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My 1989 Vette

I bought my 1989 Vette back around 1996. It had 50k on it then. Today it has 52k on it. Not long after I bought it, I was told it needed new injectors, so they were installed by a local Chev dealer. Because I didn’t drive it much (duh) I wasn’t aware there was a problem. I had trouble starting it, but eventually it started. Then it stopped starting. The battery would go dead before you could start it. It acts like it’s not getting fuel. To top this off, the dealer went out of business, so there was NO taking it back there. (I could have coasted down there.) Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

No one can make much of a guess since so little is known as to what is missing that causes a no-start condition. Multiple injector replacement is usually a sign of someone wild guessing at a problem so what were the symptoms at the time?

Best thing is to get a can of aerosol carburetor cleaner and spray a healthy shot of it into the intake. Attempt to start it. If it starts and runs for a few seconds then you know that it’s fuel related.

Given the age of the car and how little use it sees, my guess (wild one) is either a failed fuel pump or bad gasoline.
How old is this gasoline that’s in the tank? If it’s been in there a while, remove the gas cap and smell of it. If it smells like old house paint then the gas has varnished and the tank and fuel lines need to be drained followed by replacing with fresh gas and a prayer the pump is still good.

Gasoline can varnish in 4-6 months and become totally unuseable, depending on the brand of gas.

Thanks for writing. Back when this all began, I’d step on the gas and it reacted like it was flooded. No get up and go. So I took it into a dealer where I knew everyone! All the managers!! Injectors cost me $1,200.00!!! Soon after, the no start problem began. It would just die in traffic. We’d push off to the side and after 5 or more minutes, it would start. So the car sat. In the meantime, the dealer went out of business. No recourse there. The gas has been in there for longer than 6 months for sure. I now wish I’d messed with trying to start it more and fix it way back when the starting problem began. My wife and I are thinking of getting a newer Vette, which means trading this one in. Any years you suggest? That means I have to fix the problem. I’m thinking of towing it in to a shop that a buddy of mine says is good with Vette’s. Thanks again for your help. Steve

I think you were the victim of a 1200 dollar botched diagnosis and unfortunately, that multiple failed injector diagnosis is far too common. It’s a wild and expensive guess.

It’s entirely possible this problem could be aged gasoline. I fool around with project cars quite a bit and on several occassions I’ve had cars refuse to even cough or sputter on 5 month old gas. It just doesn’t hold up as well as it used to.

I’d try to get as much of that old gas out as possible, add as much fresh gas as possible along with a can of Berryman B-12 or SeaFoam (both available at parts houses or Wal Mart) and see what happens.

As I mentioned, take a whiff of the tank filler spout to see if it actually smells like gasoline. If not, the fuel in there needs to be out.

As to recommendations on Vettes that’s a tough one for me because I prefer (used to have a '59) the older ones even if they’re much more crude than late models.
With me horsepower rules so a '72 model with a 427 or a late model ZO6 is my preference.
Unless you just want another Vette, I’d try to iron this one out because I don’t think the problem is anything other than bad gas at the least or a failed fuel pump at the worst.

I appreciate your willingness to respond to my dilemma. Before I forget, what part of the country do you live in? I’m in Seattle. Anyway, we do want a newer Vette. Something a little more reliable. I will smell the tank tomorrow. How do you suggest I get the old gas out? Once I do that, a can of the Berryman’s or SeaFoam is going in. As you can probably guess, I’m not much of a mechanic. I was always able to afford to pay someone to work on my cars or knew someone that could. What are you currently driving? Do stay in touch!

To remove the gas from the tank, you can disconnect a fuel line under the car and let it gravity drain. Replace the fuel filter. Disconnect the fuel line at the engine, turn the ignition switch ON for some seconds to remove the old gasoline from the fuel line.

I live in the Dust Bowl of OK but currently I’m spending a week with my oldest son out here near the Utah/Idaho line and will be going to eastern Oregon in a couple of days to visit a lifelong friend of mine who surfaced after a 30 year gap.

Getting the gas out is much more difficult than the old days because it’s near impossible to feed a siphon hose into the tanks anymore. The best method is to do as hellokit says and even that can be a bit of aggravation. I can’t stress enough that you should be extremely careful when dealing with gas because while aged gas may not allow an engine to start it can certainly flare up while out in the open.

As to comfort and reliabiity, the newer Vettes are pretty nice and I kind of like the 2000 models and up. Jay Leno was showing one of his on TV recently and it was beyond cool in my opinion. Five hundred cubic inches, 650 horsepower, and getting 28 MPG to boot.

What am I driving? Being a car freak, a bit of everything. SAAB 900 Turbo, Merkur XR4Ti with a 302 conversion, sometimes a '60 Olds Super 88, a late 70s Camaro, 2 antique Harleys, and until very recently a Lincoln Mark VIII which got creamed by a guy who ran a red light and is now a total. Since the Marks were discontinued about 10 years ago I’m currently in the process of looking for another one (the right one) because it’s been by leaps and bounds the best running, most comfortable car I’ve ever owned. Close to 300 horsepower and 27 MPG just makes it even better.

And yes, my wife thinks there are too many things with wheels and engines sitting around. :slight_smile: