5250 High Performance Dyno Shop Blog

High Performance Upgrades | Understanding a modern Factory Fuel System

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 21, 2015 3:00:00 PM / by Mike Wiener

High Flow Fuel Pump | An important step on the path to power is upgrading your fuel system.Subaru Horsepower upgrades

This should be started pretty early on your car modifications plan, the first upgrade most enthusiasts go with is a new fuel pump. 

Until recently, this was not an easy upgrade for newer cars. The norm had been a fuel pump sending unit where the fuel pump was simply attached to the end of a stick in the bottom of the fuel tank. Wanted a larger pump? Attach one to the stick and put it back in the tank. Not anymore. 

As cars became better engineered and more features were packed into less space, the fuel pump sending unit also became more complex. Instead of simply being a mounting point for the fuel pump, it now integrates several important devices.

  • The fuel tank has a complex shape that requires several pumps to move fuel to the pickup location for the actual fuel pump that sends fuel to the engine. 

These pumps are all housed in the plastic fuel pump sending unit bucket that is installed in the fuel tank. The bucket also acts as a slosh tank, making sure the primary fuel pump is fed at all times, even in sharp corners. Because everything has to fit inside the plastic bucket, replacement fuel pump options are limited. 

The pumps that move fuel around the fuel tank are all Venturi style pumps that are powered off the fuel returning from the engine bay. Most cars have two of these Venturi style pumps. One moves fuel from one side of the fuel tank over the hump for the driveshaft to the other side. Without this pump, the fuel would all get trapped on one side every time you made a turn.

The second pump picks fuel off the bottom of the tank and force feeds it into the plastic bucket. This allows the fuel system to scavenge every last drop of fuel from the tank. The plastic bucket should be overflowing with fuel under most operating conditions. 

If these systems are not working properly, you'll have a car that loses fuel pressure around turns and also has trouble when the fuel level drops below 1/4 tank. Some may say it's no big deal, just keep the fuel above a half tank. But you bought a car, one that works. It should continue to work as designed. 

Subaru fuel pump upgrade | When purchasing fuel flow / high performance upgrades for your vehicle, ask these simple questions;

  1. How will this effect the rest of my fuel system?
  2. Will I retain the functionality of all my factory systems?
  3. Is my power wiring strong enough for this?Is this safe in the event of an accident?

The real answer(s) come from knowing ‘the guy’ that has experience in choosing the best solution to solve your fuel needs in a safe and reliable manner.  Not all shops are going to have that knowledge, Why?

Because technology and learning takes time and resources to improve real world situations.  We have dealt with this issue in Subaru’s and other high horsepower applications.  

Want a high flow fuel pump for your Subaru?  It is more than just adding new parts.

Got questions about this pump?  

If you are adding or planning to add performance modifications, fuel delivery (OEM HO fuel pump) is one that you have to get right (the first time or it will get costly).  Contact us and set up a time to discuss your options for safe, reliable high performance driving.

Topics: High Flow Fuel Pump

Mike Wiener

Written by Mike Wiener