Fuel Pump Replacement
97 Ford T-Bird Fuel Pump Replacement (4.6L Dual Exhaust or 3.8L single exhaust)
The fuel pump is a very small pump & motor combination that resides inside the
plastic fuel tank. It is part of an assembly that includes the fuel level sensor and
necessary hoses and wires to make it all work. In general you have to completely
remove the fuel pump and related assembly in order to replace the pump. In
order to have decent access to the fuel pump assembly in the tank, you need to
completely remove the tank. Oh, such fun.
You may get fuel on you or spill some during this process, so itís important you
think about sources of ignition. No smoking obviously, but if you are working at
night with a light, realize it can ignite fuel if accidentally broken. Also grinding,
filing etc can cause a spark. If in a garage or low area, realize fumes can build up
and a compressor starting or impact tools running can cause a spark igniting the
Fuel Tank Removal:
1. Place the car on four jack stands as high as you can go. You will need the
clearance for working and supports for the tank.
2. Drain the tank, I use a stiff quarter inch hose and hand vacuum pump to get
it started and fill the mower containers and lawn tractor. It is tempting to
skip this step but the tank can hold 18 galleons and at over 6 lbs per gallon
you could have over a hundred pounds in addition to the weight of the
tank. Itís very difficult to siphon from the fill pipe so after the car is on jack
stands pull the crossover vent pipe on the rear of the tank going over the
driveshaft and insert the tube in one of the vent fittings on the tank.
3. Remove the two foot long cross bar that is just ahead of the tank, four 8
mm headed bolts.
4. Remove the two bolts, 13 mm heads, retaining the small heat shield and
safety bar at the front of the tank over the drive shaft.
5. Remove the two nuts retaining the rear exhaust system. I always put a drop
of fine oil on each bolt prior to removing the nuts. On the wifeís 3.8 liter
the nuts were 9/16Ē English, go figure.
6. At the very rear of the car remove the two 13 mm nuts holding the left
muffler hanger to the frame. Then remove the same two nuts for the right
hand muffler. Note this is much easier than trying to remove the rubber
hanger. The 3.8 liter will only have the left, as it is a single exhaust. The
muffler system is now hanging by the center hanger.
7. Place a station jack under the muffler system and pry the exhaust center
hanger rubber off the hanger, itís a bit of a pain so find something to use as
a pry bar to help get it off. The exhaust system is very loose at this point so
be careful not to drop it on yourself. Lower the exhaust system and move it
out of the way. I found the single exhaust light enough I could let it down
without the station jack.
8. Find a piece of plywood to place between the station jack and the tank,
support the tank with the wood and jack.
9. Remove the two 13 mm headed bolts at the front of the tank and the two
at the rear. You will need at least 9Ē of extension for easy access to the rear
bolts. Note the right hand tank strap will fall off so remove and set aside.
Take note it has a front and rear orientation, long strap to the rear.
10. Lower the tank some until you can get at the rear vent hoses. Loosen the
hose clamp on one side of the hose going over the differential, and remove
just the one end from the tank.
11. Loosen the hose clamp for the large fill pipe and remove the hose from the
tank. Once I had to loosen the clamp on the filler side as the clamp was
rotated where it was not accessible.
12. Remove the wiring from the fuel pump assembly, There are three clips you
have to lift carefully so the connector will come off, a couple small
screwdrivers will help. The connector goes straight up to be removed, two
small clips on sides and large clip to the rear. You may see some green
dielectric grease in the fitting do not remove the grease.
13. Remove the two gas lines by removing the retaining clips, one should be
white ( rearmost) and one black (forward), note you may have to destroy
the clips to remove them. They pull straight out normal to the fuel line
while compressing the inside edges. You should get new clips in the
replacement pump package. Once the clips are removed the lines should
14. To the right of the fuel pump you will find the fuel lines retained by a
plastic clip arrangement, just pull the whole clip straight up to remove from
15. Remove the small hose going to the top of the tank, it should be a slip fit on
a fitting under the heat shield material in the center of the tank. It runs
right along with the other fuel lines
16. Finish lowering the tank and move to a location where you can work on the
fuel pump assembly.
17. If your u-joints or drive shaft need repair or inspection, now is the time to
do that as well.
Fuel Pump Assembly
I purchased a Bosch replacement pump (69118) and strainer (68014). Note the
strainer is a separate item and does not come with the pump. I found I had to
destroy the old strainer in order to remove the old pump so it is necessary to
have a new one. You will find a lot of extra parts in the bag that are not
obvious at first.
1. Clean the area around the pump assembly so you donít get debris in the
tank when removing it. I used compressed air and WD-40.
2. Remove the rotating locking ring by taping it with a cold chisel and hammer
counterclockwise as you are looking down at it, use all the removal points
and work your way around, as it tends to bind.
3. Remove the locking ring and fuel pump assembly and gasket. Note you will
have to twist and turn and tip as appropriate to get it out of the tank. Be
careful not to damage the fuel level sensor when removing, ie the black
float and wire assembly.
4. Initially it will look impossible to remove the old pump but it does come
5. I very carefully spread the plastic clip and pulled the wire out of the level
sensor, having it flipping around while working the pump is very annoying.
6. Pry the old filter off the bottom of the pump.
7. Release the top and bottom clips on the diaphragm above the pump and
slide the diaphragm up the tube until it clears the pump, and then remove
completely. You will not be reusing it.
8. Pull the pump out of its retaining ring at the bottom, and carefully remove
the two electrical leads as they will be reused. Remove the rubber boot at
the bottom of the pump, it will be reused.
9. Remove the diaphragm from the pipe. The Bousch kit contains a hose and
two clamps to replace the diaphragm.
10. Cut a piece of hose to length for the diaphragm replacement and put it and
the two hose clamps on the pump.
11. Place the rubber boot on the bottom of the pump then while slipping the
hose over the metal tube place the pump into its bottom metal retaining
12. Tighten the hose clamps.
13. Put the electrical adapter connectors on the pump motor and the former
pump leads go on the new adapter. Note the leads are two different sizes
so be aware. Once you have it connected. Find the connector retaining clip
and place it over the wires so they donít work loose.
14. I didnít like all the wires flopping around so I took a piece of # 14 bare
copper wire and wrapped it around the two connectors so they wouldnít be
able to bounce around so much. Donít use anything like a tie wrap that the
gasoline would deteriorate.
15. Reinsert the wire for the float into the level sensor, make sure you get it
going back through the sensor wipe, it has to line up properly and go all the
way through to the hole in the back of the sensor before pushing into the
clip. I typically find this to be the hardest step, so be patient.
16. Push the filter on the bottom of the fuel assembly.
17. Verify the float does not hit the filter, rotate the filter bag to clear the float
movement as necessary.
18. Now for a couple steps to make the reinsertion into the tank go easier. I
found the gasket was a touch too small and kept getting out of place, so
slowly stretched it until it would lie in the correct position without anything
holding it. Otherwise you will have a very difficult time getting a seal.
19. Use a file to break the four sharp leading edges of the rotating locking ring
and place a little dielectric grease where the two pieces of metal will rub.
This will facilitate starting the ring and rotation to the lock position.
20. Ok, place the gasket in position, insert the pump assembly, again you will
have to twist, turn, and tip to get it into the tank. Make sure the pipes end
up pointed to the right rear of the car as the tank lays in the vehicle. Note
there are two tabs on the assembly so it will only drop down into place
when the tabs line up. While holding in place add the locking ring and start
into position. Rotate the locking ring about a quarter inch then using a
small mirror and/or feeler gauge to verify the gasket is in place all the way
around. If all is good, finish tapping the locking ring into position.
21. Arrange all the hose clamps so they can be removed while the tank is in
the vehicle, ie tightening them so they can be removed from beneath the
Parts Left over:
I found I had the old pump, old strainer, old gasket, and two extra large gaskets
left over from the kit and a little piece of fuel hose left.
Before Re-Installing Tank:
This is a good time to check all the hoses associated with the tank and replace any
that have gotten hard or brittle.
This is also a really good time to do your drive shaft U-Joints if they are in need of
Fuel Tank Installation:
Reverse the removal process.
1. Step 13, You should find a white and black set of clips in the pump kit to
lock the fuel lines back in place. Note the matching color inside the lines.
The black line goes to the forward pipe and the white line to the rearmost
2. Step 12, Add more dielectric grease as necessary to electrical fitting.
3. Step 7. Use some dielectric grease when reassembling center rubber
4. Step 5, be sure to use anti-seize compound on the bolts before installing
the two nuts on the exhaust pipe.
5. One of the exhaust mount bolts on the bumper broke, so I had to cut a hole
in the bottom of the bumper to reinsert the bolt and tighten nut.
6. The fill pipe was rusty where the rubber hose went to the tank so sanded,
primed and painted before reassembling tank to car, also added a second
hose clamp just to make sure it didnít leak, and keep water from collecting
between hose and pipe.
Fuel connections under car after tank removed. Note white and black
inserts inside hoses, match white and black clips. Electrical connector is the
item on the right of picture. At the rear of the fuel lines you can just make
out the plastic clip holding the lines together, this clip pushes onto a plastic
mount on the top of the tank.
This is a close up of the fuel filler hoses while the tank is sitting out of the
vehicle. The large hose on the left is the fuel filler. The small hoses on the
right are both vent hoses. The left most one goes to the filler, the right
most goes over the drive shaft to the other side of the tank.
Fuel tank removed from vehicle.
The tab that holds the plastic mount for the fuel lines, right middle of tank.
Close up of very dirty old fuel pump in tank.
Old fuel pump removed.
Old fuel pump parts removed. From left to right,
Carbon float for fuel level, reuse
Plastic retainer for bottom of pump, reuse.
Square mesh filter, discard.
Round long pump, discard.
White round clip from filter, discard.
Gaskets from diaphragm, discard.
Gasket retaining clips from diaphragm, discard.
Diaphragm, for pressure regulation, I presume, discard.
New Bosch fuel pump parts on right and piping on left that you will be
mounting them too.
New fuel pump assembled and ready to install.
Note the round seal in the foreground that goes between the tank and the
fuel pump assembly.
In the background note the white and black clips to hold the fuel lines on.
96 v8 4.6 explorer, kooks headers, off road x, magnaflow mufflers, cl tb/plenum, lmaf, gt tube, xcal tune, alum shaft, 3800 dirty dog converter, darrin trans, 373 gears, hoosier slicks on fanblades, pbr brakes, Skinnies on front, No PS or AC, Aeromotive EWP, major weight removal (3380 LBS), 12.78 OLD COMBO.