The Big Orange Van is not going anywhere right now. That is because neither of its two fuel tanks is working. The rear tank feed line needs replacing (it appears to be clogged). The front tank can feed the engine (Lisa got it started a few days ago), but there's was a leak in the fuel filler hose. That's the hose that leads between where you put the fuel into the vehicle to the gas tank. You would think this was a simple part to replace, right? Wrong. The various auto parts places (three here in Fernley) can sell you just about every other part for the front fuel tank of a 1977 Ford E150 van, including the fuel tank itself, but not the hose itself. And the so-called "universal" hoses won't work because there's a 90-degree bend in the hose that the "universal" hoses can't negotiate. There were some hoses that got close, but they were too short. (Too long we could have managed by sawing off the long end.) Lisa was about ready to buy two pieces of hose (a 90-degree bend and a straight hose) and try to splice them together with a piece of galvanized pipe, when we found the part online. Looks pretty simple, doesn't it? It looks to me like they've done what Lisa was planning on doing, but we figured it would cost us at least that much in parts to do what they've done, so we've ordered the part and it should be here in the middle of next week. It's surprising, though, that a part that was used on such a long period of time (1975-1991) is so difficult to find when all of the parts around it are still available.
It would be good to get at least one of the two tanks working, because if we can work ourselves up to trying another mechanic to work on the other things on the engine, we could drive the van to the shop instead of having to get it towed.