Fuel Pump - Electric
Electrical fuel pumps were first used on fuel injected vehicles, which operated on a more complex system. Fuel injected vehicles needed the electric pump, because it produced more pressure, which is needed to get the fuel through the injectors. The pressure on an electric pump is usually around 25 to 80 psi. The increase in pressure may cause the pump to overheat and malfunction, which is why the pump is typically located in the fuel tank, where it is cooled by the fuel and lubricated. Driving with less than ¼ a tank can cause overheating of the fuel pump if it is located in the tank. Electric fuel pumps are inexpensive, but can be difficult and expensive to install, since they are in the fuel tank.
Electrical fuel pumps work by drawing fuel from the tank, into the pump, through an inlet tube and mesh filter sock. The fuel then exits the pump through a one-way check valve, which maintains pressure in the system when the pump is not running. After exiting the check valve, the fuel flows through fuel lines, where it makes its way to the fuel supply rail on the engine which holds all the injectors. A fuel pressure regulator works side by side with the fuel pump to ensure fuel in the rail is also at the required pressure before it is released through the injectors. To ensure the pressure and temperature of the fuel remain constant, a fuel return line is used to send excess fuel back to the tank, where it is recycled into the system.
An electrical fuel pump often shares its mounting cage with the fuel gauge sending unit, which helps if one or the other needs to have maintenance performed. The pump is turned on when the ignition switch on the vehicle is turned. Connected to the ignition switch is a relay, which is designed to handle the high current load ,that a fuel pump has. This relay is often the cause when an electric fuel pump is not working correctly, because it oxidizes easily.
Vehicles that have an electric fuel injection system, also have an electronic control unit, which can be programmed to shut the fuel pump off. This is an extremely useful feature which helps in collisions or rollovers. If the pump was not turned off in an accident, fluid can continue pumping out which can cause a fire or other safety hazards. The electronic control unit can also be programmed to turn off the fuel pump, in the event of low oil pressure. This feature will prevent fire and unnecessary damage to components in the vehicle. Electrical fuel pumps are now standard on almost all vehicles, because carburetors are becoming obsolete.
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