I recently bought a non-running Toyota MR2. Read more to see how I diagnosed it to be the fuel pump that was the issue and how I fixed it!
Dragging it home
I’m a sucker for reviving old projects that still have potential. After making a new friend and working out a deal it followed me home!
Looking back at this picture makes me realize how rough it actually was when I got it. Looks way different now. 😯
Diagnosing the fuel pump
Before I bought it, I was able to tell that it at least ran on starting fluid. Sounded like the engine was alright, not knocking, and in time (at least enough to run on starting fluid).
The next basic step is to just give both the fuse block in the frunk and the engine bay a once over to make sure there are no blown or missing fuses.
After some Googling, I found that there is a diagnostic block you can jump some pins on to get the fuel pump to kick on with the key in the on position.
There are two ways to see if the fuel pump is working after jumping the terminals. The first and easiest is to just listen if you can hear the fuel pump running. It is in the middle of the car going front to back beneath the center console. I heard no fuel pumpy type noises.
The second way to tell is to take off the fuel return line then stick it into an empty bottle and see if any fuel comes out.
Now that we are certain the pump is not pumping, it could still be for more than one reason. Next up is testing the electrical connection to the fuel pump.
There are only two wire bundles going to the tank through this grommet. The three wire one goes to the fuel tank sending unit and the two wire one is + and – for the fuel pump. Here the holes in the rear of the connector were sufficiently big enough for me to stick my probes in from the back without unplugging it to check for voltage. This also tells us that all the relays, fuses, etc. are good up to this point.
Replacing the Fuel Pump
Now that we are 99% sure it is the actual fuel pump that is dead, we need to start pulling the tank. Seems like everybody says the fuel tank is ‘the worst job on an MR2’. For what it is worth, I honestly didn’t think it was that bad and I did it completely by myself. If you had help, it would probably go faster. Just make sure you have your patient pants on because as you will see these old parts sometimes don’t play nicely.
I didn’t take pictures of every single step, so some of this will just be a general guide. Honestly I watched this video a couple times and won’t even try to replicate it because he did a pretty good job. Consider my article below extra guidance.
First I got the car up and on jack stands in the front then jacked it up and put oil change ramps backwards under the rear tires. Pic of that later.
This testing step is probably not necessary but I would have hated to get the tank all the way back in just to realize something still didn’t work.
First start in ~10 years!
There you have it. Finish hooking up the lines and replacing all the shields and you are done!
Can you do this?
I’m going to say here that this project is probably less about automotive knowledge and more about simply having the grit to get dirty and do it. The diagnosis is easy and the steps are relatively straightforward. Just gather up the motivation and GO DO IT. Keep these old gems going! A couple of nights in a row after work with some buddies would get you going again, and you have the satisfaction of doing it yourself.