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Unread 01-16-2014, 12:37 AM   #1
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1983 CJ7 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 56
Fuel pick up issues

So I picked up an 86 grand wagoneer with a 360 a few weeks ago. My issues just started where it acted like it ran out of gas with 1/4 tank left. Put gas in and it started right up. Just figured the fuel level sensor is off. Filled it up with about 16 gallons. Well it did it again. This time when i filled it up it only took 9.86 gallons. So it wasn't empty. Has anyone else had this problem? Is it with the fuel pick up or do you think I'm sucking air in somewhere? Any insight on where to start would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Unread 01-16-2014, 06:53 AM   #2
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1990 FSJ Wagoneer 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Grand Haven Mi, USA
Posts: 1,325
Could be either, could be pump on its way out too.
I ran out of gas bringing my wagon home for the first, ended up being a bad sending unit, pulling air. Another frequent culprit are the hoses going from the sending unit to the hard lines on the frame, they become brittle devoloping cracks. I belive by 86 they added an access panel under the rear seat for the sending unit.
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Unread 01-21-2014, 09:40 PM   #3
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1988 FSJ Wagoneer 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Santa Barbara, Ca
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Were you going downhill when you ran out of gas? I've had the same problem. I've run out of gas with almost a 1/4 of a tank twice before while going down a hill. Brand new sending unit and fuel pump. I definitely had about 4-5 gallons left in the tank.

I think it's the design of the tank. It is long and flat. When you are going downhill or braking the gauge reads low because the sending unit/fuel pickup is towards the back of the tank. If it's low enough/steep enough all the gas will pool in the front of the tank and you will run out of gas. On the other hand, it will read high when accelerating hard or going uphill. Another theory I've had is that the pickup tube assembly doesn't go far enough to the bottom of the tank, but I didn't have a good flashlight when I was installing my sending unit to check for sure. Let me know if you figure it out, it bothers the heck out of me.
1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer V-8
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Unread 01-22-2014, 08:22 PM   #4
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1981 CJ7 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Davidson, Oklahoma
Posts: 79
My 79 Cherokee does this crap all the time. If I let it set for 5 or 6 days I have to prime it to get it running. It "ran out" on us a couple weeks ago at Deer camp as we were leaving. Went to fill it the next day and it took 6 gallons. There's no rhyme or reason as to when and why it's going to do it. I just carry spare gas but will put on an electric pump when the weather warms a bit.
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Unread 02-14-2014, 01:14 AM   #5
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1986 FSJ Wagoneer 
Join Date: May 2012
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My 86 Wag was doing this when I came to a stop sign at a decline. I'd have tap the peddle fast to keep it running but sometimes it actually would die in intersection. I would do the cheapest route first, STP Complete Fuel treatment (in a full tank) for the carburetor, and HEET(in the yellow bottle) for water dispersion being an older vehicle an all caused by condensation inside the tank. I'm trying to remember what else I did to solve this problem...maybe get a carburetor adjustment if all else fails.
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