It has an inline fuel pump? Does it have a return line for the fuel system? Usually the fuel pump primes the system before starting. I am not sure with an inline that you can do it. Go to your local parts store and get a fuel pressure guage from their tool loan program. Measure the fuel pressure: 31 psi running, 39psi when you disconnect the vacum line on the pressure regulator on the fuel rail, and then turn it off and see if the pressure stays above 20 psi after waiting 20 minutes.
I think your best bet is finish the upgrade where he stopped. Get a plastic tank setup out of a 91-95. If you are interested I can point you in the right direction and I think you would be looking at $100-200 american for the entire setup from the guy here in Michigan who parts them out.