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99 DeVille Fuel Pump

My 99 DeVille fuel pump apparently failed when I ran out of fuel. I have heard that some fuel pumps will ‘burn up’ when there is no fuel which provides the lubrication they need to operate properly. Is this true??

Actually the fuel does not provide lubrication but cooling. The pump probably failed because of overheating. Don’t like to use the phrase “burned up” in a fuel tank.

You bet! I can’t tell you how many fuel pumps I’ve replaced because of running out of gas.



The gasoline in the tank COOLS the fuel pump, but it doesn’t provide any lubrication.

Since the gasoline cools the pump, it’s not a good idea to allow the fuel tank to become too close to empty. This may cause the fuel pump to overheat, and ‘burn up,’ as you say.

NEVER allow your fuel tank to go below 1/4 full. You’ve already learned why.

Thanks for the quick replies ‘Wizard’ and ‘Tester’ and the education. When the outside temperature comes up a bit (it is 0 deg. F at the moment) I’ll drop the fuel tank and remove and examine the pump. I see many sources of pumps on the Internet with prices ranging from $100 to $500 depending upon whether you want the sending unit, vapor recovery, etc. Any words of wisdom here?

Dude! Check it out! You don’t have to drop the gas tank!


Follow the instructions in your owners manual.

Tester, I don’t want to sound argumentive, but doesn’t these instructions tell us to remove the fuel tank?

Look at Except Eldorado.


You are right, sorry I mentioned it.

I just wish they would make a fuel pump which would quit running when the engine quit running from the drop in fuel pressure, and not lethally overheat because of the loss of cooling from the fuel flow through it for all that time it continues to run after it has run out of fuel to pump: but, no, it just keeps running, and running, and running until…

…or, does it?

Are you serious? How many owner’s manuals include repair information like this? You need a repair manual. The Cadillac service repair manual is best, but others, like Haynes, are far cheaper and easier to follow. But the cheaper ones also don’t cover EVERYTHING like the SRM.

How many people keep the ignition turned on for extended periods when the car loses power due to lack of fuel? GM models will cut power to the fuel when the oil pressure drops to zero, at least on models up to '99 from what I remember. I’m not sure how Ford does it. I am sure that a lot of newer models, the ECM controls the power feed to the pump, so I would guess that the ECM will cut power when the engine stops running after just a few seconds. I’ve never confirmed than myself, since it has been 20 years since I ran out of gas in my own rides.