<VV> Fuel Pump Woes

Bill H. gojoe283 at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 30 13:23:06 EST 2010


Hi all…hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  I thought you might be interested in my experiences with fuel pumps over the past year.
First of all, I’ll start by stating that I’ve been through three stock-type units, and finally in exasperation, installed an electric pump last week.
The first two pumps I went through this year were purchased on e-bay for cheap.  They had slotted screws holding the top and bottom halves together, and I assume they were made by Airtex, as most (or all) pumps are these days.
Virtually all these pumps, as most Corvair afficonados will testify, have diaphragm issues which cause internal leaking of fuel into the crankcase, a no-no.  I had these issues with all slotted-screw units until I decided to buy a “better” quality one from Clark’s.  That one was only a dollar or so more, but it had hex-head screws holding the body together so I had high hopes that my woes were cured.  I even called Clark’s and was assured by the person who answered my call (they are always courteous and friendly and it is always a pleasure doing business with them) that the “better” unit didn’t suffer from those fuel leakage problems.
So I installed that pump about a month ago, everything was fine until I took a couple of trips upstate (New York) which went uneventfully.  The car drove nicely and I was pleased with her performance and handling.  Most of driving is in town and is in traffic, so there is no real test of the engine’s durability for long-distance driving, but I do depend on her to get me where I need to go on a daily basis.
Next morning I got back in the car to drive to work, and got that nasty raw-gas smell again!  Opened the engine lid, raw gasoline was spritzing out the pump where the top and bottom halves are bolted together.  I tightened all the bolts, started the engine, no more leaks.  But I considered this a “warning signal” that this pump may not have may days left either, so I decided to spring for Clark’s electric fuel pump kit. 
Last Sunday I installed the pump under the chassis, where the rubber fuel line leaves the tank.  According to what I read, you should install an electric pump as close to the gas tank as possible, since these unit push better than they pull (I originally was going to take the easy way out and install it in the engine bay).  The install went fine, except I got drenched in gasoline when I disconnected the rubber fuel line and re-connected it to the pump’s input.  That done, I ran the red wire into the engine bay where I have a source of 12V at ignition, put in the oil cutoff switch and connected the thing to a relay, and added the fuse.
It seems that I’m challenged in the install-connectors-onto-a-wire department, since despite my best efforts to add the connectors, they came loose and eventually off.   Yesterday the car died four times on my way to and from work.  Last night I decided to SOLDER the connectors to the wires, and I noticed that the original wire I ran from the “IGN FUSED” tab on the fuse panel, to the engine bay, had gone dead.  I used less-than-good-quality wire.  Dumb move, lesson learned, but time was limited (it was already 11:00 PM) so I connected the fused wire from the pump to the oil switch, then directly to the battery.  Not my ideal solution, but at least the pump runs reliably now.  And by the way, although it’s advertised as a “quiet” pump, it makes a noticeable tapping noise (which seems normal) as it is running.  And, since oil pressure takes a second or so to go down after the motor is shut down, the pump keeps running, again, not the ideal.
One thing I did notice is that the idle of my car seems somewhat smoother, in fact it’s a smooth as butter.   That’s a good thing!  I don’t know if an electric fuel pump delivers a better consistency of fuel to the carbs, but it certainly is smoother.
One caviat when installing an electric pump is routing the fuel line from the T where the old fuel pump was.  The fitting supplied by Clark’s really needs a 90 degree bend of fuel line to clear the spinning alternator fan.  It’s a bit close and care has to be taken to ensure it’s not so close as to cause that fan to chew up the line and cause a MAJOR gas leak while the engine’ s running.
I do hope thought, that the electric pump, once the bugs are worked out of my installation, will give me better results than the old stock units, but would have rather used a reliable stock pump, since my car has a number of upgrades, and I’d like to limit any further changes unless they are absolutely necessary.

Also, I keep the old pump in the trunk, along with enough tools to install it, "just in case!" :=)

Best regards to my Corvair friends…Bill Hershkowitz  69 Monza Coupe 110 PG


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