For those of you who are "skimmers" I have bolded the essential details:
I just replaced the fuel pump on my 1992 Nissan 240sx. The car has 293K and is still running strong with only 1 clutch replacement, 1 starter replacement, 1 water pump replacement, all 4 injectors have been replaced + several brake jobs.
Even though the original Nissan fuel pump was still working fine, with all those miles on it (the fuel pump had never been replaced), I felt I'd be better off if I replaced it now rather than being stranded alongside the road...
So- I just replaced the fuel pump 2 weeks ago with an "Airtex" aftermarket model. I also replaced the intake strainer sock and the fuel filter. Thankfully, this car has an access panel in the trunk area so I didn't have to drop the tank. The tank was pretty clean and the old strainer sock only had a bit of a brown "stain" on the old strainer sock- nothing that could even be described as particles.
The car still runs good- but after it has been running for 5 minutes, at idle there is a loud deep irregular groaning noise coming from the fuel pump. It almost sounds like the pump is stalling out (groan gets deeper) and then spins back up to speed (groan gets higher pitched) kind of like a garbage disposal that you are feeding so fast that it almost stalls out. There is nothing regular about the noise going between these two extremes- it is completely random. It is definitely not just a louder version of the usual monotone whirring noise that electric fuel pumps make.
So- anyone have experience with fuel pump noise before a total failure?
Anyone have good or bad experiences with any specific aftermarket brands?
I am considering just putting the original pump back in it...
Sidenote- I have been doing quite a bit of research on OEM fuel pump failure and the top causes are supposedly
1.running the car out of gas (so that the pump spins for awhile while dry)
2. driving with a clogged fuel fuel filter (the pump doesn't move enough gas to cool itself).
most of the guys here, yourself included, have more such experience than i. however, my source, who is a celeb mechanic/consumer advocate, suggests there are certain parts that should ALWAYS be replaced OEM. fuel pumps are one of those items.
Airtex can't make a fuel pump that works right on my truck. There is a check valve that keeps the fuel system pressurized when the vehicle is off. Airtex can't seem to make one that works. My truck got 3 brand new Airtex pumps before I said I'd just deal with manually priming the system every time I start.
It's been running fine for a few years and 50-70k, it's just annoying to have to prime (sometimes 2 or 3 times).
Walbro reportedly makes the best pumps for my truck, although I'd definitely buy OEM unless Walbro was cheaper (I think it's more expensive).
No, I just deal with it. Turn to "On", listen for fuel pump to stop, turn to "Off", turn to "On", listen for fuel pump to stop, start engine (sometimes only one "On" is required, sometimes up to 4). I installed a button connected to the fuel pump test terminal in the fusebox so I could skip the On-Off dance, but then I had a related failure and got scared off from that strategy...
Update- the Airtex model E8235 fuel pump died yesterday.
Thankfully it was a slow death so my wife was able to get home. She was 2 hours away when the car began bucking and stalling out, she had to wait on the shoulder of the interstate for a few minutes and then it would make it another mile or two before it died- sometimes up to 60 miles at a time.
So, the Airtex fuel pump lasted about 4000 miles and 6 months.
This is one American made product that people might want to stay away from (I should have known because it was $100 cheaper than the OEM pump). Thankfully this car has an access panel above the tank so the tank doesn't have to be removed to change out the pump. So, I put the original Nissan fuel pump back in it (which had 293K miles on it) and the car runs great again.
Moral of the story= If your old (or brand new) fuel pump is making groaning noises, replace it soon or risk being stranded.
By the way, the Airtex warranty doesn't cover noisy operation. The pump actually has to fail to deliver pressure before they will replace it- that is why I left it in.
I'll return the pump for replacement, but I don't think I will trust this brand again enough to spend the time to install it. I'll just stash in the back of the car in case the original pump ever fails.