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How to: 1st Gen Gas Tank Fuel Pump Access Panel

Discussion in 'Body Work & Detailing' started by Burns, March 17, 2007.

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    1. Flying Fox

      Flying Fox New Member

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      City, State:
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      1995 XLT
      .
      ---USE A NIBBLER TO CUT THE SHEET METAL!!! ---

      I strongly suggest that no one use a grinder or anything else that creates heat or sparks to cut a hatch near the fuel tank! Others may have been lucky but you could be the one who sets your Explorer on fire - or worse - has it go up in a blast right in your face.

      Probably the best way to cut the hole would be to use a nibbler tool. You can get an inexpensive manual one, an air powered one, or an electric one. They are cheap at Harbor Freight. They all work the same. Carefully and slowly drill a starting hole with cutting oil so it does not get hot, using a stop collar on the drill bit to keep it from going any farther than barely through the sheet metal. Size it to fit the head of the nibbler - probably 3/8 or 1/2"

      Insert the head and operate the nibbler along the line you wish to cut. It literally nibbles little chunks of metal away as you move along the line. You can turn it to make a corner. Very quick, clean, and cool.

      ,
       
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    3. Flying Fox

      Flying Fox New Member

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      .
      --- ADDENDUM ---

      My 95 Explorer would crank but would not start. I could tell that the pump was not running as I turned the key towards start, because I did not hear the usual "whirr" from the pump for the first few seconds.

      Replacing the pump is a last resort so I started with easy checks.

      I wiggled a few connectors to sensors and such, especially one that I had fail previously. No change.

      Then I removed the pump relay, rapped it smartly against the panel above the radiator a number of times on all sides, and reinserted it. My theory was that the contacts are getting old and pitted, OR a thin film of oxide may have formed on the connector tabs. Tapping aggressively should bounce the contacts enough to "clean" them at least a little. The relay is sealed so I couldn't see the contacts, but as a last resort I could have cut the relay case open and cleaned them that way.

      But now I hear the pump run and the motor starts normally. Rapping the relay seemed to do the job.

      I took the relay out, cleaned the connectors, added some silicone dielectric on them, and reinstalled it, and it should hold until I get to the auto parts store to buy a replacement. I can't complain much - the relay lasted 249,750 miles!

      .
       
    4. FasterFrank

      FasterFrank New Member

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      I have read to Page 8 inclusive and have found no info on cutting the access port out of a Gen 3, 2002 Explorer XLT 4 door.

      Has anyone tried this on a Generation 3?
      If so, can you point me to the thread please?

      Thanks!
      Faster Frank
       
    5. FasterFrank

      FasterFrank New Member

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      Yes - OR

      You can try swapping the relay in question with one you know to be working. In the Gen 3 Explorer XLT, for instance, there are relays either side of #48 (fuel pump relay) that are identical and which you can see they work by looking at the High Beams before you swap the relays one for the other.
      ps. don't try this particular swap at night whilst driving
       
    6. Flying Fox

      Flying Fox New Member

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      .

      I did pick up a replacement relay at the auto parts store - plus a spare since there are two other relays which are the same vintage and might fail. Having a spare might get me out of a jam some day!

      Funny thing - I put the new relay in and it didn't work immediately. I took it out, tapped it, and it has been working fine ever since! Probably a small bit of manufacturing oil on the points.

      If one uses one of the other relays as a temporary replacement, as advised in the prior message - just be sure that the relays have the identical pinout and diagram on the side. And also that the relay is not for an essential function such as a control module, etc.

      In general the reason relays fail is because the contact points get worn, pitted, or oxidized and the tapping trick will often get them working again - at least temporarily. The rest of the parts inside - coil, spring, etc - are very reliable and not likely to fail!

      Of course the blades connecting the relay to the power box can also oxidize, as can the socket contacts, especially if water has gotten in the box.

      .
       
    7. drdoom

      drdoom Well-Known Member

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      That's a mess
       
    8. FasterFrank

      FasterFrank New Member

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    9. Austin96

      Austin96 New Member

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    10. Ken Whitmore

      Ken Whitmore New Member

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      Reader beware: I made my cuts as accurately as I could using your photo and measurements as a guide, adding a diagonal cut to to remove the left-rear inward corner for safety, but my fuel pump assembly is mounted about 4 inches toward the passenger side compared with yours. I could still get all the screws out, with only the two furthest in requiring a 5/16" ratcheted box end wrench. Turns out I didn't need to cut away the vertical part towards the rear, since the pump assembly is also a bit forward compared to yours.

      Due to such differences, I can't re-emphasize enough how important it is to keep the depth of your cuts to the very minimum needed! I used a 1/16" thick cutting wheel and managed to do it all without touching any fuel line or wiring, even with the differences of location of the pump.
       
    11. Burns

      Burns Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      You always need to know your vehicle. At the time this was made the tank had been out twice so we knew where it was. If you do not know where yours is at you need to drop the tank.
       
    12. catdaddy

      catdaddy Elite Explorer

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      I got real bold with t the angle grinder. :crazy:
       
    13. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      You could drill a little hole at your best-guess-centered location, and feed a (cheap USB from eBay) borescope down the hole to get some orientation for the cuts.
       
    14. skoville

      skoville Elite Explorer

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      It's really hard to believe "They" haven't made an access door by now standard equip by now.
       
    15. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      ^ If anything vehicles are becoming less and less DIY repair friendly.
       
    16. catdaddy

      catdaddy Elite Explorer

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      As long as they keep most of the tech open source the average DYI dude can keep up.
       
    17. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      Not true at all. They can supply every bit of tech info (but they don't) and it still won't make a $600 steering rack or tranny that doesn't even have a dipstick or full tube any easier, nor a water pump that requires pulling the engine, timing chains, etc.

      It's not even true for the tech items. How many DIYer's, if given the schematic for a dash or center console LCD module, are going to be able to read it, whip out their hot air desoldering station and repair it? If not repair, then pay $1000 to replace. Not repair friendly.

      There is practically nothing that open sourcing does to benefit the DIY repairer, and there is no "keep", the electronics schematics were never open source. Open source firmware means absolutely nothing. That doesn't "break". Programming a chip does not require source code... not that many if any repairs require it.
       
      Last edited: November 17, 2017
    18. jimbalaya

      jimbalaya Elite Explorer

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      my fuel pump finally died. I read the entire 7 pages of this thread about creating an access hole for fuel pump removal, and was excited about replacing the pump without having to drop the gas tank. However, I want to let everyone know that for my 97 xlt 4-dr 2wd sohc, after i cut the access hole i discovered it was impossible to remove the fuel pump, due to the pump being behind the framing support 'beam' that runs across the back seats, which i did not want to cut into - see 1st photo below.

      So, i lowered the gas tank about 6-8 inches [after siphoning out more than 1/2 tank of gas], while supported by two floor jacks, to get enough clearance to remove the old fuel pump and install the new one - see 2nd photo below.

      UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_255a.jpg

      UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2556.jpg
       
      Last edited: December 1, 2017
    19. acschilling

      acschilling Active Member

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      Exactly why I refuse to buy a new car.
       
    20. catdaddy

      catdaddy Elite Explorer

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      new tech cost money. planned obsolescence. blah, blah blah. your gonna spend your doe. most of it is plug and play. tech gets hacked, thats why this media exists.
       

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