Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: In the midwest (I travel a lot so it varies between South Dakota and Nebraska and the midwest)
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No, a tire gauge won't tell you crap.
You need something that can give you a constant reading that is an actual gauge. A tire gauge won't do that. At least not that I've ever heard of. Air pressure is different than liquid pressure.
You can simply take a pen and see if there's fuel at the port by poking the valve but even that won't really tell you crap. Even a crappy working fuel pump can still put a little pressure at the port which would "seem" like you're getting fuel when actually, you're just getting "some."
You need to get a real fuel gauge or make one (about $20).
Other than that, without a scan tool, the only suggestions I have are to do basic visuals like check the wiring and other things. If you can, remove the valve covers and check the wiring under there. If the connectors on the valve cover gaskets themselves are bad or the wires underneath are melted or shorted to the injectors, obviously that would be a major issue.
Leaks are another obvious one as if there are leaks in the engine valley with fuel or oil, that would be a major issue to take care of. Or, if you have leaks on the fuel rail or otherwise.
Since these engines run with oil pressure (mainly), oil leaks that need to be pressurized like the HPOP and oild lines need to be checked. (Also, check your oil level, that would be a main one as well)
Outside of that, I would suggest a scan tool if you can get your hands on one.
I'm sure others will chime in with other suggestions.
Went to school in 94-95 for automotive. Ford Tech till 2000. Got out of the biz for a bit and then did it for a year at an independent shop. Now own my own business as a professional singer & entertainer & provide full event production from event setup & decor to lighting, sound, video & much more. Don't claim to "know-it-all" when it comes to vehicles and always love to discuss things to get a different point of view. Hopefully you can see past my direct nature and understand mine.