The Porsche remains a popular car. Sporty, trendy, timeless. They never lose their appeal. Unfortunately, these popular European imports have an Achilles heel. Porsche mechanics acknowledge an oddly high percentage of Porsches have fuel pump issues. Find out how a failed fuel pump can affect your beloved Porsche, and what steps you can take to protect it.
TWO TYPES OF PUMPS
The function of the fuel pump is to deliver fuel from the tank to the engine by creating pressure inside the fuel system forcing fuel to move through fuel lines to the carburetor (mechanical pump) or fuel injectors (electrical pump) which release fuel into the engine.
There are two types of fuel pumps: mechanical and electrical. While older-model Porsches (pre-1970s) may have mechanical pumps, almost all newer models have the more efficient and safer electrical pump.
Bolted to the engine and driven by a lobe on the engine’s camshaft, mechanical pumps have few moving parts, making them easier to diagnose and repair. Electrical pumps, driven by a small electromagnet motor and usually located inside the fuel tank, are connected to the vehicle’s electronic control system and contain multiple moving parts, making them more difficult to diagnose and repair.
SYMPTOMS OF FUEL PUMP FAILURE
Common symptoms of potential fuel pump problems include the following:
● Slow acceleration, sluggish reactions, misfires, stalling, decreased fuel efficiency, difficulty on inclines or under a load
● Rough idling
● Not able to start or multiple cranks required
● Whining noise from fuel tank
● Surging (momentary engine acceleration without you pressing the gas pedal)
CAUSES OF FUEL PUMP FAILURE
● Improper long-term storage preparation, leading to corrosion, debris, moisture in the fuel pump.
● Clogged filters: blockage of strainers/filters or the pump itself impairs fuel flow .
● Electrical issues, such as rusted connectors, loose connectors, melted wiring & connectors (requires high quality digital volt/ohm/meter to test) .
● High mileage (“wear and tear”) can cause failure. Even normal use without regular maintenance can result in damage to brushes and commutators, among other parts of the fuel pump.
● Regularly running vehicle on low fuel can cause damage over time. Similarly, running your Porsche out of fuel even once can permanently damage the fuel pump.
● Using low quality fuel can also do damage. Low quality fuel can contain more particle contaminants as well as possible water or kerosene.
PREVENTING FUEL PUMP FAILURE
Preventing fuel pump failure is far less expensive than replacing the pump. Follow these guidelines to protect your investment.
1. Properly prepare your Porsche for long-term storage: Storing your Porsche for longer than 3 months without properly draining the fuel tank can lead to a damaged fuel pump because fuel attracts moisture, which eventually separates and leads to corrosion of metal pump components.
2. Prevention-at-the-Pump: Consistently using low quality fuel can cost more than you save. Low quality fuel often contains debris that passes through the strainer and damages the fuel pump. Also, avoid pumping when tankers are dumping fuel, as they stir up the debris from the bottom of the tank.
3. Electrical issues: Follow all recommended maintenance schedules for electrical control systems on your Porsche to avoid burned connectors and harnesses.
4. Follow maintenance recommendations: Regular maintenance of the fuel pump and its components can extend its life.
5. Keep a MINIMUM ¼ tank of fuel in vehicle at all times: Low fuel causes pump to work harder because there is less weight pushing the fuel into the pump. Lower fuel volume also means less fuel to help cool and lubricate the pump.
6. Don’t use ethanol: fuel and ethanol separate in the tank over time, becoming unusable and leading to damage of pump components.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
Here at Autobahn Automotive Services, our Porsche specialists are experienced in dealing with fuel pump failure. Porsche drivers in San Antonio and Longhorn, TX, know and trust us for our expertise, efficiency, quality of work, and affordable pricing. Our passion for European imports like Porsche fuels our mission to keep them in excellent condition for our clients. If you’ve experienced any of the issues mentioned in this article related to your Porsche’s fuel pump, please call us to schedule an appointment with a Porsche specialist right away.
* Porsche Carerra 2002 image credit goes to:contrastaddict.