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Old 05-18-2014, 12:42 PM
B2300SE B2300SE is offline
Ford Ranger Owner
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 51
Default Fuel Pump Troubleshooting & Replacement 2001 - 2003

THE PROBLEM: Fuel pump problems are common. My truck would start, run poorly for a few seconds, and die in warmer weather. It then would just crank. When the key was turned on, you can normally hear the pump run for a few seconds but it wasn't running. The next morning, when it was much cooler, the pump would work and it would start right up until some other random warm day.

TROUBLESHOOTING: If you can't hear your pump run for a few seconds at key on, check the fuel pump fuse and relay. You can find the fuse/relay box diagram in the owner's manual, shop manuals, at, etc. If you jumper the two large contacts of the fuel pump relay socket (which always has 12 volts on one terminal) you should be able to hear the fuel pump run even with the key off. If it doesn't run, verify with a tester there's 12 volts to one of the two large relay terminals.

INERTIA SWITCH: With power at the relay, check the inertia switch up in the passenger foot well (little red button on top). Make sure the button is pushed in and check for 12 volts at one of the two pins for a few seconds at key on (or with the relay jumpered as above). You can also jumper the inertia connector with a paper clip to see if the pump runs. If it does run the inertia switch might be tripped or bad.

If the pump doesn't run with the above tests, the problem is either the pump (likely) or the wiring (unlikely). If it DOES run jumpered, but doesn't for a few seconds when the key is first turned, you may have a bad relay or PCM (ECU) problem (verify the check engine light is on with the key on--if not it could be a bad PCM relay). You can swap relays around in the fuse block.

If you can hear the pump run but the truck won't start and has spark, or is running poorly, buy a fuel injection pressure gauge (Harbor Freight has a cheap one) and find the schrader fitting on the fuel rail. Check the fuel pressure with the relay bypassed as above or while cycling the key to on. It should be 50 - 60 PSI--at least on my 2.3 DOHC Duratec. If it's much lower the fuel pump is likely bad.

REPLACING THE PUMP: You have a choice between letting a shop do it, dropping the gas tank, sliding the bed back, pulling the bed completely or hacking up your truck.

SHOP COST: I called around and most places wanted $650 - $800 to replace the fuel pump. Labor varied from about $200 - $400 and the pump cost from $280 - $390 for an aftermarket pump. The places with the lower labor rates would not let me supply the pump.

DIY TIME: The whole project took about 4 or 5 hours working alone. Having someone else would have helped speed things. Pulling the bed completely off would have been significantly faster (see options below).

PRECAUTIONS: If you're going to do it yourself, disconnect the negative battery lead before you start, have a fire extinguisher nearby, use safe jacking/jackstand practices, and avoid any sources of sparks, flame, etc. once you start removing fuel lines, etc. Safely dispose of any extra fuel, fuel soaked rags, the old pump, etc.

FUEL PRESSURE RELIEF: If your pump is fully dead and your truck won't start you likely don't have any residual pressure in the fuel system. But if the pump at least somewhat works, you should either pull the pump relay or disconnect the inertia switch and start or crank the truck to let it run out of fuel before you begin. The system can hold up to 60 PSI of pressure.

TOOLS NEEDED: Depending on what method you choose, some things you might need include a really strong T55 Torx bit socket (for the bed), a fuel pump module spanner wrench (probably not needed), and for some model years, fuel fitting disconnect tools.

FUEL PUMP CHOICES: The Ford/Mazda pump is around $280 from discounters like Rock Auto. I bought a (made in the USA!) Airtex E2293M for $120. Airtex is supposedly the largest maker of aftermarket fuel pumps and they make a lot of the pumps for other brands. It's not a trivial job, and the fuel pump can strand you somewhere, so it's probably worth getting a decent pump vs Chinese junk off eBay. Note the 118" wheel base trucks use a different pump than the 112" and 124" wheelbase trucks.

OTHER PARTS: You might want to replace the fuel filler hose if your truck is 10+ years old. Likewise the fuel filter should be replaced every 30K miles. Otherwise you shouldn't need any other parts unless you break something.

DROPPING THE TANK: Most suggest against dropping the tank unless you have a full lift, can stand up under the truck, a container to siphon the gas into, a transmission jack to support the fuel tank, and know exactly what you're doing with the fuel fitting connectors on top of the tank. The reason is the fuel lines are really short and you can't drop the tank down far enough to clearly see them to properly disconnect them. If you break a fuel fitting new fuel lines are expensive. You also can't easily test the new pump for proper operation, leaks, etc, before putting the tank back in place.

REMOVING THE BED: If you have 4 guys, 2 strong guys, or some sort of overhead lift, and a place to safely store the bed, it's relatively easy to pull the bed. The higher your truck sits the harder it will be to lift the bed clear of everything. It's just six bolts in the bed, disconnecting the fuel filler plate, and unplugging the tail light wiring connector.

SKETCHY REDNECK METHOD: If it's a beater truck, or you have a bedliner and don't care, and you're brave, you could use a small angle grinder to cut an access hole in the bed above the pump. The sparks flying into the top of the tank would concern me if there are any leaks, but others have done it.

SLIDING THE BED BACK: This is the route I chose (see the pics) as I was working alone. I put the rear axle on jack stands so I could pull the rear tires/wheels allowing the bed to slide further. On my truck I also had to pull the bumper (4 bolts) and the right rear mud flap to allow the bed to slide back far enough without running into anything. One of the cross braces under the bed will hit the spare tire "winch" but one strong person can lift the back of the bed an inch or so to clear it. The bed is easily maneuverable as long as part of it can rest on the frame.

FUEL FILLER HOSE: Older trucks often have filler hose deterioration right where the rubber attaches to the tank and eventually it cracks. Be careful not to stress the pipe if you pull or slide the bed. An after market hose is $70+.

BED LINER: My factory Mazda liner just had to be bent up in the middle from the tailgate end to "unhook" it from the sides of the bed. Work your way towards the cab. I took mine out solo in about 2 minutes.

BED BOLTS: The hardest bit was getting the six T55 Torx bolts loose in the bed. I used penetrating oil, a high quality 3/8" drive T55 Torx bit socket, and ended up having to use a cheater pipe on my breaker bar to get enough leverage. A 1/2" drive impact socket on a heavy duty air impact wrench might be a better option. You can spray penetrating oil both above and on the threads below (tucked up in the frame rails).

KEEP IT CLEAN: I used a air blow nozzle to clean off the top of the old pump before I started work and stuffed a rag into the open fuel filler before unbolting it.

FUEL PUMP CONNECTIONS: On my truck the pigtail electrical connector is roughly centered above the tank and anchored into a frame cross rail. Older rangers have a connector on top of the pump module. Either are tough to reach from below but easy with the bed out of the way. My pump has 4 fuel lines all with different connectors: A Pressure line, return line, filler vent line, and evaporation line. Ford has used a variety of connectors over the years so yours may be different. The two fuel lines on my truck have a little red or green tab that looks like a horseshoe clip you might want to pry out but you press the colored bit IN to release the connector. The two bigger vent/evap lines have horseshoe clips you have to gently and carefully pry out--they're easy to break especially when old or cold.

BREAK A CONNECTOR OR RETAINING CLIP? Try your local auto parts stores. Dorman make some replacement clips and some may come with your pump. Dorman also makes repair kits that allow you to put a new end on at least some kinds of fuel lines. Ford seems to use some of the most obscure (and fragile) connectors and the dealer just wants to sell you a new entire fuel line for several hundred dollars.

FUEL PUMP MODULE "JAR LID": I bought a 2 prong "OEM" brand fuel pump module spanner wrench and it didn't work (you can see it on top of the pump in one of the pics). The factory tool is a four prong tool and likely much more stable. The 2 prong aftermarket version slips off when you apply a lot of torque. I ended up using a large flat blade screwdriver and hammer against the strongest part of the plastic tabs on the ring to gently tap it loose.

TANK DEBRIS: Once the old pump is out use a flashlight to peer into the tank and see how much crud is on the bottom. If there's much you should probably clean it out even if that means removing the tank.

THE REST: The rest of the job is fairly self explanatory. Use grease on the gasket and hold the pump down with the tabs engaged while you tighten the ring. Airtex has some good online "how to" videos.

TESTING AND FINAL: If you use the bed method, once the new pump is fully connected, hook the battery back up and cycle the key several times to verify the pump runs, pressurizes the system, the fuel gauge reads correctly, and there are no leaks before you put the bed back in place. Optionally use a fuel pressure gauge to verify the correct pressure. Hope this helps someone out. Here are a couple pics showing the bed pulled back:

Photo Fuel Pump & Spanner Tool

Photo Bed Slid Back

Last edited by B2300SE; 05-18-2014 at 12:49 PM.
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