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Is a volvo 240 DL fuel pre-pump change a home job?

Dear Click and Clack community,

I’m a busy, poor veterinary student with an old 1989 Volvo 240DL. I have a mechanic wanna-be boyfriend who likes to tear into things and see what’s inside, then put things back together the best he can. I appreciate his efforts very much, but there are times when I hesitate to risk mistakes. I am wondering what you think about an inexperienced home mechanic changing a fuel pre-pump on my car. The engine light code and physical symptoms all say the pre-pump is bad. I am so poor that I would love to buy a pump on ebay and have my bf put it in and get his hero points! However the volvo mechanics say pre-pumps are very tricky business, even new ones may go bad, buying online parts could be a very bad idea, etc… should I listen to them and take it to them and go ahead and pay the big bucks and save myself a headache and potential relationship problem? Or can I save some money and let him try it? What do you think?

Thanks very much,


Research suggest this car has two fuel pumps, a low PSI pump in the gas tank, and a high pressure pump external of the tank. I’m thinking the pre-pump is the one inside the gas tank.

Changing this pump sound like a fairly big job. The only thing I can suggest since I have never changed one is, for all the effort it will take to replace it, I would not trust a cheap part from ebay.

At least her you can choose price, and quality with a warranty

It depends if it 's the auxilary fuel pump or the main fuel pump.

The auxilary fuel pump is in the gas tank, which requires the removal of the gas tank. The main fuel pump can be accessed by removing the rear seat custion.

Let’s hope it’s the main fuel pump.


Can you afford a fuel pressure test and is there a diesel mechanic you trust? The code could be right, could be something else. This vintage sometimes you wind up replacing the wrong parts as a test. The codes might be not exactly right.

thank you all!

This is what I read online that made me think it must be the prepump:

Fuel System Pre Pump 1978-1993 240 Models
The pre pump is a low-pressure, high-volume pump that sits inside the gas tank and supplies fuel to the main high pressure pump under the car. When it fails, symptoms include poor idle quality, hesitation when accelerating, reduced fuel economy, loud humming noises emanating from the main pump and accelerated wear of the main pump. Faulty pre pumps can also lead to hi amperage loading of the fuel pump electrical circuit resulting in blown fuses and or failed relays as mentioned above.

Certainly the first two on the list of symptoms are dead on for my car.
Now that I’m reading more about how to change these things I’m worried that my boyfriend might actually blow up. Which would defeat the purpose of him winning hero points!

The car is 21 years old and unless it’s known for a fact that the main pump was recently replaced I’d change both of them. Those Bosch pumps really take a beating and odds are the main pump, if not fairly new, is badly worn anyway. An old Bosch pump that is not badly worn would be a freak of nature.

There’s a lot of Chinese junk being peddled on eBay if that’s what you’re considering and quite a bit of it is not worth the postage required to mail it.
Some of those Chinese knockoff Bosch pumps are a bit shaky and I’d try to get a Bosch branded pump if you choose to use eBay.
(I know 2 people who purchased Brand X, white box pumps off of eBay from a seller in Utah and both pumps died within 6 months. At least in their cases the tank did not have to be dropped as the cars had access panels.)

As to your boyfriend, that’s hard to say. The job is not that mental; it’s more physical due to wrestling a gas tank. It’s much easier, and safer, if he could drain the tank first and have some help to remove and install the tank.

is there a diesel mechanic you trust?

Um, not sure why you ask this. The 240 DL is not a diesel. The DL is just a trim level designation.

Hey Janel,

I, too, have a 1989 Volvo 240DL. Well two '89s to be exact. I have a wagon and my wife has as sedan. I’ve changed the pre-pump on the wagon, and I’m a musician, not a mechanic. The repair is easy with the right tools, patience, and about two hours of time. Here’s the steps…

I suggest for good parts.
-In-tank pre-pump (Part # 1389721)
-In-tank pre-pump filter (1276565) I call it a filter sock.
-In-tank pre-pump hose (H1016)
-Hose clamps (21017)…get two of them
-Fuel tank bung nut tool (T5169)
avoid their seal ring gasket as it isn’t shaped quite right
-also at Home Depot, I got two 5/8 to 7/8s hose clamps to replace the crapped out fuel hose clamps
-Petroleum Jelly
-Vacuum cleaner
-Old towel or shop cloth


  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2. Take off your gas tank cap.
  3. On a sedan, fold the trunk floor mat back to uncover the pump/sender access plate. It’s on the driver’s side about a foot from the tire well.
  4. Remove the cover (two screws), unplug the wiring harness, and unscrew the grounding wire from the car body.
  5. Slide the cover along the wires to gain access to the assembly.
  6. Label and remove the two hoses from the top of the assembly. This took some time and finesse as the old hose clamps were pretty beat up and the hoses didn’t want to slide off the assembly. Choice words were uttered.
  7. The Bentley Manual suggests disconnecting the fuel return hose underneath the car. I skipped this step and suffered no ill effects.
  8. Vacuum all the dirt and debris around the assembly. You don’t want that schmegma falling into your gas tank
  9. Use the IPD fuel tank bung nut tool and a ratchet to loosen the lock ring COUNTERCLOCKWISE and remove the ring. You can do this with a hammer and drift, but you run the risk of tearing up the lock ring or even worse throwing up sparks next to open fuel lines (might have adverse effects).
  10. Slowly remove the assembly. I knocked the float for the fuel gauge off as I was taking the assembly out and spent about 45 minutes fishing the float out of the gas tank with a bent wire coat hanger. Again choice words were uttered, and I think my neighbor heard them.
    There’s gonna be fuel all over the assembly, so I placed it on an old towel and used half of the towel to cover the open gas tank so nothing would accidentally fall in the tank (plus I didn’t have to huff as much gas fumes. WIN!).
  11. Gently unbolt the wiring harness from the old pre-pump. Take note of which side is positive and which is negative. There should be a plus and minus sign on the cover to denote each.
  12. Unclamp the 3" hose and remove it. I wouldn’t reuse it. Mine had a small crack that I almost missed. If I didn’t replace it, it would have made the whole repair a failure. In fact, the cracked hose may have been why the pre-pump couldn’t send fuel to the main fuel pump in the first place.
  13. Slide off the old filter sock (mine was in very rough shape) on the bottom of the old pre-pump. Now the pre-pump should slide right out of the mounting bracket.
  14. Slide the new pre-pump into the mounting bracket. Install the new filter sock making sure it doesn’t block movement of the fuel gauge float otherwise your fuel gauge won’t function. Connect the new 3" hose and clamps. Reconnect the wiring harness making sure positive is connected to positive and neg to neg.
  15. Check the rubber gasket around the opening to the fuel tank. Mine was okay, but I tried to replace it with the IPD part. The old part has a flat side and a round side. The IPD part is round on both sides. Trying to seal everything back up with the IPD part was impossible, so I just used the the old gasket and lubricated it with petroleum jelly.
  16. Reinstall the assembly into the tank.
  17. Clean the lock ring up. The lubricant on mine was dried up, so I just peeled it off with a flat head screwdriver. Lubricate the bottom and the top ridges with petroleum jelly. Reinstall the lock ring. It turns a little over an inch clockwise. Be sure it has turned as far as it can go otherwise it may pop off during driving.
  18. Reinstall the fuel hoses. I replaced the old clamps with new ones from Home Depot.
  19. Reconnect the wiring harness and screw the grounding wire back to the body.
  20. Replace gas tank cap. Reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine. Check for leaks.
  21. Replace the cover plate and replace your trunk mat.
  22. Do a dance of joy, because you saved a bunch of money and made your Volvo run great again!

A very excellent reply to the original question! Honestly, I don’t think that you left a single stone unturned. I am in the middle of changing my unit. It came today after waiting for several days. Then, I realized that the manufacturer of the unit had reversed the positive and negative plug. So I had to break the plastic holder in order to make the change. Then I thought, let me try the pump to make sure it still works! (I hooked it directly to the battery using the old wires. It wouldn’t turn! Then it did. Then I switched the polarity and it turned again. Then it wouldn’t turn again. I think it is one of those knock offs since I can find no name on it. Just some serial numbers.
The thing barely turns. I am going to load it with oil and see if I can get it to go. If not, then I will buy a Bosch pump on Ebay.

I am wondering if Janel ever got her pump put in?


So, did you ever get that thing put in? Just curious. It isn’t all that difficult in the end.