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Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO

Fuel Pump Overheating So I've Moved It

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Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO

With the weather forecast for last Friday being for the hottest day of the year, I thought I'd take my Westfield Eleven to work (a 70-mile round trip) so that I could see how it behaved in hot conditions.  The trip home was rather a disappointment.  The air temperature was 28 degrees and, after six miles, the car stuttered, then stammered and cut out.  The fuel pump (Facet solid state cube type) was tapping away but was very hot and the bowl on the Filter King was empty.  I had taken a cold bottle of Highland Spring out of the office fridge before leaving the office so I squirted a dose of this over the fuel pump.  With that done and the front clam secured, off we went again.  In the next 35 miles (I had to go a longer way home to dodge a lot of standing traffic and use some 12-car road rally lanes that were congestion free), I had to repeat this exercise six times (I bought another 1.5l bottle of chilled water from a garage) - so that definitely was the problem!

I had sited the pump as suggested in the build manual but the under-bonnet temperature was obviously getting very high, exacerbated by the pump being at the top of the engine bay and, I am assuming that this was allowing the fuel to froth so that it would not pump, despite the tank being over half full at this stage.

In the Demon Tweeks catalogue, it says that this type of fuel plump should be mounted close to the fuel tanks, so I took the decision to remount it low down in the pontoon just in front of the fuel tank.  Doing this was straightforward (particularly after having fitted an elbow outlet on the pump that directed the hose towards the existing hole in the wing), the most involved operation being to extend the wiring.  I have left a plug/socket on the top off-side chassis rail (the original fuel pump location) so that I can isolate the pump if fiddling with the car.  With the pump now being outside the engine bay and being lower should appreciably reduce the temperature of its operating environment.

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The pump fired up straight away after I filled the tank and turned the key and it was noticeable that it was shifting fuel much quicker than before (when it seemed to be priming for a few seconds before the tapping note deepened).  I need to pick up a couple of grommets to seal the old pump mounting bolt holes and wait for another hot day to test it thoroughly.  I'll report back when I have done this.

Simon

 

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stephenh

Interesting, and slightly worrying that I may end up with the same problem. Although I am using a different pump, so we'll see.

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Captain Colonial

I'm fairly positive that engine heat from mounting it in that recommended location was the ultimate cause of two of my previous Facet fuel pumps failing prematurely.  I feel much happier with my new fuel pump located at the rear of the car.

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Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO

Hi, Scott,

That's interesting to know - many thanks for this post. 

Simon

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Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO

Since starting this thread, I have had several replies reporting that my new pump location is a much better place to site the fuel pump - particularly if using a pump of this type.  One such message came from California where temperatures that we consider to be high are commonplace.  Were I doing another car, I would (obviously) be fitting the pump there and extending the wiring loom to supply it with power.

A point for new builders to consider?

Simon

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Captain Colonial
3 hours ago, Sunbeam Lotus said:

Since starting this thread, I have had several replies reporting that my new pump location is a much better place to site the fuel pump - particularly if using a pump of this type.  One such message came from California where temperatures that we consider to be high are commonplace.  Were I doing another car, I would (obviously) be fitting the pump there and extending the wiring loom to supply it with power.

A point for new builders to consider?

Simon

No doubt, and something to report back to WSC Ltd as well.

In the past, when I was in heavy traffic and the temperatures started climbing, my old Facet cube pumps would get louder and louder and louder until it sounded like a mini jackhammer was under the bonnet, and would get quieter once on the move again.  I have no doubt the pumps couldn't handle the heat over time, yet that's where the factory told you to mount it in the build manual used at the time.

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Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO

Hi, Scott,

I'd report it back to WSC if I thought it would go anywhere! 

With the Eleven Build Guide being so old, and produced by an independent builder in the States, there has been plenty of opportunity for an updated document to have been prepared by now.  With the rather small number of XI kits that  are sold, I would guess that there would be too much cost involved for a manual to be seen as a financially viable proposition.  The forums on here and the Westfield Eleven Forum are where the more recent experience and advice are to be found.  I feel that these are the best places to discuss the issues and post information for the benefit of current owners and new builders.

Simon

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Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO

Hi, All,

I had the Eleven out today - to a Sunbeam Lotus Owners' Club meeting at Santa Pod.  I was able to use the engine temperature gauge as a thermometer (as it never dropped below 32 degrees between 09.30hrs and 14.30hrs when the car was parked on grass).  This is four degrees hotter than when it all went wrong a few weeks ago.  On the 80 mile run home in such heat (via a friend's house near to Santa Pod), it never missed a beat.

I consider the problem sorted and personally recommend that any new builders site their pumps in the pontoon close to and in front of the fuel tank.

Simon

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stephenh

But that's where your luggage goes!?:laugh:

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