Good news, bad news. Somehow we must have installed the axle wrong. When we popped it out, or jammed it in (in 6 seconds). I think that maybe one of the bearings popped out of the hub side. The axle rolled forward and without a bearing in there, it crunched up the ‘end bits’.
I know this because Harry and Dan stopped by the shop and we installed a back-up axle. Everything seemed to turn nicely and I took Ze’Neon down the street for a quick ‘is the tranny blowed up?’ test. 1st through 5th – all working! I even did a tire chirp-burnout to stress the axle. If it’s going to break, I want it 50 feet from the shop. So I zip down the street one more time and whip the car around. Wide open throttle in first and then the car falls on its face. “Uh oh…” I mumble. Some sort of fuel starvation from the tight corner probably. I have a half tank of gas though… The power picks up and I make it back to the shop. Then it stumbles again. Seems like a fuel issue and probably why it’s been hard to start it.
I hot-wire the fuel pump and we took the remaining fuel out of the gas tank and into a container. It’s coming out of the hose for the fuel rail very weak. Sorta like a foam soap dispenser. The gas is all frothy and the flow can’t be right. It may be the lack of pressure, but the Neon doesn’t use a return line in the engine. The fuel is looped and cycled through the filter next to the tank and then drawn off the filter for its long journey up to the fuel rail.
We dropped the tank and took the baby out to have a look. All the seals and connections are fine – so I’m chalking this up to the fuel pump right now. I’m also not ruling out the filter. We have a fresh metal tank courtesy of Harry to install the new pump into. I have to strengthen / shield / kevlar the bottom side this time to prevent future gas tank issues. I have thought about and rejected a ‘dual fuel pump’ system for this car. If I was planning on a fuel cell and firewall – SURE! At this point I have other things to spend my money on…