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Old 06-16-2020, 10:38 PM   #1
ALmotoman
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Default Airtex E8902 Debacle

Installed an AirtexE8902 electric fuel pump (the gold standard, right?) to prime the Holley 94 2-barrel carb when the ’48 Ford Tudor Super Deluxe Flathead has been sitting for a few hours or a few days. Wired it into a toggle switch and then into the ignition switch. Turned on the ignition, flipped the toggle expecting a SpaceX launch moment and got a fizzle. The pump runs and is quiet, but will not pump a drop of fuel to the carb. Called Airtex technical support and this is what I was told. The “newer” Airtex E8902 is a weaker pump than it used to be before Airtex was purchased by TRICO (Jan 2019), which also makes the Carter pump. It doesn’t have the umph that the old one had. The instructions said to locate the pump “near the fuel tank” and “on the frame or other firm body member no more than 24” above the floor of the fuel tank.” My fuel line exits the tank close to it’s floor right into the semi-enclosed chassis, over the rear axle, continuing inside the chassis under the floorboard. The line runs 5’ to the closest spot I could mount the pump to the chassis and has about a 12” climb at most at a 45 degree angle right out of the tank to clear the axle before it descends to the pump. The pump is actually at about the same level as the fuel tank. Seems to me that my installation met the criteria, but I guess the climb over the axle and distance from the tank to the pump was just too much to overcome. Wish that I had known this before all the hours of reading, researching, ordering and installing. Guess that my next move will be to purchase some metal fuel line and some fittings, and put everything back to stock again. Close, but no cigar. Maybe it’s time for a Chevy 350 crate engine? Only kidding!
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Old 06-16-2020, 10:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

I bought my '51 in 1987; after experiencing some "problems", I added an electric fuel pump about 1993. A few years after that, I discovered these forums, did a little research, and obtained a properly rebuilt pump. I installed it. and it worked so well, I removed the electric pump a couple of years later. I haven't missed it since.

I will admit that I live in North Central Minnesota and this is a solution up here. I can't make any judgments for you guys that live in areas with consistent 100 degree plus days.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Sounds very strange...have you opened up the line before fuelpump and let it pump free ?
That it couldn´t overcome the 2 checkvalves in the pump is odd.
Not by chance a clogged fuelfilter in there providing an aircushion it´s working against...
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:29 AM   #4
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

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Originally Posted by ALmotoman View Post
The pump is actually at about the same level as the fuel tank.
Any pump I ever installed was at the lowest part of the fuel line as close as possible to the tank. This keeps the pump always in prime.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Hate to say it but, I’m not surprised.

My Airtex 8902 was installed in my car about 30 years ago. So, thinking it was about time, I decided to replace it with a new one a few months ago. I installed it in the same spot as the old one. When I flipped the switch on it ran for a few seconds and died. I pulled it out and put the 30 year old one back in.

Btw: I removed my mechanical pump a few years ago and depend totally on the airtex.
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Old 06-17-2020, 10:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Yes, electric pumps worked just fine back 20/30/40 years ago. Go down to "Black Mikes", and for 6 bucks pick up a no name electric pump an forget about it. Over the years I never had a problem. In2010 I put my truck back on the road and since then I've replaced several of them. I finally installed an in tank factory pump and regulator. Havee 4 1/2 Lbs at the carb. So far so good. That was last month.
Gramps.
PS didn't know that about the airtex pump, it was the last one I used.
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Old 06-17-2020, 01:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

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Originally Posted by 51 MERC-CT View Post
Any pump I ever installed was at the lowest part of the fuel line as close as possible to the tank. This keeps the pump always in prime.
Electric pumps are good pushers but poor suckers. Sounds like the loop over the axle is the problem here.
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Old 06-17-2020, 04:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Inside the frame rail just in front of the left rear wheel is accessible to the fuel line, well protected, and low enough that any functioning electric pump will pull the fuel out of the tank, even if it has run out and there is air in the line. I know this from experience (see phooto).

The Mr. Gasket 42S is low pressure (3.5 psi), and allows the mechanical pump to pull fuel through it when the electric pump is off. It has worked fine for five years, but I carry a spare anyway.

Put a service loop in the hose both in front and behind the pump, for ease of installation and replacement. You can use two small vice grips to pinch off the flexible fuel line loops when changing the pump or the filter, thereby avoiding fuel running down your arm, or having to install valves, which introduce their own failure points.
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Geez mine is just mounted on the firewall as a priming pump , Ive had no problems with it .
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Old 06-17-2020, 09:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Airtex E8905 Debacle update #1. Took the fuel pump out from under the car to test if it was sucking and pushing properly. Had the inlet (fuel filter end) hose in a container of fuel (representing the fuel tank) and the outlet (pump end) hose in an empty container (representing the carb). No sucking, no flow, just a lot of bubbles in the container of fuel. I suspected the pump was working in reverse, so flipped it around backasswards and wella…….sucked and blew like a champ. The fuel filter was either installed on the wrong end of the pump at the factory, or the pump motor is running backwards. How’s that for quality control? To reiterate, I simply turned the pump/filter around backwards (contrary to the official printed instructions and picture) and it works great. Will talk to the technical support rep tomorrow and see what he says. I can move the fuel filter to the opposite end of the pump and all should be well. I don’t really want to wait on a new one, which may not even be offered. I paid $33 for this rig delivered to my front door, so it’s not a huge investment. I would just like to hook it up, have it work properly and be done with it. I’ll let you know how this works out.

Once I’m using it to prime the carb, will the pump stop on it’s own when the fuel line to the carb is full and then I can turn the toggle switch off, or will it be a guess on my part? I thought that I’ve read on this forum that you have to listen for the pump to stop working and then turn it off.

Thanks for everyone’s comments.
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Old 06-17-2020, 11:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

No you have to turn off.
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:24 AM   #12
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

I use a "momentary" toggle switch to activate my Airtex E8902 pump. Just hold the switch in the "on" position until the engine starts...then release the switch and it will automatically switch to the "off" position. Often times I hold the toggle switch in the "on" position for 5 to 10 seconds (after the car has been sitting for several months) then release the switch and then try the ignition and the car usually starts right up.

Pat
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:54 AM   #13
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

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I use a "momentary" toggle switch to activate my Airtex E8902 pump. Just hold the switch in the "on" position until the engine starts...then release the switch and it will automatically switch to the "off" position. Often times I hold the toggle switch in the "on" position for 5 to 10 seconds (after the car has been sitting for several months) then release the switch and then try the ignition and the car usually starts right up.

Pat
Hope your mechanical pump never goes bad
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:05 AM   #14
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Aren't those Airtex electric pumps polarity sensitive? The directions I've seen direct you to reverse the wire and ground when installing on a positive ground car. If installed with the wrong polarity, would the pump motor run backward? Just asking...
Ken
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:32 AM   #15
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat/Ohio View Post
I use a "momentary" toggle switch to activate my Airtex E8902 pump. Just hold the switch in the "on" position until the engine starts...then release the switch and it will automatically switch to the "off" position. Often times I hold the toggle switch in the "on" position for 5 to 10 seconds (after the car has been sitting for several months) then release the switch and then try the ignition and the car usually starts right up.

Pat
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Hope your mechanical pump never goes bad
Could lead to a new distracted driving charge, 'Driving while toggling'
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:43 AM   #16
ALmotoman
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Quote:
Originally Posted by KGS View Post
Aren't those Airtex electric pumps polarity sensitive? The directions I've seen direct you to reverse the wire and ground when installing on a positive ground car. If installed with the wrong polarity, would the pump motor run backward? Just asking...
Ken
Airtex E8902 Debacle Update #2. This is exactly what I woke up this morning thinking. In testing the pump yesterday it operated backwards, so my plan this morning is to reverse the wiring connections and see what happens. My guess is that it will work perfectly. I have a call into Airtex tech support, but havenÂ’t linked up with them yet. Thanks so much for your input.
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Old 06-18-2020, 10:23 AM   #17
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

If the pump is solenoid type with checkvalves...it shouldn´t pump backwards any way you hook it up.
Isn´t the pumps usually marked in/out ??
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Old 06-18-2020, 10:17 PM   #18
ALmotoman
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Airtex E8902 Debacle Update #3. I woke up this morning thinking that my Ford has a 6 volt positive ground electrical system. I bet if I were to reverse the polarity on the ground and power wires that little sucker/pusher pump would probably spring right to life. I did and it did. It works fine. I wish the installation instructions had mentioned this anomaly. It sure would have saved me a lot of time and worry. I guess I’m a dumbass too in that I didn’t think of this earlier. Reminds me of another attempt at improving the Ford’s reliability that went south initially. I purchased a Pertronics electronic ignition and burned that sucker up pretty quickly. Come to find out that you need to ditch the old solid wire copper spark plug wires with a Pertronics and use some modern carbon core wires to keep from frying the unit. Again, nothing was mentioned about this pertinent information in the installation instructions. If I live long enough and keep this Ford, I just one day may qualify for my ASE mechanic’s certification? Ha, not likely, but I have learned a lot!

Thanks to everyone for jumping in there with helpful comments. Happy motoring.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:18 AM   #19
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Glad to hear the situation was resolved.
Paul in CT
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Old 06-19-2020, 01:41 PM   #20
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Default Re: Airtex E8902 Debacle

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALmotoman View Post
Airtex E8902 Debacle Update #3. I woke up this morning thinking that my Ford has a 6 volt positive ground electrical system. I bet if I were to reverse the polarity on the ground and power wires that little sucker/pusher pump would probably spring right to life. I did and it did. It works fine. I wish the installation instructions had mentioned this anomaly. It sure would have saved me a lot of time and worry. I guess I’m a dumbass too in that I didn’t think of this earlier. Reminds me of another attempt at improving the Ford’s reliability that went south initially. I purchased a Pertronics electronic ignition and burned that sucker up pretty quickly. Come to find out that you need to ditch the old solid wire copper spark plug wires with a Pertronics and use some modern carbon core wires to keep from frying the unit. Again, nothing was mentioned about this pertinent information in the installation instructions. If I live long enough and keep this Ford, I just one day may qualify for my ASE mechanic’s certification? Ha, not likely, but I have learned a lot!

Thanks to everyone for jumping in there with helpful comments. Happy motoring.
Just for the record, Pertronix recommends the spiral wound ignition cables, not carbon. You can get them in 7mm diameter, which will fit through the looms. 9mm will not.
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