Beware of the “Flea Market” Fuel Pump Kit!
Dear Fuel Pump Restorer,
The kits people find in flea markets have never worried me – they are a far cry from what I make and supply to the restoring/rebuilding public.
Old and shabby, handled by hundreds of people. They once were kits for what the box said, but now are random assortments of parts stuffed back into some box or another as the rain started…diaphragms are old materials, often not up to today’s gas.
Oil Seals are hard and are apt to break on installation or fail fairly soon after.
Check Valves have plates that often get sticky or well up in contact with alcohol, but they don’t cost much and are obviously old stock; while my kits are clean, neatly packaged and fresh.
When someone compares old stock to mine, my kits look good, so no problem, right!? Well….
For several years phone customers have been asking odd questions about my kits:
-Are the diaphragms assemblies, with the steel plates and pull rod riveted in, or just pieces of fabric?
-Are they die cut or hand cut?
-Are the kits researched so they are going to have all the parts? Will the parts be right?
Will I have to send anything of mine back to you to finish the job?
At first, it seemed they were just reacting to old stock flea market stuff…but after talking to dozens of people I figured out that this was not ordinary old stock, casually sold by hundreds of different weekend parts vendors. There were actually two or three semi-professional flea market vendors taking flea market crap they find, cutting (mainly by hand) they hard to find diaphragms and cobbling together “kits” that they were selling for maybe 20% less than my kits while telling people in the flea markets they were the same thing as mine, sometimes even saying they came from me!
We ask you for the pump number from your pump, that keys in to exactly how the pump was built at the factory and what kit parts it should need (as long as nothing has been changed over the last 30 to 70 years!). We make all the parts involved, so if there is some change to one pump over time, we can figure it out and supply the parts that are needed now to fix it.
These flea market guys ask you, “What year car?” and hand you a bag of parts…enough in the bag to let you think you have what you need…but their diaphragms are just a piece of cloth, obviously traced and hand cut. If you have an early pump with a hex nut on the pull rod to unscrew to peel off the old diaphragm and install the new one, fine. But if your pump had a factory assembled and staked diaphragm all you get is a piece of cloth and some complex directions for re-using all the old worn parts in your machine shop, PLUS, their offer to do it for you for an additional fee!
Finally, someone was mad enough to send one of these kits in for me to compare. Here is what you get:
Complete Diaphram Assemblies (New machined steel pull rods, new steel plates, staked and sealed as original), Extra Pulsator (for the later fuel casting in a factory repl. pump), Correct check valves (Check valve gaskets, correct length rocker pin, correct rocker arm spring), Correct Oil Seals (molded freshly in our shop), Correct Oil Seal Retainers.
Flea Market Kits:
(add $20 each to ship your old diaphragms to them to put new cloth on your old worn pull rod!), Pieces of Fabric (2 die cut and one hand cut), Some check valves (but not the rare large fuel valves this pump needs), A rocker pin and spring (spring is short and too tightly coiled- will bind).
Now that’s a………bargain?!?!
So, as always…Buyers Beware!
Then and Now Automotive