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Mechanical And Electric Fuel Pump Buyers Guide - Get Pumped

38 Mechanical And Electrical Fuel Pump Choices For Street And Strip

John Nelson Feb 1, 2009

There are few constants in life, but we certainly know more than a few in the automotive world. Among them is this: If your engine isn't getting fuel or fire, you're not going anywhere. Getting the proper amount of gas or alcohol to your engine at the proper pressure is critical. Get it wrong, and at best the internal combustion creation you've spent so much time on will run poorly-at worst, the thing won't run at all. With this in mind, we decided to dive head-first into the fuel pump market and check out a cross-section of what's available, from EFI to carbureted and from mild to wild.

This selection, we suspect, is often made with "more is better" in mind. With fuel pumps, that credo isn't necessarily true. It really boils down to this: Your engine needs a certain amount of fuel to make the power you expect it to make, and it needs it at a certain pressure. Holley puts the first part pretty simply: At wide open throttle, an engine requires 0.5 pound of fuel per 1 hp per hour. A gallon of gasoline weighs about 6 pounds. So for example, an engine that makes 400 hp needs 200 pounds of fuel every hour, or 33.3 gallons.

400 hp x 0.5 lbs = 200 lbs of fuel
200 lbs 6 lbs = 33.3 gph

That part is actually pretty simple, as long as you know how much power your vehicle makes.

The other critical factor is fuel pressure. No matter what your setup-carbureted, throttle-body EFI, multipoint EFI, and so on-it's critical to know how much pressure your system needs and then pick a pump and possibly a regulator accordingly. It's also important to keep in mind that pressure goes down as volume goes up, so it's a good idea to check the flow charts most manufacturers provide with their pumps. Remember, if you want performance, you need both volume and pressure during high-demand, high-rpm situations.

So, as we present this selection of fuel pumps, think of it as a starting point. Learn what your engine needs both in volume and pressure, and take advantage of the information pump manufacturers provide, as well as their expertise, to spec out the perfect system for your ride. After all, getting the right amount of fuel to the fire is one way to make sure your automotive fun is constant.

Quick Notes
What we did

Eyeballed a slew of fuel pumps, from basic mechanicals to ultra-high-volume electrics.

Bottom Line
However much power you're trying to make, there's a pump out there to support your goals.

Starts at $40

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