Predictable, really. The fuel filter was delayed a day, and didn’t arrive until this afternoon. Guess whose car refused to start with any cajoling this morning? Guess who missed work?
Since the part was in, there was no point in waiting around. I unboxed the filter, got out my Chilton manual and my DIY pictorial from the Internet, and went to town. Getting the rear seat out was the hardest part; it took me a while to figure out that the front edge is held in with sliding tabs, and there was nothing to unbolt there – just pull hard. I had intentionally run the gas tank kinda low, and armed with warnings from the DIY, spilled almost no gasoline. The pump came apart easily, and the filter was about 20 minutes work to replace. I insist than anyone who’s ever taken something apart and put it together again can do this.
That’s when I noticed something. The electrical harness connection to the fuel pump showed signs of serious arcing. The wiring itself was good, nowhere corroded through, but the scorch marks on the plastic showed that something had clearly been loose. I bent a couple connectors to tighter positions, and replaced the harness and pump.
The car started right up, smoother than it has in months. I shut it off, and started it again – it started right up. I’ll do so again in 20 minutes as a further test.
Could the problem have never been the fuel filter or the pump itself, but simply a loose connection? Did the dealer even look? Were they about to charge me $550 for a bad connector in a wiring harness?
I’m not sorry I changed out the filter, that can’t hurt and may improve performance. But if that was the problem all along? Then I’m a little mad.
EDIT: Oh, yeah, speaking of pumps, our fridge died last night also. By an unusual coincidence, we have a backup fridge… but we now have to walk to the garage every time we want a soda.