Yes, it did show signs. It never even crossed my mind that the charcoal can was bad. Just one of those brain-dumb things. That’* why I use you good people.
So now that I’m not typing on my phone, here’* the whole mess I went through so far…
Not wanting to pay $230 for a new pump, I grabbed one from the local U-Pull-It boneyard. Only $22 with a 30 day warranty. Figured it would be worth the chance. Found a nice one in a wrecked Cavalier that was the same year as mine. Plus, they left the fuel filter attached. So off to work:
1. Dropped the tank, pulled old pump, installed new pump, reinstall tank…no start.
2. Dropped the tank, checked power to the harness again, everything good.
3. With tank on the ground and power plugged in, I put the fuel line in a bottle and cycled the key…no gas coming out.
4. Put the old pump back in and ran same test. This time I’m getting a little fuel in the bottle. (This is also where I notice the black gas.)
5. Reinstall tank with old pump…no start.
6. Since I wasn’t getting anywhere, I decided to strip the new pump and see if I could find anything strange. Got the motor out and ran some test leads off my car battery and it worked great. So I got to thinking maybe it was just frozen up a bit and needed the kick start. I put the new pump back together.
7. Dropped tank, reinstall new pump, also swap the old filter with the one that came with the new pump…CAR STARTS!
8. For *&G’*, I strip the old pump and run the same test on the motor. It’* barely running and slowly loses power. Old pump is shot, no question.
9. Took the car out for a couple road tests. Everything seems to be working fine. No hesitations, good acceleration, basically running great.
10. Wife takes car out. Runs to a few placed around town. She says everything was fine. I figure it’* a done deal.
11. I leave for work and it starts fine. I get to the main road and notice a hesitation on acceleration. I cruise along a few minutes longer and it starts to choke a bit and then stalled. I pull into a lot and it starts right back up, so I head home. Stalls twice more on the way, but I got her back in the driveway.
I haven’t done anything since. Remembering the black gas, I figured I’d just empty the tank, get a brand new filter, and try again because I can’t imagine it’* the pump this time. But until yesterday, it never occurred to me to inquire as to where the hell the black gas came from.
The old pump is full of this crap. The sock and strainer are a dark gray. The old filter was nearly impossible to blow through. Here I am thinking it’* just 100,000 miles of dirt and crap built up in the tank, and I never thought about the charcoal can. So it’* quite possible the breakup of the charcoal is what killed the pump to begin with…
Thinking I’m gonna need a charcoal box. Looks like I’m heading back to the boneyard, cuz I sure as hell ain’t paying $147 for a new one…
BTW – thank you to everyone for reading and helping out to this point. It’* nice to have a bunch of brains working for you when you’ve lost your damn mind on one of these jobs…