hose that used to be secured by a now broken plastic holder of some sort to keep the hose end at the bottom of the tank. i can totally imagine this now flimsy fuel pick up is just floating around inside the tank..

so.. i'd imagine the aftermarket fuel tank with the metal tube bent into the center lowest part of the tank would be most ideal right? i think i'd much rather deal with replacing fuel filters and not having the screens than having it break off again and having this same problem down the road? and who knows where i'll be on a trip at that point.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't really see it but, I think the plastic tube came off or broke right at the point where it meets the outlet pipe that connects to the pump/filter. So a Stainless steel, copper or plastic tubing (some thing that could not create spark is better) that you can clamp to the hose to the pump and the outlet pipe, could get you going until you get a new tank, that or don't let it go bellow 1/2.
The problem started after the van was run until empty, ironically the same day I was planning to do a reseal job, but did not discovered the issue until a couple of days latter when it ran out of fuel whit 1/4 thank showing on the needle, so I ordered the new tank and had to do the Job all over again (a lot easier the second time around) Just be gentle with the sending unit it is old and brittle, guess how I found out. A new sending unit is $50 from Go westy and not a bad idea.
This is the JCW part #REPV670101
http://www.jcwhitney.com/replacement-oe-style-stee...387y1991j1
One thing worth mentioning is that this tank is lighter thus thinner steel than the OEM
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

**UPDATE*** i have filled the tank up to about 3/4 full and still didn't wanna start. i then disconnected the hose from tank to fuel pump again, but this time fuel was gushing out. just so happen there was a vanagon parting out on craigslist, so i decided to pick up a good used one $40 to make sure (instead of 2 million dollars for a new one just to test it out). and sure enough, the fuel pump was the problem!! even tho it made noise when i turned the key on.. i guess the mechanical part of the fuel pump must have failed gradually.. it's now back in running condition and i'm happy! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

congrats on solving that

Now, I have a related question: how much fuel remains in the tank when the fuel pump runs out of fuel?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

damn it, spoke too soon! i did an oil change and went to the local part store to recycle the oil, then it started to have that hard starting problem again as i was leaving the parts store!! i eventually started back up but took a bit of trying by pumping the pedal slightly. sounded like fuel pressure had to get built up. pretty much back to square one on how it was when i bought the van, ugh..!! this time i have 3/4 of a tank. last time i had about 1/8 to 1/4 (above the reserve orange section)

i took the freeway home and it drove great, but as i turned onto my block, it started to cut out. as i let go the gas it would be stable again. after i parked it, i tried to start it back up after about 10 minutes of sitting, it needed a few pumps on the gas pedal to start up. but when i shut it off and start it back up right after, it would start right up without any problems.

this seems really like the fuel pressure to me. i know the used fuel pump is good cuz i heard the van fire up and drove up and down the block before i took it out. before i go back to the fuel tank again, i'm gonna take out the injectors and check on their spray patterns and clean them up a bit (not sure how.. )

i really don't want to jump into replacing that fuel tank. i was told putting those vent hoses on top is a total bitch.. man so dreadful Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not very much. But if you try to drain the tank by simply unplugging the hose from the tank outlet pipe it will stop draining before all the fuel inside is gone. Gravity is different than pumping.

Mark

randywebb wrote:
congrats on solving that

Now, I have a related question: how much fuel remains in the tank when the fuel pump runs out of fuel?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*** UPDATE ON MY UPDATE***
by procrastinating on getting into the fuel tank project, i figured i owed it to myself to carefully look into the fuel system after the fuel pump and filter. so i plugged a gauge at the t split and started the engine up by slightly push on the gas pedal. once the idle smoothed out, the pressure read at about 32/33 psi and almost 40psi with vacuum hose disconnected from the regulator, which seemed to be the proper pressure according to the specs i found on http://www.scribd.com/doc/56230426/VW-Digifant-Manual but the funny thing is that i noticed a few drips of fuel coming out of the vacuum tip on the pressure regulator.. as i shut off the engine to see if the pressure maintained, i saw the pressure regulator started to piss fuel out of the tip when i pulled the vacuum hose off. AHHHH HAAA!!! Mad

i think this would also explains my suspicion on a mystery vacuum leak which caused the rough acceleration.... Question we will see

i'm gonna call that guy back who's parting out the vanagon and buy his to test it out!
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