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Old 08-02-2012, 12:53 AM   #1
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Help getting my 454 running please!!!

So I am the proud new owner of an '88 Fleetwood Bounder. It has been in a lady's barn since 2003. Maintenance prior to it being parked appears to have been exceptional. Approx 30k miles on it.

So I went over there to try to get it running so I could get it home to start going through all the systems. After charging the battery, it actually started quite easily- sounded great. I ran it for a couple of minutes and pulled it out of the barn. It was producing excessive exhaust, which I attributed to bad gas.

Fast forward to today. I went back over there to pick it up after the old owner had gotten her stuff out of it. Again, it fired immediately and sounded great. I started heading for home. I got about a mile down the road and it died as I was coming up to a stop sign. It would not restart, so I towed it home.

I asked my father-in-law to help me troubleshoot when he got home from work. He got there before I did. He tried to start it and again it fired immediately and sounded great. It ran for about 5 mins and died. Didn't cough and sputter, just died immediately as if you turned off the key. Would not restart.

At this point, we started trying to figure out what was going wrong. We suspected it was fuel related, so we started by dumping a small amount of gas directly into the carb. It fired for a second and then died. Having confirmed we were having a fuel issue we starting trying to track it down.

We could hear the fuel pump in the tank running when the key is turned on. We pulled the fuel line at the inlet to the manual pump and turned the key on and did not get fuel. We went back to the fuel filters and pulled them. Filters looked great. We turned on the key and were not getting fuel pumping out of the filter housings. We put air pressure to the fuel filler neck and fuel came out of the front fuel filter housing.

Around this time, for some reason we tried starting it again, and it fired immediately and it ran for about10-15 seconds. Mind you this is with the fuel line still unhooked from the inlet of the manual pump. At this point we had to quit for the evening.

So I am basically at a loss of where to go from here. The fact that we are not getting fuel anywhere along the fuel line seems to suggest that the in-tank fuel pump is bad. This does not explain why it seems to start perfectly and run for approx 5 mins whenever it is started after it has been sitting for a while. It seems to suggest that maybe there is some switch, sensor or relay issue that is either failing or not getting a correct signal that is shutting the motor down??

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:10 AM   #2
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The issue sound like a start-up circuit issue in the fuel/air system. Since it starts and runs when cold I would rule out electrical, ignition and timing...the hint I heard was that it will run by pouring gas in the intake, so there is a fuel/air issue after it runs for just a bit.

Check all the vacuum lines for cracks and leaks or missing plumbing...
Then I would pull the carb and swap it or have it re-built (they can be finicky things).

Best of luck!
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:16 AM   #3
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I'm thinking ignition module would be why it wont stay running. Heats up and quits working. Had it happen several times.

You also seem to have an issue with the in tank pump or plugged lines from crap in the tank.. But, first thing to check is the oil pressure switch and make sure it working.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:58 AM   #4
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Is it TBI or does it have an actual carburetor?
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Old 08-02-2012, 06:43 AM   #5
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The 1988 will have a Quadra-jet carb. Sounds like either a weak fuel pump or bad HEI module. I would change all of the filters to start and owrk from there.

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Old 08-02-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
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Thanks so much to everyone for all of the suggestions.

@Scarab I will give some attention to the vacuum lines. I did notice that one was cracked out at the end where it wouldn't reconnect to the fitting it was supposed to be connected to.

@midniteoyl Where would I find the ignition module? Is there anyway to test it, or just buy a new one and see what happens? Also, you mentioned the oil pressure switch. Would this provide a cutoff to the engine if it wasn't providing the right signal?

@mrv8outboard It has a carb

@TXiceman When you mention the weak fuel pump, you are referring to the in-tank one- correct? So for clarification, when I have the filter canisters removed and turn on the key so that the fuel up starts running, should it shoot fuel out of the canister housings? Or is there a valve or something that won't let fuel pass unless it sees a crank signal? Is the HEI module on the distributer?

One thing- there is some sort of device right where the fuel line comes out of the fuel tank. My F-in-Law thought it was some sort of breather or pressure releif? YOu could see where some fuel had shot against the underside of the coach at some point in the past. What is this device and could it be involved in any way?

Thanks again for all the helpful ideas!
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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my 87 bounder had a similar problem, even when it was new. it was a bit different, since the electic fuel pump as not in the tank, but next to the filters (on the side of the coach in a rear compartment). problem i had was the pumps (seems like they were Carters). i kept going thru them (replace 4-5 of them. flleetwood would not replace them after the original 1 year warranty ran out). i finally installed a blue Holley "grump" pump with a regulator. they are a bit noisy, but seem to last forever. fleetwood did admit they had a problem with the pumps, but would not extend the warranty on these pumps beyone their one year warranty.

also, check the fuel pressure switch on the engine oil filter housing. if faulty, this will also shut the pump off.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:22 AM   #8
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Module is in the hei my 1985 has a blue pump look under the motor drivers side front the oil pressure switch also controlls the fuel pump maybe a loose connection. On the tank there is a vent hose on the top of the tank if I fill mine to the top gas comes out
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:23 AM   #9
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Module is in the HEI (distributor)



The oil pressure switch is located by the oil filter and will cause a shut down of the fuel pump if no oil pressure is detected. With it sitting for so long, I would bet its sludged up.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:40 PM   #10
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I have a "90" with the QJ. On mine there is a pressure switch on the oil pump line that makes contact to keep the electric fuel running when the oil pressure is up. If you lose oil pressure it stops pumping. The switch is located along with the oil pressure sending unit on the drivers side of the engine near the motor mount. You may want to make sure that electric pump stays running. I believe the fuel pressure is around 7 PSI when running.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:42 PM   #11
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yes 7 psi
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Old 08-02-2012, 06:50 PM   #12
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Off to go get an aftermarket fuel pump now. Thanks for the psi info. The options were 1-4 and 4-7. I think I'll just get the oil pressure sensor while I'm at it.

Thanks again for everyone's helpful advice.
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Old 08-02-2012, 06:54 PM   #13
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get a blue or red holly rebuild kit 10 10 years later $20 to rebuild
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:00 PM   #14
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What ever you do, don't buy a Barry Grant. If you do buy 10 sets of seal kits.
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