I gave everything a good once over when I had the guts out to test and then swap fuel pumps. Hoses are new and the right kind. The PO said he had replaced those as well as pump and filter. Pump and filter looked new or close to it, and I was able to easily blow through the filter. I think maybe the pump didn't do well when I drained the tank and it dried out. Probably a cheap knock-off to start with.while you're at it check the internal fuel lines for splits, cracks etc, if you need to replace them make sure you use proper in tank hose that is fuel resistant externally
I think all's good inside the tank (fingers crossed), and I have another suspected culprit for the lack of power on top end. I'm not going to say anything yet because if I'm right, it's a silly mistake on my part. I'll come clean once I figure it out.