I have a 1988 Wrangler with the 6 cylinder. It might start , run shortly then die. When cranking sounds like its out of gas then starts (sometimes ) and dies. Any help appreciated, i am not an experienced mechanic . Thanks
You need 3 things to complete the combustion process, Air, fuel and fire (spark). Begin eliminating the variables until you can narrow down the problems.
Air: This is the easiest variable to eliminate. Unscrew the plastic air supply snorkel from the top of the carburator and push it aside and try to restart the engine. If it fires and continues to run, then you have a plugged air filter or a blockage in the supply somewhere (mouse nest?). If you still have problems, continue to the next step.
Fuel: Go to your local auto parts store and purchase a can of starter fluid. This step requires some personal protection so I would strongly suggest a pair of goggles and hearing protection. Have a buddy start the engine while you intermittently spray the starter fluid into the carb. in an attempt to keep the engine running. Be careful to not position yourself directly over the carb. in case it backfires....the results can be undesireable to say the least.
If the engine continues to run with supplemental assistance then you have a fuel problem, You could simply be out of gas and the gauge is misreading. Manually add a few gallons of gas to eliminate this scenario and retest. If you still are having issues, replace the fuel filter and retest again. If the problem continues, then you most likely need a fuel pump or your fuel line is clogged (perhaps bent). However, before you go and replace the pump, check your spark as outlined below.
Fire: A good spark is essential and can be easily checked using a screwdriver. Remove one of the spark plug wires from a spark plug and insert the screwdriver into the rubber boot. Place the screwdriver approx. 1/4" from a metal object in the engine bay (keep your hands away from the metal part of the screwdriver or be sure to hold the insulated end during this test). It's better to have the garage lights off or perform this test in the dark. While your buddy is starting the engine, visually verify spark activity between the screwdriver and the metal bracket. If you are not getting a spark or the spark is very low in intensity, you may have an issue with the primary coil. (I'm not certain if '98's have a distributor or not.... Perhaps someone here can further define that part of the system.
IMO, it sounds to me like you may be experiencing a fuel problem. Try a couple of the above tests and let us know how you make out.
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