Getting a strong, steady, clean fuel supply to the high-pressure injection pump—whether mechanically or electronically controlled—is critical to the performance of any diesel engine. If that flow of fuel from the tank to the injection pump falls off for any reason, power is lost and there’s a high probability of destroying the injection pump.
The task of maintaining steady, low-pressure fuel flow to the injection pump is the primary purpose of a lift pump. A lift pump is also the scrubbing station where water, air, and particulates that make it past an inline fuel filter get purged and diverted away from making their journey to the injectors.
A lift pump that delivers clean fuel under higher-than-stock pressure not only protects the upstream mechanical components from premature failure, it can also lead to slight horsepower gains in some applications because the injection pump is operating at its maximum efficiency.
Those are the very reasons Oakland, Oregon’s Shawn Smalley at Mobile Diesel Service thought very carefully about the fuel delivery system needed to supply a 500hp 5.9L Cummins engine that is replacing the blown 7.3L Ford Power Stroke engine in his ’01 F-250. He knows Ford’s factory fuel pump won’t flow fuel at the correct pressure to handle the needs of the Cummins’ VP44 injection pump.
So, Shawn conferred with Josh Davis at Fuelab on a lift pump package that best suits the new engine setup. Josh suggested the inline Velocity 200-gph system, which is made specifically for higher-performance Cummins applications. The Velocity 200 will provide the VP44 with the correct pressure while simultaneously purging water and air from the fuel. The pump can also support compound turbochargers, if that upgrade is on the to-do list.
Josh says the kit’s Vortex air separator and filter system provides the latest in diesel performance lift pump technology, and it’s ideal for all Cummins engines, including older versions being swapped into Ford F-250 or 350s.
“The Velocity’s combination filter and water separator is really convenient for the truck owner, because there’s only one element that needs maintenance rather than two,” Josh says. “It also uses a brushless motor that has digital speed control with a flow-thru design (no seals to wear out) so the fuel is kept cooler, and it draws less amps than conventional lift pump designs.”
We looked over the shoulder of Mobile Diesel Service technician Josh Hunt as he replaced our project ’01 Super Duty’s stock fuel pump with Fuelab’s Velocity 200 lift pump. Performing this type of installation when the cab is off makes this a very easy-to-do upgrade. It’s also a modification that should be considered when turning up the power of your truck’s Cummins, regardless of whether it’s in a Dodge, a Ram, or, in this case, a Ford.
| Fuelab’s Velocity 200-gph inline lift pump (PN 30303) and installation kit (PN 20106) has everything we need to replace our ’01 Ford F-250’s stock fuel pump, from mounting brackets and draw tube to wiring harness and hoses.
| The Fuelab kit replaces the Super Duty’s original fuel line with a ½-inch (inside diameter) hose that feeds the injection pump. The stock fuel line is removed from the truck using the appropriate release tool (inset).
| Ford uses an 80-psi fuel pump (left) to bring fuel to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine’s injectors. The Cummins injection system delivers fuel to an injection pump at much lower pressure. Hence the reason the Ford pump is swapped out for the Fuelab unit (right), which uses a Prodigy II electronic fuel pump that flows 200 gph at 48 psi.
| The Velocity 200 lift pump/filtration system uses a spin-on filter to separate water and clean the fuel, and it accepts popular brands such as Baldwin, Fleetguard, Donaldson, and Wix. The black Vortex air separation filter (right) never needs replacement.
| Fuelab’s installation kit includes two steel plates that sandwich the framerail so the pump can be mounted without needing to drill holes, which makes mounting a breeze.
| We mounted the Velocity 200 lift pump assembly as low as possible to stay clear of the Super Duty’s cab. The unit uses a brushless direct-current motor with built-in speed control for energy efficiency and low maintenance.
| Wiring is very easy, as a wiring harness is included in the kit. The two black connectors attach to the speed control (yellow terminal) and ground, while the red wire to the truck’s fuel pump relay attaches to the positive terminal.
| Mobile Diesel Service technician Josh Hunt uses a hole saw to punch a 2-inch hole in the top of the F-250’s 32-gallon fuel tank so the Fuelab draw straw can be installed. If you don’t want to be up to your elbow in diesel or set fire to your shop, drain the tank first.
| Josh places a small cup under the area where he drills to catch plastic particles that will otherwise fall into the tank.
| The Fuelab draw straw must be shortened and the end cut at an angle to properly fit into the Ford fuel tank. The tube is installed with the angled tip just touching the bottom of the tank.
| The installation kit includes the hardware for mounting the draw straw to the fuel tank.
| For our installation, we’re capping off the stock fuel line and running the ½-inch return from the lift pump to the original inlet on the fuel tank.
| Fuelab labels the ports on the pump and supplies both feed and return hoses, along with all the clamps and fittings that help make installation very easy.
| A custom touch in the installation is to secure the new ½-inch fuel hose to the framerail using self-tapping screws and rubber-coated hose clamps.
| Here is Fuelab’s Velocity 200-gph lift pump system installed and ready to feed clean fuel to the 24-valve 5.9L Cummins engine that will power this ’01 F-250. The same setup looks and works just as nice on any diesel that requires a lift pump.