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Ford e150 starting problems

1988 Ford E-Series Van ford van starting problems

I have a 1988 ford van e150 302 that wont start. when it did start, it ran rough, then progress to needing start fluid to start. Now it cranks but wont start at all. it sat for almost a year with additves in gas but it does smell now unlike normal gas. it has sta-bil and gas line anti freeze as additives. A rail mount high pressure pump was put on two years ago. Could the hi-pres pump been installed backwards? Now it will not start even with starting fluid, just cranks and tries(pops and backfires a little sometimes). I towed in to a mechanic to get diagnosed. In regards to the 1988 ford van start problems, the mechanics said that fuel is bad and needs drained, that in tank pumps seem to have pressure(low pressure pumps). the rail (high press pump) they say tests 15-20 psi only. the want to drain tanks, replace pump and “go from there”. They also said a multitude of problems can happen from “bad gas” ranging from injectors needs cleaning to bent push rods, lifters and crank shaft can be damaged. All may need cleaned, fixed or replacing at and estimated cost of $1000 to $1800. does this seem a little fishy ? Could it need the timing set? Or injectors bad? Im stumped

I would suspect a timing problem going from what you describe here but it could be just bad gas causing the trouble I suppose. It shouldn’t take much money to prove that though. The fact that starting fluid isn’t working indicates to me something besides fuel is the real issue here.

you need three basic things for a vehicle to run,
you have tried a source of fuel, starting fluid. now check for spark/ignition. if you have both of those and it will not start then check compression.
if you do not trust the shop you brought it to them look for another.
good luck

Has anyone checked for a jumped timing chain? The cam shaft sprocket for the timing chain has gears made from plastic.