What Could Go Wrong?




Ready for a Daytona Coupe run several days ago. Push the Daytona out of the ShelbyGarage. House locked, ShelbyGarage door down, alarm on. Get strapped in, turn on the ignition, push the starter button. Daytona comes to life. Quiet, though, don't want to wake the neighbors (well I try not to). Give the Daytona a few moments to sneeze, cough, and get a little heat in the engine, then it's settling down. Check the gauges, water temp begins to move...time to shove off. Then, nothing! Engine quits. Nothing. Punch the starter button, cranks but won't fire. Still nothing. Cycle the ignition key. Hey! Wait! I don't hear the fuel pump running. I ask myself: "Don't you usually listen for the fuel pump at Key ON?". Well, dummy you didn't today, didja? That was my first hint...no fuel pump noise.


So I push (actually wrestle) the Daytona back into the ShelbyGarage. Good thing the apron is flat and level-ish. Back inside, I break out a flashlight to check fuses (it's dark under the Daytona instrument panel). All the fuses check good and I confirm key-on fuel pump power at the fuel pump fuse.


So now, that means I need to check for fuel pump power at the pump, which conveniently, is tucked waaaaaay under all the independent rear suspension arms and assorted chassis bits. And with only 4 inches of ground clearance, that means I'll drag out the aluminum floor jack and two jack stands. My quick check for fuel pump power is at the connector with a test light to check for power. Before I disconnect the connector, I whack the fuel pump with the plastic handle of a nut driver, and, who knew, the pump starts running...dammit!


OK! Is this a one-off mini-catastrophe or is this pump on its last leg(s)? Again, I cycle the key and each time the pump runs again. After about 10 cycles, the pump continues to run every time. I'm skeptical that it's a one-off problem and I don't want to find out that the next no-start is up in the Santa Monica mountains about 100 miles from home. So I cycle the key again and the pump won't run.


Now, I KNOW I have a pump problem, likely a bad commutator or some other electrical issue, but my gut is telling me it's the commutator with a bad segment. Just for grins, I get out my six-pound lead hammer (a genuine BFH!), and give a decent whack on the left rear knock-off wing. Pump runs again! More key cycles, and the pump won't run. One more whack on the knock-off and the pump STILL won't run. That's it! The pump is comin' out, period!


Tools, creeper, lights, enthusiastic cursing, and the pump is free from its mount. It LOOKS OK, but I'm not fooling around. I jump on the PC, Summit Racing, order a same brand replacement to get here in three days. I'm good with that. So I do a little cleaning underneath the Daytona (it needed that).





But now comes the interesting twist. Looking at the new pump's image online, I realize it comes sans harness connector, so now I know I'll have to splice in the old harness connector to the new pump when it arrives. No big deal. So I begin to unwrap (actually unravel) the black electrical tape wrap on the old harness. And to my surprise:


Under the tape, under the heat shrink, on the yellow power side there's NO SIGN of solder or even a crimp!




Then it gets worse. On the white ground side of the harness, there's a cheesy crimp and NO SOLDER, covered by heat shrink.




So now, I'm really ticked-off. What sort of bonehead would do something like this? This is just begging for trouble. Easily an intermittent failure (that may have been hard to trace), or a full-on failure necessitating a flat-bed tow and misery.


Fuel pump arrived today, and I'm ready to (correctly swap) the old harness connector to the new pump. Here's the finished product. Two crimped and soldered butt connectors, followed by heat shrink, followed by electrical tape. I know it will be secure and dry. Done!




Lastly, with more emphatic cursing, install the new fuel pump, attach and torque the fuel lines, connect the harness, turn ON the nearby fuel shutoff valve (VERY important!), try the key, and we're makin' fuel pressure!





Check for leaks at each fuel line fitting and everything looks good, and we're dry. I cycle the key repeatedly and the fuel pump is now behaving normally. Last item for tomorrow: check the fuel pressure up front with the engine warmed up, and adjust the fuel pressure regulator as needed.





This calls for a long-needed Daytona run to verify the repair and pump replacement. See ya on the road!