Fuel Lift Pump

Apr 5, 2019
44
Catalina 310 323 Brooklyn, NY
Fuel Lift Pump does not come on with ignition switch. It should come on prior to starting correct?
My ignition switch has three detents,
OFF
ON (sounds buzzer)
Momentary ON? Not sure what this does? Glow Plugs?

Just replaced Oil Pressure Switch due to failure.
10A CB located in instrument cluster tests OK.
Fuel Lift Pump tests OK when connected directly to battery.

Thoughts?
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,409
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
SJ. Your lift pump may have a pressure limit switch. If you have fuel in the line under pressure the pump will not run until the pressure drops below the limit.

Are you able to start your engine?

Will it stay running?
 
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KZW

.
May 17, 2014
829
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
Fuel Lift Pump does not come on with ignition switch. It should come on prior to starting correct?
My ignition switch has three detents,
OFF
ON (sounds buzzer)
Momentary ON? Not sure what this does? Glow Plugs?

Just replaced Oil Pressure Switch due to failure.
10A CB located in instrument cluster tests OK.
Fuel Lift Pump tests OK when connected directly to battery.

Thoughts?

It is a three position switch.
- Off, full anti-clockwise
- Power (Run position), instruments turn on, fuel pump turns on, alarms turn on. This is the first position clockwise from Off. Alarm goes off when oil pressure rises. At least it does this on most boats. On my boat I've heard the alarm exactly three times in five years. I still try tracing the source of the issue now and then. This is hampered by the fact that the PO painted the engine, and all the color-coded wires, a nice silver color. On my boat, it is easy to hear the fuel pump running since the alarm isn't going off.
- Glow plugs on. This is the second position clockwise from Off. You must hold it here. It is spring loaded to go back to the Power position. Here in the FL panhandle, I only use the glow plugs in the winter.

Always, always, always shut down the engine with the T-handle before turning the ignition switch to Off
 
Sep 15, 2013
697
Catalina 270 Baltimore
Check your wiring before you replace anything. My lift pump failed once and the problem was just enough corrosion at the ring connection between the frame of the pump and the engine to cause the voltage to drop and the pump to stall. It was particularly fun to troubleshoot because it was a ground. The 12 volt positive was fine. My recommendation is to disassemble and clean (replace if needed) all electrical connections to and from the pump.
 
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Apr 5, 2019
44
Catalina 310 323 Brooklyn, NY
Yes I can start the engine and it runs fine.
At least until the fuel level gets too low I am told. The pump runs continuously when I apply direct power to it so I don’t think it’s a pressure switch?
 
May 20, 2016
2,995
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
Newer universals the lift pump comes on 1) when glow plugs are on; or 2) when you have oil pressure.
 
Apr 5, 2019
44
Catalina 310 323 Brooklyn, NY
So you’re saying I need the key in the momentary position (III) to get the lift pump to operate?
 

KZW

.
May 17, 2014
829
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
Yes I can start the engine and it runs fine.
At least until the fuel level gets too low I am told. The pump runs continuously when I apply direct power to it so I don’t think it’s a pressure switch?
The fuel will gravity feed to the engine until the tank is under 1/2 full
 

KZW

.
May 17, 2014
829
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
I just checked my boat. I was incorrect on the fuel pump. The pump runs in the third position when the glow plugs are on.
 
Sep 15, 2013
697
Catalina 270 Baltimore
SJS. We have the same series of Catalinas and I am pretty sure you have the "High Efficiency Panel". The lift pump will only operate when the key switch is in the momentary (glow plugs on) position. I thought the lift pump was to start the fuel flow before the engine kicks over. I never checked to see if the pump restarts when oil pressure is achieved. The wiring diagram does show the lift pump is connected to the oil pressure switch.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
The fuel pump and glow plugs are wires through the Ford starter solenoid. When you push the key forward (momentary switch) it activates the solenoid. This activates the glow plugs and the fuel lift pump. So with our self bleeding engine all you have to do is push the key forward and the air should be purged from the system. You can test this with a multimeter by looking for voltage at either side of the solenoid with the key on and off.

Then when the start button is hit the current flows through the oil pressure switch and powers the lift pump so it is always running. As said above the tank will gravity feed to about 1/2 full and then it will sputter out because of no fuel.

No the lift pump themselves can go. I have been through 6 or 7 in the 2,000+ hours we have put on this engine. We would typically buy cheap 12 volt lift pumps from Auto parts stores. They cost about $35 a piece and we would have extras. Recently as part of our refit I decided to go with a high quality pump. After some research I chose the Wahlbro. It's a rebuildable pump of much better quality but did cost around $200. It doesn't fit on the engine so I had to mount it in the bulkhead instead. So far I am very pleased with this upgrade.

Here is a tip if you end up doing anything with your lift pump, you can wire a second power lead to it so that you can use it to prime your filters during changes.

I'll try to get some pictures up. But I am anchored in a bay on the northeast side of St. Barts with limited data at the moment.

Good luck and fair winds.

Jesse
 
Last edited:
Apr 5, 2019
44
Catalina 310 323 Brooklyn, NY
Uh oh. Now 20 hrs. later and Oil Press light
does not illuminate and no buzzer when key in ON position.
 
Apr 5, 2019
44
Catalina 310 323 Brooklyn, NY
Disregard, found broken connector on Lift Pump lead. So typical of this Catalina wiring to the Universal it seems...
 
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