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Fuel pump 101

how come all manufacturers don’t make easy access holes to the fuel pump. most have to drop the tank.

This is a fairly vague question, IMO

On many Toyota cars for instance, you can remove the rear seat lickety split, and gain access to the fuel pump

On the typical pickup truck, you’ll be dropping the tank

Some cars have external fuel pumps

We don’t even know what vehicle you have . . . if you tell us, maybe we can help you

It sounds like perhaps you have to replace your fuel pump, and you’ve determined it’s not a 5 minute repair . . . ?

When the manufacturers totally ignore future repairs and maintenance future owners can become disgusted and rightfully so. I recall replacing a few in tank pumps on Jeep Cherokees and wondering why they got it right on that vehicle when so often they design a nightmare as a seemingly passive aggressive pleasure.

Because fuel pumps don’t fail that often.

I have 2 cars that well over 100K on their factory fuel pumps. Some people kill pumps by running themselves out of gas or buying contaminated gas from cheapo stations. And then some cars have poor fuel pumps.

I agree with Mustangman

Out of all the cars that me or my close relatives have owned, I can’t recall one that needed a fuel pump replaced

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I suppose it depends on where the tank is too. Not all of them are under the trunk compartment. The other thing is, its not all that hard to pull a tank if you have a lift. A couple hanger bolts and some wires. They aren’t really in the business of spending more money so a DIYer can do it in his garage and start a fire.

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That is exactly what my neighbor would do if he tried to replace pump.

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Vehicles are designed for inexpensive manufacture, not to make our lives easier when we work on them. If they make parts difficult to get to or that require special tools, we all might go to the dealer for the repairs. They’d like that a lot. I think that is a secondary reason, though.

How come all manufacturers don’t make it easy to change a headlight bulb (without tools necessary)?

How come all manufacturers don’t make it easy to change oil and filter?

How come all manufacturers don’t make it easy to change a drive belt (serpentine belt), battery, air filter, spark plugs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…?

Believe me, I consider most of those things when I shop for a vehicle. I check them out carefully. I won’t buy a car that everything’s crammed in under the hood so that I can’t access anything myself. (Example: BMW Mini). It becomes too frustrating and too expensive to do practically anything on some cars.

Ten years ago the fuel pump access might had been high on my list of pet peeves. Right now lacking a transmission dipstick and having to remove under engine panel for a routine oil change tops the list.

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Headlight bulb. Tell me about it. The bright light bulb is easy to change, but the headlight bulb is at the end of a tunnel in the fender behind the wheel well skirt. In its way, it is as bad as the ballast resistor on my old 1998 Buick Regal.

Adding an access plate on the production line would bump the manufacturing costs up by 1.50. The bean counters would never stand for such extravagance.


That new oil filter design on Toyotas indicates the company will increase the cost of manufacturing the engine to make changing the oil a significantly greater problem for the DIYers in an effort to persuade them to get service done at the dealership.

Good question. No simple answers unfortunately. Fuel tank and fuel line placement is an important part of the safety design for a car, and safety, you’ll probably agree, has to take precedence over ease of service. Then there’s the other design goals the manufacturer is after, vehicle’s wheel base, width, ride height, overall height, seat dimension, trunk space, hatchback vs sedan, cost to manufacture, etc. Serviceability is part of all that, but is probably thought of something that can be compromised if it makes it easier to meet more important objectives. Folks buying cars don’t usually review the factory service manual first to decide if ease of service is built into the design or not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do that for your next car purchase.

That is generally true

However, one notable exception might be a roadster with a hydraulically operated hard top, where you have to hold the top in an “intermediate” position, just to be able to sneak out that fuel tank

Yup, some tanks are just a bear, lift or no lift

Yeah I have limited experience. Only pulled one with no rust or anything but have had it done a few times. I tried not to have a full tank but sometimes it can’t be helped. Not even sure what a Roadster is.

An in tank fuel pump which requires tank removal never fails with an empty tank (Murphy’s law). A roadster has 2 seats and a retractable top either soft or hard. Or technically (rare) no top.

According to an AC Delco trainer who had spoken with someone “on the inside”…it was once suggested to build cars with floorpans that had a fuel pump access cover. Of course the design and tooling would add expense. So someone did a study of which would cost GM more, the labor to replace fuel pumps that failed under warranty, or designing and building fuel pump access covers. In the long run it was more cost effective not to redesign the floor pans. I can’t say I would do anything different.

Then there are the cars that went halfway. Remember the Fords that had an access panel under the rear seat that allowed you to disconnect the fuel lines and wiring, but weren’t large enough to remove the pump assy? You had to pull the tank anyway.

But in the long run, I don’t think it matters much. I’ve had a lot of cars, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to replace an in-tank fuel pump. Most of the motoring public probably has the same experience.


Someone on the Lincoln Mark website posted a pattern a few years ago for a Mark VIII to make the pump accessible without dropping the tank.

I used the pattern on my Mark, made a cover plate, and it works great. Whereas before changing the pump required dropping the exhaust from the cats back and the tank, now it’s remove the rear seat cushion, remove the plate, and a pump swap becomes a 15 minutes total job.

That could come in handy in the event that a pump failed on a road trip.

I’ve had a few pump failures but that’s likely because I drive all of my cars to 300 or 400k+ miles.

I change cars more often than I change shoes. 2 1/2 years ago I bought an Explorer that needed some repairs. I intended to fix it and sell it, but the kids took a liking to it so I’ve kept it. For the life of me I can’t remember ever having the same daily driver for this long. I can’t even remember how many cars I’ve had. 40?