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Pelican Technical Article:

Fuel Pump Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Phillips & flat-head screwdrivers, socket set

Applicable Models:

BMW 323Ci Coupe/Conv (1999-00)
BMW 323i Sedan/Wagon (1999-00)
BMW 325Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 325i/xi Sedan/Wagon (2001-06)
BMW 328Ci Coupe (1999-00)
BMW 328i Sedan (1999-00)
BMW 330Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2001-06)

Parts Required:

Fuel pump, fuel pump sealing O-ring

Hot Tip:

Keep your skin safe during fuel pump replacing

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty fuel pump

Complementary Modification:

Replace fuel filter

The fuel supply system in a BMW E46 consists of:

  • Fuel Tank
  • Fuel filler with associated breathing and venting pipes
  • Evaporative emissions control valve and pressure pump
  • High pressure fuel pump assembly with fuel filter and fuel level senders
  • Fuel pump relay
  • Fuel pressure regulator
  • Fuel rail and electric fuel injectors

A faulty fuel pump can cause poor engine performance and hard starting problems. When it fails completely, you may be left with an engine that doesn't start. If you suspect your fuel pump has failed, you can confirm the fuel pump has received the correct voltage when commanded ON by the fuel pump relay using a digital volt ohm-meter (DVOM). If the correct voltage is present, but the pump does not activate, it is likely faulty. Use the DVOM in conjunction with a wiring diagram to determine the correct terminals for testing. You can access terminals under the rear seat cushion, below the access panel. See our tech article on fuel pump testing.

The fuel tank is two-lobed. There are two fuel level senders, one in each lobe on the left and right sides underneath the rear seat cushion. The left fuel tank lobe holds the fuel level sender and fuel filter, while the right tank lobe holds the fuel pump. Replacing the fuel pump on a BMW E46 can be done without removing the fuel tank. There are access panels under the rear seat cushion that allow servicing. It is best to replace your fuel pump with the fuel tank drained. This reduces the amount of possible spilled fuel and fuel vapors. When replacing, work in a well-ventilated area. Working outdoors is a good choice. Do not use incandescent work lights or power tools. Fuel and fuel vapors are highly combustible.

To avoid marring the trim if you need to pry anything, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Drain your fuel tank. Run the vehicle for about 20 seconds. This equalizes the amount of fuel in the siphon unit.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. See our tech article on battery replacing and reconnecting notes.

Remove the fuel cap. Then slide an anti-static siphon hose down the fuel filler neck. Once the hose has bottomed out, pump fuel out of the fuel tank into a suitable storage container. If you are unsure of the amount of fuel in your tank, you can monitor fuel level via the fuel level sender units (don't need battery power to operate). As the fuel level drops, the fuel level sender resistance drops. You can measure this across the terminals at both sender units with a digital volt / ohm meter (DVOM). You will need a wiring diagram from a repair manual.

The fuel pump is located in the right side of the fuel tank.

Once fuel tank is drained, working in rear of vehicle interior, grab corner of rear seat cushion and pull up to detach locking tabs.
Figure 1

Once fuel tank is drained, working in rear of vehicle interior, grab corner of rear seat cushion and pull up to detach locking tabs.

Then pull seat cushion up and out of vehicle.
Figure 2

Then pull seat cushion up and out of vehicle.

Next, peel carpet away from seat cushion area of body (green arrow).
Figure 3

Next, peel carpet away from seat cushion area of body (green arrow).

Peel back access cover to expose fuel pump access panel.
Figure 4

Peel back access cover to expose fuel pump access panel.

Remove four 10mm nuts from access panel (green arrows).
Figure 5

Remove four 10mm nuts from access panel (green arrows).

Remove access panel lid from body by lifting up.
Figure 6

Remove access panel lid from body by lifting up. Move away enough to access electrical connector on fuel pump module.

Disconnect fuel pump electrical connector by sliding locking tab using a flat-head screwdriver, then pulling connector off fuel pump module.
Figure 7

Disconnect fuel pump electrical connector by sliding locking tab using a flat-head screwdriver, then pulling connector off fuel pump module.

Cut hose clamp off fuel line using diagonal cutters.
Figure 8

Cut hose clamp off fuel line using diagonal cutters. Be careful not to damage hose or fuel pump module (green arrow).

Slide hose partially off fuel pump module.
Figure 9

Slide hose partially off fuel pump module.

Cover hose with rag, and remove the remainder of way off fuel pump module.
Figure 10

Cover hose with rag, and remove the remainder of way off fuel pump module. This will help to contain any spilled fuel when hose is removed.

Next you have to unscrew fuel pump module threaded collar (green arrow).
Figure 11

Next you have to unscrew fuel pump module threaded collar (green arrow). There is a BMW special tool (number 16 1 022) made to do this, however if you do not have this tool you can use a dull flat-head screwdriver and a rubber mallet.

Using the dull flat-head screwdriver and a rubber mallet, tap threaded collar on one of the ridges counter-clockwise to loosen.
Figure 12

Using the dull flat-head screwdriver and a rubber mallet, tap threaded collar on one of the ridges counter-clockwise to loosen. Once loose, unscrew the remainder of the way by hand. If collar is damaged during this process, you will need to replace it with a new part.

Slowly lift fuel pump module up and out of fuel tank.
Figure 13

Slowly lift fuel pump module up and out of fuel tank. Have a bucket or plastic bin inside the vehicle with you. Catch any dripping fuel with a cloth as you remove it, then immediately place fuel pump module in bucket to minimize spilled fuel.

When installing, replace fuel pump assembly sealing O-ring.
Figure 14

When installing, replace fuel pump assembly sealing O-ring. Be sure O-ring is properly installed on fuel tank before installing fuel pump (green arrow). Slide new fuel pump assembly with sealing O-ring into fuel tank. Hand tighten threaded collar.

Then use BMW special tool 16 1 022 to tighten threaded collar.
Figure 15

Then use BMW special tool 16 1 022 to tighten threaded collar. Or tap tight (clockwise) with dull flat-head screwdriver and a rubber mallet.

Connect fuel line with new hose clamp (green arrow).
Figure 16

Connect fuel line with new hose clamp (green arrow). Be sure hose clamp is for high pressure fuel lines. Connect electrical connector and reassemble interior. Fill fuel tank with about two gallons of fuel before attempting to start. Once you are sure fuel pump is operating normally, fill remainder of fuel tank and check for leaks.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mustang Maria Comments: Hello Nick. Thank you very much for your help. There are not any fault codes, as I previously stated the main problem is that it will choose to intermittently quietly shut off as it come to complete stop this. This is usually just when you're puttering around town. Dinner will be times that you're idling at the airport or on the freeway and it May shut off or not. Tonight, LAX to spend the bumper-to-bumper traffic. Can we arrange to do an in person consul for? Do you work on these cars?
August 9, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not available to consult on vehicle sin person. If you require help, I would suggest finding a local BMW shop. You will have to determine which of three parts of combustion are missing when it stalls. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mustang Maria Comments: Hello and good day to you. I bought a 2003 325 CI. Shortly after I noticed it would just quit as I've come to is complete stop when just puttering around town. There is no noise or fanfare. It just quietly says I'm done. The engine and oil lights come on. It may take one or two restarts but it will. It did not throw any codes on the computer. A friend who is a BMW mechanic said it sounds like the fuel pump has received a short. This car has no troubles are on the open road and definitely not when the air conditioning is running, even if I am just puttering about town. Does this sound plausible to you? The friend further says that I need the whole tank replaced because it is sealed from the outside. Well I expected it sealed from the outside. Saw your post, but he still tells me how the whole thing needs to be replaced. With this model one that actually has a stainless tank like I saw on your previous post.? This friend is never said anything about the tank being stainless. Appreciate you very much
August 7, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and fuel pressure, volume, quality and engine compression. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Art Comments: I just bought a BMW 325 with a bad fuel pump. I'm being told that in order to make it work they need to replace the whole tank along with the fuel pump. Is hard to believe that this is a true statement. I need help to make a decision on approving this repair.
July 6, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Possible you have a model with a stainless tank, where the pump is integrated. Ask then to explain why the tank needs replacing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Blowfly Bruce Comments: I do not know if there was fuel in the tank as I stopped with no fuel going to the engine and had to get a breakdown service to bring fuel to get to the nearest town. Are the fuel sensors that should be looked at on the fuel pump or in another place. If the sensors are in tank I could run fuel low and pump the rest of the fuel through the filter to see if there is fuel left when it does not pump any more fuel. I forgot to say that the fuel light works when ignition is turned on for a second or two.
June 30, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have an issue with the fuel level senders, that is if the correct fuel level is not being reported. Remove the senders and move them through the full range while monitoring resistance. Resistance should be high when full and low when empty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Blowfly Bruce Comments: Hi, I have a BMW E46 330Ci late 2002 convertible R.H.Drive that has a fuel problem. It ran out of fuel at 1/8 to 1/4 of a tank and the fuel light did not come on and the computer indicated it had 160K left in tank. Does this indicate that the vehicle needs a new pump and filter, or there is a problem with the syphon pump or the syphon pump hose has come unattached.
June 29, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume the fuel level senders are wrong. Unless of course you drained and measure the fuel in tank. How are you determining there was still fuel in the tank? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jgr Comments: hi there, great article, I replaced the pump in 30 minutes, car fired right up, but now the fuel level is eratic, some sort of out of sync mode. how to reset/resync for proper fuel gage reading ??? reading all sort of threads on this common problem on new fuel pumps but no one seems to have the simple answer
April 8, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should not have to reset the sending unit. If it is moving around, the connection or signal from it is faulty. I would monitor sending unit voltage to see if it is fluctuating. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ken Comments: Will a fuel pump from a 2005 545I work in a 2003 330ci?
November 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: no. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Turn, you Pig! Comments: I've purchased an M3 fuel tank baffle Part #: 16-11-2-229-656-BOE to install into my 330i as part of an effort to cure a bad fuel starvation problem on the track. The only pictures or info about this mod that I can find is what shows on the microfiche for the part... so once I get to figure 14 of this writeup, I'll basically be on my own. I'm pretty dumb, so any links or advice or whatever would be hugely appreciated.
November 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.


You will have to work by feel. There should be tabs you unclip to remove the old baffle. Then place the new one inside securing it using the same clips.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jmo69 Comments: Anyway you look at it, you can change the pump without draining the tank.
November 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not true. If the fuel level is high, fuel will leak out when you remove the sending unit assembly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jmo69 Comments: How can you drain a fuel tank by running the car for 20 seconds? I've done this job twice and didn't drain the tank either time.
November 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You don't, they are separate sentences. Drain fuel tank. Next step: run for 20 seconds Running it removes pressure from the fuel system once tank is drained. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jmo69 Comments: It is not necessary to drain the fuel put of the tank to do this job. Less fuel in the tank is better, just be careful and maybe jack up the right rear corner to raise that side and shift the fuel away from the access cover.
November 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is necessary and noted:

Drain your fuel tank. Run the vehicle for about 20 seconds. This equalizes the amount of fuel in the siphon unit.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Abe Comments: Good evening, I have 4 325i BMW and this fuel pump stumped me. Do I drop the tank to get this one out? Never seen this one before.

Thanks,
Abe
September 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What is the year and engine in the vehicle? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nick Comments: Can this be done on a 2003 BMW 325i WAGON?
September 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: yes. Procedure is similar. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Viper Comments: Hi guys.
Ever since last week my 330i e46 almost stopped on the highway without fuel while the gauge still displayed almost a quarter tank and range said 100km. I live in Europe and has alway put 98 octane in the car. I took out both fuel sending units with the hope to clean something but they are spotless. How could I know which one is failing if not both? Everything in the tank is spotless and clean
July 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can move the sender while monitoring resistance. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John.bmw325i Comments: This was a great tutorial. The only thing I would add is the three hours the article says it should take must include draining the fuel tank. Because the actual changing of the pump itself only took me about a half an hour.
June 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
flexy Comments: Hello,
I have a 2004 Bmw 325 {WBAAZ334X3PH32755 that i need to replace the fuel pump but i couldn't remove the pump because is attach inside the fuel tank and if you want to remove the pump you have to open the tank into two.Please is there another way out.Thanks.
April 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Follow the instructions on the tech article you commented on. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
old blue 72 Comments: Comments for figures 13 and 14 leave a lot to be desired for the first time novice installer. It should be emphasized in figure 13 that a thin hard o ring remains on the tank opening, and that the soft multifaced sealing ring shown in figure 14 is not just installed on the pump, but must be also carefully guided into the hard o ring and pushed hard so locking ring can thread.



December 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good notes. The sealing O-ring is shown installed in the tank, not on the assembly, so it is illustrated as you noted. Thanks for your feedback. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gary Comments: Great write up. Except for one omission: How do you drain the fuel tank? Best way? Siphon out through filler cap? Or?
August 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Most times a siphon down the filler neck is best. Or run the fuel pump and attached a hose to the test port and drain it into a large container. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Ron Comments: On Figure 16 what is the part number for the hose clamp in Replacing the fuel pump on a BMW E46 . Thanks!
February 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I couldn't locate them, I am not the best with the parts. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Thu 9/21/2017 02:22:22 AM