Hi all, it’s been a while, but time for an update.
I rented a fuel pressure test kit from a local auto parts store, but it was made such that it required using one of a specific set of adapters to hook up; it wouldn’t simply attach at the fuel rail. The only way I could get it to work was via a bulky “T” adapter that could have fit behind the fuel filter in the trunk. I detached the line from the fuel filter, and the gas that leaked out of the filter was dark brown/red. A fuel tank drain/flush seemed inevitable. According to the PO, the car had only been run from the left tank for as long as he could recall, so I focused on that one.
I was able to get the smaller drain plug out, and at first nothing came out of the tank. I inserted a small screwdriver through the opening and it felt obstructed. A bit of pressure seemed to free the obstruction and rust-laden fuel trickled out - but only for a moment. I poured some clean fuel into the tank, and it drained immediately (along with some fine rust particles).
At that point I realized that my non-start issue may have been caused by nothing more than an empty tank. I knew that the fuel gauge was not working, but the PO represented that it he had put 8 gallons in. Nevertheless, I flushed the tank with clean fuel until it no longer carried rust with it, and it came out clean. I could not, however, get the larger drain plug free.
I changed the fuel filter, added a few gallons of clean fuel, and tried to start. No luck, though - it sputters after a few tries, but won’t fire up. I can hear the fuel pump working. I would really like to get the larger drain plug out and check the in-tank screen. Also, I’m thinking that the obstruction at the bottom of the tank may have been a sunk float embedded in the rust (just a theory, though). Has anyone dealt with a reluctant drain plug before?
Otherwise, I’ll check the spark plugs, as I haven’t yet done so since getting the car.