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Ford CVPI: Fuel Pump Failures

Most Ford CVPI fuel pump issues are NOT the fuel pump. This statement is based on a forensic analysis of warranty-returned, or customer-returned, police fuel pumps. Instead, the problem is almost always contaminated fuel.

As gasoline gets hot, the contaminants suspended in the liquid gasoline settle out (or precipitate out) into solids or sludges. These, in turn, plug or restrict the in-tank fuel filter, which starves the fuel pump. A starved fuel pump can cause engine stumbles or in some cases make the engine run lean enough to burn exhaust valves.

Ford has made numerous fuel pump changes over the past five years, such as larger fuel pump orifices (inlets) and changes in electric motor rotor winding material. So, to begin with, when you replace the pump in the CVPI be sure to get the very latest version of the pump. You may have to double-check on this. Something sitting on the shelf for a couple years, i.e., existing inventory, may not be the latest revision.

Since the real problem is contaminated fuel, the only real solution is to do something about the fuel. First, if you buy fuel in bulk, write into the contract that random testing of the fuel is required. This is to be done at the fuel provider’s expense and performed by an independent lab. You don’t need to know what the applicable standards for the fuel are, how much contamination, and what kind of contamination meets the standards. The lab will know.

All CVPI units, whether they use pump gas or bulk gas, can minimize the problem of contaminated fuel by one simple step. Keep the gas tank at least 1/4 full. This much gasoline, a 1/4 tank, keeps the fuel pump surrounded by gasoline, which helps keep the fuel pump cool.

Running the tank less than 1/4 tank depletes this “coolant” and allows the fuel pump to run hotter. It is this heat from the pump, in addition to the ambient heat, that literally distills the gasoline in the tank. This precipitates out the solids and the sludges, which plugs the fuel pump filter. Having at least 1/4 tank of gas in the tank reduces all of these risks.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Jul/Aug 2010

Rating : 6.8

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Vehicle Maint/Driving Instructor

Posted on : Sep 14 at 2:27 PM By Grant Koba-Nelson

We have had 2004 Ford Tarus do the it along with our Crown Vics. The pick up sock on the fuel pump is a 2 micron filter. Other makes use a 5 or 10 micron filter on their pumps. Most filters on the fuel dispensing pump you use to fill the vehicles is a 5 or 10 micron filter. Our County Garage went to a 1 micron filter at the pump and we have not had any more issues. Ford also sells a new pick up sock that is not as fine as the factory one part #XW1Z-9A011-AA.

Fleet/Facilities Manager

Posted on : Sep 2 at 9:17 AM By Howard Mann

The problem I have with this explanation is that we fuel ALL City Vehicles from the same tanks, all fuel is filtered at the pump and the same grade. ONLY the CVPIs are experiencing these failures. Other Ford models and other makes are not experiencing the same failures. We have disassembled numerous failed pumps and we find that the suction strainers pre-filters on the pumps are contaminated with the copper material that appears to be from the commutators on from the pumps themselves. Under a magnifying glass it actually looks like fine brass wool. We have actually removed the suction strainers and put the pumps back in service without issues. I have pictures of this and if anyone would like to see them drop me an e-mail : I agree with most of the article but in our experience it is not externally introduced contaminates but rather self contamination from the wear of the pump motor brushes on the commutator in the motor itself. This same material can be found in the frame mounted filter as well. Take a magnifying glass and look at the material on the filter surfaces it will appear to be brown sludge until you look at it close-up.

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