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Many of our customers are the Do-It-Yourself type and like to work on their golf carts and ATVs at home to keep them maintained, add customized parts, or do some basic repairs. One of the easiest DIY’s for golf carts is checking out your fuel pump to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of fuel into your system at any given time. While cars and gasoline-powered golf carts both have fuel pumps, the two operate very differently, so we’ve put together a short guide to help you know how to check your fuel pump — and what to do if you’re worried it isn’t working correctly.
First: A Few Basic Facts on Fuel Pumps
Your golf cart’s fuel pump is essentially vacuum-powered using crankcase pressure. While the more generally recognized term “compression” refers to the pressure limits at the top end of the engine, crankcase pressure actually refers to the pressure present at the bottom end, below the piston. While the pistons move up and down, the crankcase pressure will vary; we call this a “pulse.” The power created by the pulse is transmitted through a vacuum line from the lower end of the engine through the fuel pump or pumps.
The fuel pump has several nozzles on it — Fuel In accepts the gasoline, while Fuel Out sends it out the other side. If you take a look at your fuel pump, you will see that the Fuel In and Fuel Out areas are marked with arrows, while the unmarked nozzle is for the vacuum line.
What Could Break Down My Fuel Pump?
There are a few issues that can arise involving your fuel pump that would affect your gasoline-powered golf cart or ATV’s performance over time.
Deterioration. Rubber vacuum and fuel lines will eventually deteriorate. This issue is far more common in older and pre-owned golf carts and ATVs that haven’t been given regular tune-ups. If you’re having problems with the fuel not making it to the carburetor, check the lines very closely. Even if you can’t see deterioration, a telltale gasoline smell will let you know that they may have begun to fall apart. Remember: a pin hole or other small area of damage may not be visible, so make sure to check for the fuel smell.
Engine problems. Fuel issues aren’t always caused by the fuel pump. Performance problems could also be caused by issues involving the crankcase or engine. A leaky crankcase or damaged engine cannot produce effective power. You’ll want to take a look for signs of an oil leak, a bad crankshaft seal, or issues with the case gasket. If you find signs of an oil leak or engine problems, we recommend bringing your golf cart in for repair at our service and repair department, as these can be tricky and should be performed by experienced technicians.
Debris buildup. Gasoline isn’t exactly the cleanest fuel source there is, and even high-quality fuel may contain dirt, debris, or other contaminants. Over time, this debris can build up and become lodged inside the fuel pump. An inline fuel filter will take care of most of this, but some may still build up, and in order to remove the debris you’ll need to remove the pump itself from the golf cart and disassemble it.
The pumps usually come apart in three distinct sections, with two diaphragms between them. Before taking your fuel pump apart, either draw or scratch a line across each section, so everything can be put back together quickly after cleaning. Clean any corrosion or debris from within the pump, using either gas or a cleaner specially designed for the purpose. Reassemble using the lines you scratched or drew into the pump as a guide.
The final possible issue could be the pump itself. The diaphragms within your fuel pump are fragile, and may break or develop tears with use or lack of maintenance. Over time, the fuel pump’s ability to function will fade and eventually it will stop working entirely. To fix this issue, you’ll need to remove the pump, take it apart, and then replace the diaphragms with a rebuild kit. The diaphragms are the thin sheet of plastic which separate the pieces of the fuel pump.
Did Everything Check Out Okay?
If you’ve taken a look at each of these potential issues and everything seems to be working just fine, then you’re probably okay. If you’ve found tears, leaks, deteriorating diaphragms, or other issues, we here at Go With Garrett’s Golf Cars and Specialty Vehicles would be happy to perform needed repairs, help you pick out the parts you need to get your golf cart or ATV working again, or even work with you to pick out customized parts and accessories designed to help you make the most of your E-Z-Go or Cushman cart! Our experienced technicians are happy to help you make sure your golf cart will run like new for years to come.