I got my pump and sender from the Pick n’ Pull for $70. Normally I would not have installed used parts in this application but I found a remarkable specimen and scooped it. If you have the means I suggest buying new for reliability and because there are so many after-market pumps available that are excellent and cheap especially if you have an engine with a higher than average LPH (litres per hour) requirement.
In my photo above you can see the new pump and sender have nice white plastic bits while my old parts are all brown. This isn’t aging it indicates a material update seen in newer fuel pumps. Expect to spend $250-280 for a new pump and sender, less if you retrofit a non-OEM pump.
This job is dead simple and well documented. This thread on r3vlimited has some insights into noises and rusty fuel tanks. I won’t duplicate the step by step but I will share my notes on the procedure:
My e30 is messed up, stuttering and lacking power. Though it ran strong for an afternoon my “exceptional specimen” didn’t have much life left. Here’s how I’ve determined that the pump fuel supply is the problem: When the car stutters during acceleration, check the tachometer and fuel economy guages. If the RPMs drop that usually indicates a lack of spark. If the fuel economy drops that indicates the engine is starving for fuel.
My car is doing the latter, puttering at between 5 and 0 MPG in every gear and whenever the throttle is open. Tomorrow I’ll get up early and try hopefully swap in my old pump.
The old pump improved drivability but I can tell it’s a short term fix because my old pump is making noise sometimes and the MPG frequently and nearly bottoms out just driving normally. This could be a combination of factors (fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, injectors) but I suspect the pump.
This time it only took me 15 minutes to swap pumps but I’ll be doing it again soon so maybe I can do it even faster next time. There are several aftermarket pumps available but I decided on an OEM pump from TurnerMotorsport (they have the best price).
The bodger retrofit is to buy a pump and kit and rig it into the pump armature. The most common pump for that applicaiton is the Walbro 255 GSS-340 (DIY Retrofit Instructions). Cars with higher displacement engines or turbos sometimes put in a pump with greater LPH (litres per hour) such as the Deatschwerks 300 LPH but that’s not necessary for a stock engine, even an s52 let alone an m20.
I’m a sucker for OEM.
I’m still convinced I have a fuel issue but my mechanic drove the car and says it has the tell-tale signs of a spark issue. I replaced the plugs in the 4 troublesome cylinders (which were actually o.k), replaced a cracked HT wire and swapped in the new distributor cap and rotor from my trunk kit for good measure: problem persists. If my mechanic is correct then the next item to inspect is the ignition coil.
My new OEM fuel pump arrived last night and I installed it in the dark. Works great and I can definitely feel that the car has new energy. Afterwards I drove it around the block with the pump exposed and the seat cushion off and it was crazy how loud the pump is. However my surging and powerloss issues prevail and I am going to replace the ignition coil to try to remedy that. As I’ve read, the coil can fail completely but it can also fail slowly causing exactly the symptoms I’m experiencing.
One last thing, It’s worth noting that every time I’ve done this there has been very little fuel in the hose coming off the pump, but this time there was much, much more fuel. It’s a good idea to remove the fuel sender before disconnecting the hose so you have somewhere to drain all that fuel.
Suction Device with Pre-Supply Pump (255 LPH) 16141179415
Sending Unit Assembly 16141152266
I think I found one (
perhaps the only one) of my engine’s vacuum leaks. I noticed that the rubber hose that runs from the fuel pressure regulator to the intake manifold showed cracking on it so I replaced it. It broke off at the FPR when I was removing the old hose and had to be scraped off with a knife. Now the car idles a little better but I (still) suspect my fuel injectors are fouled — so far the car is not stalling on cold start but does still idle low around ~500 RPM. Photo of the hose I replaced (see red arrows):
The inside of the old hose. Odd that the end closest to the regulator has a white buildup inside it, not sure what it means:
Fuel Pressure Regulator (Info)
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