Fix or Repair


I have a question for everyone out there. I have a 1990 F250, that is in pretty good shape mechanically and I have just had new tires installed. I now find that my fuel pumps have gone bad (dual fuel tanks) and that the cost for repair is pushing $2,000. I also know of a transmission problem (reverse not fantastic) that would cost $4000 to repair.

The question is, when do you make the decision to stop repairing and buy a new/used vehicle?

This post has been moved to the new Car Talk Discussion Area, by a Car Talk Lackey. The original poster is KevinMarvel.


It’s almost always cheaper to repair than to buy, but if your estimates are close, maybe not in this case. I question the estimates, however. Replacement fuel pumps are likely much less than $2000 installed, and a used tranny shouldn’t be over $1000 installed. How much truck can you buy for $2000?


It depends on your needs. If you don’t need a truck that size, you’d still fix the pumps before you sold it. If you are going to always have a truck that size, you’d fix it. Trucks break, but they are kept on the road as long as possible.


Like Anonymous sez these quotes are RIDICULOUS. TWO THOUSAND BUCKS to get the fuel pumps running???

This could be as simple as a bad 10 buck fuel pump relay or bad inertia switch or bad tank switch.

You wont know until you do some simple testing.

Start by checking for voltage at the inertia switch under the dash.

The fuel pump circuit is very simple to test. Take a look at the pump circuit wiring diagrams at

BTW, I have an 87 Ranger that I bought new & it has 230,000 miles on it. It has always been & still is a very reliable truck.

I plan on driving it for another 230,000miles.

I have the factory repair manuals for it, so that fixing problems is not a problem.


Hmmm…BOTH fuel pumps going out at the same time? I don’t believe that. Even if you frequently switch tanks rather than run on one, they wouldn’t both go bad at the same time. Then there is the price of the quotations. Sounds very fishy to me. Get another opinion from a trusted garage.


The prices on both the fuel pumps and transmission are way too high.
Price this job around; you should be able to get this done much, much cheaper than 6 grand.

Pumps are not that hard to do and with a little ingenuity a more inexpensive pump can be used since they’re almost generic.
About 4 months ago the pump dropped in my Lincoln Mark and when I saw that 700 dollars+ price tag on a Motorcraft pump - no way.
The Lincoln has a 4.6 just like a '98 Mustang, so the Lincoln got a 79 dollar Mustang pump. Fit right onto the saddle and not a peep out of it since.

Just a thought if you want to DIY. :slight_smile:


Hey OK4450, did you happen to notice the May date on the orginal?

Kevin, I agree with others that the fuel pump replacemenmt price is way too high. But, if you’re still struggling with this problem, I’m also wondering what the symptoms are with the tranny. Reverse only has to make the vehicle go backward at a few miles an hour on occasion for about 20 feet tops. That’s it. It occurred to me that perhaps the problem is something simple and we could help.

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