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Had to drill the tank for the FiTech 3/8ths return line bung. With a full tank I made myself a hand drill out of a right angle attachment I had. With a sharp bit it was butter. Bung installs from outside like a nutsert with a bolt pulling it up and mushrooms from the inside.
Next was a lot of work underneath running new larger 3/8ths return line. For the main run I bought a 2nd 3/8ths pre-formed line from Inline Tube and ran it alongside the feed line on the passenger inside frame rail. All soft lines were replaced with fuel injection rated lines.
Best place I found for the sump system was in the factory Jack location. No worries. I put a bottle Jack in my Tuffy console.
Last step was installing the “carb” and wiring. I like how once the air cleaner is in its hard to see most of it. She fired right up after priming the sump. Now I am messing with the handheld unit dialing in my idle, etc.
The Family Man is down for the count at the moment.
In the days since finishing up I have been driving him around the neighborhood and backroads to finish up the learn process / get the feeling for it / ensure no leaks etc. Thursday I started having issues. It would act like it was starving for fuel every now and then.
I called FiTech and spoke to the tech (great after the sale service I might add) and he gave me some tests to do and report back to him. The pressure gauge on the Force Fuel was all over the map depending on when you looked at it at idle. He had me take the top cover off the sump to verify how much fuel was in there after idling for a couple mins. I barely had enough to touch the bottom of the pick-up sock. The sump is supposed to stay full (.5 gallons) at all times.
Called back to discuss and we determined my stock mechanical pump was having issues. Mind you this is a new pump (China made FWIW) with less than 100 miles on it before the swap to efi. He said it was on it's way out and he was right. I decided to drive laps around my neighborhood and see what happens. It completely died on me within view of my house. Mechanical pump is toast. Something let loose inside. The job of the mechanical pump is to keep the sump full so the electric pump in the sump can focus on feeding the beast - not scavenging for fuel. They need each other to survive.
Not wanting to go the cheap foreign route again as well as completing the project of having 3/8ths fuel line everywhere as FiTech suggests (everything else is 3/8ths including return line with the exception of the factory style 5/16ths pump and hard line around engine) I went hunting.
Came across Robb at RobbMCperformance.com out of Nevada who builds custom parts for street and race applications specializing in less popular engines such as AMC V8s. Ordered his mechanical pump set-up and should have it when I return from Thanksgiving travel.
The dual fuel pumps is the Achilles Heal of the surge tank setup. But, every Pleasure Craft Marine powered boat has been using a surge tank setup since before 2000, and I have not heard of too many failures. If I was starting over, I probably would have used a Fuel Control Cell from a PCM engine instead of the FiTech one I used. It has a nice fuel filter internal to the surge tank and is slightly smaller.
The potential lack of reliability of non-OEM setups is why I made the decision to use an OEM in-tank fuel module on both of my builds. Yes, I have an LS swap, but the GM fuel module setup is easily adaptable. We are putting a GM fuel module in my son-in-law’s 70 Bronco with a FiTech fuel system. Don’t have it running yet but someday…
I used a Tanks Inc retrofit in tank fuel pump/module on my GM TBI swap. It is a rather large project, but does use a factory style plumbing and pump. That may be another solution if your new mechanical fuel pump doesn't solve the issue.
I used the holley in-tank pump, which solved the fuel delivery issue for me as well. I had another chronic circuit board issue with the FiTech unit itself which ultimately led to its replacement under warranty.
I've had nothing but great experiences with FiTech with customer rigs and honestly have had issues with Holley. If I had planned for this from the get-go I would have done a custom tank with internals. Hindsight is what it is.
I'll go this route and see what happens. Might as well. It's just time and money right?!?!?
Just goes to show what we all know - these things are never done. Also, as wise men have said for years - if custom vehicles were easy everyone would do it.
Quick post to give current update. Got everything all buttoned back up with the new high performance mechanical pump. Also re-routed some of the soft lines on top of the tank to ensure they aren't kinked even the slightest.
When taking off the mechanical pump that was installed during the engine build the arm feels "soft". I think something let go inside it. I plan to cut it apart to take a peek to cure my curiosity.
Things are running well now with no issues to report. Will keep putting miles on him and see.