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Reduce Cold Start Engine Cranking with a Universal Electric Fuel Pump


Most classic cars and trucks are not our daily drivers. They are collectibles that we keep safe and sound in our garages unless we take them out for a Sunday drive. Sometimes they can sit for weeks or even months.

While they are safe and sound sitting in our garages or storage there are some drawbacks to not driving or at least starting our classics on a daily basis. One such drawback is having to crank the engine for a long time waiting for the mechanical fuel pump to get gas to the carburetor.

Long engine cranking can cause the starter motor to overheat and can cause some real wear and tear on your battery. Diaphragms in the mechanical fuel pumps can often leak and sometimes just simply fail all together as well. Both of these scenarios are less than desirable, but we have a pretty simple and inexpensive work-around to help alleviate both of these issues.

We find that installing a universal electric fuel pump in parallel with the stock mechanical pump can really reduce the stress on the mechanical fuel pump and starting system. Universal electric fuel pumps can be purchased online or at your local auto parts store for right around $30. Most classic cars and trucks have plenty of space in the engine bay to install one of these small pumps and they can be positioned just about anywhere.

You will also need a T-fitting, some hose clamps, enough fuel hose, toggle switch and some wire. All of these items are relatively inexpensive, especially compared to replacing or rebuilding a mechanical fuel pump, starter motor or battery.

Here is what you will need to do… Start by splicing in a T-fitting before the mechanical pump inlet because most fuel pumps have one-way valves that prevent drawing fuel in from above. The fuel will travel through this T-fitting and fuel hose to the new electric fuel pump intake. Fuel hose will then be attached to the electric pump output to another T-fitting that you will slice into the fuel line that leads to the carburetor.

Next you will need to run a wire from the electric pump input power lead, through the firewall into the vehicle cabin underneath your dash. We suggest installing the toggle switch underneath your dash somewhere that it is within comfortable reach for the driver. You can then attach a power source to the toggle switch from any available voltage source.

That is it for the installation. Now when you want to cold start your classic car all you need to do is turn the ignition to the on position, hit the toggle switch to send power to the electric pump and allow it enough time for the electric fuel pump to get gas to the carburetor. This should happen within a matter of 10 seconds or so. Once fuel has been pumped to the carburetor you can turn off the toggle switch to kill the electric pump and then start your car.

Your classic car should fire right up without having that seemingly endless engine cranking you had before. The new electric pump also acts as a backup. Should your mechanical fuel pump fail for any reason all you need to do is toggle on the electric pump and you will be good to go.

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