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guess what? Just hours after posting this, I was driving across town and when I came to one traffic stop the engine suddenly decides to drop below normal idle rpm a couple times. May have dropped to about 500 before picking back up and dropping back down. I didn’t want the engine to shut off so I gave it some throttle and the issue went off completely. What was that??
Possible failing idle actuator?

What would be the biggest indicator if I have a failing, but functional fuel pump? It’s definitely 10+ years old. I think it’s time for replacement anyway?
Looks like your diving onto the gas tank. Doubt the idle actuator. Never really seen those things fail. Did you do a fuel pressure test? Test it, leave it hooked up and see if it looses pressure over an hour or so.

What was the level of your fuel at the time?

I am thinking fuel pump and tank issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Looks like your diving onto the gas tank. Doubt the idle actuator. Never really seen those things fail. Did you do a fuel pressure test? Test it, leave it hooked up and see if it looses pressure over an hour or so.

What was the level of your fuel at the time?

I am thinking fuel pump and tank issues.
I think that was due to low fuel. I was almost at reserve. It's all good now. Replacing the coolant sensor stopped the long crank when warm issue. Fuel pump is 10+ years old now. Still works fine tho, me thinks.

Really satisfying the way it starts up now :)
 

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In your case, I would definitely first look at the submersible hose inside fuel pump assembly. Over time, they soften up and rupture from direct contact with fuel. I've had this problem before. Also, i think it explains why it happens mostly with low fuel in tank?
I would also look for tiny fuel leaks in the fuel lines in engine bay. That could explain the cause for gas smell although if there is a leak, the smell should be there at all times.
Thanks for the advice, I will look into it. My concern is that I can not find any replacement gasket for the lid on the fuel pump, once I got it off. My other suspect is the coolant temperature sensor, that you mentioned as well. Is it the one which goes into the thermostat housing?
 

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Discussion Starter #24
If you're referring to the round rubber gasket/seal around the mouth of the fuel tank/pump, it is reusable. It should not be a problem.
Yes the sensor that goes in to the thermostat housing.
 
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