Gas Tank Overflowed on Empty Tank?

So recently had trouble with my 1990 Ford Tempo. The car started cutting out as I was driving it, losing power, and eventually not running at all (happened in the middle of an intersection, which was frustrating for sure).

I took it to a mechanic a friend recommended who told me I needed a new fuel pump to the tune of $500. My dad brought the car to his guy to get the job done for $350, who ended up saying the fuel pump didn’t need to be changed after all, and only needed a tune up ($150).

After I got the car back, suddenly the fuel gague wasn’t working (showed half a tank when the mechanic apparently had to put 3 gallons in there just to test drive it). I confirmed this mechanic’s story by running the car almost dry, barely making it to a gas station, and filling more than ever before (usually ~14 gallons per fill, this time it was 15.8 gallons!).

Since that fill up, my plan was to guesstimate the tank status by watching the odometer, filling up after 300 miles, knowing that I get ~ 20 mpg.

The last two times I’ve tried to fill up however, only a couple of gallons have gone into the tank. At one station the pump’s auto shut off feature refused to let me add any more after 2 gallons, so i just drove off. The second time however, the tank overflowed all over the place after only 3 gallons!!!

I know that I can’t be getting 100+ mpg all of a sudden, so how can my car’s tank be overflowing when it should be almost empty?


SCSP (Severely Confused and Smelling of Petrol)

If the mechanic dropped the fuel tank to replace the fuel pump, s/he might have kinked or somehow blocked the vent hose. This is the hose that allows the air in the tank to pass by the entering fuel and exit into the vapor recovery system of the fuel nozzle. Even if the fuel pump was accessed from under the rear seat (I don’t know on a Tempo), it is possible that the vent fitting is on the pump access bulkhead and the hose got kinked during the installation.

Hope that helps. Please post back when you solve this problem.

There are several possibilities. I would guess it is some part of the vapor recovery system, maybe a kinked hose. It may have happened when the pump was replaced (was it the in tank pump that was replaced?)