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Hammer Time
Hammer Time, L1 Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 4942
Experience:  ASE Mastertech with Adv level Engine performance cert.
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How do I replace a fuel pump for a 96 Saturn SL2 ...

Customer Question

How do I replace a fuel pump for a 96 Saturn SL2?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Hammer Time replied 11 years ago.


1991-97 Models

See Figures 1 through 8

To prevent excessive fuel spillage, whenever the tank is removed from the vehicle, it should be no more than 3/4 full. Removal of the fuel pump module assembly requires removal of the fuel tank.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable, then properly relieve the fuel system pressure. Refer to the procedure in this section.

  2. Remove the fuel filler cap, then raise and support the vehicle safely using jackstands, with the rear of the vehicle approximately 28 in. (711mm) higher than the front (to keep any fuel in the tank forward and away from the fill hose).

  3. Clean the area surrounding the filler neck to avoid fuel system contamination, then position a container with a minimum 12 in. (300mm) diameter opening under the filler neck to catch any escaping fuel. Loosen the filler neck clamp at the rear of the fuel tank, wrap a shop rag around the neck tube and carefully remove the tube from the tank.

  4. For 1991-92 vehicles, inside the filler on the tank is a check ball to prevent fuel from flowing out of the filler in the event of vehicle roll-over. If the tank needs to be drained on these models, the check ball must be dislodged. Use the large round end of a 1/2 in. drive ratchet extension (which is at least 18 in. long) to push the check ball into the fuel tank. For 1993-97 vehicles, the fuel check ball was relocated to the filler pipe, so that the pipe may simply be removed to allow siphoning. These filler pipes can be installed in 1991-92 vehicles, but the check ball must first be removed from the tank.

Once the check ball has been knocked into the fuel tank on 1991-92 models, the tank must be removed from the vehicle. The pump module must then be removed from the tank in order to reinstall the check ball.

  1. If the check ball was dislodged (1991-92 models) or the fuel neck removed (1993-97 models) for siphoning, use a clean length of hose and/or an appropriate hand pump to siphon or pump the fuel from the tank and into an approved gasoline container.

  2. Remove the filler neck bracket fastener at the left side of the rear frame rail, then loosen the fuel vent hose retaining clamp at the tank.

It is easier to remove hoses from the tank than to pull them from the steel vent and fill tubes.

  1. Disconnect the fuel pressure and return line quick-connects by pinching the 2 plastic tangs together, then grasp both ends of one fuel line connection and twist 1/4 turn in each direction while pulling them apart. Disconnect the fuel vent hose by holding the line and by pushing on the rubber connector with a small open end wrench.

Do not allow the fuel tank retaining straps to become bent during tank removal, otherwise strap damage and/or breakage may occur. Always utilize an assistant when removing the fuel tank to prevent damage.

  1. With the aid of an assistant, remove the 2 support strap fasteners at the rear of the tank, then lower the tank and support panel approximately 8 in. (203mm). Reach upward and unplug the electrical connector from the top of the tank, then remove the tank and support panel from the vehicle.

  2. If the check ball was removed or fuel pump module replacement/service is necessary:

    1. Clean the area surrounding the fuel pump module and spray the cam lockring tangs with a suitable penetrating oil to loosen the fitting.

    2. Using SA9156E, or an equivalent fuel module lockring removal tool, and a 1/2 in. breaker bar of approximately 18 in. (457mm) length, remove the pump unit locking ring from the tank. Attempting to use a 12 in. or shorter breaker bar may cause lockring damage.

    3. Lift and tilt the unit out at a 45 degree angle, being careful not to bend the sending unit float arm. Remove and discard the unit-to-tank O-ring.

  3. The sending unit is the only portion of the module that may be serviced. The filter may be cleaned with mineral spirits, but must be replaced as an assembly with the module if damaged. If necessary, remove the sending unit from the module as follows:

    1. Unplug the 2 electrical connections using needlenose pliers or by pressing down the locking tab and pulling the connectors from the terminal.

    2. Using a small suitable tool, push in on the sender assembly attaching tang, then lift upward and remove the sender.

    3. Late 1992 and all 1993-94 vehicles use a brass float instead of plastic. Brass floats may be serviced. Use a 1/4 in. flat-tipped screwdriver to carefully pry the float from the wire loop. Do not bend the float arm or deform the wire loop.

To install:

  1. If removed, pinch a brass float onto the float arm wire loop and/or install the sending unit to the pump module by positioning the tang in the locator slot and snapping the unit into place. Attach the 2 sending unit electrical connectors to their terminals.

  2. If removed for service or access to the check ball, install the fuel pump assembly:

    1. Before installing the pump module, remove the filler check ball and examine it for cracks or damage. Reach into the tank through the pump unit hole and carefully push the check ball into the filler tube opening from the inside. If necessary, carefully spread the plastic ball supports to ease installation.

    2. Install a new O-ring to the opening in the top of the fuel tank, then carefully insert the pump module into the tank at a 45 degree angle to prevent sending unit and float damage. The filter and flow arm must be directed toward the front of the tank.

    3. Align the pump locator tabs with the fuel tank slots, then install the cam lockring using the ring service tool.

  3. With the aid of an assistant, position the tank and support panel so the wires can be connected to the module, install the module electrical connector, then secure the tank in place using the retaining straps. Tighten the strap bolts to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm).

  4. Loosely install the filler tube, vent lines and clamps. Align the filler neck and tank so the fender will not be deflected or pushed outward by the hose. When everything is properly positioned, install the fill neck tube and bracket fastener. Vent lines should be installed into the rubber boot until the tube white marks align with the side of the boot.

  5. Tighten the clamps to 18 inch lbs. (2 Nm) and tighten the fill neck bracket fastener to 53 inch lbs. (6 Nm). If the clamps must be replaced, original equipment or equivalent parts must be used, because the original parts are designed to prevent hose damage.

  6. Lubricate the male ends of the fuel supply and return quick-connect fittings with a few drops of clean engine oil. Push the connectors together until the retaining tabs snap into place, then pull on opposite ends of each connection to verify that the connection is secure.

  7. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle, then install the fuel filler cap and connect the negative battery cable.

  8. Prime the fuel system and check for leaks:

    1. Turn the ignition ON for 5 seconds, then OFF for 10 seconds.

    2. Repeat the ON/OFF cycle 2 more times.

    3. Crank the engine until it starts.

    4. If the engine does not readily start, repeat Steps a-e.

    5. Run the engine and check for leaks.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 1: For 1991-92 vehicles with the check ball installed in the fuel tank, use an 18 in. or longer ratchet extension to dislodge the fuel filler check ball, knocking it into the tank. The tank will need to be removed, in order to retrieve the ball for installation

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 2: View of the fuel filler neck-1992 SC model shown

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 3: Exploded view of a typical fuel tank/pump module and hose assembly

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 4: Position the lockring removal tool so as not to damage the fuel and vapor lines

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 5: Tilt and remove the pump module assembly, being careful not to damage the filter sending unit and float arm

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 6: Unplug the electrical connectors by pressing down the locking tab, then pulling the connectors from their terminals

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 7: Use a 1/4 in. flat tipped tool to push in the attachment tang and lift upward on the sender

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 8: Before installing the fuel pump module, push the fuel check ball into position