Having fun with a Fuel Pump Replacement DIY
Here are my thoughts/experiences with a fuel pump replacement on a 2000 Volvo V70XC. Of course, all the usual diclaimers apply. If you are doing this yourself then you assume ALL responsibility for doing it and doing it correctly and safely. If you have any doubts, pony up the money and take it to a mechanic.
[We interrupt this DIY Tutorial to tell you MVS reader Brian has graciously written what you’re looking at now, and that’s been covered here, and flirted with here and here. This writeup covers the procedure on an V70XC but the concepts are somewhat similar for the entire Volvo P80 family (850, S70, V70 up to 2000, V70XC, C70). For non-AWD cars it’s much less work — you don’t have to cut the floor: there is an access panel in the trunk. See this forum topic for the difference between AWD and FWD fuel systems. Many thanks to Brian for writing this excellent tutorial. — Matt]
My car died the other night. Of course it was right after I FILLED the fuel tank. Had it towed to my favorite independent Volvo shop.
They diagnosed it as a bad fuel pump. Estimate was $1600 plus tax. Immediately, I went here and found the info on doing it myself by cutting through the floor. I know this may be redundant, but I did want to add some details lacking from other posts. So here it is with pics.
Click on any of them and they will open to a much larger view.
Note that I felt it was worth the $95 diagnostic fee to know for sure. Plus, while it was in the shop, I had them drain the tank to just below the ’12’ mark on the guage.
Another $45 but well worth it as I had no reasonable way to do this. Figure I was at around 1/2 tank when I began.
1. Order new pump and o-ring seal.
2. I looked all over the web and found the best deal on a a Scan-Tech (aftermarket) pump from rmeuropean.com. Pump, seal (you’ll want to replace this) and FedEx overnight was $312.00 +/-. Part numbers:
3. Check the new pump. If you look at this picture of the old pump you will see the connectors. My ground (black wire) was broken at the slip on connector, but I did not realize this until AFTER everything was re-assembled and the car would not start! Seems the little plastic sleeve over the connector held it and the wire together, so it was not immediately obvious. 2 hours later, figured this out.
If you wish, you can hook up a 12-volt power source to the red and black and make sure it functions. Because I did not remove the tank, I decided to simply cut the wires and splice to the existing harness. Makes testing much easier.
4. Have all your tools and equipment. I did not have to buy much, but this stuff helped. Everything came from Harbor Freight except the Oil Filter Pliers which I had.
You can buy them from Home Depot and elsewhere I am sure. I bought the panel pliers and modified them to remove the gas lines. There are a lot of other suggestions here but I did not have a spare fork or spark plug wire pliers. I tried my non-plier type panel remover, but could not get it to work. See below for modification pics.
I felt most comfortable with the heat shrink connectors for the wires. The 1 1/2″ cutting discs were perfect as they were big enough to let me into the tight angles.
Used my Dremel and went through 2 of these. Just wore them down, no breakage. They are pretty tough. Do throw a lot of dust. The Oil Filter Pliers were perfect for removing the pump locking ring. I tried my oil filter wrench, but could not get it open wide enough. These were a no-brainer and were already in my toolbox.
5. Undo the fuel tank straps completely. You will need to remove a plastic panel on each side (3 nuts on each) under the car to access these. You can see these on the garage floor.
6. With everything out of the way, I noticed that my fuel lines were still snug up against the floor. This was going to make cutting near impossible. What I did was to remove or loosen the subframe bolts. There are three of them. Loosen them one at a time and you will see the separation between the frame and the body. 3/4 to 1 inch ought to do.
Once I did this, I picked up about 1/2 clearance between the fuel lines and the cut area. If you do remove them all support the subframe first! Loosening them should work.
6. I am paranoid when cutting around parts I do not want to cut. I put an old license plate between the lines and the floor and another (not pictured) between the cable shown and the floor.
I did not want to add any additional expense to this job by cutting something. Plus the bright yellow NM plates made it easy to see when I had completed my cut.
7. Remove rear passenger seat bottom and pull carpet and padding out of the way. Notice the cable going through at the lower right. I kept my cut to the inside of this.
8. Mark your cut. I used masking tape because I have a black car. I opted to cut sides and top only to preserve some sheet metal integrity and to make sure seat bracket would remain somewhat in the correct spot. Some people cut the sides and bottom, but to me, having a flap on the top would just get in the way.
9. Wear goggles and cut slowly. The cutting discs throw a lot of dust. Patience is key. Only cut as deep as you need to. Because this creates sparks, I had a portable fan blowing under the car to disperse any gas fumes as the mechanic at the shop had failed to re-install the locking ring completely and it is a pain to do with lines connected.
Plus I don’t think my neighbors in my condo would have appreciated me blowing the place up. Since I knew I would be working close to the cuts, I used my dremel to smooth down any ragged, blood producing edges.
10. Remove the fuel lines. These are held in place by a special fitting. You need to lift the bottom ring of the fitting and the line will lift off. Here is how I modified the pliers to work. Bent up the inner prongs, ground them flat and them ground the outside edges of the outer prongs so they would fit. Simply put them under the clamp, squeezed the handles and the fittings came off. Good thing it was so easy as I had to do it twice! Here are before and after of the pliers.
11. I chose to cut the wires insted of fishing the complete new harness. It is your choice. If you do cut, cut them close to where they go into the pump so you have plenty of wire to work with.
12. Remove the hose clamp that is around the pump locking ring. Hopefully the screw is accessible. My mechanic said it was not necessary to put it back on but I did anyway.
13. Using your Oil Filter Pliers or wrench, remove the pump locking ring from the bottom. Or you can spring for $60 and buy the special Volvo tool and do it from the top.
14. Remove the old pump. You will have to twist and turn it to get it out, but it comes out with NO FORCE. Beware that the intake tube will be holding about a pint of gas.
15. At this point I prepared the cut to be re-attached. First I covered the tank opening with plastic and held it in place with rubber bands. Then I cut two pieces of 1/8 x 1 inch aluminum from Lowes. I held them in place with vise grips and then drilled the holes. These I attached to the floor with machine screws and nuts. I then laid the cut piece back in place and drilled the second set of holes. Pay attention where you drill. If you look closely at the next pictures, you can see that I had to reposition the top holes because once the lines were re-attached the screws would have hit them.
16. Okay, now install the new pump. Put the new O-ring seal on first and then put in the pump. When I tried to screw on the locking ring, it just would not grab. I cleaned it and the tank threads and applied a little lube. Went right on. Screw it down and install the big hose clamp. Next re-attach the fuel lines. These will need a bit of pressure to lock them in place. Pull on them to be sure thay are secure. Just as a side note, I had to remove my aluminum strips before the lines would go back on as they kept the lines from being raised high enough to clear. I cut the wires on the new pump, leaving about 4 inches attached to the new pump. I put a piece of heat shrink tubing over the wires so I could later seal it over the connectors for a completely dry and worry-free installation. Then stripped and crimped all the wires. The two white wires are for the fuel gauge and it should not matter which you connect to which.
The red and black are obviously hooked to the red and black. I heated the connectors to shrink and had also put on a piece of heat shrink tubing first. I then heated that. Tuck the wires away.
I put some metal tape along the top edge. As I could not fit an aluminum strip there, I wanted to have something in place to catch the sealant I applied later. It was bent back in the photo but goes all the way across the top.
17. I used self tapping sheet metal screws to close the cut and sealed it with black silicone. I let the silicone dry for a day which actually seem to add some structural integrity.
I covered the cut with metal tape and put it all back together.
My estimate is 1.5 hours to prep, cut and remove pump. Another 1-1.5 hours to re-install, close the opening, seal and re-install everything. You should be at about 3 hrs total as long as you don’t do like I did and install a pump with a broken wire. My total out of pocket was about $475 including the parts, tools, diagnostic fee and tank emptying.
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