diesel fuel lift pump

Mechanical vs Electric Fuel Pumps: Which Is The Right Option For You?

Nobody ever said the mechanics of a car were easy to understand. Unless you were born with a ratchet in one hand and a wrench in the other, we’re guessing the complexity of diesel fuel lift pumps and diesel filtration systems go right over your head. And, if that’s the case, how are you ever going to know what type of diesel fuel lift pump — mechanical or electric — is best for you and your vehicle? Easy: we’re going to explain both of them to you!

 

The Minutiae of Mechanical Pumps

Mechanical diesel fuel pumps have been around for decades, though the switch to electric everything these days has seen them becoming less and less popular. The work mainly on older engines with carburetors: the pump siphons fuel from the gas tank and pushes it to the carburetor when the engine is cranking or running. Though they won’t quite stand up to boosted applications or engines running nitrous with higher horsepower ratings, they are a convenient and affordable choice for those who simply use their vehicles to get from point A to point B. They’re quiet, require minimal effort to install, and (since they aren’t electric, obviously) have no wiring to muck around with or worry about. If you want to push your engine or give it a little extra kick, however, electric fuel pumps are the way to go.

 

The Excitement of Electric Pumps

For vehicles that really purr, pushing the limits and efficiency of your engine, electric pumps are essential. They’re needed in situations where higher fuel pressures are required (like boosted applications, nitrous, and fuel injection — the latter begins at 30,000 PSI). Sometimes, mechanical pumps simply won’t fit in your car, forcing you to go electric instead; however, they offer a wide variety of flow rates and pressure outputs, making them incredibly versatile and able to work well in many vehicles. Most electric fuel pumps require a 12 volt circuit with a relay that gives you multiple shut-off options, but they must be properly placed in order to guarantee efficiency. Although they’re more expensive, they are generally more efficient and safer options.

 

Essentially, your choice of diesel fuel lift pump relies on your personal needs, from budget to boosts. If you have any questions, you can always contact your local mechanic for advice.

lift pump

Get Your Pump On: 3 Different Types Of Fuel Pumps

If you’ve ever purchased a car, you know how many versions, styles, and colors are available for each manufacturer. Unsurprisingly, what’s under the hood is as versatile; while all the necessary components are, well, necessary to keep the vehicle running, they come in a wide variety of designs based on personal use and preference. From diesel fuel lift pumps to diesel filtration systems, you have the freedom to decide (within reason and space limitations) what goes in your car. This article will focus exclusively on fuel pumps.

 

  • Rotary Vane-Style Lift Pumps: Rotary vane pumps contain a paddle-wheel device within a larger circular housing. The wheel is offset within this housing, which creates a crescent-shaped cavity. The paddles slide in and out as the wheel spins, drawing fuel into the pump through the inlet; when the fuel reaches the narrow point of the crescent on the outlet side, it is compressed and pushed through the outlet. These fuel pumps are highly efficient, but they make a lot of noise.

 

  • Gerotor-Style Lift Pumps: Gerotor pumps are high-pressure, high-volume electric fuel pumps. By utilizing two gears (a spur gear and a ring gear) that work together to rotate the cavity, suction is created on the inlet and pressure is exerted on the outlet; this even balance is what makes Gerator pumps so efficient and able to build high pressures — and all without making any noise. However, they are susceptible to damage from contaminants and can experience cavitation because of the strength of the vacuum they produce.

 

  • Diaphragm-Style Fuel Pumps: Diaphragm pumps use a flexible membrane (usually a rubber composite) that moves up and down inside a chamber. The fuel only moves in one direction within that chamber. A lever on the pump fits into a lobe on the camshaft; as the cam spins, the lever is moved, pulling the diaphragm down and increasing the size of the pump chamber, which draws fuel into the pump. When the diaphragm pushes up (aided by a diaphragm spring), the fuel is forced from the chamber and into the feed line. Although they are more resistant to damage from contaminants and debris (like water, scale, rust, and dirt), their high vacuum makes diaphragm pumps vulnerable to vapor lock or cavitation. As a result, they’re usually recommended for carbureted applications where higher pressures aren’t needed.

Unless you are a qualified mechanic, we recommend consulting a professional before making any purchases or changes to your vehicle. Whether your car runs on a diesel fuel supply system or uses regular gasoline, you’ll be able to find a product that best suits your needs.