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Old 08-08-2001, 02:07 PM   #1
the Dabbler
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Unhappy Anyone Heard Of An Improper Fuel Pump Install Causing Car To Explode?

So I'm putting in a new Walbro fuel pump the other day, and I guess I'm just freaked at all the bare wiring and whatnot actually immersed in the gasoline.

Someone please tell me how this is okay. What miracles of science and engineering prevent the car from exploding due to an errant spark, or the pump motor shorting out, etc? Obviously, it must be okay in general, since the OEM pump is certainly that way. But the new Walbro pump didn't fit exactly in the same hole as the OEM pump. I had to remove the little rubber isolator that sits between the pump and the bracket. There isn't any metal-to-metal contact, since the bottom of the Walbro pump has a plastic insert, but it's close.

This is okay, right? Right? Or am I missing something about the way the Walbro pump should sit in there?

Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2001, 02:19 PM   #2
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Damn, at first I'm like "woah! he blew up his car?!?!" then I realized... LOL

Actually FYI, gas is not flammable - the fumes are. If you had a small fire going (wastebasket or something) and poured a gallon of gas on it, supposedly it'll just go out. Strange I know, but I don't determine physics of materials...lol
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Old 08-08-2001, 02:30 PM   #3
the Dabbler
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Nick --

Thanks for the reply.

I had this vague notion of what you mentioned -- that the fumes are actually what is dangerous.

I've been driving around for a while on a full tank, and everything seems okay.

So now I'm concerned about when the tank is, say, 1/4 full, and the pump is sitting in fuel-soaked air just above a bunch of gasoline...



btw -- J&S seems to be working fine. Dual Monitor didn't work at all at first. I was just about to email to figure out how to exchange the thing, then I double checked the Safeguard-to-gauge cable. Oddly enough, it didn't have continuity on the tip conductor (the power, I believe). Strange, since I could've sworn that was the first thing I checked. Anyway. Quick trip to Radio Shack, and everything seems fine now. Thanks again.
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Old 08-08-2001, 03:05 PM   #4
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8 - Please have someone take pics from a ways back when you try to put out that wastebasket fire with gasoline. That should be cool.

Don't worry about the bare wires and metal contacts sliding against each other in the tank, just because they say that's what caused TWA 800 to blow up, I think it was really a terrorist bomb. Really, if that blew up a lot, they wouldn't have many repeat customers.

If it is a GSS3307 or whatever the Mustang pump is, the rubber doodad has to come out.

Speaking of fumes:

http://www.safetyalerts.com/recall/a/012/v096.htm

Not exactly what you expect of a $370,000 car!
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Old 08-08-2001, 03:21 PM   #5
the Dabbler
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Quote:
Don't worry about the bare wires and metal contacts sliding against each other in the tank, just because they say that's what caused TWA 800 to blow up, I think it was really a terrorist bomb. Really, if that blew up a lot, they wouldn't have many repeat customers.
Uh...thanks...For some reason, I don't feel very reassured by this.

Quote:
Speaking of fumes: http://www.safetyalerts.com/recall/a/012/v096.htm
Not exactly what you expect of a $370,000 car!
Think of all the money they could've saved getting blown up in a $20k Subaru instead!
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Old 08-08-2001, 09:00 PM   #6
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yeah, you got one thing wrong there... it is explosive you are looking for. gas is not explosive, but gas vapor is very explosive. Just because it is not explosive, does not mean it is not flamable... it is very flamable. I have done way more than my fair share of playing with matches and gasoline. trust me on this one, you dont want to pour gasoline into a fire. My idiot friend did just this and the fire traveled right up into the can of gas. we ran, and hten watched from a distance.
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Old 08-09-2001, 05:10 PM   #7
the Dabbler
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Quote:
...I have done way more than my fair share of playing with matches and gasoline. trust me on this one, you dont want to pour gasoline into a fire. My idiot friend did just this and the fire traveled right up into the can of gas. we ran, and hten watched from a distance.
!
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Old 08-10-2001, 03:09 AM   #8
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I don't think that anyone is making him feel comfortable about driving his car
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Old 08-10-2001, 03:28 AM   #9
Andrew
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why the hell are there bare wires? i havent changed the fuel pump (going to once i get the pump and the car back), but why would there be bare wires? if i see bare wires im goign to put some electrical tape on it.
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Old 08-10-2001, 03:50 AM   #10
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Don't do that. The gas will disolve the tape's adheasive and it will come undone and then probably block your fuel intake.
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Old 08-10-2001, 03:54 AM   #11
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Electrical tape in the gas tank =Bad Idea.

Gasoline is a solvent, as well as a fuel source. The electrical tape would either dissolve entirely, and clog up your fuel pickup screen or your fuel filter, or could leave residue in the combustion chamber. Or it would just clog up your fuel pickup if it didn't disintegrate outright.

Bare wires are nothing to worry about. It's when something hits them while they're live and strikes a spark that ignites the gasoline vapor. In the gas tank, there's never that potential under any but the most extreme circumstances like a rollover crash.

If you follow proper installation and removal procedures, (i.e. removing the battery when servicing the fuel system and draining and airing out the gas tank), there won't be any potential for sparks and gasoline vapors to mix.
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Old 08-10-2001, 04:52 AM   #12
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but still, my question is why would they leave it bare?
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Old 08-10-2001, 07:49 AM   #13
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Exclamation

Because the gasoline would disolve rubber insolation. Gasoline MELTS plastic.
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Old 08-10-2001, 08:18 AM   #14
HRE | giulio
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hey dabbler,
i recently installed a walmart pump too.

you should use the rubber grommet still. what i did was take the pump mount to a grindstone to get off the extra meat at the bottom. Then just follow the Walbro's instructions.

I think the rubber piece is either...
a) to keep the pump against the hose under pressure
b) stop friction that can make the mount weak
c) insulate electrically.

About explosion:
fuel is just 1/3 the ingredients for an explosion. you need air too. which isnt really in a fuel tank. it's just vapor... right guys? after fuel is sucked out of the tank, the volume is replaced with fuel vapor??
the third ingredient is heat. as long as all the wires are touching, no gap will spark. the spark makes the heat neccessary to mix the fuel and oxygen into an explosion.

so "no worry bout."
g
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Old 08-10-2001, 01:14 PM   #15
the Dabbler
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I don't know if I buy that there's no air in the fuel tank. The tank must be vented to air somewhere, right? Otherwise, a big vacuum would build up in there? At any rate, I would think there's enough to support an explosion if for some reason there was a spark. But like Digital_Boy said, hopefully this is just designed to never, ever happen.

I agree tape would definitely be a bad idea, as people have pointed out. I actually considered that for a second, then I remembered where this whole assembly is sitting. I tried to think of something I could use as an isolator between the pump and bracket, but I wasn't sure how to tell if a particular kind of plastic or rubber or whatever was safe to be immersed in gasoline.

I thought about doing what giulio suggested, grinding off the bottom of the bracket so the provided rubber isolator would still fit. But I figured this might have more potential for error (at least for me). Also, like I said, the pump casing isn't sitting directly on the bracket -- there is a little plastic insert between.

However, I do notice that my pump is louder, presumably because it's getting better sound transmission through the plastic than it was getting through the rubber isolator. Either that, or the new, larger pump is just inherently louder. Not extremely objectionable, though.

So now I'm worried about the new fuel pickup being higher than the OEM one (and therefore not being able to pick up all the gas in the tank). I know, I know, you're not supposed to let it run to the dregs anyway, but I'm just envisioning myself stranded on the side of the freeway with the fuel meter reading 1/4. Anyone care to comment on that?
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Old 08-10-2001, 02:01 PM   #16
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I have this pump.

I had the same concerns.

All of them are not a problem - the fuel pickup isn't that much higher.

And if the pump is loud, get a louder muffler!
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Old 08-10-2001, 07:46 PM   #17
the Dabbler
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Thank you blaster! Nice, definitive answer.

...

you're saying your car DIDN'T explode, right...?

Thanks for all the input, everyone. If I continue to post next week, you'll know that everything turned out okay.
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Old 08-10-2001, 10:45 PM   #18
blaster88
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In no particular order or relevance:

No, my car has not exploded.

Let us hope rubber is not dissolved by gasoline, or else all of our fuel lines are not long for this world.

In order to get an explosion, you need to have rapid burning. (not counting a good old mechanical exploision) The old three legs of the fire triangle for burning - fuel, heat, oxydizer. Yes, there is air in the gas tank. Obviously there is fuel. However, there is not enough heat to support combustion. And liquid gasoline will not burn fast enough to explode. Gasoline vapor will, however, because as airborne particles, more surface area is exposed to air, so burning is faster. Liquid gasoline on fire will vaporize, though, and explode. Especially if contained. It takes a good hot open flame to cause the gasoline in a car to explode. A little spark isn't going to make it happen, and I doubt that there are actual sparks in there anyway.
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Old 08-11-2001, 12:46 AM   #19
the Dabbler
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Thanks, blaster, that was a very clear and concise explanation.

Fair enough. I do actually feel better, so I'm serious about thanking people for the replies.

And as far as rubber disolving in gasoline -- I thought that's how the French Resistance made sticky-bomb-type-thingees in WWII. As I recall, they were issued a simple glass bottle and a strip of rubber. They filled the bottle with gasoline, stuck in the rubber strip, then waited for a tank (well, maybe not a tank) to appear. The rubber disolved, making a tacky mixture that would then cling to the vehicle like napalm when the lit bottle shattered against the hull.

But maybe that was natural rubber? Or something...? Okay, NOW I'm straying off topic.

But seriously, thanks for the replies. I actually drove home today with the radio on, whereas before I had been listening intently for any possible mishaps from behind the rear seat (how this would help me if there was an explosion, I don't know, but it made me feel a little better).
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