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Fuel pump took a dump, need suggestions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gas Giant, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Gas Giant
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 402

    Gas Giant

    And "replace it" is obvious.

    The engine in question is a 322 nailhead, which is sitting in a 56 Special. I discovered yesterday that the fuel pump does not pump fuel. Which kind of makes it not a fuel pump after all...

    As everyone knows, fuel pumps for these engines are kinda pricey, about $135 or so. Haven't found any rebuild kits for the fuel pumps that have the vacuum attachment. But, I do know that some Chevy trucks in the 50's came with these 322's, and I have found a fuel pump for that reasonably priced. The only thing is, it doesn't have the vacuum pump on the bottom.

    I don't think I need the vacuum pump, as most of the original vacuum stuff isn't hooked up anymore anyway. I just want to verify with the HAMB experts that the fuel pump from the 322 in the Chevy truck will function on my 322 in the Special. It may seem obvious, but the wacky 50's engineering on this car surprises me again and again, so I apologize if this is a stupid question.

    Or would it make more sense to go with an electric pump if I can find one that won't drown the carb?

    Also, a big thank you to all the HAMBers that helped me with my starter posts and what not. I got the engine started yesterday, and it runs great until it burns off all the gas in the carb.
  2. I have an idea that should interest EVERYBODY with a car they take out of town.

    You can do what I did many years ago on my old Studebaker daily drivers.
    Still works great today.

    I don't like being far far from home and having to change a pump under the car on the side of the highway. No matter what type or brand you use, it WILL happen someday.

    How would you like to "FIX" a broken fuel pump by flipping a switch instead of crawling under the car in a strange parking lot, or at the side of the road?

    Disable the stock pump by removing the pump arm, and use a homemade gasket without the arm-hole in it to prevent crankcase engine oil from getting past the pump diaphragm in case of rupture later down the road. Then put the old pump back on to look stock (optional of course). I use a block off plate, but you might want to keep a stock look on yours. ?

    I bought two of those in-line fuel pumps (about $45 each Advance or AutoZone) that just look like a fuel filter with wires sticking out.

    Like these pics I found on Google--



    They are quiet and easy to install.
    I HATE those square ones that look like little electrical transformers. They are noisy, irritating, and fail often (for me anyway).
    Those Holley performance pumps that people use for the race cars are also noisy, and just SOUND like they are about to eat up their own vanes quickly, so I save those just for the race car. I see no reason to use them on a daily car that needs to be counted on. I know people swear by them, but some swear AT them too.

    What I do for my cars is take TWO inline-can fuel pumps and TWO "tees".
    I use one tee to hook both pump inlets together and have one fuel line to run to the gas tank to pick up fuel.
    I take the other tee, use it to connect both pump outlets together with one tee outlet left over to run forward to be the carb fuel supply.

    Here's the great part-

    I know that most electric pumps are pretty reliable, but ALL pumps wear out, some "identical" pumps break sooner than others.

    I wire mine like most people do- to automatically come on with the ign switch so I don't have to waste time flipping extra switches. I don't want to make starting the car an ordeal or a hassle. Turn the key and go...
    I also make sure I put in a hidden switch for each fuel pump (under dash, or seat, or glovebox, or?). Partly for theft prevention, and partly so I can switch from one pump to another when I feel like it.

    If I am far far away from home, I can fix a bad pump by simply flipping a switch instead of digging out the tools in the rain or hot sun.

    Of course it is always a good idea to install one of those Summit (I think Hurst used to sell them too) oil pressure safety switches to cut off the pump when the engine dies, or one of those inertia switches that late model cars use to cut off the pump in an accident. I bought one inertia switch from an Escort or Taurus and put it under the seat so I could reset it easily if the car gets bumped hard.

    Another handy feature for those who say the small pump cant feed their hot rod engine adequately (I feed my Cad 472 with ONE pump most of the time, even with a trailer)- feel free to turn on both pumps at the same time to feed the extra fuel if you need to run that way. In case of failure, you will still always have at least one "spare" pump working so you won't have to get stranded.

    Worried about running only one pump, and getting backflow thru the "off" pump?
    With these pumps, the internal valves have always worked well to keep the fuel going in one direction only, and blocking any reverse flow, so the two tees are all you need without any extra valves to turn on and off. It does that all by itself.

    Neat, huh? I have been using this setup for over two decades now, and I don't feel one bit nostalgic about no longer changing a pump on the side of the highway far from home. Don't miss it one bit.

    I did the same thing with the control module on my Studebaker HEI ignition conversion. If a module ever fails, I flip a switch and keep on driving. (yes I found a Radio Shack switch with a dozen separate terminals- ONE switch to flip not several) Haven't had a failure in over 12 years so far. Used to have them every couple years. Hated digging under the hood in a store parking lot. I don't have to do that anymore.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,561


    The vacuum pump is mostly for the vacuum wipers...did Buicks still have vacuum wipers in 56?

    And have you tried taking the pump apart to see what's wrong with it? A friend has a 54 caddy, one night our car club was visiting the dragstrip 60 miles away and as we were leaving his car died. I stopped to help him, we discovered it had no fuel to the carb, the pump wasn't working. Since it sits right up on top on the Cad, we pulled it apart, and discovered that one of the check valves had popped out.. Pushed it back in, staked the body around it to keep it from coming out again, it's been working fine ever since.

    The old style Holley pumps are noisy, and they don't like dirt in them, and they put out a bunch of pressure (the blue ones especially require an external regulator). But they work fine in some applications....I've been running one in my 55 for years, lotsa miles on it, no problems...because I keep a spare in the trunk. ymmv

    I do like the idea of the little cheapy electric pump, but be careful what kind you buy, some of them are really unreliable. Running two of them is ok except that you won't know when one is dead. If you install only one, and have to replace it with the spare when it dies, then you'll know it's time to buy another one.
  4. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488


    Well, that rules out any help I could offer. :D

  5. I usually run ONE pump for several weeks, then flip the switch to use the other pump for several weeks. That keeps the fuel from gumming up inside a pump, or collecting any water droplets in the low spots.

    When you flip a switch, you will find out very quickly whether one pump stopped working.
    Then you can change it at your convenience instead of dealing with an emergency that could have left you stranded, or digging spare tools and pump out of the trunk and climbing under....
  6. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    These guys gave a rebuild kit for your fuel pump with or without the vacuum pump. I just did my Studebaker and it was fun. Their diaphragms hold up to modern gas unlike an NOS one. They have directions included and suddenly you become a mechanic in stead of a parts changer.:D There is something rewarding about being able to say I rebuilt it instead of I ordered a new one. JMHO

    You will need to get a stamped number off of the housing for them to supply the correct parts.
  7. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,594

    from Garner, NC

    You should be fine with the 322 truck fuel pump. Well unless you want your vacuum wipers to work...

    Yep in '57 too.
  8. Couldn't the two pumps be run in series instead of in paralell?
  9. Series would double the pressure, but not the volume, if both pumps were running.
    Series would also make one pump work hard to push past the closed valves of the "off" pump.
    Pumps do not like to pull very well if there is a restriction in the pickup, or inlet pipes (from an "off" pump).

    Parallel side-by-side, would let you choose pumps and also get double volume when you wanted.

    Parallel would not over-pressure the carb. It would be only the pressure that the pump was set for and no higher.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  10. what year chevy trucks had the 322 nailhead in them? never heard of that but am curious as to application.
  11. Goztrider
    Joined: Feb 17, 2007
    Posts: 3,066

    from Tulsa, OK

    Couldn't this guy just use a manifold type vacuum feed to run to a vacuum canister, then power the wipers (if needed) off of it? This'd solve the need for a vacuum from the fuel pump.
  12. Lobucrod
    Joined: Mar 22, 2006
    Posts: 4,122

    Alliance Vendor
    from Texas

    I had a 59 GMC that came from the factory with a Pontiac V-8 but I never heard of a Buick nailhead being installed in a chevy or GMC at the factory.
  13. Gas Giant
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 402

    Gas Giant

    I like the dual electric fuel pump idea. I may go that route.

    Tommy: I like your idea too. Even if I go with the electric pumps, I will likely rebuild mine because I'd like to know how.

    I had a thought on the way home today. My car does have the vacuum wipers. I don't know how the internals of how the original pump operates, but would it be possible to use the electric pumps, but leave the original fuel pump in place and just use it as a vacuum pump? So my wipers will work?

    Again, thanks to everyone for replying.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  14. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,561


    The 322 Loadmaster engine was used in big chevy trucks (such as the 9000 and 10000 series) in the late 50s. Might look in a school bus for one...if you can find a late 50s big Chevy school bus...

    the original pump may or may not work to just let fuel thru it. If the diaphram is ok, then it should work that way.
  15. Gas Giant
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 402

    Gas Giant

    I was thinking of bypassing it completely fuel-wise, and running the fuel line from the electrics straight to the carb. And just use it as a vacuum pump. Does the fuel pump portion and the vacuum pump portion share the same diaphram?
  16. Gas Giant
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 402

    Gas Giant

    Well guys, I discovered that my mechanical pump actually works fine. Problem was that the carburetor needle valves were plugged with crud. Cleaned them out, and the car started right up.

    Thanks for the help though. Couldn't get anywhere without the HAMB.
  17. GoManGo1951
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
    Posts: 229


    Thank you!!! I am going to invest in one of these.
  18. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,263


    You sure about the vacuum pump? I've got one here and i believe the vacuum pump is internal and driven with the oil pump, look for about a 1/4" line coming off the block just above the oil pan and close to the oil filter canister.
    The guy with the studebaker is right too, and electric pump will drive thru a mechanical pump and that is the preferred 'fail-proof' system of many circle track cars.
  19. dieselc
    Joined: May 17, 2004
    Posts: 1,315

    from ohio

    An electric fuel pump is a good idea, even if its just for back up when your stuck far from home.
  20. Fat Hack
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 7,709

    Fat Hack
    from Detroit

    Fuel pump took a dump, need suggestions

    Oh! I misunderstood...I thought you let Rich use your bathroom! I was gonna suggest a Glade plug-in!! :D
  21. Gas Giant
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 402

    Gas Giant

    Hahaha thanks for the warning!

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