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Almost always it's a loss of prime.  Try priming it (hopefully you know how).  If the filter head hasn't been rebuilt or replaced in the last few years, it's probably leaking air.  Also, the soft fuel lines are getting old and leaky.  Sometimes even the hard lines are rusting, and sometimes from the inside out.

 

If you don't have a  lift pump, the pump on the engine sucks fuel all the way from the tank and through the filter.  A "leak" anywhere will cause a loss of prime.  I say "leak" in quotes because air leaks in and fuel does not (usually) leak out at all.

 

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