How To Install An Electric Fuel Pump On A Classic Car
Older cars with a carbureted engine tend to have a mechanical fuel pump installed. This is especially true in older cars, but as the electrical fuel pump becomes more popular it requires a replacement in older cars.
The electric fuel pump is more efficient because it does not require any engine power to operate. This means that it can be used on all kinds of engines, including diesel engines.
The downside of an electric pump is that it needs an electricity supply to work and they are more sensitive to fuel contaminants. However, overall they are more versatile to mount and use with many vehicles.
We recommend first removing the old fuel pump before installing a new one to avoid improper mounting. This can be done in a few simple steps listed below.
1. Uninstall The Mechanical Fuel Pump
Removing or uninstalling the old fuel pump is the first step. It’s possible to leave it and install the electric fuel pump a different way, but we don’t recommend this installation method.
Instead, find a durable cloth to place below the fuel hoses so they can be disconnected without leaking too much. The extensions also need to be removed with a ratchet handle and all bolts can be unscrewed.
This will loosen up all angles of the fuel pump so it can be removed.
2. Cover The Old Mechanical Fuel Pump Area
Next, there will now be an empty area with a hole where this old fuel pump once was mounted. It needs to be covered before moving on to mount the new electric fuel pump.
This can be done using a block-off plate sealer with a gasket. The gasket sealer is the most effective way to keep the hole closed and it also gets used often when installing a new pump to seal the edges.
3. Mount The New Electric Fuel Pump
Mounting the new fuel pump requires heavy-duty clips and reliable mounting hardware. The fuel hose should also be secured to avoid any punctures or leak problems while installing the new one.
The pump should be mounted away from exhausts and other high temperature components. The mounting area also needs to be scraped and cleaned too. Many people opt to put a ground wire there as a safety precaution too.
4. Use A Filter With The Electric Fuel Pump
A filter needs to be installed next to the electric fuel pump for it to function correctly. This filter works to remove contaminants from the fuel, but these filters are less effective when compared to a mechanical fuel pump.
This is one of the risks associated with electric pumps. However, without a filter the risk is even higher and the fuel injection system can fail.
5. Connect Wires & Wire Harness For The New Electric Fuel Pump
Lastly, the fuel pump needs to be wired to work properly. This includes finding the correct wire size and installing a ground wire for better safety.
The three prong switch works best for this fuel filter type and it works by connecting one wire to the pump and the circuit. This carries enough current without overloading the ignition switch so the pump always runs as planned.
Can You Convert A Mechanical Fuel Pump To Electric?
Mechanical fuel pumps work by spinning a series of gears and a spinning impeller inside a chamber to suck fuel out of the fuel tank and push it through the fuel hose.
While mechanical fuel pumps work well on older cars, they are not suitable for use with newer cars. This is why many people choose to upgrade the fuel pump on older classic cars.
It’s possible to make the conversion too by following the steps we have listed above. This includes removing the old mechanical fuel pump to upgrade it to install something more efficient.
Another problem with mechanical fuel pumps is that the gears inside them tend to break, which can spray gasoline everywhere.
An electric fuel pump has none of these issues, and it is a great upgrade for any classic car. To convert a mechanical fuel pump, the entire piece of equipment needs to be replaced.
Electric Fuel Pump Vs. Mechanical Fuel Pump
Some would argue that electric fuel pumps have a higher rate of failure compared to mechanical fuel pumps. However, we have a much different experience when using both.
An electric fuel pump is a great upgrade for any classic car. But the equipment and mounting are extremely important to ensure this failure doesn't happen.
The electric fuel pump also uses a computer system for better regulation of the flow rate to keep pressure at desired levels. This is a much more advanced system compared to a mechanical pump.
Mechanical fuel pumps have many moving parts just to pull fuel out of the tank and guide it towards the engine. It’s less efficient and the electric pump can do it faster and more efficiently using electricity.
This is exactly why all new cars typically come equipped with an electric fuel pump. It’s more practical today and not many modern vehicles would run as well without one.
Can You Use An Electric Fuel Pump With A Carburetor?
Yes, it’s possible to use an electric fuel pump with a carburetor, and it's becoming more popular for classic cars. Mechanical fuel pumps are simply not reliable and consistent while electric ones require less moving components to run.
These fuel pumps actually run better with a carburetor. This is why many new vehicles use electric ones because they cannot handle the older and outdated complexity that comes with a mechanical one.
Safety Tips To Remember When Installing An Electric Fuel Pump
Working under the hood of a car is not always the safest thing to do. It requires a bit of risk dealing with lots of moving components, and this is especially true when installing a new fuel pump.
We recommend considering the following safety tips to ensure the installation goes as planned in the safest manner possible.
Keep The Electric Fuel Pump And Fuel Tank Close
This fuel pump should always be mounted and placed near the fuel tank. This allows the fuel pump to push fuel into the tank easier for more efficient driving.
The ideal distance is within two feet from the fuel tank and it should be level with the bottom of it for the best performance. The mounting should also be in an closed and protected area.
Avoid High Temperature Areas When Installing The Electric Fuel Pump
Next, the fuel pump should never be exposed to high temperature components. The fuel hose can be exposed and damaged if they are forced to try and mix with heat.
The best thing to do is keep the pump and fuel lines away from these sources. The biggest mistake many people make is putting the fuel pump too close to the exhaust area.
Mount The Fuel Pump Lower
The ideal mounting height for the fuel pump on a classic car is 18 inches above the bottom point of the fuel tank. This makes it easier for fuel to siphon through the car.
When the pump is too high, it must work harder and it shortens the expected lifespan.
Install An Automated Shut Off
Lastly, an automated shut off should be used when installing an this type of fuel pump on a classic car. This is a must have so the engine can automatically shut down if the fuel pump breaks or leaks.
This is necessary because when the fuel pump keeps running, it causes the leak to accelerate and puts the driver and vehicle at risk for major damage.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane