Inline fuel pump

My 97 dakota needs a new fuel pump, dealer cost to do the job >$1200, my question is “can I get away with putting a universal in line pump without removing the old one from my tank?”

You’ll burn it up trying to pull fuel through another pump. Not to mention most pumps are pusher pumps, not puller. Try an independent shop instead. 1200 sounds awful high for a fuel pump.

I agree. Get an estimate from an independent mechanic. Most likely the cost is high due to labor, since you probably have to remove the fuel tank.

Would this work? Probably. I used to resort to inline electric pumps when trying to keep my old British sports cars running and the original mechanical pump was shot. There were no problems switching to electric.

Electric inline pumps are cheap. It certainly would be worth a shot. Try it, and let us know.

While we’re at it, can anyone else explain why all manufacturers now put their fuel pumps inside the tank? The old ways worked fine.

The tank in the pump pushes the fuel to the engine. The inline pump sucks the fuel from the tank. If your truck is fuel injected, the inline pump may not develop the pressure needed.
In the old days, it was common to replace a mechanical pump with an electric inline pump. The mechanical pumps were suction pumps mounted on the engine. I think if I weer in your position, I would replace the in-tank pump.

Pushing or pulling fuel through a defective/inoperative mechanical pump is much easier than doing the same with a geroter style pump. It won’t work very well and I agree with pete, you’ll just burn up the external pump.

They’re in the tanks now because that is the most effective solution available today in terms of performance and cost. From a performance perspective, geroter pumps are effective only as pushers so they need to be in close proximity to the supply, are cooled by the effects of pumping and submersion in fuel, less noisy than external pumps and reduce the exposure to explosive mixtures of atmosphere surrounding the pump. By and large they are cheaper to manufacture as a part and install as a sub-assy in the tank.

The Dakota’s a pickup…I’ve heard it’s far easier to raise the bed to get at the tank than it is to remove the tank. remove the bed mounting bolts, and raise it enough to get the fuel pump/sender unit out and back in.

Something to check into, anyway.

Call independents around. You may find quotes 1/3 - 2/3 of that price.Put a quality pump in though as it is a bear to change out.

Depending on the engine and the brand pump, they’re between about $150 and $300 at rockauto, so you can compare that to prices at the parts stores near you.

The idea that the in tank pump is a “pusher” and the inline pump is a “puller” is, I believe, anaccurate. Both pull the gas from the pool and both push it through the line under pressure. The difference is that an inline pumps pickup tube will extend all the way to the bottom of the in-tank pumps pickup tube.

It’s also a fact that inline pumps can be bought that will provide far more pressure than a stock in-tank pump. Enough to fuel a dragster that will hit 330mph in 4 seconds.

Having said all that, I do believe it makes more sense to just replace the fuel pump properly than Mickey-Mouse in n inline pump. Although I know this cheap-fix is sometimes used. And, as usual, the dealer’s quote is about twice what it should cost…or more.

Re: the dealer cost issue: I just today bought a rocker switch for $5 at the parts store that the dealer wanted $53.49 for. I also just priced a fog lamp kit…an aftermarket supplier wants $89, the dealer wants…hold on to your seat…$345.

Thanks guys, I will most definitely be lifting the bed to get to the top the tank, btw the $ for OEM was >$500, so yeah mostly labor for this job, as they told me they would drop the tank. Rock auto prices from $60 up to $260.

1 Like

Double check the wiring harness between the old fuel pump and the replacement fuel pump. Chrysler did a design change of the wiring harness where it requires replacement for a new fuel pump.


@ tester, thanks will do.

Labor to remove the fuel tank is 1.8 hours plus .8 for a skid plate. The labor they quoted you must include something else.

@ nevada 545, I was told >$1200 and the pump was $500 of that amount, so what ever they are using for materials and misc. supplies that is the amount I was told. also because of the ridiculous price they are not going to get my business.

If you’re willing to spend a Saturday on it, you can probably do it yourself. Autozone has your fuel pump assembly listed for $215. Get a 6-pack and ask a buddy for some help. Drain the fuel tank as much as you can first. Run it down until almost empty, then siphon out what you can. Makes it a LOT easier to man-handle the tank.

Even giving him the money you didn’t spend at the shop for the part alone, you’d still feel lots better about having a job well done under your belt.


The main reason for installing the pumps in the tanks is to deaden the sound.
Many fuel injected vehicles over the years had external, in-line pumps; from 60s era VW Squarebacks to later model Benzes, BMWs, VWs, Merkurs, Nissan?Datsuns, etc, etc.

That being said, if the truck really needs a pump I’d install it in the tank as per the original.
If you leave the old pump in the tank there’s a possibility that it may have died from a clogged pump sock.

I understand, $300 labor and $400 shop supplies.
I have worked with mechanics that for every no start or check engine light the estimate would include spark plugs, wires, a throttle body service, engine decarb and a transmission service. The customers rarely asked for just the needed repair. They don’t ask questions and they don’t understand.

Well… seven years later!
Just drop the tank, it’s not that difficult. As long as it’s nearly empty (under 5 gal) you’ll be okay. Might need a hand lifting it if it has more fuel in it.

[link removed]