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Old 06-03-2017, 09:59 PM   #1
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Backup Fuel Pump

We have a '94 454 TBI Flair with a little less that 50k miles on it. The fuel pump is in the tank, not the easiest thing to change along the roadside or even at home. Lately I've been thinking about adding a backup pump located outside the tank and wondered if anyone here had already done this or could offer advice?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 06-04-2017, 01:19 PM   #2
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Actually sounds like a good idea. I wonder if you can get one that would allow fuel to flow with it off. Leave it off until needed in an emergency.

The other option is to buy the in tank unit and carry it as a spare. Usually, you just need to drop the tank a few inches to install a new one.

Some people have even cut a hole in the floor of the coach to access it from inside the coach. This could be an option if you could do this inside a cabinet or under a drawer.
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Old 06-04-2017, 01:42 PM   #3
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I experienced cavitation and pump failure at high temperature with my 1997 Bounder. Never ran with less that 1/2 tank when it was hot and managed to avoid replacing in until I traded it on my new coach in 2015. Some have had success adding an external pump on the fuel rail with a crash switch. I think they use this pump. https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BK_7356878

It certainly ain't cheap but apparently works. Replacing the pump can be difficult depending on your specific coach. On my Bounder it was between welded jack supports and a real project to fix. Glad I managed to live through it.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:49 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses guys, at least I'm not totally out in left field.

We will probably use this MH to travel about 7-8k miles each year until I can't do it anymore. I was just thinking of all the problems it would cause if the pump quit while going through any major city or out in the middle of nowhere in WY or CO.

I mentioned this to one of the guys at a RV repair place and he said that fuel could not be drawn through the existing pump in the tank which would leave that line out. But another source could be the generator fuel line if it is large enough. I'm thinking the existing return line could be used. I'll see the guys at the shop tomorrow and I'll run that past them to see what they say.

I would like to plumb another pump into the system along the frame and continue to run on the existing pump in the tank until it fails at which time the back-up pump could be activated and the MH would keep on going. When we got home I could change the pump in the tank. There are a lot of details to be worked out, but what line to use to get it out of the tank and what to use for the return would be the first steps.

Thanks for the link to the pump and the ideas about how to change the pump in the field. I would like to avoid that if possible. I may just run alternate lines with electrically activated valves, or something like that.

Thanks again.

Steve
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:50 AM   #5
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From what I have read, the external pump can assist a failing in tank pump but not replace it. It needs about 15 PSI from the tank pump and once the pump really fails you have to replace the in-tank unit. My symptoms never returned and it seems that a lot of guys get a couple of years out of the auxiliary pump before it all fails.

Lots of information on the web regarding this.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:44 PM   #6
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An EFI high pressure fuel pump is very good at pushing fuel but not drawing it out of the tank. In other words you will need gravity to bring fuel to the new pump. When you compare the cost of the pump and the installation I would just put a new pump in the tank if your that concerned about a imminent failure.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:50 AM   #7
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Thanks again for the responses and help.

While I understand that a pump can push a liquid better than it can lift it because lifting is limited by atmospheric pressure vs gravity, I think I can remember some of the first TBI vehicles having a pump located along the frame. I think my wife's first T-Bird was that way. That is what I was considering. I would do the work.

It is not that I am concerned about an imminent failure, but that I believe that anything mechanical is subject to failure at any time. I have been assured that these pumps are very reliable, but I keep thinking that if the thing failed somewhere along our normal 7-8k mile summer trip it would not be something I would care to address. I know there are many other items that can fail, but most of them are easier to repair than the in-tank fuel pump. I've changed two of them in cars which were real pains and I think the MH would be much worse mostly because of the tank size and capacity. Again it would be something I would prefer to do myself.

Perhaps I've been around aircraft too much with all their redundant systems, but they are there for a good reason. I know the camper won't fall out of the sky, but loosing the fuel pump would be a real pain in many ways.

By the way, the guys at the camper shop didn't think it was a worthwhile idea either.

I haven't explored Dons idea about a hole in the floor yet, but I will.

Even though there are a lot of negatives I'm still thinking about doing something.

Thanks again.

Steve
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:05 AM   #8
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Steve check out the location of where the pump is in relation to what's above it ,on our HR it's a basement compartment and the previous owner added a 12"x12" access plate above the fuel tank pump ,this might work for you.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:53 PM   #9
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I would look into a switch on the generator line and a second pump on that line going through a check valve to the main engine line.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:05 AM   #10
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I would look into a switch on the generator line and a second pump on that line going through a check valve to the main engine line.
I ran that idea past the guys at the RV shop and they thought the gen line might be too small to feed the 454, but I haven't checked that yet. One small problem with that is that the tank would have to be kept over 1/4 full because that is where the gen runs out in order to have fuel to move the MH, but I could live with that long enough to get home and change the tank pump.

I'm also going to check on going through the floor, but I would rather plumb another pump into the system if that is possible. Perhaps both, because the tank pump would still have to be changed and that would be the easiest way.

I probably won't get this done before our trip this year, but I'd like to have it by next year.

Thanks for the great ideas.

Steve
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:02 AM   #11
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I know you have a Chevy, but this member added a extra fuel pump to his Ford.

97 F53: adding fuel pressure gauge.

For access to the gas tank from inside of RV. This member has a Pacer, the gas tank probably in the same location as your tank.

Replacing Fuel Pumps in Itasca

And how about this one. Price to change a fuel pump.

How much time should it take to remove and replace a fuel tank?
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:05 AM   #12
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leesdx1, thank you so very much for the links. I bookmarked all of them and they will be invaluable when I start this project on our MH. The last link provides all the reasoning I need to continue.

I did a search before posting, but didn't find any of this.

Thanks again.

Steve
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dix39 View Post
leesdx1, thank you so very much for the links. I bookmarked all of them and they will be invaluable when I start this project on our MH. The last link provides all the reasoning I need to continue.

I did a search before posting, but didn't find any of this.

Thanks again.

Steve
Steve: NP, I'm on the same boat as you. Keep us up-dated when you start the project.
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Old 06-08-2017, 10:52 AM   #14
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Steve: NP, I'm on the same boat as you. Keep us up-dated when you start the project.
Will do, and if you get started first please do the same.

For me it will be at least sometime after August when we return, and I have a huge backlog of other things (too many hobbies). I do plan to have it done before next Summer.

Many thanks.

Steve
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