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Resurrecting a K-Car

2901 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  74Shovel
I just acquired a fuel injected Dodge Aries K (I do not yet know what year it is) which came with my daughter’s house when she bought it two-years ago. There is no paper work anywhere in the car and even the license plates are missing, so I don’t know how long it’s been setting. From what I understand the car was purchased used by the mother of the previous owner of the house. The mother died before the title for the car was transferred. The car was parked beside the house and essentially forgotten. When my daughter bought the house she was told she could do whatever she wanted with the car.

My daughter recently decided to move to another state, so we are turning the house into a rental. As a result it’s finally time to do something with the K-Car! I looked the thing over and discovered it only has 17,000 miles on it (the peddles have no wear which would indicate the odometer is wrong or rolled over). The interior is in reasonable shape, the engine is pretty clean, and the body is straight and rust free (though the paint is pretty bad due to many years of neglect).

There was no key for the thing so I drilled out the ignition switch, inserted a flat blade screw driver and was able to get the engine to turn over but not fire. The fuel gauge reads empty, so I put a couple gallons of premium in the tank hoping I would get lucky. I didn’t. I’m not certain if the fuel pump is coming on. I can’t hear it running but I’m not sure if it’s even audible on one of these cars.

I haven’t had much time to mess with the car yet. I’m planning to tow it to my place tomorrow, where I have the tools I need to get the thing going again. I would like to get the car running, apply for a lost title and sell it as quickly as possible (we already have four cars). I need cash for bills and other projects.

I would like to know if anyone has any suggestions on where I should start first in the effort to get the car running again? To my knowledge the car ran when it was parked.
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Check fault codes:

Make sure the battery is charged and that you can smell at least a little gas in the throttle body after trying to start it. Ground one spark plug wire to the block and see if you get spark.

The 10th digit of the VIN tells the model year:

"Locate the 10th digit. This digit tells you what year model the vehicle is. Starting in the year 2001, vehicles used numbers in sequence for VIN codes. The number 1 refers to 2001. The number 2 refers to 2002. Before 2001, the alphabet was used. 2000 year models have a "Y." 1999 models have an "X." Starting for the 2010 year model, manufacturers start at the beginning of the alphabet."
The first thing to do would be secure a title in your name. Depending on what state you are in, it could be more trouble than it's worth to get one. It's not worth doing anything to it until you have paper on it.
The first thing to do would be secure a title in your name. Depending on what state you are in, it could be more trouble than it's worth to get one. It's not worth doing anything to it until you have paper on it.
+1 exactly what I was thinking.
It's pretty simple to get the title transferred here, so I'm not too worried about that right now. I really want to get this thing running first so I can assess whether it's worth investing any further time or money.

This morning I charged up the battery again (I had accidently left my punched ignition in the on position after moving it from beside my daughters house), then stumbled upon a can of starter fluid I had stashed in the basement. I pulled the air filter cover, sprayed some in, and the car fired right up! It died as soon as the shot of starter fluid was used up, but I now know it will run and it actually sounded pretty good too.

I want to drain the fuel tank (the guage is now reading full), test and replace the fuel pump if necessary (I don't hear it running), and then add some fresh fuel. What's the simplest way to drain the fuel from one of these cars?
What's the simplest way to drain the fuel from one of these cars?
You could try banging the bottom of the tank with a rubber mallet - it might jar the pump enough to run.
I bought a hand siphon pump. The intake tube would not get past the anti-theft baffle in the filler pipe, so I removed the filler pipe and siphoned right out of the tank opening, into a gasoline can. Took a couple of hours for a full tank, and I poured the fuel into my other cars.
Although we don't know the year of the car, I suspect this Aries has a seperate fuel sending unit on the passenger side of tank. All of those with a seperate sending unit assembly (that I have seen) have a capped pipe (tube) that can be used for pumping out the gas.

Like Doug says, bang on the bottom of the tank with someone cranking it. That might get the pump turning, unless it is gummed up so bad that it is frozen. Personally, I'd drain and remove the tank to clean it and then change the fuel filter after replacing the pump. If that car has been sitting for a few years, you risk getting blobs of fuel gum up and into the injector.
I decoded the VIN yesterday and found out it's a 1986 with a 2.2L 8-valve 4-cylinder.

Unfortunately my wife has instructed me to repair another vehicle before I do anything else to the Dodge. That's a little disappointing be cause the other vehicle is a DOHC 4-cylinder and I have to replace a suspected bent valve (a sparkplug electrode broke off). In order to remove the head I pretty much have to strip the entire engine as well as remove the radiator. Replacing the actual valve though is pretty easy, just a real pain getting everything apart and back together again.

Cleaning and flushing a fuel system, and possibly replacing a fuel pump are pretty simple by comparison.
So, um, where is this 1986 Aries located? (I.E. zip code)
DOHC four as in the Neon engine or the 2.2 TIII?
I'm located in Yakima, WA (98901).

My current (mandatory) project is a 2001 Chevy Tracker. It's a great little mini-SUV. I haven't had much motivation to work on it becuase I had just done a cam chain and tensioner replacement on this before the plug electrode broke off. Now I get to pull everything back apart again. That's the kind of stuff I really hate.
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