Gas Line

Dear Dr. Motorhead,
I have been sitting on the edge of my chair since the last issue of the Boathouse. Who won the tournament? Please tell me it was the Cinderella story and Pistons team took home the trophy. All of us here in Minnesota would be so proud to know that our very own Piston was able to win the 2002 Southern Pacific Hockey Association Championship. While I continue to wait, I have a pressing issue that needs your attention immediately, so I can get boating again. Here’s the deal:
As spring finally came to us here in the great Midwest, land of the loon and the great mosquito, it was time to take my boat out of storage and get her ready for the summer ahead. By the way, that reminds me of a joke. Lena and her two workmates decide that they should go home early after they noticed that their boss would commonly do the same. So, as soon as she would leave they would also. Lena left early went home and found her boss in bed with Oly. She snuck out and went back to work. Returning to work the next day, Lena’s friends were commenting on how much fun they had and said they should do that again given the chance. Lena said no way, it’s too risky, I almost got caught yesterday.

Ok, back to my dilemma. I’ll try to stay on track here. I pulled the boat out of the barn, dust and all, and proceeded to the gas station. Figured I would top off the tanks as you recommend. By the way, if you use “Sparky’s Fill-Um-Up-Fast,” watch out for the curb on the right’; it’s a tight fit and I bounced off the curb there ya know. Anyway, back behind the wheel, I got home OK except for the little incident at Sparky’s and was ready to do all the cool stuff Steve Merjanian writes about every spring.

Only one thing though, my engine quit after a few minutes of running. Stopped dead. Wouldn’t start no mater what. Ok, Ok I thought, keep your cool, what would Dr. Motorhead do? Let me remember — spark, oxygen, and fuel — the three food groups for a healthy engine. Lets try spark first. Yeow! Plenty of spark there. I must remember next time not
to hang on to that wire with my bare hand. Now I know what 15,000 volts feels like. What’s next? Oxygen.

The carburetor opening isn’t blocked; the engine was running, and I’m breathing. That was solved painlessly. So far I have two out of the three. Must be the gas, Watson. But why would it be the gas? I just filled it up. Maybe the fuel pump, maybe the fuel filter. Couldn’t be the fuel filter. I remembered I don’t have one. Must be the fuel pump. But wait — that was replaced last fall — could it fail already?

How do I check it? Oh, I lamented, life used to be so simple. I’m going to go take a nap maybe it will fix itself. I wish you were here.


Dear Dopey,
Remember, I am always here or there – whichever the case might be — in spirit, watching over your shoulder, giving you direction and insight. You got through the first two issues fine; you just gave up a little too early.

But first, Pistons team won; it was a shut out, and best of all, Piston got the hat trick in the final game. What fun for us all. The celebration was fabulous. Dancing in the streets, bananas and coconuts for everyone.

By the way, great joke, but perhaps the bigger joke is that you don’t have a fuel filter. My advice: get one and install it. The inline canister type is the best. It separates water and debris all in one, you can’t go wrong. They even come with installation instructions.
Next thing, don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ll even bet Dopey isn’t your real name, but that’s how you feel right now. Life is simple and so is your engine. I will bet my bottom dollar that it is not your fuel pump. They rarely just fail. The diaphragm will leak a whole lot before it goes out, and you would have surely noted a leak. There are two little check valves inside the pump and they are almost |bullet proof. If you feel you need to check the pump out, here is what you do. Take the fuel line off the pump. Put your finger over the hole and move the bail back and forth on the
bottom of the pump. This will allow you to pump by hand. If you have a Chrysler motor, you will have to turn over the engine, as they do not have these bails. The fuel pump should only suck. It should pull your finger against the hole. If it pulls and or pushes, the check valves are bad or if it does nothing, the pump is broken. Either way, you will need a new pump or a rebuild.

As I said, I am sure it is not your fuel pump. Here is what I want you to do. Take a flash light and look into your gas. I’ll bet you your next pay check that you will see a copper line about 20 inches long lying in the bottom of your tank. That is the gas pick-up tube that has fallen off your fuel shut-off assembly. These pick-up tubes are known to fall off under normal use. However, in your case, that jolt at Sparky’s probably did you in. Your engine started from the fuel in your carburetor and what was left in your gas line. Then, you simply ran out of gas.

Here is what you do. If you feel lucky try to rescue the line from the bottom of the tank. If you can’t, no problem. Remove the gas line from the tank and unscrew the shut off assembly. If you could not retrieve the old one, go the hardware store and buy your self a piece of 3/8 inch ridged copper tubing. Measure the diameter of the tank and cut the tube about one inch shorter than the diameter. You want the pick-up to be off the bottom, this helps you avoid sucking in unwanted water or debris that resides on the bottom of your tank. Next, solder the new one onto the assembly. Reassemble everything and go boating. Just that simple

Pow wallow a mikki hoey. (see note)
Dr. Motorhead
Note: “Catch you on the rebound, dude!” –Tahitian