Explorer Fuel Pump Issues

Hi. I have a 2000 Ford Explorer v6 SOHC whose fuel pump occasionally doesn’t start. It seems to happen more during cold weather or rain. Usually, after a few tries, it eventually whirrs back to life and the car starts. Most of the time it kicks in the first try, but it fails frequently enough that it’s a pain.

I’ve checked the fuel pump and PCM relays. New plugs and wires, new battery, new MAF/IAT sensor, newish fuel filter (less than 5000 miles). I also checked the Camshaft Position Sensor and put in a new air filter. Also, I’ve noticed that the problem instantly disappears if I disconnect one of the sensors (MAF or CMP), thereby putting the car in Open Loop mode.

The car runs great when it starts (perhaps idles a tad low, 650-700). What gives?


Also, forgot to add, I recently installed a new IAC valve, and the ODB shows no error codes when connected to the reader.

You need a new fuel pump. This one has a bad spot that keeps binding. I’ll bet the next time it fails to start, a kick to the bottom of the tank, right in the middle, will be enough to get it going again.

If it’s a bad fuel pump, is there any reason you can think of that Open Loop Mode would solve the problem each time, or do you suppose that’s just a coincidence. (Not being sarcastic here, I’ve seen weirder coincidences, and I want to rule out everything else before I commit to a new fuel pump.)

Coincidence. Open loop or closed loop means nothing to the fuel pump or pump relay.

Good to know. How big a nightmare is it to do this job myself? I’m used to having the car on jack stands and do a lot of my own repair work, but I understand I have to drop the gas tank, which seems like big hassle. Barring that, how much does this job usually cost if I take it in?

Thanks for the help!

I’ve spotted a couple of places that you can get the pump for about $100, or the pump/sender assembly for about $250. Dropping the tank isn’t hard if you wait until the tank is near empty. I’ve done it with a block of wood, a floor jack, and a good set of deep-well sockets. You’ll also need a quick-disconnect tool to pull the fuel lines off.

I might actually give this a try. Couldn’t be worse than replacing the passenger side plugs/wires on this car. Talk about a knuckle-scraper. Thanks again.

If you haven’t verified the trouble isn’t with the fuel pump relay I suggest you do that before replacing the pump.

Thanks, Cougar. Yep, I already checked that, as well as the PCM relay. Looks like I gotta roll up my sleeves.

Update: So I dropped the gas tank and replaced this sucker. Busted, you were right, it was indeed the fuel pump. It had a dead spot on the armature that occasionally prevented it from making electrical contact. The job took a couple of hours, but none of it was excessively technical or difficult. I actually think changing the spark plugs on this car was a lot more frustrating. I went ahead and changed the entire assembly, not just the fuel pump, but the sender, float, etc… This saved me the trouble of wiring up a new pump, and I got an excellent deal on a new Motorcraft assembly. The entire assembly for the price of just the pump. All told, I saved at least 400 bucks. Thanks for the help!