If you’re an aspiring mechanic, it’s usually a good idea to get to know where everything is located in your vehicle so that you can easily access it whenever you need to. In today’s guide, we’re going to take a look at how you can find your fuel pump, whether it’s for maintenance or outright replacement.
In the vast majority of cases, you’ll find the fuel pump inside of your car’s gas tank so that it can more easily get the gas from the tank to the engine. In most cases, you’ll find a way to access the fuel pump through the bottom of your car’s trunk or beneath the seat in the back.
Of course, the exact process of accessing your fuel pump and knowing where it may be located varies based on the vehicle that you’re driving. We’re going to take a closer look at how you can find your fuel pump and we’ll describe some of the maintenance steps you may need to go through.
Where is my Fuel Pump Located?
One thing to note is that working on your gas tank is dangerous and you’ll need to be careful about how you work on it. This is true for any components that you need to raise your vehicle for, like the transmission or the brakes.
For example, you’ll want to wear cotton and not polyester clothing, stick to LED lamps that run cool and ensure that your tools aren’t ever near each other.
Even a single spark from two of your tools striking each other is enough to set off the flammable fuel vapors in your gas tank, so it’s a good idea to avoid keeping them close to each other. Also, remember that an empty tank is just as dangerous (if not more so) than a full one because of the gas fumes.
If you have an older car like an old-school Dodge Ram, then the position of your fuel pump may vary, but the position has been pretty standardized since the 1990s.
Manufacturers like Toyota and Porsche all realized that putting the fuel pump inside of the gas tank is probably the best option, but not necessarily for maintenance because it is usually submerged in gas.
Finding the Access Port
There is usually a way to get to the gas tank through the back of your car through a small port, though the position of this port depends on the car. In most cases, you’ll find the fuel tank access port under one of your car’s back seats or at the base of your trunk.
In most cases, the port will be relatively easy to remove with a screwdriver, though you’ll also have to account for the flex seal that prevents gas fumes from escaping the tank. When you eventually put this cover back on, make sure that it’s properly sealed so you don’t have gas fumes wafting out of the tank.
Another thing to account for is that a RWD car may have two fuel pumps (one on each side of the gas tank). This is because some RWD vehicles have a “W” shaped tank that goes over the prop shaft. In these cases, the dual fuel pumps are used to ensure that both sides of the tank are equal.
Yet another possibility is that your vehicle doesn’t have a gas tank access port, which is likely the case if you have an older car. In these cases, you’ll need to access the gas tank itself, which will mean raising your vehicle on jacks and axle stands so that you can reach it.
Removing the Gas Tank
Be sure to always put your vehicle up on axle stands to ensure that you don’t end up relying on a jack to keep the vehicle elevated. Trusting a jack to hold up the vehicle is extremely dangerous and usually not worth the risk unless you have no other choice.
Once you’ve raised your vehicle, you’ll find your gas tank at the back of your car. It’s usually ribbed and made of plastic so that sparks can’t be struck off of it, but this also means that it’s not quite as sturdy as other components. Don’t make the mistake of being too rough with your gas tank.
While you’re unfastening the tank from the vehicle’s chassis, be sure to support the gas tank with blocks or something else that will keep it from falling free. This will ensure that you don’t end up cracking or damaging the tank once you finally get it freed from the cross-supports and the chassis.
If you’re having trouble with the bolts themselves, especially if your vehicle has seen plenty of rain and winters, use penetrating oil well in advance. By doing this at least a day in advance, you’ll be able to free the bolts much more easily. Damaging the bolts will cause you plenty of headaches, so don’t try to force them.
Removing the Fuel Pump Itself
Before you try and get to the fuel pump, you’ll need to remove the gas lines. For more modern vehicles, this is relatively easy because the fuel lines are meant to be removed without tools. On older cars, you may have more trouble because you’ll need to use a screwdriver to unfasten them from their mountings.
After that, take a look at the electrical unit and pull the tab to remove the fuel pump and sender. Before you remove your fuel pump, be sure to clean off the gas tank to ensure that pump isn’t exposed to grime and dirt, which can get inside of it and clog it up.
To get to the fuel pump, you’ll want to unlock the locking ring around it using either a specialized tool or a mallet and screwdriver. You’ll need to rotate the rod as you remove it at this point to ensure that it comes out properly. Avoid bending the rod if you don’t want to end up with incorrect fuel levels displayed on your dashboard.
Once you’re done, you’ll need to remove the fuel pump from its housing. This can be done more easily on a table or workbench. Be sure to thoroughly clean your fuel pump if you’re not replacing it entirely.