Ford Fuel Pump Problems

by Alexis Writing

Dealing with the fuel pump issues in your Ford vehicle can be stressful. After all, a faulty fuel pump can render a car or truck useless, and the telltale signs of fuel pump problems aren't often recognized by the average driver. However, troubleshooting a fuel pump can be a simple process if you bear a couple of key issues in mind.

Engine Won't Start

Many fuel pump issues are indicated by the inability of the vehicle to start: after turning the key in the ignition, you'll feel the engine turn over once or twice and then no more. This may indicate one of several fuel pump issues---a dead pump relay, a clogged filter or low fuel pressure. The educated car owner will first check her filter for signs of clogging. You should note---these types of repairs and diagnostics ought not be attempted when the engine is hot or near open flames. Moreover, forgetting to relieve pressure in the system can cause fuel to spray. Checking fuel pressure with a pressure gauge will indicate whether or not the problem may be low pressure as a result of a clogged filter. If a filter change doesn't remedy the issue, you might look at some of the other causes of low pressure, including a weak pump or a fuel line blockage.

Residual Pressure Tests

Every Ford vehicle has an amount of "residual" or left-over pressure built up inside the pump even when it is turned off. Any owner's manual will spec out how much residual pressure is left in the pump after the vehicle stops running. A sudden drop in residual pressure indicates a faulty pump. This may be the result of the fuel injector system, or leaks in the fuel line, pump check valve, or pressure regulator. Fixes to this part of a vehicle can be relatively simple and low-cost, or they may be rather expensive and difficult to attempt. After a somewhat definitive diagnosis is made, you should call your trusted mechanic to discuss whether any of these systems can be repaired or replaced on your own.

Fuel Volume Tests

Even if a pump holds pressure, it may not necessarily be delivering the correct amount of fuel into the vehicle. To test fuel volume, you can connect a flow gauge into the fuel supply line. A Ford user's manual will be able to tell you how much fuel should be delivered into the system over a specified period of time. A clogged fuel line or pump is often the reason behind low volume (although it may also indicate that a vehicle is running on empty, so an individual must make sure the vehicle has enough fuel). Supply voltage might be the issue as well, as bad relays and wires can prevent the correct voltage from keeping the pump running.

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