Introduction: 2001 Ford Ranger Fuel Pump and Float Assembly Replacement

I will typically ask the dealer what a part costs and what the labor charge to replace that part would be, in order to find the motivation to repair the thing myself. In this case the fuel pump needed to be replaced. Ford wanted $535.53 just for the pump, and over $525 in labor to do the swap (with taxes and disposal fees it was about $1175 total). Yeah, ummm... no thanks. I got the pump for $165, and my labor is free, so I saved $1010.00 doing it myself!

Step 1: Diagnosis: Bad Fuel Pump

The problem manifested itself as a "Crank but No Start" issue, which typically means no Spark or no Fuel. I took my time troubleshooting - checking fuses; relays; the emergency fuel cut-off; the anti-theft cut-offs. Once the easy stuff was eliminated I checked for a good spark, which was fine; and then checked the fuel pressure - which was ZERO. I kinda thought it would end up being a fuel problem as I couldn't HEAR the fuel pump kick in when the key was turned to ON. Dreading this finding - I re-checked the fuses and relays for the fuel pump, and the emergency fuel cut-off. No joy. :-( This was when I called Ford to get the pricing of a new pump and the labor charges to swap it out. OUCH!

Step 2: Drop the Tank, or Lift Off the Truck Bed?

To replace the fuel pump, you either have to lift the truck and drop the fuel tank - OR - you remove the truck bed. Since removing the truck bed is the easiest option for a DIY mechanic, that's the route I'm taking. Once in position the first thing to go is the tailgate, which just lifts off.

Step 3: Bed Liner Removal - Part 1

In order to remove the bed, the bed-liner must come out. Unfortunately, the bolts that used to hold my in-bed Tool Chest have rusted, and are being difficult even after a liberal dose of WD-40. Realizing that it would probably take an HOUR to wrench these four bolts off, I decided to go with a more practical solution.

Enter - stage left: My hand-held metal-cutting bandsaw. I really do LOVE this tool.

In less than 5 minutes (which included grabbing the saw and plugging it in), all four bolts were surgically removed. :-D

Step 4: Bed Liner Removal - Part 2

Next came the actual removal of the bed-liner. I was always curious what the clamp-down method was, but never so curious as to remove one of the covers and see for myself.

I was actually fairly impressed by the simplicity of the design. The "covers" as I called them were actually the clamps themselves. You insert the plastic disk and rotate it with a large screwdriver until it tightens up - much like a piece of furniture from Ikea!

Once the bed-liner was removed, a little clean-up with the shop-vac and then it is time to remove the 6 huge Torx bolts holding the bed to the truck's frame rails.

Step 5: Removal of the 6 Torx Bolts Holding the Bed Down.

As it turns out, I already had the T-55 Torx bit from another project. Huzzah! I used a breaker bar to loosen all of the bolts first.

Once loosened, I grabbed a long-handled ratchet and removed the bolts. This ended up being the most laborious and time consuming part of the job. I would have expected these bolts to be Stainless Steel, or at least Hardened - but they are not. After almost stripping the tines out of the head of the first bolt while attempting to loosen it, I realized that I had to take my time and ensure that they remained intact. The last thing I wanted to do was deal with removing a stripped bolt.

Step 6: Detatch Fuel Filler Neck From Outer Wall of Truck Bed

Once the bolts holding the bed down were removed, I detached the fuel filler neck from the outer wall of the truck bed.

I didn't want any dirt or other crud falling into the gas tank, so I taped the filler neck opening closed.

Step 7: Detatch Electrical Harness From Rear of Truck Bed

Next came the electrical connection for the brake lights (etc.) mounted in the rear of the truck bed.

WOOHOO! While fiddling with the electrical harness, out pops the connector for trailer lights! I had tried to find this a few years ago, but had no luck (and even less patience). I will re-mount it where it is SUPPOSED to be once I'm done.

I really like the design of (most) automobile electrical connectors. Easy to open and close, and even water-proof when closed correctly.

Step 8: Lift, Move, and Support the Truck Bed

I had to enlist the help of my next-door neighbor to lift off the truck bed. It's nice to have great neighbors! :-) We are both surprised at just how light the truck bed is. It's quite easy to remove.

The truck bed is temporarily rested on the rear tires, and a Home Depot bucket. I only need to move it back a couple of feet - just enough to be able to access the top of the fuel tank.

Step 9: Reseating the Electrical Connection Prior to Replacement

And there it is - the fuel pump and float assembly. We're almost there!

The first thing I do is re-seat the electrical connection for the fuel pump a few times. Maybe it's just a bad contact, and I can save some bucks! After re-seating the connection, still no joy - so the pump has to be replaced after all.

Well - it was worth a try. :-P

Step 10: Removal of Old Pump

The pump is held in place with a large threaded plastic "nut". Rather than spending big bucks on the special tool that Ford uses (I didn't even bother to ask the price), I grab a shot-filled plastic mallet, and a blunted chisel. I work my way around the "nut" and loosen it carefully. I will need to re-use this I'm sure.

While working on the pump, I am constantly using the shop-vac and air compressor to keep cleaning off the dirt and debris from the top of the pump and the gas tank. I do NOT want ANY of that crud to get into the gas tank.

Behold! The fuel pump and float assembly. I drain the fuel back into the tank and cover the tank opening. I take the old pump with me to Napa Auto Parts when I go to buy the replacement, so that I can compare them at the counter before spending any money.

Step 11: Installation of Pump, Leak Test, and Engine Start

Napa is certainly NOT the cheapest, but they are the closest to my home, and with ONE exception so far, they have always had what I needed, and always cheaper than at the dealer.

Before actually getting the pump wet with fuel, I leave it outside on top of the tank and only hook up the electrical. I need to get a "warm and fuzzy feeling" before I lose the ability to return this part to the store. Once connected, I turn the key to ON while I listen to the pump. It's quieter than I expected, but the pump is working. Warm and Fuzzy feeling received! :-)

With the new pump in place, cinched down with the "nut"; all hoses and connections in place and double checked; it's time to see if the truck will start. The bed is still off, just in case. I turn the key to ON so I can check for leaks. I hear the pump running; I hear the pressure change affect the sound of the pump when the engine's fuel rail becomes pressurized. No leaks. All good things. I attempt to start the truck, and it starts up immediately. Yeah Baby! :-D

It took 4 hours from the moment I started moving cars around to get to this point. After a quick break for lunch, I ask my neighbor to help me lift the truck bed back up onto the frame rails. I took my time putting the bolts back in; stuff re-connected and mounted, and then cleaning up. Probably an extra hour or so. Not too bad really. :-)

This repair was A LOT easier than I had anticipated, and also took less time than I had expected. I wish you all the best of luck with your own repairs. :-)