Then you have a mechanical fuel pump on the front, right side of the engine. The closest book I can find is for an '87 Dakota and in that one every engine does indeed still use a carburetor. If the pump is not drawing fuel from the tank, given the history, first look for a crushed metal fuel line along the frame rail. Next, there should be a third nipple on the filter with a vapor return line going back to the tank. Be sure those two lines aren't switched although I think they are different diameters.
The last problem is not related to a crash but will cause the pump to not draw fuel fast enough. That is a collapsed pickup screen inside the tank. The last one I bought for one of my cars was in the late '90s and cost three bucks. Typically they collapse after about 15 miles, then you lose speed and power until it finally dies. You usually have to let it sit for about five minutes before it will start and run for a few more miles.
If you suspect that screen might be plugged or collapsing, you can remove the inlet pipe from the pump, remove the gas cap, then blow compressed air into the pipe to blow that sock off the pickup tube. A helper should hear the air bubbling into the fuel by the filler too. That will verify the supply and return lines aren't switched.
You can also verify the pump is working by attaching a temporary inlet pipe and hose that you can drop into a can of gas under the truck. The pump should be able to move about one quart per minute when the engine is idling. If it doesn't move any fuel and it is supposed to be good, check the eccentric that runs the lever. That is an off-center cup that is bolted to the front of the camshaft sprocket. I don't know if you'll be able to see it through the mounting hole when the pump is removed, but I would try because otherwise you'll have to remove the timing chain cover to get to it.
Don't overlook pinholes rusted in the steel supply line. With the newer electric pumps in the tank that line is pressurized so you'll see fuel leaking out. (Boy, how many times I've had fuel leaking out of my old rusty, trusty '88 Grand Caravan!) With your mechanical pump, that line will be under a slight vacuum so you might not see the wetness until you once get that line filled with fuel. After that, those leaks can cause the fuel to siphon itself out of the tank and make a huge mess on the ground.
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 AT 7:27 AM