Does my 99 Mercury Cougar need an entire new Fuel Pump System?



99 Mercury Cougar with 114,000 miles and many small problems (passenger auto window doesnt work, sun roof doesnt work, radio display broken, bad bumper). I took it into the mechanic because the check engine light was on for a while, and I had trouble starting it.

They ran the car computer, but couldn’t finish the test because the car kept dieing. They told me I needed a new fuel pump (it was running very lean), and now the car won’t start!

They said I could either spend $199 for a new pump, which they were NOT sure would even work. OR spend $450 and get an entire new Fuel Pump with a sending unit, fuel gauge, etc. The $450 one is Motorcraft fuel pump pfs216 and the $199 Fuel Pump pfs216 with NO Sending Unit.

PLEASE HELP!! Do I need the entire Fuel Pump with sending unit, or can I just save some money! This car has given me lots of problems, so I think it’s time to sell it, so I would rather spend as little as possible.

Thanks for your help!!


Only the basic fuel pump is needed to make the car run. The one with the sending unit is the complete unit with the pump, bracket, and gauge sender which is not needed to make the engine run. Keep in mind that sometimes when the old unit is reassembled with a new pump it’s always possible the dashboard fuel gauge could be erratic. Just a possibility.

Figure in a fuel filter also. From the sound of things you have neglected this car into the ground (CEL on “for a while”, spend as little as possible, etc.) and failure to change the fuel filter on a regular basis can kill a fuel pump.
Maintain the car properly and the number of problems you suffer will drop.


You say the shop isn’t sure a new fuel pump will solve the trouble so I have to wonder if they are guessing at this. The problem may just be a faulty fuel pump relay. Have they made sure the correct power is getting to the pump first? They could tie power directly to the pump to see if that makes a difference.


Thanks for your post!
I did ask them if they checked the power, and they said that they did. Their biggest concern is that they may not be able to seperate the fuel pump from the sending unit, and therefore, would not be able to just replace the fuel pump. Any more thoughts on this?


Thanks for your replies!
To clarify, the CEL was on for about a month and half (half of that time I was out of town, and the car wasn’t being driven). Based on reviewing the owner’s manual, they suggested that I leave it alone, and after a few driving cycles go get it checked out, since the problem could just correct iself.

The car was purchased used, and all the problems listed about (except for the bumper) were pre-existing, many without my knowledge! Also, within the first 3 months, 2 catalytic converters needed to be replaced! Unfortuantely, we got a lemon! I’ve tried to maintain it decently, this summer the alternator died, so that was the last time it was serviced, and basically checked out.


Have they tried just replacing the fuel filter?


No, but they did say it needed to be replaced along with the fuel pump.


Go online to Autozone or Checker parts stores and look up your fuel pump yourself! Usually, the sender is separate. This way, you will get an idea of what the pump actually costs, and the mark-up your shop is adding.

Today, repair shops like to make it sound like it’s a big deal to drop the tank and change the pump, but after you have done dozens of them, it becomes routine, most cars can be done in 2 hours or less regardless of what “The Book” says. Check your other post for more suggestions…


I checked online, and the mark up wasn’t too bad ($40 or so depending on the brand) for just the pump. But, my question is, can I just get the pump, or do I need the entire fuel pump unit, which is so much more costly?


To do the fuel system tests properly, the dirty fuel filter has to be changed, first. Then, the fuel pressure tester is installed. If the fuel pressure isn’t correct, the wiring is checked for voltages and resistances, and the fuel pressure regulator is checked. A good shop would know this, AND, actually do it. Sometimes, I wonder about some shops having both qualities. Then, the mechanic would go on with the other tests of spark, etc. Something killed the catalytic converters. The shop SHOULD be able to explain to you what could do that.