Most musclecars can be heard, sometimes from as much as a block away. It’s almost a rite of passage that identifies your car as a musclecar, that it has some horsepower behind it. Sometimes when someone is about to fire up their musclecar, there’s another distinct sound that we hear first: the electric fuel pump. Hearing that vibrating sound, the buzzing before the engine comes to life, is an indication that fuel system modifications exist.
That’s all great for race cars to ensure that your fuel pump is on – and working; but if you’re in a musclecar that you like to cruise with, it’s not always the most pleasant sound – especially on long trips. Those who don’t care for the sound of an electric in-line fuel pump will often stick with the mechanical pump for that very reason. But if they have converted their carburetor to a throttlebody EFI, like the FAST EZ-EFI on our car, the engine mounted mechanical pump simply won’t deliver, and an electric fuel pump is the only option.
Up until now, the in-line fuel pump was one of the only choices for EFI conversions. But FAST has another ace up their sleeve with their new EZ-EFI Universal In-Tank Fuel Pump Kit. We had been driving our musclecar around and attending shows for a few months, and the noisy pump was getting to us. FAST eliminates the noise with their new fuel pump by providing you the ability to mount the pump inside the fuel tank, where it’s not only quieter but it’s also going to be more efficient and last longer.
Electrical components often generate heat, and an in-line fuel pump is no exception to that. Add to that the temperature of the hot pavement below the car and your in-line pump could be absorbing even more heat, which aids in shortening the life of your fuel pump.
We use an OEM quality pump that has the flow and pressure curve for this application. -Brian Reese
Brain Reese, Vice President of Product and Business Development with the Comp Cams Group said, “We use an OEM quality pump that has the flow and pressure curve for this application.” The package is engineered as a comprehensive pump kit that includes everything that’s needed, all with one part number. “The kit was designed with the confidence to work properly, while remaining simple and easy to install,” he shared with us.
Existing Fuel Tank – Replace Or Convert
With many of the popular musclecars from the 60s and 70s, the only thing that was in the fuel tank was a pick-up tube and a fuel level sender. Not until later years did we see electric fuel pumps inside the fuel tank; and that means that you have a smaller opening in the factory fuel tank to work with.
While the retrofit in-tank pump from FAST is designed to be universal, you will have a couple of things to consider about your fuel tank. You can modify, or you can go with a custom-made tank.
If you have the budget to spend upwards of $1000 for a new fuel tank that was designed for an in-tank pump, that’s one way to go. A more cost effective alternative is to modify your existing fuel tank to accept the in-tank pump. Modifying the tank to accept the pump will require some fabrication skills, but it can all be done with simple hand tools.
If your existing fuel tank is old and dirty, this would be a good time to either have it cleaned or to buy a replacement tank. When we installed our EZ-EFI we wanted a new tank to eliminate the possibility of picking up dirt or debris, and for under $200 it was an easy choice to make. We converted to EFI just a couple of months ago, so we’re basically working with a fresh fuel tank.
Either way, you will need to drain all of the fuel and remove the tank for this installation. It’s never a good idea to work on something like this when there is fuel in the tank; it should go without saying, but we’ve all seen the stories.
With our tank removed, we located a suitable place to create an access hole, so we could install the pump per the instructions from FAST. Once we established the access location we cut a hole in the top of our tank and fabricated a cover from some extra steel that we had in the shop. From there, we went to work on the installation, making sure to follow the golden rule: measure twice, cut once.
Installing The In-Tank Fuel Pump
The FAST fuel pump kit includes everything needed to complete this installation: the fuel fittings to mount to the tank, the electrical connections, hoses, clamps, the pump, and the fuel sock for the pump. With the access cover fabricated, we began the installation process by marking the locations for the fuel feed and fuel return lines on the tank, making sure that they wouldn’t be obstructed by other components like fuel tank straps, or the suspension components.
We also marked a location for the electrical wires from the pump mounted inside the tank. The provided adapter allows the wires to run through the center to connect to power and ground electrical sources, and once the adapter is tightened the electrical wires are completely sealed off.
We acquired a new fuel sender for this installation, it only makes sense to replace a component like this when everything is apart – especially if the sender is decades old. It’s also good to to a dry run on the install, test fitting the pump to the pick-up tube. We first tried this outside of the fuel tank to be sure that the pump wouldn’t interfere with the fuel level float movement.
With the pump mount location figured, we drilled the three holes in the tank for the fittings, again making sure that nothing will be in the way when we reinstall the tank. It’s important to locate the fuel return fitting in a place where the fuel that returns to the tank won’t spray directly onto the sending unit. If the fitting points away from the sending unit, it’s not necessary to connect a hose to the inside of the tank for the return.
We only inserted the sending unit half-way through the opening so that we could access the tube where we wanted to mount the pump, and we accessed it through the opening that we fabricated. The fitting for the fuel feed line is attached to the tank, and a hose is connected from the fitting inside of the tank to the fuel pump, and the hose is clamped into place.
The plug for the electrical connection is installed on the pump, making note where the positive (+) and negative (-) markings are on the pump. The two wires are then fed through the adapter on the tank, and the fitting is tightened up, sealing off the electrical wires.
With the feed hose connected, the electrical wires run through the adapter and the pump secured to the pick-up tube, we were then able to completely insert the fuel sending unit and secure it with the mounting ring.
On the outside of the tank, we used the included terminals and the weatherproof plugs to connect the fuel pump wires to our electrical system. One wire should be grounded, while the other is connected to an ignition source when the key is in the “on” and the “crank” mode. The FAST EZ-EFI kit included a fuel pump relay and we used that as a source for power to the fuel pump.
We attached the access cover and secured it with fuel safe sealer, and bolted the cover in place. This sealed off the fuel tank, and we gave the sealer a couple of hours to cure before we reinstalled the fuel tank into the car.
With the wires ready to be connected, we reinstalled the fuel tank and connected the electrical connections. We had removed the in-line fuel pump and connected the fuel feed hose to the pump, and then connected our return hose to the fitting on the tank. We refilled the fuel tank, and that completed the installation, taking just a few hours.
Also included in the kit is a fuel pressure regulator that is a must for any return-style fuel system, common with most fuel injection setups. We had already installed the pressure regulator with our prior EZ-EFI install, but the installation is very straight forward.
The mounting location should be in the engine compartment, typically on the fender apron. The adjustable regulator includes a port for a pressure gauge, as well as a vacuum port to help increase fuel pressure at full throttle situations.
We mounted the regulator and ran the fuel delivery line to the throttle body, directly from the fuel tank. The return line is connected to one of the side ports on the regulator, and the return line is connected to the bottom of the regulator and runs back to the fuel tank.
Conclusion: A Quiet Fuel Pump
When we turned the key for the first time, it was clear that the in-tank pump was the way to go. It was quiet, and we didn’t miss the vibration that we had heard with the inline pump. We’ll save the annoying vibration for the race cars, and cruise in peace with the FAST Universal In-Tank fuel pump kit.
After driving the car for the weeks that followed, we didn’t experience any problems whatsoever, including an outing at a local road course where we put the FAST in-tank fuel pump through it’s paces. We pushed it hard, and drove the car around the track for two days without any fuel starvation issues or failures.
It’s clear that the pump can handle what we threw at it and made it through the weekend – and the three-hour trip home – with flying colors. The combination of the heat from the pump and the pavement made our inline pump fail prematurely. With the new pump mounted inside the tank, it not only runs quieter, but will run much cooler and last much longer. If you’ve thought about an EFI conversion, or converting to an in-tank pump, check out the FAST web site to see what they have for your musclecar.