Balancing Fuel System Upgrades for Maximum Performance
– We answer many questions about upgrading fuel pumps for more performance. One common mistake that is made over and over is not balancing the fuel system for maximum performance and reliability. The fuel pump is just the beginning, and to get the most from your fuel system it should incorporate matching components to the upgraded fuel pump. If you’re shopping for a new fuel pump, be sure to grab the extra matching components too.
What Components Are in the Fuel System?
The fuel system in your car is made up of several components, each of which must function properly to enable proper fuel flow from start to finish.
These are the main fuel system components in your system:
· Fuel pump with pre-screen strainer/filter
· Fuel filter (typically in line with the pressure fuel line)
· Fuel pressure regulator
· Fuel lines (can be both pressure and return lines)
· Fuel injectors + fuel rails
· Replacement / complimentary parts
· The fuel itself (gasoline, diesel, or other)
Fuel Pump – The fuel pump is the beating heart of the fuel system. Where the fuel enters the pump body, most high-pressure fuel pumps contain a pre-screen filter (also known as a sock or strainer). Most new gasoline pumps have a new pre-screen strainer, but if you intend to reuse your present strainer, it must be clean before being reinstalled in the fuel tank. The strainer might become clogged with time, causing hesitation and fuel starvation later on.
Fuel Filter – The fuel filter removes particles such as dust and dirt from the fuel before it reaches the engine and fuel injectors. If your system lacks a primary pressure regulator, the filter may also serve as a pressure regulator for the fuel system. Most automakers have a recommended replacement frequency for preventative maintenance, but if you’re updating the gasoline pump, it’s a good time to replace the fuel filter as well. Install a filter that can handle the increased fuel volume required by the improved system.
Fuel Pressure Regulator – A pressure regulator in fuel injection systems maintains a steady pressure within the system. Some OEMs integrate the fuel filter and pressure regulator into one unit, but if you want to improve your system for additional fuel flow and horsepower, a separate stand-alone adjustable regulator may be a better alternative. It will enable you to balance the pressure in order to satisfy the demands of the fuel pump, injectors, and fuel lines.
Pressure and Return Fuel Lines – Fuel lines play a vital role in transporting fuel from the tank to the fuel filter, regulator (if separate), injectors, and engine. Manufacturers typically design them to handle the recommended fuel type, such as gasoline or diesel, and with proper maintenance, they can last the lifetime of the vehicle. It’s important to ensure that the fuel lines are the appropriate size to accommodate the engine’s fuel volume requirements. While original equipment manufacturer (OEM) fuel lines usually have sufficient flow capacity for the fuel pump, if you significantly increase the fuel pump size for more power, you need to verify that the lines can still handle the fuel pump’s output. Additionally, using a different fuel type than specified by the manufacturer may cause damage and degradation to standard fuel lines, potentially resulting in leaks. If you plan to switch to a different fuel type, it is advisable to replace the fuel lines with new materials specifically rated for the intended fuel. This ensures proper functionality and prevents any potential issues.
Fuel Injectors + Fuel Rails – The actively spray fuel into the intake manifold, cylinder heads, or directly into the engine cylinders. It is crucial to match the fuel pump’s output volume with the injectors and fuel rails to avoid becoming a restriction in the system. Changing to fuels like E85, methanol, or those with higher ethanol or alcohol content can degrade the injector seals, potentially leading to leaks. Upgrading the injectors with seals designed for the specific fuel type may be necessary, along with potential requirements for adapter harnesses or connectors to facilitate the switch. If you require assistance in calculating the correct injector size or determining the appropriate type for your application, feel free to contact us Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time, at 1-818-574-FUEL (3835), or email us at email@example.com.
Replacement Parts – Don’t forget that there are other parts in the system that may need attention or replacement due to changing fuel type or degradation from old age. Replacing the fuel tank seal or fuel tank gasket is a great option if you plan to remove and upgrade your current fuel pump. Quantum fuel tank seals are made exclusively from Viton® which are impervious to ethanol and other chemicals that degrade conventional rubber over time. Replacing the tank seal, or gasket during fuel pump installation ensures fuel system longevity and lengthens the lifespan of the fuel pump.
All of the mentioned fuel system components can be replaced and upgraded individually, but the key is to ensure that everything stays balanced for fuel flow and fuel type. Adding a larger fuel pump will only be a benefit if the other components are rated for a comparable flow amount. If you are switching from one type of fuel (such as E10 gasoline to E85 gasoline), always verify that your components are rated for the new fuel type and any change in flow amount. If you need to replace any fuel components, you can order a better designed replacement pump, complete assembly, or just the missing pieces you need for an upgrade from Quantum Fuel Systems, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT, or browse our extensive catalog. Be sure to contact us via our support page for any detailed technical questions, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. For over 15 years, Quantum Fuel Systems has been manufacturing and distributing fuel system components for OEM and performance applications. Our mission is to manufacture fuel systems that are centered around longevity, accurate flow data, and hassle-free direct fitment.
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