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Fuel Pump Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Fuel Pump Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, 10mm socket, fuel pump collar tool

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 Sport Utility (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Fuel pump, fuel pump sealing O-ring

Hot Tip:

Clean top of fuel tank before removing pump

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty fuel pump

Complementary Modification:

Fuel filter is not serviceable

The fuel supply system in a BMW E53 consists of:

  • Fuel tank
  • Fuel filler with associated breathing and venting pipes
  • High-pressure fuel pump assembly with fuel filter and fuel level senders

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, while the right tank lobe holds the fuel pump.

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.

Replacing the fuel pump on a BMW E53 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.

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're 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 the fuel level via the fuel level sender units. 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.

In order to replace the fuel sender or siphon jet pump, the right side fuel pump unit has to be removed. This tech article will show the pump replacement beginning with removing the right side fuel pump unit then the left sender and siphon jet pump.

The fuel pump /sending unit is located in the right (green arrow) side of the fuel tank.
Figure 1

The fuel pump /sending unit is located in the right (green arrow) side of the fuel tank. The sending unit / siphon jet pump are located on the left (red arrow) side.

Start by relieving fuel pressure.
Figure 2

Start by relieving fuel pressure. Remove the fuel rail test port cap (red arrow). Then relieve pressure using a small screwdriver covered with a rag (inset). You can also disconnect the fuel pump relay, and run the engine until it stalls. See our tech article on fuel pump testing for relay location.

Working in the rear of the vehicle interior, grab the corner of the rear seat cushion and pull it up to detach the locking tabs.
Figure 3

Working in the rear of the vehicle interior, grab the corner of the rear seat cushion and pull it up to detach the locking tabs. Remove the seat cushion from the vehicle. See our tech article on Seats removing. Once you have removed the rear seat, cut the insulation straight back in the marked locations (green arrows). Then remove the four 10mm nuts (red arrows) from the fuel pump access panel.

Remove the access panel lid from the body by lifting it up.
Figure 4

Remove the access panel lid from the body by lifting it up. Be sure to replace the panel gasket if it is damaged. Disconnect the fuel pump electrical connector (red arrow) by sliding the lock to the right side of the vehicle (inset) and lifting it off.

Next, you have to remove the line at the fuel pump unit.
Figure 5

Next, you have to remove the line at the fuel pump unit. Cut the hose clamp (red arrow) using diagonal cutters (inset). Then slide the line off the fuel pump module. Be careful not to damage the hose or the fuel pump module. Cover the line with a rag when removing. This prevents fuel spillage. Next, lift the line straight up to remove it. Place the line out of the way next to the fuel unit collar.

Next, you have to unscrew the fuel pump module threaded collar.
Figure 6

Next, you have to unscrew the fuel pump module threaded collar. There is a BMW special tool (number 16 1 022) made to do this. The tool (red arrow) has notches that match the teeth on the collar (green arrow). Loosen and remove the collar (inset). However, if you do not have this tool you can use a brass punch and a rubber mallet. Using the brash punch and a rubber mallet, tap the threaded collar on one of the ridges counter-clockwise to loosen it. Once loose, unscrew the collar the remainder of the way by hand. If the collar is damaged during this process, you will need to replace it with a new part.

Slowly lift the fuel unit up and remove it at an angle (red arrow).
Figure 7

Slowly lift the fuel unit up and remove it at an angle (red arrow). Be careful not to bend or damage the sending unit. Once removed, discard the sealing O-ring (green arrow).This will have to be replaced. The inset photo shows the fuel pump unit. Have a bucket or plastic bin inside the vehicle with you. Catch any dripping fuel with a cloth as you remove it.

Working at the left side access panel, remove the four 10mm nuts (red arrows).
Figure 8

Working at the left side access panel, remove the four 10mm nuts (red arrows).

Cut the insulation straight back in the marked locations (red arrows).
Figure 9

Cut the insulation straight back in the marked locations (red arrows).

Disconnect the sending unit electrical connector by squeezing the release tabs and pulling it off.
Figure 10

Disconnect the sending unit electrical connector by squeezing the release tabs and pulling it off. Next, you have to remove the line at the fuel sender unit. Cut the hose clamp (red arrow) using diagonal cutters. Then slide the line off the fuel sender unit. Be careful not to damage the hose or the fuel sender. Cover the line with a rag when removing. This prevents fuel spillage. Next, lift the line straight up to remove it. Place the line out of the way next to the fuel unit collar.

Remove the fuel sender collar, as you did the right side collar.
Figure 11

Remove the fuel sender collar, as you did the right side collar. Unscrew the collar and remove it. Then lift the sender up high enough to access the siphon jet pump connection (red arrow).

Press the release tabs (red arrows) in and pull the bracket and housing (green arrows) off the sender.
Figure 12

Press the release tabs (red arrows) in and pull the bracket and housing (green arrows) off the sender.

Remove the sender (red arrow) from the fuel tank.
Figure 13

Remove the sender (red arrow) from the fuel tank. The siphon connections remain in the tank for now (green arrow). Have a bucket or plastic bin inside the vehicle with you. Catch any dripping fuel with a cloth as you remove it.

Working in the right side of the fuel tank, unclip the siphon jet pump (red arrow) and the fuel lines (green arrows).
Figure 14

Working in the right side of the fuel tank, unclip the siphon jet pump (red arrow) and the fuel lines (green arrows). Attach wire to the lines and pull them through the tank to the left side. Leave enough wire to attach the new jet pump to. Move to the left side of the fuel tank. Pull the fuel lines until you can detach and reattach the wire to the new lines. Snap the siphon jet pump and fuel lines back into the holders in the right side of the tank. Then attach the collar and bracket to the sender and install the sender into the fuel tank.

When installing, replace the fuel pump assembly sealing O-ring.
Figure 15

When installing, replace the fuel pump assembly sealing O-ring. Be sure that the O-ring is properly installed in the fuel tank before installing the fuel pump. Align the tab (green arrow) with the slot in the fuel tank (red arrow) and press the assembly into the tank. Hand tighten the threaded collar. Then use the BMW special tool 16 1 022 to tighten the threaded collar. Or tap the threaded collar tight (clockwise) with a brass punch and a rubber mallet. Then install fuel pump (right side) assembly. Repeat the tightening steps for the right side. Reattach the fuel lines and electrical connector to the right and left side fuel unit. Connect the fuel line and tighten the hose clamp. Fill the fuel tank with about two gallons of fuel before attempting to start the vehicle. Once you are sure that the fuel pump is operating normally, fill the remainder of the fuel tank and check for leaks. Once done, reassemble the interior.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Ken Comments: How can you tell if you fuel pump or sending unit is bad
November 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: By inspecting the sending unit for damaged hoses or cracks. Also test fuel pressure and volume to test pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
DG Comments: Do I have to drain the tank, mine is full. I have been told that if I do not the tank will distort, due to the weight of the fuel and the plastic construction. Then I am told I will not be able to refit the sealing ring ?
April 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, drain the fuel, or it will spill when the pump is removed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:51:46 AM