North American Turbocoupe Organization

fuel pump replacement
EricVH Offline
ok, so I'm pretty sure my fuel pump is bad. The engine wouldn't start, and after cycling the key a few times I noticed that I couldn't hear the fuel pump (listening closely to tune out the brake pump, vent actuators, etc.). Of course, when I went out later to diagnose what was wrong, it started right up Sad . (At least I know that the inertia switch wasn't tripped....)

I'd rather not get stuck somewhere, though, so I think I'm going to go ahead and replace it. It does have almost 25 years on it, and it's been pretty noisy lately.

So, the advice I have so far is:
Quote:Then drop the tank! : D
How much does the tank need to be dropped to get good access to change the pump?

Where's a good place on the car to put the jack stands while doing this?

What's the best way to lower the tank? (Maybe you can tell by now that I've never had to drop the tank before....)

The tank is about 3/4 full. Do I need to drain any? If so, what's a good way to do that?

The car is pretty much stock, and I'm planning to leave it that way. What's a good pump to put in it?

Any other tips, caveats, etc.?

stock (mostly) '88 TC, slowly deteriorating....

BirdJunkie Offline
Senior Member
1. Try to get the tank as empty as possible,makes it alot easier to handle.and it is best to completely remove it from the car. it with jack stands or up on ramps.
3. walbro,walbro,walbro. is the only pump to use.
4. be sure to release fuel line pressure before disconnecting the lines and be gentle with those as they are over 20 yrs old.

I'm sure others will chime in with their own tips.
88 TC 5SPD BLACK MY BABY ORIG.OWNER(garage queen)/06 GTO 6SPD RED WIFES CAR(cop TAHOE WHITE (wifes daily driver a.k.a Fifty Cent)/2016 SUPER DUTY RED(my daily driver a.k.a BIG red)/06 HAYABUSA (SEXY BITCH)..STATEFARM LUVS ME. ----N.A.T.O Bad Boy Division President----

turbot79 Offline
I didn't have to lift my car at all to drop the tank. but a good to do is get a board on top of your jack and support the tank while unstrapping then lower the tank to the drivers side. Also go to the ford dealership and get a new filler neck gasket mine ripped as I pulled the tank and it's cheap insurance. Also clean clean clean everything on top of the tank before attempting to remove the sender. other than that it is pretty straight forward
88 tc, hbc, t3t4, 3"throttle body,3" stinger exhaust, msd, 18psi, Tial 50mm bov, Esslinger adjustable round tooth timing kit, rods header on the way and many more to come

EricVH Offline
ok, thanks for the tips. Maybe I'll risk driving it for another week or so, to get the gas level down. By then I should be able to get the info and parts I need, too....
stock (mostly) '88 TC, slowly deteriorating....

T-BirdX3 Offline
Senior Member
If you want to drain it unhook the fuel line and let the pump pump it into a gas can.
'88 T-Coupe 5 speed/'88 T-Coupe Auto
'87 T-Coupe 5 speed/'87 T-coupe 5 speed(76k orig mile)
..... and there was light!

EricVH Offline
So, where can I get a Walbro fuel pump? The local parts stores only have Airtex, and I haven't found it online. (The Walbro site doesn't seem to be very helpful in this regard.)

Anybody know the pump part number, or model?

Any thoughts on the Airtex? What about Delphi or Bosch?
stock (mostly) '88 TC, slowly deteriorating....

zip Offline
Thunderbird specific install kits
86 TC 5spd:QH/SD,Walbro190,CFI 52#, AFPR,WB,FMIC,3"dp to axle, .63 T3, E6,Stock Longblock.
Shelf:N/A 2.3, Die grinder, Carbide Burrs.

rsears Offline
. . .

zbird Offline
Posting Freak
In the vendor section look at JD's performance they have the Walbro with the kit for the T/C.
Dom Z
88 T/C med grey. 140 MPH Speedo, Kirban FPR, Gillis valve,Tripminder, K&N.
87 T/C Silver, Auto (project Daily driver)
99 F150 4x4
14 Ford Escape 2.0L Turbo
88 T/C
87 Silver

EricVH Offline
OK, I went ahead and got the replacement pump kit from APE, and started the swap today. Well, really I started yesterday, but only got as far as loosening the tank hanger bolts, when I decided that this was the perfect excuse to go buy that air wrench. I could only turn the bolts about 1/10 of a turn at a time, and they're rusty and hard to turn, and I couldn't fit in a breaker bar, and they're really long. (Which, I read in another post, is for a good reason -- because if they were shorter, it wouldn't be possible to get them started to tighten up the hangers.)

So this morning I went to Lowes and plunked down almost $200(!!!) for an impact wrench. All they had were some $30 garbage ones, and the $200 one. I already had a bad experience with a cheap one, so I wanted something a little better. But I was hoping to get by for about $100. Plus, I forgot to use my $50 gift card Sad

I also bought a 1/2" bolt to make a cradle to attach to my floor jack. I sure am glad I did that! Last night I pumped out as much of the fuel from the tank as I could, until the pump wouldn't pick up fuel any more. (It was about 2 gallons after the 'low fuel' light started coming on.) But after I dropped the tank it was pretty unwieldy because there was still 1/2 gal or so in the bottom.

The "cradle" I made was really just an "H" made from 2x4 lumber, 18" square. I still had to jockey the tank some, but I would have had a much more difficult time if I'd just gone with a 9" square piece of plywood resting on top of the jack, which was Plan A. Making the cradle was 10 minutes very well spent.

I didn't try to wash the top of the tank off or anything before I dropped it. I'd never had it down before (actually, this is the first time I've ever dropped a tank), and I didn't know what I'd be trying to do. As it turns out, the top of the tank was pretty clean, so I don't think I missed anything.

Dropping it took much longer than it could have, mostly because I wasn't familiar with the assembly. Instructions like "disconnect all the fuel lines" sound easy, but it took a while to locate them all and figure out how each was connected. (For some reason, the supply, return, and vent lines are all connected a different way....) Fortunately I had the tools I needed to get them off pretty easily, after I figured it out.

Also, I wasn't expecting the plastic shell on the bottom of the tank to be a separate piece. And the top of the tank was stuck to the car body with the isolation pads, so they had to be unstuck. (I just sort of did it by hand. I assume that tearing them a little is no big deal.)

Another step that always sounds easier than it is is "disconnect the electrical connectors." If you have no idea what the connector looks like, it's pretty much impossible to disconnect it by feel. Fortunately I was able to drop the tank enough to see them before I disconnected them -- and, now knowing what they look like, it would be pretty easy to do it one-handed by feel.

I hope that it's normal to push around the filler neck tube while the tank is dropping. It's impossible to slide the tank to the side before dropping it a good ways. But I guess that's what ripped the gasket. Sad I don't think there's any damage to the rubber part at the top of the neck.

After I got the tank down and out, I stuffed a shirt inside the filler neck hole, put socks over all of the fuel lines, and blew the top of the tank off with compressed air. Of course, this filled up the electrical connectors with dirt, so I need to clean those out. I'm not sure what all that goop was in there. Dielectric grease? I can put some more of that back in when I reassemble.

I don't have a brass punch, and no wooden dowel was sturdy enough, so back out to the store. Actually, I went to 3 different stores before I finally just bought some brass rod, and made my own "punch" by filing the end down. That worked like a charm, and the lock ring came right off!

Everything looked really clean inside the tank. No rust, the pick-up strainer was totally clean. Lucky me!

Changing out the pump was pretty straighforward. (Oops, I just remembered that I forgot to fold back down the tang that holds the pump isolator at the bottom of the bracket. Oh well, I don't think it's very likely to slide up on its own....)

The new pump came with replacement strainer, hose, gasket, and isolator. I thought about just re-using what I had, since it looked so clean, but figured I might as well use the new. Actually, the pump warranty explicitly states that it's void if a new strainer isn't used. And the old wiring harness connector wouldn't work. This was pretty lame, actually. The new pump came with a connector and 2 butt splices, but I don't think those ever work very well. And the pump I was replacing was a Walbro, too, so why couldn't they have just used the same connectors?? Finally I reconciled myself to having to splice on the new one, and clipped off the old push terminals. Of course, after I crimped the first butt connector, I made the mistake of testing it by pulling on it a little, and it came right apart! !*$#^#@! So I monkeyed around with it some more, got the wire back in, crimped it "harder", and called it good enough. Hopefully it won't tend to come apart.... I was a little leary about connecting them any other way, because the part list for the kit said that the butt splices were "fuel safe," or something like that. I don't know if they're the same material as other ones I have, or if soldering would have been fine, or whatever. So I just tried to make the kit parts work as well as I could.

Getting the old pump isolator off the bracket and the new one on was much easier by just squeezing it into the bracket, instead of trying to slide it down. (Of course, I had to slide out the old pump first, and slide in the new pump after the new isolator was in place). I'm not very happy with the new isolator -- it's covered with what seems to be some kind of mold release powder. I tried wiping it off, and considered re-using the old one, but ultimately decided that I should just go ahead and use the new one. Anyone think that was a mistake?

I tried leaving the pump inlet dust cover for the new pump on as long as possible, but it turns out that you need to remove it before putting the pump inside the isolator -- which, of course, I only discovered after pushing it all the way down with the cover on. Since the isolator was already in the bracket it wasn't very easy to push the pump in (or back out), but fortunately it wasn't too big of a deal. After I got the pump in properly, I put the dust cap back on.

Oh, and it was only after disassembling the old strainer from the pump that I read in the instructions for the new pump that I was supposed to note the orientation of it. Oops again! Fortunately I remembered how it was when I took it out, and after looking at it for a bit there was really only one orientation that made sense. So, disaster averted again!

With the assembly ready to back into the tank, I lightly oiled a rag and wiped off the dust/dirt that had found its way onto the gasket seat on the tank; put on the new gasket; and installed the new pump. I had to make another tool to turn the lock ring back on. I just cut another peice of the brass rod, and then cut a small slit in the tip of it. This let me place it onto one of the tabs that stick up on the lock ring, and smack it with a hammer to turn it back on, without the rod slipping off all the time. Worked like a charm, and the lock ring went back on pretty easily.

That's about where I left things. I need to get that new filler neck gasket, and I'll also replace the fuel filter. Maybe I'll get a chance to finish it some time this week, but more likely it'll just sit until the weekend rolls around.
stock (mostly) '88 TC, slowly deteriorating....

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