Sadly, my '87 LeSabre Custom 3.8L, 127,800 miles, needed a tow last week, the day of a massive snowstorm in New England. Being that we have two more storms threatening, and that the snow we've already had has somewhat melted (I can almost see the car in the yard now!) I need some advice...
It started on my way to work, at one point the car literally started falling on its face, light throttle caused a low groan and a noticeable loss of power. Hills were darn near impossible to climb, rarely would the transmission downshift, and when it did, it would slam violently. I had a max speed of 23-24 mph.
Leaving work the next morning, I was able to drive 35 mph, gradually losing speed and power, until I had to pull over - max speed of 3 mph. No, that'* not a typo.
So after the tow (and subsequent snow), and after 3 hours of shoveling and snow-blowing, I was able to get to the driver door. I have spent some time attempting to diagnose from the driver seat. I can't quite get under the hood yet, but I need to soon... The car idles between 200-400 rpm (guesstimated from the factory tach) and *any* throttle pressure causes that low moan/groan, a massive engine lethargy, which often results in stalling unless I ease off the throttle (too quickly will stall it). When it does, restarting is tough.
Key-on F/P prime varies in sound. Sometimes it'* average hum, and the car won't start. Other times it'* the average hum that quickly becomes lower pitch and seems labored - as if the fuel rail is pressurized and having to work harder to overcome that. When I get the car started, the F/P doesn't hum as usual, it sounds more like a hissing in the tank. There are no apparent leaks in tank or fuel lines.
I have plans to look really quickly at the filter and relay, to eliminate those as causes.
My question, finally, is this: it seems that the fuel pump is the problem. It'* original, as is fuel filter. Of course I'll replace the pump and filter. My issue is, there are two different fuel pumps for the car (1.45-in. or 2-in. diameter, and with different electrical connections). How do I know which one I should get, without dropping the tank? Otherwise it may be late spring before I can work on it, since I've got two more storms heading into the state and have no place to work on it (and no money for a shop...).
Thanks for any help anyone can provide!