The essential purpose of a fuel pump is to deliver gas from the tank to the engine to keep your car running smoothly. High-flow fuel pumps allow for a greater amount of fuel to flow to the engine. This flow is measured in gallons per hour (gph) and liters per hour (lph).
When upgrading your fuel pump, consider what type of fuel you plan to use. Some high-flow fuel pumps are rated only for use with gasoline, and these fuel pumps will fail if they are used with alcohol-based fuels like methanol and ethanol. Fortunately, there are E85 ethanol- and methanol-compatible fuel pumps that are engineered to survive when pushing alcohol fuels, thanks to specifically designed internal components rated for just such a task.
Do I Need a High-Flow Fuel Pump?
Installing a high-flow fuel pump is critical if you add forced induction to a vehicle, as in the case of a turbocharger or supercharger, or if you have a forced induction vehicle and increase its output by upgrading the turbo or supercharger pulley to increase boost pressures. The same applies to naturally aspirated engines that are heavily ported and are using aggressive aftermarket camshafts, as they may require fuel flow beyond what a factory fuel pump can produce. It should be noted that in addition to a fuel pump for these types of vehicle modifications, you should consider your injector capacity and fuel line sizing when upgrading to a higher flowing fuel pump. While a high flow fuel pump has the ability to deliver more fuel flow, the physical limitations from having too small of fuel lines or injectors can bottleneck this additional flow and negate the benefits of a high flow pump.
For most bolt-on external engine modifications, like adding an air intake system or high flow exhaust, a high flow fuel pump is not necessary to optimize performance. The exception to replacing a stock fuel pump with a high flow version on a mildly modified vehicle is when the OEM pump fails and you plan to make high-performance upgrades in the future. Installing a high-flow fuel pump at this time will save you from having to do it in the future when you add performance upgrades that require more fuel flow.
Benefits of a High-Flow Fuel Pump
So, we've looked at what a fuel pump does and whether installing one is suitable for your vehicle, but what are the practical benefits of a high-flow fuel pump? How do high-flow fuel pumps boost engine performance?
Think of it this way—your engine is a large air pump, and it requires three things for combustion: fuel, air, and a spark. When you want to increase your engine’s horsepower, you make modifications to get more air into your engine, and when you increase airflow into an engine, you must increase fuel and ignition energy (spark). By itself, a high-flow fuel pump will not increase power, but it will provide the ability to increase power by providing a higher flow of fuel to the engine when major engine upgrades are performed.
For any questions, comments, or concerns regarding high-flow fuel pumps or other performance-enhancing modifications for your vehicles, reach out to the experts and specialists at AEM Performance Electronics. We have the knowledge to assist you with all your engine needs.