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Old 10-29-2008, 04:18 PM   #1
Rick Norwood
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Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

In Oct. 2007, the original Fuel Pump in my 2000 4.3L 4dr, 2wd, Jimmy went out. I had the Fuel Pump replaced (long story) with a brand new Airtex brand aftermarket Fuel Pump and filter. Within 7 months, in April of 2008, I noticed the truck was getting harder and harder to start. It originally fired on the turn of the key, but progressively got to the point where the starter had to turn the engine over for 5-10 seconds before it would finally fire. Since the Pump was under warranty, my mechanic and I decided to R&R this pump before it left me stranded. Once the pump was out of the tank, we found that the Crimp style clamp holding the Flex hose onto the actual pump (inside of the Pump assembly, inside of the tank) was loose and probably leaking fuel and pressure back into the tank. We got a free Airtex Fuel Pump from the Auto Parts store and swapped out the Fuel Pump and filter. All seemed well until last week Monday, when this 6 month old Airtex pump started making a terrific howling, whining noise. I replaced the Fuel Filter again, even though it was also only 6 months old, but it didn’t help, the noise was very loud and could be heard during the 2 second prime cycle when nothing else was running, not to mention you could hear it while the engine was running. Knowing I was on borrowed time, I drove the truck until Thursday to try to drain as much of the fuel out as possible, when it finally left me stranded in the middle of the interstate. It just quit while driving at 40 MPH during rush hour. Luckily, I was in the right hand lane and was able to get out of traffic. Again, The Fuel pump was swapped out with; you guessed it, another brand new Airtex Fuel Pump, which has already started to show signs of trouble after 2 days. This brand new Airtex Fuel Pump does not seem to hold pressure once the pump (and Engine) is shut off. The next time you try to start the engine, if you don’t let the Prime Cycle finish the 2 second cycle when you first turn the key, the starter cranks until the system is primed. If you let the prime cycle finish, it starts normally.

Here are a few suggestions, tips, opinions, advice, call it what you want, but hopefully, someone will benefit from this and not make the same mistakes I made.

1, Never, never, never buy an Aftermarket Fuel pump. AC-Delco/Delphi OEM pumps are the only way to go, and they are not usually that much more money. If I had done this, I would have saved over $500 in labor costs. Bite the bullet and do it right the first time. You will be ahead in the long run. After 3 pumps I am qualified to make this statement.

2. Some new Aftermarket pumps have a different wiring harness connector that will require you to cut your old one off and connect their new one on. If you have to use a different connector, I recommend that you solder the wires instead of using the connectors that come in the box. However, if you replace your connector and have to go back to the original GM connector, it may cost you extra for a new connector.

3. Always replace the Fuel filter at least once a year. I cannot emphasize this enough! This is what in all likelihood caused my original Fuel Pump to go out. Too much back pressure kills these pumps. Always replace the Fuel Filter when you replace the Fuel Pump.

4. If your Fuel Pump starts to whine, howl or emit a loud whistle, you’re on borrowed time. Start planning for the inevitable R&R. Most Fuel Pumps will normally make some noise. To listen to your fuel pump while it seems to be running good, stand by the Gas Cap Door and have someone turn the key to “ON” without starting the engine and listen to the two second prime cycle for future reference and take note of any change in the sound.

4. If at all possible, if you have a choice, schedule your Fuel Pump replacement when the tank is almost empty. You and/or your mechanic will thank me later.

5. Once the Fuel Pump is out, inspect the inside of the tank for cleanliness. Also inspect the various hoses, lines and clamps and replace anything that could cause small leaks. This is so much easier to do when the tank is out.

6. Double check and inspect the new pump and gasket and make sure everything is the same. I have had Fuel Pump gaskets that came in the box with the new pump that were not thick enough to seal the tank and resulted in failure at the emissions station. I had to buy a new Gasket from the Dealership and re-do the job.

7. Lube the new Fuel Pump gasket with light grease during install to get a good seal.
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Old 10-29-2008, 05:57 PM   #2
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Good tips. I've had an Airtex pump in my car for a couple of years without any problems.
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Old 10-29-2008, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Hey Rick, guess what?

Delphi pumps aren't all that great either.
I had to replace a two year old Delphi unit because the hose from the pump to the top of the pump housing, sprung a leak.

Guess what else.
The replacement Delphi pump had a different connector (in a bag with 12" wire leads and 4 butt connectors).

So, in a 2 year period, Delphi changed the housing connector (probably so all GM assemblies are the same).

A minor detail here; I have a 2 door Blazer, which uses a different housing than the 4 door. Most parts stores do not stock the 2 door unit, but have the 4 door and S10 pick-up units in stock. That means an extra day of waiting for me. (An S10 pump, while it is possible to cram into a Blazer tank, does not work well in Blazers - The gas gauge is incorrect - Guy at Napa gave me the wrong one - Joy of Joys)

Now, I've never had an Airtex pump, but I did replace my original unit with a Carter assembly. That pump crapped out at 14 months. I always thought Carter was a quality name.

Not so much anymore, and I'm beginning to feel that way about Delphi too.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:27 AM   #4
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike2004tct
Hey Rick, guess what?

Delphi pumps aren't all that great either.
I had to replace a two year old Delphi unit because the hose from the pump to the top of the pump housing, sprung a leak.
The good thing is, you at least got two years out of your Delphi pump. I am averaging 6 months with the Airtex pumps. The fuel pump that I bought with the bad gaskets was a Bosch. See my Thread http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbul...d.php?t=532268 So yes, I am sure each and every manufacturer will have their issues.

Here is what I want to really know, or in other words, what should or should not be done to help us get the maximum life out of these pumps regardless of who the manufacturer is:

1. The number One biggest and simplest thing we can do, as I already stated, is to regularly change the fuel filter. Once a year as a rule.

2. I continue to hear the “never let your tank drop below ¼ full” theory. Some say yes, some say it doesn’t matter. I know it doesn’t hurt to keep your fuel tank above the ¼ full mark. Let’s hear from the experts.

3. What about additives? Are certain additives harmful to the system? Here is my thought. I am reasonably sure the additive itself won’t harm the pump; however, these cleaners dissolve the crap from fuel injectors etc. I have to believe they also dissolve the crap from the inside of the tank and either clog the filter sock at the bottom of the pump to a small degree, and most assuredly clog the filter. Some people I am sure do not follow the dilution recommendations on the bottle and instead of adding a bottle to 10 or 20 gallons of gas, they simply add it to whatever is in the tank and run a concentrated solution through the system.

Comments anyone?
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:13 PM   #5
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Rick Norwood
Good post.
I am glad to hear a consumer speaking out with his problems and experience the aftermarket junk fuel pumps.

Consumers should give you a big thanks for speaking up and letting them be aware of the problems with the after market fuel pumps.
Anyone that is going to replace there fuel pump should do some research and get first hand experience from consumers like yourself.
A lot of good repair shops now only us AC Delco/Delphi pumps.

Many parts places still continue to sell and push them even with a high come back rate.
They still push the 25 dollars cheaper pump and say the have a lifetime warranty.
So far Carquest Auto Parts co. and stores is the only parts places that has stood up to the junk fuel pump company’s and said no more junk.
They have switched to Ac_Delco/Delphi OEM type fuel pumps.

Some of the parts people at AZ will tell you about the high comebacks on aftermarket stuff and they do carry a ac- Delco line of fuel pumps


The lifetime warranty on the cheap aftermarket pumps gets very expensive with 100-200 $ tow bills and 150-250 $ 0n labor to replace it every time it quits plus down time expense and head and rear pains of being broke down at bad times and places.

As a professional mechanic/tech and garage owner I have been aware of and have been seeing the problem for well over a year.
And sad to say the junk fuel pump places are not doing anything to improve their fuel pumps and will not even admit they have a problem.
I have tested the pressure on them and very few even have the proper pressure to run and quit altogether very soon after installing them.

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Old 10-30-2008, 06:53 PM   #6
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Norwood
The good thing is, you at least got two years out of your Delphi pump. I am averaging 6 months with the Airtex pumps. The fuel pump that I bought with the bad gaskets was a Bosch. See my Thread http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbul...d.php?t=532268 So yes, I am sure each and every manufacturer will have their issues.

Here is what I want to really know, or in other words, what should or should not be done to help us get the maximum life out of these pumps regardless of who the manufacturer is:

1. The number One biggest and simplest thing we can do, as I already stated, is to regularly change the fuel filter. Once a year as a rule.

2. I continue to hear the “never let your tank drop below ¼ full” theory. Some say yes, some say it doesn’t matter. I know it doesn’t hurt to keep your fuel tank above the ¼ full mark. Let’s hear from the experts.

3. What about additives? Are certain additives harmful to the system? Here is my thought. I am reasonably sure the additive itself won’t harm the pump; however, these cleaners dissolve the crap from fuel injectors etc. I have to believe they also dissolve the crap from the inside of the tank and either clog the filter sock at the bottom of the pump to a small degree, and most assuredly clog the filter. Some people I am sure do not follow the dilution recommendations on the bottle and instead of adding a bottle to 10 or 20 gallons of gas, they simply add it to whatever is in the tank and run a concentrated solution through the system.

Comments anyone?

Yes on no 1
And a bad batch of gas can clog fuel filter fast.
Stopped up filter oveloads and overworks fuel pumps.
Keep them clean.
Even after a pump repacement and filter change recheck the fuel filter in a day or so,
When some fuel pumps go out the throw black crap in the tank and what fuel that is in there that wiil get into the filter.

Yes on no 2
1/4 tank is a good rule.
People that keep fuel in there tanks have a lot less fuel pump problems.
Low fuel in the tank works the pump harder and tens to build heat in pump.
Fuel in the tanks helps cool the pump.
If a tank runs out the pump will suck air and burn up the pump fast.
Also a low fuel tank can built up moisture inside.

On no 3
Some Additives can or mixed to strong can be to strong on the fuel system.
Also I have run onto a varnnish/chemical build up on fuel sending units causing feel gauge/sending units problems.
I suspect it is caused by gas additives from gas companys or tand additives.

And to add always check power and ground wires to the fuel pump.
Some fuel pumps come with a plugin wiring.
Pitch the butt conectors that come with it and.
Solder the wiring and seal it with heat shrink and electrical wire sealer.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:24 PM   #7
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

I seen worse,replaced the fuel pump in in one Chevy truck 6 times and it was an Airtex pump.Airtex will not warranty their fuel pumps calling it improper installation.My father did chew out an Airtex rep with bad words when Airtex was Carquest's fuel pump supplier.Even had one on the hoist,a Pontiac Bonneville not run after the fuel pump was replaced,an Airtex pump which was junk.Drove it in with a bad fuel pump before it was replaced.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:43 AM   #8
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolasIce
It really is amazing how many problems these pumps can have. They are so simple. My original pump in my Olds Ciera lasted 120K miles. I took it apart to see what the problem was. I thought the brushes would be worn out, but they were ok. The pump had 2 stages of impellers, one feeding the other. The impellers are nylon (plastic) and are driven by a flat shaft through a slot in the center. One slot had rounded out, so it wasn't making pressure. With only one stage working, the pressure wasn't enough.
The instructions with the pump really emphasized how important it is to replace the fuel straining sock on the input.
Also on the Carter website, they say that a lot of GM models had problems with the in tank wires and connectors.
As long as the sock and the wiring are replaced, it should last.
All of my Airtex pumps were installed by professional mechanics with brand new external fuel filters. Each and every one of the Airtex Pumps came with a brand new filter sock as a part of the assembly.

I really don't care why the Airtex pumps failed prematurely, whether it is due to the internal wires, a leaking flex tube, the rounded out impeller, or a bad pump motor, because in the end, you have to drop the tank and replace the pump. Fuel Pumps, regardless of the brand, should last for years if properly maintained. So far I am averaging 6 months with Airtex pumps.

If your are lucky enough to not get stranded, don't have to pay for towing bills, live next door to a mechanic who does free labor, can get free replacement pumps every 6 months, and don't mind being without your truck for a day or two, then you'll probably be o.k. with Airtex pumps. Otherwise, it is a crap shoot and you will probably loose.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:31 PM   #9
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

The Crimp style clamp was a metal band that is attached by the Manufacturer. It is not tightenable by the mechanic and should not have to be. If you pay $250-$300 for a Fuel Pump, it should be good to go right out of the box.

As a matter of fact they were all installed by a dealership.

I did not insult you or try to insult you. I started this thread to share my experiences and with any luck, prevent someone else from making the same mistakes that I made. That is the purpose of this Forum.

If you are not looking for an arguement, you could have fooled me. I suggest you read the rules of this Forum.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:43 AM   #10
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Norwood
The Crimp style clamp was a metal band that is attached by the Manufacturer. It is not tightenable by the mechanic and should not have to be. If you pay $250-$300 for a Fuel Pump, it should be good to go right out of the box.

As a matter of fact they were all installed by a dealership.

.
Reading the reply about the hose attachment (which is the reason for the reply 4 posts up), it seems to me the guy is talking about replacing just the pump itself, not the whole assembly like you and I mention.

Of course, replacing just the pump would entail fastening the hose to the assembly cover.

On both the Carter and Delphi/ACDelco units I've worked with, the hoses are shrink fit onto the housing. No tie wraps or clamps are used. One of the reasons I won't replace just the pump motor (The other being the level sensor assembly, and the strainer/socks).

As far as the mentioning of the fuel socks, you always get new socks/strainers when you replace the whole assembly.
The Delphi units actually have 2 socks on them. One on the bottom of the
housing, and one on the bottom of the pump inside the housing.
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:36 AM   #11
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolasIce
I'm not here to promote Airtex pumps, or get in an arguement, but there's no way pump after pump will be bad (unless there is a defective batch), and even so, it's unlikely you would get bad pumps 6 months or longer apart.
I suggest you look real hard at the "professional" mechanics who installed them.
Was it the same guy each time?
Improper installation can ruin every part.

My pump used a plastic "tie wrap" clamp that had to be tighten by the installer. If it's the same as mine, that means that your mechanic didn't tighten the damn thing.

Do you work on your own vehicles, or pay someone else to fix them?

Rick’s
Is a consumer/buyer warning on aftermarket fuel pumps for information and warning?
It is not a post to start a pissing match about them

As a professional garage owner and installer.
I run into it every week.
Not only on GM but other cars and trucks.

Airtex has to many bad batches on all models.
You might go threw the hole batch to get one to run.
Some will not even start and run and others fail soon after installing.
Carquest dropper them and went to AC Delco/Delphi fuel pumps.

I have had up to 3 in a row that would not even start and run after proper installation and power checks.
Went to another parts place and got the same pump no from them.
It did start but failed the pressure test.
So that is 4 bad in a row for me.

On the hose you mention it does not even sound like you are replacing the whole fuel pump module, as you should be.

If you do not believe Airtex has bad pumps out there check you good local repair shops.
Also any good parts place will tell you they have a high comeback rate on them.
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:36 AM   #12
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Hi Mike.

When I bought the pumps for this model and year, all the parts store carried was the Fuel Pump Assembly, which included the Pump/Motor, Spring Loaded Housing, Sending Unit, Filter Sock, Wire Harness Connector (pigtail) and a gasket. The individual Motor/Pump was not available, only the complete Assembly, and it cost over $250 USD.

When I R&R'd the Fuel Pump om my '93 Blazer, all I had to buy was the pump, and it came with clamps and small lengths of hose to replace the Pulsator.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:04 PM   #13
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

I know of 2 auto parts stores selling Delphi fuel pumps,Auto Value and Carquest.I know an owner of a Carquest parts store,Northwestern Auto Supply in Muskegon,Mi that has gotten lots of returns of Airtex before the switch to Delphi.Since the switch to Delphi,no returns.Carter and Bosch fuel pumps are junk too.My father does not trust anything made by Bosch at all.
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:32 AM   #14
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

I agree with Rick on Airtex. I have sold auto parts for over 6 years, working with autozone, advance auto parts, and O'reilly auto parts. I have heard more complaints with Airtex than any other brand fuel pumps.

Rick, how many miles did your Jimmy have when you first had problems with your fuel pump?

I have a 2001 2dr blazer, with only 70,000 miles on it. it has symptoms of a bad fuel pump. I'm hoping that's not the problem.

I also have a 98' K1500. the previous owner replaced the fuel pump at 125,000, with an Airtex pump. It looks like I will have to replace it again soon!
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:33 AM   #15
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Re: Airtex Fuel Pumps - Buyer Beware

Quote:
Originally Posted by georgiaboy107
I agree with Rick on Airtex. I have sold auto parts for over 6 years, working with autozone, advance auto parts, and O'reilly auto parts. I have heard more complaints with Airtex than any other brand fuel pumps.

Rick, how many miles did your Jimmy have when you first had problems with your fuel pump?

I have a 2001 2dr blazer, with only 70,000 miles on it. it has symptoms of a bad fuel pump. I'm hoping that's not the problem.

I also have a 98' K1500. the previous owner replaced the fuel pump at 125,000, with an Airtex pump. It looks like I will have to replace it again soon!
Georgiaboy, Thanks for your input. I would change the fuel filters on both today without hesitation.

I asked a local garage owner whose shop is less than a mile from the parts store that sold me the Airtex pumps whether or not he uses the Airtex brand Fuel Pumps. His response was a resounding "HELL NO" and when I asked why he said "TOO MANY PROBLEMS AND RETURNS ON THEM, THEY DON'T EVEN MAKE IT THROUGH THE WARRANTY". The funniest thing about this is that the parts store denies getting hardly any returns on Airtex Pumps.

My 2000 Jimmy had approximately 105k -110k miles when the original pump went out. My daughter's 2001 S-10 Blazer had almost exactly the same amount of miles when it went out.

I can say without reservation that both pumps went out because the big tall dumb ass (that would be me) did not change the fuel filters. When both vehicles lost their pumps and new filters were installed you could almost not even blow air through the old filters, much less gasoline. The dirt and crap that did come out of those filters was an embarrassment.

So I am going to say it again for all to read and heed.

CHANGE YOUR FUEL FILTER AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR.

DO NOT WAIT FOR YOUR FUEL PUMP TO START MAKING NOISE, IT IS TOO LATE AT THAT POINT.

THE PLUGGED FILTER PUTS TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON THE FUEL PUMP CAUSING IT TO FAIL.

THE $10 FILTER AND THE 10 MINUTES IT WILL TAKE TO PUT IT IN WILL SAVE YOU HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS.

IF YOU HAVEN'T CHANGED YOUR FUEL FILTER IN A WHILE OR YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME YOU DID CHANGE IT (IF EVER) DO IT NOW!
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