The 3 Most Common Fuel Pump Problems on 1987-1999 Chevy and GMC Trucks

Fuel pump failure is common among 1987-1999 Chevy and GMC trucks. Especially nowadays because these trucks are currently a couple decades old. If you suspect that the fuel pump in your Chevy or GMC truck is on its last leg, this article will help you determine if you're right.

Chevy truck

Some of the most common symptoms of fuel pump failure include:

  • Sputtering engine
  • Jerky acceleration
  • Trouble starting the engine

Read more about these symptoms here.

Why could your fuel pump be failing, though? We can think of several reasons. These are the most common causes of fuel pump failure in 1987-1999 Chevy and GMC trucks:

1. Corroded Ground Wire

Sometimes the symptoms of a failed fuel pump may indicate other issues like a bad ground wire. It’s a likely culprit if you own a 1987-1999 Chevy or GMC truck because the ground wire in these trucks is known to corrode. If there is enough corrosion where the ground wire is bolted to the frame, the electrical connection can be weakened or completely fail.

2. Burnt Fuel Pump Relay

The fuel pump relay in older Chevy and GMC trucks is prone to burning out around the prongs. When that happens, the relay is no longer capable of activating the fuel pump, meaning your engine won’t get any gas. Replacing the relay should get the job done.

3. Fuel Level Sensor Failure

The fuel level sensor in OEM Chevy and GMC trucks isn’t well equipped to resist corrosion. Because of that, it doesn’t usually last a long time. When it fails, the fuel gauge doesn’t receive the right information about the fuel level from the sensor. A lot of Chevy and GMC owners mistake this for fuel gauge failure and will often replace the gauge only to continue getting inaccurate readings. To determine whether the issue is the gauge or the sensor itself, grab an ohmmeter and follow the diagnostic steps outlined here.

If you’ve determined that the problem is indeed the fuel level sensor, then you’ll need to replace the entire fuel pump assembly. You can replace just the sensor. But replacing the entire assembly is highly recommended for older trucks because it’s likely going to fail soon anyway.

We encourage you to get an OE-quality replacement fuel pump with a sensor that’s made of durable material. Sensors made of palladium silver alloy provide better durability and corrosion resistance than OEM sensors.

Auteria fuel pump assemblies include high-quality fuel level sensors made of palladium silver alloy. You can find your replacement here:

Diagnosing a Failed Fuel Pump

You can confirm that fuel pump is the issue, and rule out the ground wire or fuel pump relay causing the problem. To do this you’ll have to diagnose the pump with this comprehensive tutorial (or this video):

Why You Should Always Get an OE-Quality Replacement Fuel Pump

We have a piece of advice for anyone who needs to replace a fuel pump: avoid universal fuel pumps like the plague! OE-quality is the way to go because each make and model has a unique fuel system designed to work optimally with the car. An OE-quality fuel pump has the right design and specifications to fit into these systems.

Universal fuel pumps sport a universal design, which means two things:

  1. Additional modifications to the pump and/or other components in your fuel system may be required to fit one of these fuel pumps into your truck.
  2. These pumps have a higher chance of causing issues in other fuel system components.

You can always get an OEM replacement fuel pump. But it’s worth checking out good aftermarket fuel pumps first. Reputable aftermarket manufacturers make a point to improve upon the OEM design while adhering to OEM specs. It’s especially a good idea to go the aftermarket route as a 1987-1999 Chevy or GMC truck owner. It’s common for fellow owners to replace the fuel pump and sending unit multiple times due to inherent issues in the OEM design.

Why Use Auteria Fuel Pump Module Assemblies?

Auteria is a premium brand that offers quality fuel pump modules designed to exceed OEM specs. Having an Auteria fuel pump in your truck means you don’t have to worry about fuel pump failure or malfunction. All Auteria fuel system products are:

  • Thoroughly tested for pressure, flow, vacuum, and amp draw before leaving the factory
  • Made with palladium silver alloy (fuel level sensors only)
  • Equipped with a double filter system
  • ISO/TS-16949 certified

Read more about Auteria’s fuel pumps here.