A diesel fuel pump failure can be a costly problem. This article will discuss the symptoms, causes, and replacement costs of a bad diesel fuel pump. We will also explain the fuel delivery process in a diesel engine so that you can understand what happens when your pump fails.
Several symptoms may indicate a bad diesel fuel pump. Such as loss of power, squeaking noise, and difficulty starting the engine. If you notice any of these issues, it is important to have the pump checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your engine.
Fuel Delivery in Diesel Engine
Diesel engines are unique in their ability to compress the air entering the engine to such a high degree that they can self-ignite the fuel. This process starts with the intake of air into the cylinders. The air is then compressed, and diesel fuel is injected into the cylinders, where it ignites and powers the engine.
The fuel delivery system in a diesel engine is responsible for getting the fuel from the tank to the engine. It consists of a pump, injectors, and lines. The pump is usually located near the fuel tank, injectors in the cylinder head, and lines connect the pump to the injectors.
The fuel delivery system in a diesel engine must be able to deliver the correct amount of fuel to the engine at the correct time. The engine computer controls the injectors, which tells them when to open and how much fuel to inject. The computer gets its information from sensors that measure the engine speed, load, and temperature.
What is a Diesel Fuel Pump? How Does it Work?
The fuel delivery system must be able to deliver a constant fuel supply to the engine under all conditions. That means it must maintain constant pressure, even when the engine runs at high speeds or under heavy loads. To do that, it uses a high-pressure pump.
A diesel fuel pump is a mechanical device that transfers fuel from the tank to the injectors. It is typically located between the fuel tank and the engine and consists of a housing, a plunger, and a check valve. The plunger is connected to an arm that oscillates as the engine runs. This motion forces fuel through the check valve and into the injectors.
The check valve prevents fuel from flowing back into the tank and regulates the amount of fuel delivered to the injectors. The pump must deliver enough fuel to keep the engine running, but not so much that it causes it to run too rich and produce excessive emissions. Diesel fuel pumps are designed to operate at high pressure and are usually driven by the engine’s camshaft.
Symptoms of a Bad Diesel Fuel Pump
The most common symptoms of a bad diesel fuel pump are listed below:
- Check Engine Light
- Car Won’t Start
- Squeaking Noise
- Engine Stalls
- Engine Misfires
- Lag in Acceleration
- Reduced Fuel Efficiency
- Blue Exhaust Smoke
Let’s check these symptoms out in detail:
1. Check Engine Light:
If your check engine light is on, it could be a sign that your diesel fuel pump is failing. The light may come on due to a problem with the pump itself or with one of the sensors it uses to control fuel delivery. If the pump is not delivering the correct amount of fuel to the engine, this can cause the engine to run lean.
When the engine runs lean, the output values of the O2 sensor deviate from normal. This may turn on the check engine light. Additionally, if the pump is not providing enough pressure, this can also cause the fuel rail pressure sensor to malfunction and trigger the check engine light.
2. Car Won’t Start:
If your car doesn’t start, it could be due to several reasons. However, one possibility is that the fuel pump is not providing enough pressure to the injectors. This can happen if the pump’s check valve is stuck open or if the plunger is not oscillating correctly.
If the pump does not provide enough pressure or generate enough flow, it will prevent the engine from getting the fuel it needs to run. This can be a major problem, especially if you’re stranded somewhere without a way to get your car started.
3. Squeaking Noise:
If you hear a squeaking noise from your engine, it could be due to a failed fuel pump. The noise may be caused by a loose connection between the pump and the engine or by a problem with the pump itself. It is normal for a diesel fuel pump to make a slow hissing sound after you start the car. But once the engine has warmed up, this sound will gradually disappear.
However, if you are dealing with a bad fuel pump in your diesel engine, then the sound may never go away. You may hear a variety of sounds out of the fuel tank. For example, you may hear squeaking noise coming from the fuel tank. This is because the pump cannot properly pressurize the fuel, which leads to a lot of air bubbles in the fuel line.
These air bubbles will eventually make their way to the injectors and cause a squeaking or knocking noise. If you hear this noise, it is time to replace your fuel pump.
4. Engine Sputter:
If your engine starts to sputter and lose power, it could be a sign that the diesel fuel pump is not delivering enough fuel to the engine. Diesel fuel pumps are designed to deliver a precise amount of fuel to the engine under all conditions. If the pump is not working properly, it can cause the engine to sputter or stall when accelerating. This can happen because the pump is not delivering enough fuel to the engine or because it is delivering too much fuel. Either way, it can be a serious problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
5. Engine Misfires:
If your engine is misfiring, it could be a sign that the diesel fuel system is not working properly. Diesel engines are designed to run on a very specific air-fuel mixture. If the fuel pump can’t maintain a consistent fuel supply, the air-fuel ratio gets disturbed, and the engine misfires. The misfires can cause serious damage to the engine over time. In some cases, a bad diesel fuel pump can even cause the engine to shut down completely.
6. Lag in Acceleration:
If you notice a lag in acceleration, it could be due to a problem with the diesel fuel pump. A diesel fuel pump can cause power loss and acceleration lag if it does not function properly. If the pump is not delivering enough fuel to the engine, the engine will not be able to produce enough power.
Additionally, if the pump is not delivering fuel evenly, the engine may experience uneven power output. Which can also cause your car to hesitate when you try to accelerate. This can be a very dangerous problem, especially if you’re trying to merge onto a busy highway.
7. Reduced Fuel Efficiency:
If you notice that your car’s fuel economy has decreased, it could be a sign of a problem with the diesel fuel pump. If the pump is not working properly, it can cause the engine to use more fuel than it should. This can lead to a significant decrease in fuel economy. A bad diesel fuel pump can cause reduced fuel efficiency for many reasons.
First, if the pump is not providing enough pressure, the engine will not be able to run at its optimal performance level. This can lead to increased fuel consumption and lower overall efficiency. Additionally, if the pump is not delivering the correct amount of fuel to the engine, this can also lead to reduced efficiency and higher fuel consumption.
8. Blue Exhaust Smoke:
One of the most common symptoms of a bad diesel fuel pump is blue smoke coming from the exhaust. This happens because the pump is not delivering enough fuel to the engine. Due to this, the pump cannot properly mix the fuel and air, which can cause incomplete combustion. When this happens, the unburned fuel will be expelled through the exhaust system, causing the blue smoke.
What May Cause a Bad Diesel Fuel Pump?
There are several possible causes for a bad diesel fuel pump. These include:
1. Driving on Low Fuel:
Diesel fuel pumps are designed to function with a minimum amount of fuel in the tank, but running the tank too low can stress the pump and cause it to fail prematurely. One of the main reasons is that it can lead to the pump sucking in the air. This can damage the pump by causing it to work harder than normal.
Additionally, debris and water in the bottom of the tank can be drawn into the pump, causing damage. To avoid these problems, always keep your tank at least half full.
2. Clogged Fuel Filter:
A clogged fuel filter can cause a bad diesel fuel pump. First, if the fuel filter is clogged, it can restrict fuel flow to the pump, causing the pump to work harder and eventually overheat.
Second, a clogged fuel filter can cause the pump to cavitate or form pockets of air in the fuel, which can damage the pump. In addition, a clogged fuel filter can allow dirt and other contaminants to enter the pump, leading to its premature wear and failure.
3. Dirty Fuel:
Several things can cause a bad diesel fuel pump, but low-quality fuel is often the culprit. Using low-quality or contaminated fuel can clog up the filters in your fuel pump and prevent it from operating properly. This can lead to a loss of power, decreased fuel economy, and eventually complete engine failure.
While it’s always best to use high-quality fuel, if you use lower-quality fuel, ensure your fuel pump is checked regularly to avoid any serious problems.
4. Rusty Fuel Tank or Fuel Lines:
If your car’s fuel tank or fuel lines are rusty, it can cause the pump to fail. This is because rust can flake off and enter the pump, causing damage. Additionally, rust can cause the fuel lines to become clogged, restricting the flow of fuel to the pump.
5. Electrical Issues:
The diesel fuel pump is an electrical component, so any electrical problems can cause it to fail. This includes issues with the battery, alternator, or starter. If you notice any problems with your car’s electrical system, have it checked out as soon as possible to avoid damaging the fuel pump.
6. Faulty Fuel Injection Systems:
If the fuel injection system is not up to the task, it may cause early failure of the fuel pump. The most common cause of this is when the injectors are not properly maintained. If they become dirty or clogged, they can put extra strain on the pump and cause it to fail prematurely.
It is important to ensure that the fuel injection system is operating correctly and that all its components are in good condition.
7. Water in Fuel Pump:
If you are a fan of off-roading and drive through deep mud puddles, there is a chance that water can enter the fuel pump. While most pumps are designed to be waterproof, they are not immune to failure. If water does enter the pump, it can cause damage and eventually lead to its failure.
Failing Diesel Fuel Pump Replacement Cost
The cost of replacing a diesel fuel pump can range from $600 to over $1,200. It all depends on the vehicle you drive and the job’s complexity. If you have a commercial truck, for example, it could cost upwards of $2,000 to replace the fuel pump. The major chunk of the total replacement cost is the price of the diesel fuel pump itself, which may cost somewhere between $500 to $1,000. The labor costs only amount to $100 to $200.
To cut costs, you can look for used or aftermarket diesel fuel pumps. These can be found online or at your local auto parts store. Be sure to check the compatibility of the pump with your vehicle before making a purchase. You should also have a professional install the pump to ensure it is done correctly.
A diesel fuel pump is responsible for delivering fuel to the engine, which is one of the most important parts of the engine. The diesel fuel pump has to withstand the high pressure and temperature of the fuel, and it also has to deliver the correct amount of fuel to the engine. If the diesel fuel pump fails, then the engine will not run.
That is why it is important to ensure that the diesel fuel pump is working properly. There are a few things that you can do to make sure that your diesel fuel pump is working properly. First, you should never run on low fuel, always use high-quality diesel, and have your pump inspected regularly. Then it is a good idea to check for clogged fuel filters or fuel injectors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when a diesel fuel injector pump fails?
When a diesel fuel injector pump fails, it can cause a wide range of problems. The most common symptom of a failed injector pump is engine stalling. Other symptoms can include poor acceleration, loss of power, and increased fuel consumption. In severe cases, a failed injector pump can lead to engine failure.
How to test a failing fuel pump?
If your vehicle begins to experience fuel pump failure, there are a few tests you can perform to diagnose the issue. First, check the fuel pressure. If the pressure is low, it could be an indication that the fuel pump is not working properly. You can check the fuel pressure by using a fuel pressure gauge.
If the fuel pressure is low, the next step is to check the fuel pump relay. The relay supplies power to the fuel pump, and if it is not working properly, the fuel pump will not receive the power it needs to operate.
How long can you drive with a failing diesel fuel pump?
If your diesel fuel pump is failing, you should not drive for more than a few hundred miles before getting it checked out by a mechanic. A failing diesel fuel pump can cause engine damage, so it is important to get it fixed as soon as possible.
How long does a diesel fuel pump last?
Diesel fuel pumps are built to last, but they will eventually wear out. The average diesel fuel pump will last for about 100,000 miles. However, if you take good care of your vehicle and use high-quality diesel fuel, your fuel pump could last even longer.