It wasn’t long ago when carburetors relied on good, old-fashioned mechanical fuel pumps. But as technology grows, things change.
Which begs the question: which fuel pump is better? Electrical or mechanical?
Our Pharr service technicians here at Camco Wheel & Axle have the industry insight to give you a better idea of which option is best for your commercial vehicle. Experienced, dedicated, and near you, Camco Wheel & Axle has all the commercial truck parts and utility trailer parts you need.
The Fuel Pump
First, let’s get acquainted with the basics. A fuel pump – as per its name – aids in pumping fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. The fuel must be delivered under low pressure to the carburetor or the fuel injectors.
Mechanical Fuel Pumps
In a sense, these types of fuel pumps are tried and true. They were implemented into the auto-industry before the 1970s and were the main option for many years.
The mechanical pump is usually bolted to the engine block or head, and it is mechanically driven by a lobe attached to the engine’s camshaft. The way the system operates, however, was revolutionary for its time.
In essence, the engine’s camshaft has an extra eccentric lobe that activates a lever on the mechanical fuel pump, either directly or by a pushrod. The pump then encloses a certain volume of fuel on one side with a flexible diaphragm, moving the diaphragm to bottom dead center.
When the diaphragm is in this position, the volume inside of the pump chamber is increased, and at the same time, the pressure is decreased. This allows the fuel to be pushed into the pump from the fuel tank.
When the diaphragm returns to its normal position, top dead center, by a diaphragm spring, the fuel is then pushed all the way through the outlet port and onward to the carburetor.
This crucial auto-part retained its popularity among older model vehicles for years; that is until engines began to move away from carburetors in favor of fuel injectors. The reason being that mechanical pumps fell out of favor was because they couldn’t match the higher fuel pressures within fuel lines that fuel injectors can.
Electric Fuel Pumps
You can now find electric fuel pumps inside of modern fuel tanks. While something electrical within a fuel tank may seem like a bad idea, in truth the electric fuel pump is quite safely submerged in the cool liquid that is the fuel.
Won’t it start a fire? No, because the fumes of gasoline are what is flammable, not the liquid itself. The fuel that surrounds the pump can cool it down, helping it pump more fuel as the pump creates a positive pressure within the fuel lines.
With an electric fuel pump, these fuel lines are basically similar to an open expressway. Fuel can easily make its way to the engine, but never stays long. Whatever fuel isn’t used returns to the tank. This always ensures that the fuel won’t boil.
So, which one is better?
In short, electric fuel pumps take it. They are safer and more efficient in terms of fuel delivery compared to the mechanical ancestors, which is why mostly all modern vehicles implement electric fuel pumps.
Does your fleet need new fuel pumps? Do you need to switch out the fuel pump currently in your work truck? Camco Wheel & Axle has the parts and services to get your commercial vehicle back out on the road.
For over 30 years, our experts at Camco Wheel & Axle have been serving the Rio Grande Valley, making sure work vehicles are up to standards that comply with the law and with your specifications.