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Old 09-11-2016, 09:54 PM   #1
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RV Issue - Pretty Sure it's the Fuel Pump

Okay. We had an issue today, which I am led to believe is a fuel pump problem. First, let me start by saying we have a 1999 Fleetwood Flair 32-foot RV. I believe it's a Chevy Chassis. We are only 6 months into RV ownership. I have some experience and knowledge with car/truck engines, but not very much.

Normally, when we start up the RV, I have to pump a little gas to get it going. It doesn't just fire right up and sometimes I have to try 2-3 times to get it running.

We drove over 200 miles without issue yesterday and another 200 today before the issue happened. We stopped at a grocery store and turned off the coach. After shopping, I tried to start it back up and it did everything but start. The battery is fine and it made all the normal engine noises except turning over.

Due to the age of the coach and the amount we had driven (through the hills of NY) I felt like there was a chance we were out of fuel or very low on fuel. We've never let the coach get under a half-tank and when we fill it all the way, it never goes all the way to full, so I don't completely trust the gauge.

Anyway, we walked to AutoZone, got a 5-gallon gas can, filled it about 4 gallons full and carried it back to the coach. After putting gas in, we got the same result....engine wouldn't turn over. This led me to start searching for anything that might help.

I noticed the coolant was low, which I didn't think had anything to do with our issue (I could be wrong and please correct me if I am); however, one of the hoses from the cap on the reservoir was just hanging there. I couldn't figure out where this went, so I could certainly use some help with this issue, too. Don't remember it hanging there.

Anyway, I had read in another post that if the fuel pump in the gas tank (not even sure if we have one there, but assuming) isn't working, you can bang on the tank with a rubber mallet and it might work. This is what I did and after banging on it a few times, my wife was able to get the RV started up.

We are now at a campground and can be here for a few weeks or longer, if necessary. We don't have a car, just regular bikes and we don't have anywhere else to stay (potentially could stay in a cabin here, if absolutely necessary).

Here are my questions:

1. Am I right to assume this is the fuel pump in the gas tank?
2. Have I provided enough information to make this diagnosis or at least assumption?
3. If it is the fuel pump, is this something that can be fixed by a mobile mechanic or will it need to go into the shop?
4. Does anybody have any idea of the price range for this type of repair, if it is indeed the fuel pump?

Thank you for all of your help!

Benjamin Ehinger
@LiveSmallWander
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:05 PM   #2
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Benjamin; found you post a little confusing because you were using the words turning over , instead of firing up or starting up; but by the time I got through it I had figured it out , that although the engine turns over every time you turn the key , it wouldn't start up until you hit the fuel tank.

On to your questions.
1. Since the mid 80's almost all gasoline engines , have switched to fuel injection with their pumps in the tank.
2.98% sure the pump is your problem.
3.A mobile mechanic MAY be willing to take the job on , provided the park your in will allow it.
4. The price will vary , by chassis , if you can take your serial number to a Chevy , dealer they can decode it for you , to confirm it's one of theirs and the chassis year, fuel tank size, and engine size ; if there were any options. Once you have that info , you can get price and availability info from them and any other parts stores close by.
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:35 AM   #3
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I would try new fuel filter first(a lot easier and cheaper then the fuel pump
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Old 09-12-2016, 11:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Benjamin; found you post a little confusing because you were using the words turning over , instead of firing up or starting up; but by the time I got through it I had figured it out , that although the engine turns over every time you turn the key , it wouldn't start up until you hit the fuel tank.

On to your questions.
1. Since the mid 80's almost all gasoline engines , have switched to fuel injection with their pumps in the tank.
2.98% sure the pump is your problem.
3.A mobile mechanic MAY be willing to take the job on , provided the park your in will allow it.
4. The price will vary , by chassis , if you can take your serial number to a Chevy , dealer they can decode it for you , to confirm it's one of theirs and the chassis year, fuel tank size, and engine size ; if there were any options. Once you have that info , you can get price and availability info from them and any other parts stores close by.
Thank you for the information. Yes, I mean it cranks, and does everything except start up/fire up.

I will have to check with the park to see what our options are here.

As fart as the chasis, it is a Chevy from 1998. The sticker says, "Incomplete Vehicle MFG by: Cheverolet." We also have a manual for the Chasis, which says Chevy and the steering wheel does, as well.

Is there anywhere to search online for an idea of what this will/should cost?

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Originally Posted by luqutus View Post
I would try new fuel filter first(a lot easier and cheaper then the fuel pump
Is this something I can do myself or something I need a mechanic for?

Thank you for your help!

Benjamin Ehinger
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Old 09-12-2016, 11:43 AM   #5
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X2 on the fuel filter, but this does indeed sound like a pump.

I think the pump is in the tank, so I doubt if any tech would do it outside of a shop. Nor would the campground allow you/him to empty the tank and drop it to get at the pump.

Pumps aren't real pricey, nor does it take much to actually remove and replace it. The problem is getting access to it in the first place. Most motorhomes do not provide access to the top of the tank where the pump is typically bolted in. Discount sources online sell these pumps for around $60, but local auto parts stores are probably more and a Chevy dealer 2x or 3x that. Visit or call an Autozone or Napa store and ask for a fuel pump for a 1998 Chevrolet P30, P32 or P37 chassis with the 454 engine. Those designations are used interchangeably on the parts books. They won't have a listing by motorhome brand, but they should have the chassis type.

Will the coach fire up now? It may be that the pump is merely weak and was unable to push enough fuel in a hot environment (200 miles on a hot day). You might get home without any problem and could deal with it at your leisure.
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Old 09-12-2016, 11:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
X2 on the fuel filter, but this does indeed sound like a pump.

I think the pump is in the tank, so I doubt if any tech would do it outside of a shop. Nor would the campground allow you/him to empty the tank and drop it to get at the pump.

Pumps aren't real pricey, nor does it take much to actually remove and replace it. The problem is getting access to it in the first place. Most motorhomes do not provide access to the top of the tank where the pump is typically bolted in.

Will the coach fire up now? It may be that the pump is merely weak and was unable to push enough fuel in a hot environment (200 miles on a hot day). You might get home without any problem and could deal with it at your leisure.
Thank you Gary.

I figured we would struggle to get it done at the campground due to the tank needing to be dropped.

I haven't tried to fire it up since we got parked last night, but it fired up last night after we had the issue with it not cranking, but not starting all the way....still not sure the best way to describe it.

Unfortunately, for us, the RV is home, so we have to deal with it before we hit the road. We are supposed to be in Wells, Maine for 4 weeks, but we can move our reservations around, if necessary, when dealing with this issue.

However, our issue comes in with figuring out where to stay while it's being worked on as we have two dogs and no car (that was our own choice and yes, we are regretting it and making plans to fix that issue in the near future). We may be able to get a cabin for a couple of days at our current campground, so this may not be an issue, however.

My biggest fear with getting it started and to our next campground before fixing it is will it make it all the way or will it do what it did last night when we stop for gas. We usually just do quick stops at rest areas to use the restroom and grab a snack, so we don't shut it off during driving, unless we need gas.

Is there any bandaid fix that can be used if we do have an issue at a gas station or while on the road? Is it something we should even consider chancing or should be deal with it before hitting the road?

Thanks again,

Benjamin Ehinger
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:01 PM   #7
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To the folks smarter than me (many, many people).Would an extra electric fuel pump installed in the fuel line work as a 'helper' pump to the in-tank one? Or would the in-tank pump create too much of a blockage for the extra pump to do any good?
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:18 PM   #8
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We had a 2000 Chevy Suburban that had the similar issue. It turned out to be a fuel pump, that yes they are in the gas tank. But there was a small part(I forget what it was called) that was some type of regulator that adds pressure so the fuel gets into the injectors. 2 days after having the fuel pump replaced it would not start again, had it towed back to the Chevy dealership and they replaced that regulator and it ran great. The fuel pump was about $1000, for the part and labor, and the regulator that assisted the pressure was only $100(which I could have done myself).

Ever since then I have always thought it was the regulator part to begin with and not the fuel pump. I was told that with the modern fuel injected engines that pumping the gas pedal when starting the car doesn't do anything, as the fuel injection system does everything related to gas needed for starting, and is only a sign to you that it is not getting the correct fuel pressure to begin with. I probably didn't explain as good as a mechanic would but I bet if you went to a Chevy dealer or competent mechanic who works on Chevy's they would know what I am talking about as it was a common issue around those years.
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:24 PM   #9
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RV Issue - Pretty Sure it's the Fuel Pump

I had a 96 Fleetwood Storm with the same issue. Do the filter first (possibly 2 of them). It was all I needed!
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Old 09-12-2016, 12:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mike and Cha View Post
We had a 2000 Chevy Suburban that had the similar issue. It turned out to be a fuel pump, that yes they are in the gas tank. But there was a small part(I forget what it was called) that was some type of regulator that adds pressure so the fuel gets into the injectors. 2 days after having the fuel pump replaced it would not start again, had it towed back to the Chevy dealership and they replaced that regulator and it ran great. The fuel pump was about $1000, for the part and labor, and the regulator that assisted the pressure was only $100(which I could have done myself).

Ever since then I have always thought it was the regulator part to begin with and not the fuel pump. I was told that with the modern fuel injected engines that pumping the gas pedal when starting the car doesn't do anything, as the fuel injection system does everything related to gas needed for starting, and is only a sign to you that it is not getting the correct fuel pressure to begin with. I probably didn't explain as good as a mechanic would but I bet if you went to a Chevy dealer or competent mechanic who works on Chevy's they would know what I am talking about as it was a common issue around those years.
Thank you for the info. I will certainly see if I can find out more info about this as a $100 repair sounds way better than $1,000 to me.

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I had a 96 Fleetwood Storm with the same issue. Do the filter first (possibly 2 of them). It was all I needed!
I would love it to just be a fuel filter and if this is something I can do myself, that would be great. Anybody have advice on how to change a fuel filter?

Thank you,

Benjamin Ehinger
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Old 09-12-2016, 01:36 PM   #11
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Thank you for the info. I will certainly see if I can find out more info about this as a $100 repair sounds way better than $1,000 to me.







I would love it to just be a fuel filter and if this is something I can do myself, that would be great. Anybody have advice on how to change a fuel filter?



Thank you,



Benjamin Ehinger

Mine was on the frame rail under the driver side near the front. The innards all caved in on my filter
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Old 09-12-2016, 04:23 PM   #12
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Mine was on the frame rail under the driver side near the front. The innards all caved in on my filter
Was it pretty easy to change? I am pretty handy, but with an RV that is also our home, I can be a bit hesitant to try to do things myself.

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Old 09-12-2016, 04:54 PM   #13
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Was it pretty easy to change? I am pretty handy, but with an RV that is also our home, I can be a bit hesitant to try to do things myself.



Thank You,



Benjamin Ehinger

Mine was a 5-inch inline canister with compressions fittings and a hose clamp holding it on the RV. Easy peasy. Hope yours is the same
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Old 09-12-2016, 05:01 PM   #14
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Most likely with the age it's the pump. I would call a Chevy dealer or an independent shop and see if they will work on it. Explain your circumstance and ask how long it would take. They can pressure test the pump before just replacing it. Hopefully you will find there are some compassionate people out there.

Good luck!!!
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