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Electric Fuel Pump Summary

by Roland Dudley - Jan 1993

As I mentioned in an earlier message I received lots of good responses to my question about electric fuel pumps. I still haven't decided which one to use but it appears that the are several good pumps to choose from. Probably the largest favorable response was for the Facet pump. The complaint about these pumps I mentioned in my original posting really had to do with the fussiness required in the mounting, not their function or reliability. I don't think anyone disagreed with this point but most felt it wasn't a big deal. Several responders suggested using rubber mounts to mask the noise and absorb the vibration characteristic of this and other electric pumps. In a Cobra, noisiness probably isn't much of an issue, but vibration could be a problem if it causes stress to the mounts. I definitely plan to look into the high capacity dual Facet pump.

Another popular pump suggestion was the rotary vane type. Apparently Holley, Carter and Mallory make them. One of my colleagues here at work had a rotary vane pump fail in his motor home recently. He couldn't remember what brand of pump is was but he thinks it was a Carter. I believe his motor home is GM based. He replaced it with a Holley. My Cobra acquaintance did complained about the reliability of Stewart Warner pumps but I don't think he was referring to a rotary vane type. Also He wasn't particularly pleased with the functioning of Holley pumps.

Other pumps recommended were: Mallory, Vera and generic solid state pumps available from J.C. Whitney. I was warned to stay away from the adjustable pressure type, especially the cheaper models. Anyone have some good words for adjustable higher end pumps? This sound ideal for my purpose since I currently have a rather haggard, stock 289 with a 2V carburetor in my snake, but eventually I'll be replacing it with the original HiPo with 4V Holley. I'm even considering going with a 302 crank. I would think the flow requirements would be a lot higher for the latter setup.

I suppose another option would be to go with a higher capacity and pressure pump and a separate pressure regulator. Someone also suggested installing a gauge in the system to monitor pressure.

Cobra Restorers sells a Stewart Warner pumps which I suspect is the brand used by racer during the Cobra heyday in the '60s but I've heard that SW quality isn't particularly good these days. This pump is a piston type. J. Bittle American, one of the major suppliers of Ford performance equipment sells Speed-Pro and Holley "Blue". The Speed-Pro is a rotary vane pump but I know nothing about it. The Holley Blue seems like more pump than I really need.

Several people asked what the pressure and capacity requirements were for a Cobra. The only specs I have are from the Ford shop manual which doesn't distinguish between the stock and HiPo 289cid engines. And as far as I can tell the pump on my HiPo engine is identical to the one on the stock engine in the car. Anyway, the specs state: pressure 4-6psi; capacity 1 pint in less than 20 seconds at 500 rpm. That's about 22.5 GPM. The SW, Speed-Pro and Holley all meet these specs quite easily. I don't know about the other pumps mentioned above but I suspect the rotary vane and dual Facet would have no problems either.

My friend with the motor home did make one recommendation no one else did. He suggested installing an oil pressure sensor cutoff switch in the pump supply circuitry. This is so the fuel is shut off in the event of an accident. These cutoff switches have a mechanism that allows the pump to work during starting when there is not oil pressure.

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