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How to Replace the Fuel Pump on a 1998 Nissan Altima

by Rex Molder

So, you've got a full tank of gas. Now you have to get that gas to the engine to give you some get-up-and-go. That's the job of the fuel pump, located in the top of the fuel tank. The pump is an electrical device that feeds fuel from the tank, through the fuel lines, to the engine. A car that will crank, but not start, is often a sign of problems with the pump. Changing the pump will take about an hour.

Open the fuel cap to relieve pressure in the fuel tank.

Open the fuse box cover in the passenger compartment. The fuse box is located below and to the left of the steering wheel and has a snap-off cover. Remove the fuel pump fuse, which is a 15A fuse, third fuse from the bottom, second column from the left.

Start the engine and let it run until all fuel has been used from the lines and the car dies. Attempt to start the car to ensure the procedure was successful. Open the hood and remove the negative battery cable. This helps avoid sparks that can lead to a fire when working with gasoline.

Remove the bottom of the rear set. There is a pull handle on the front of each side of the seat. Pull the handle and at the same time pull the seat up and toward you. Repeat on the other side to release the seat. Remove it from the vehicle. An assistant will make this job easier.

Remove the inspection hole cover by removing the screws around its edges with a Phillips screwdriver.

Disconnect the two fuel lines, marking them beforehand so you can replace them to the correct connector during reassembly. The connectors are a quick-release type. Press the two tabs on the side of the connector and pull the two ends apart.

Remove the lock ring. Nissan makes a special tool for this (J38879), but you can also use a very large pair of channel-lock pliers or vise grips. If it's not too tight, you might even be able to turn it by hand. Unscrew the lock ring counterclockwise.

Lift up the tube plate and disconnect the fuel tube and electrical connector on the bottom of the plate. Both of these pull off without any type of retainers.

Reach into the hole pull out the fuel pump. There are large tabs on each side that you must pinch together to be able to pull the pump out of the tank.

Pull off the rubber O-ring that surrounds the hole and replace it with a new one. Insert the new fuel pump into the tank, making sure both tabs lock into place.

Attach the fuel tube and electrical connector of the new pump, to the bottom of the tube plate and seat the plate back into the inspection hole.

Replace the lock ring by screwing it clockwise. The factory specifications are for 22 foot-pounds of torque, but as long as you tighten it firmly, it will be all right.

Snap the two fuel lines to the tube plate. Make sure they are attached to the proper place.

Connect the negative battery cable. Replace the fuel pump fuse and close the fuse box cover. Turn the car's ignition to "On" without starting it, then turn it off. Repeat this several times to prime the fuel lines. Start the car and let it run a few minutes. If it runs fine, the procedure was a success. Turn off the car.

Replace the inspection hole cover and replace the screws. Replace the seat bottom by putting it in place, slightly raising the front of the seat and pushing it back as far as possible. Let the front down. Pull the handles in the front and press the seat back. The bottom should lock into place. Release the handles and try to pull the seat, to make sure it locked firmly.

Tip

  • Cover the inside of the work area with newspaper to catch any fuel drip. Otherwise, your car will smell like gasoline.

Warning

  • Only perform this procedure when the car is cool. Gasoline may drip and can ignite when it touches hot engine components.

Items you will need

About the Author

Rex Molder began writing professionally in 1999 and specializes in automotive, technology and travel articles. His articles have appeared at iPad- and SEO-related websites. Rex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian studies from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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