Friday, December 23, 2011

Fuel Pump

It was a beautiful day!  The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and there is only an inch or two of snow.  The cows didn’t need any hay at all, but I have been giving some to the heifers.  Today it was so warm that I was in my shirtsleeves as I loaded the pickup.

It was also a nice day for accomplishing another mechanicing job – replacing the fuel pump in the pickup.

The outfit has quit me several times in the last week, and I feared a long walk home.  But it always started again.  I figured it to be the fuel pump, and picked up a new one when I went to town yesterday.

I had started work on this repair a couple of days ago when I went looking for the fuel pump to determine if it was electrical or mechanical.  It took a while to find it.  Even though this pickup is 26 years old, the engine compartment is still packed with apparatus, and it took some tracing of pipes and hoses to find what I was looking for.

I found it, but I couldn’t reach it.  It took a couple of hours to remove two pollution control pumps – that had long since been disconnected - and a bunch of hoses to expose the fuel pump on the side of the engine.  Today I had only to disconnect the fuel lines and remove two bolts to get the old pump out.  Getting it back together took a little longer.

To reach the engine I was standing on a step-stool and bent deep into the recesses of the engine compartment.  Even with those two extraneous pumps and all their tubing out of the way there was still plenty of ‘stuff’ to work over, under, around, and through.  The real challenge in the re-assembly was the push-rod from the camshaft to the fuel pump drive lever: with the lever removed, that push-rod slid right down into the way of re-installing the new lever.

The hole through which that drive lever inserts is only an inch wide and a couple of inches high.  Whatever I put in that hole to raise the rod was in the way of whatever I put in the hole to hold it up.  And whatever I put in the hole to hold the push-rod up was in the way of installing the fuel pump.

I raised the rod with my fingers, but couldn’t hold it.  There wasn’t room for needle nosed pliers.  The curved-nosed pliers could raise the rod up, and a screwdriver could hold it up, but by the time I got the gasket into position on the new fuel pump and the fuel pump lever into the hole, things had shifted enough that the rod fell down out of position again and another tool had fallen into the dirt under the pickup.

I tried grease to hold the rod up.  I tried bending a piece of soft flat metal to hold it up. On my 23rd attempt I used the curved-nose pliers to raise the rod and a screwdriver to hold it.  I was able to slide the new fuel pump into place under the screwdriver, remove the screwdriver, and work a bolt through the fuel pump, through the gasket, and into the engine block.  Using a 3” extension and a wobble-drive adapter on the socket I was able to get the second bolt started.  Only minutes later the job was finished.

I let the engine idle as I was putting away the tools, and then took it for a drive up to the mailbox.  I think the fuel pump was the problem, and a new one was only $15.  I’ll tell you in a day or two if my diagnosis was correct.

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