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Turbine Fuel Pump Extreme Teardown

Turbine Fuel Pump
Turbine Fuel Pump

Here’s a destructive teardown of an automotive in-tank turbine fuel pump, used on modern Petrol cars. These units sit in the tank fully immersed in the fuel, which also circulates through the motor inside for cooling. These pumps aren’t serviceable – they’re crimped shut on both ends. Luckily the steel shell is thin, so attacking the crimp joint with a pair of mole grips & a screwdriver allowed me inside.

End Bell
End Bell

The input endbell of the pump has the fuel inlet ports, the channels are visible machined into the casting. There’s a pair of channels for two pump outputs – the main fuel rail to the engine, and an auxiliary fuel output to power a venturi pump. The fuel pump unit sits inside a swirl pot, which holds about a pint of fuel. These are used to ensure the pump doesn’t run dry & starve the engine when the tank level is low & the car is being driven hard. The venturi pump draws fuel from the main tank into the swirl pot. A steel ball is pressed in to the end bell to provide a thrust bearing for the motor armature.

Turbine Impeller
Turbine Impeller

The core of the pump is this impeller, which is similar to a side-channel blower. From what I’ve been able to find these units supply pressures up to about 70PSI for the injector rail. The outside ring is the main fuel pump, while the smaller inner one provides the pressure to run the venturi pump.

Pump Housing
Pump Housing

The other side of the machined pump housing has the main output channel, with the fuel outlet port at the bottom. The motor shaft is supported in what looks like a carbon bearing.

Midsection
Midsection

Removing the pump intermediate section with the bearing reveals quite a bit of fungus – it’s probably been happy sat in here digesting what remains of the fuel.

Armature Exposed
Armature Exposed

Some peeling with mole grips allows the motor to come apart entirely. The drive end of the armature is visible here.

Motor Can
Motor Can

The outer shell of the motor holds yet more fungus, along with some rust & the pair of ceramic permanent magnets.

Brushes
Brushes

The other end of the pump has the brush assembly, and the fuel outlet check valve to the right. The bearing at this end is just the plastic end cap, since there are much lower forces at this end of the motor. The fuel itself provides the lubrication required.

Potted Armature
Potted Armature

With the armature pulled out of the housing, it’s clear that there’s been quite a bit of water in here as well, with the laminations rusting away. This armature is fully potted in plastic, with none of the copper windings visible.

Carbon Commutator
Carbon Commutator

The commutator in these motors is definitely a strange one – it’s axial rather than radial in construction, and the segments are made of carbon like the brushes. No doubt this is to stop the sparking that usually occurs with brushed motors – preventing ignition of fuel vapour in the pump when air manages to get in as well, such as in an empty tank.

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Boating: Drydock Time – Running Gear Replacement

Progress
Progress

Things are coming along nicely with this year’s drydock operations.

Blacking - Second Coat
Blacking – Second Coat

Shes looking much better, the second coat of bitumen blacking is on, we’re going to continue at a coat a day until we’re due back in the water.

Shaft Tube Damage
Shaft Tube Damage

I’ve now removed the shaft from the stern tube to gain better access, now the full extent of the damage to the tube can be seen. There’s nothing left at all of the old bearing, which on this boat was simply a nylon bushing pressed into the end of the tube. (I knew it was crap the last time we were out, but ran out of time to get a fix done).
The stainless shaft, having lost it’s support bearing at some point, has been running on the inside of the steel tube, and has neatly chewed straight through it.

Prop Shaft
Prop Shaft

Here’s the prop shaft removed from the boat – possibly the longest shaft I’ve ever seen on a narrowboat at 6′ 2″. Unfortunately, the fact that it lost the bearing has also damaged the shaft itself, this will have to be replaced.

Prop Taper
Prop Taper

Here’s the end of the shaft that would run in the end bearing, it’s badly scored & fitting a new bearing to this shaft would cause failure very quickly. The taper on the end isn’t much better, and a loose fit in the prop has done some damage there also.

Old Prop
Old Prop

Here’s the old prop – a 16×12 that was only fitted a few years ago. This will be replaced with a new 4-blade prop, as this one is far too small for the size of the boat & installed power. Installing a larger diameter prop isn’t possible due to clearance from the swim, so I’ll have to get a more steeply pitched prop, with 4-blades for increased contact area with the water.

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Boating: Drydock Time – The Inspection

Drydock
Drydock

It’s that time again, so the boat is out of the water for it’s 3-yearly maintenance. Some things over the past few months have been bugging me, namely a pronounced vibration in the running gear while underway. (Issue was easy to spot here!).

10-Ton Jack
10-Ton Jack

nb Tanya Louise being a very odd vessel, she has quite a significant keel, so once the dock was drained, some manual jacking was required to get her level on the blocks. Without this extra work there is such a pronounced heel that it’s impossible to do anything on board.

Chocks
Chocks

On the opposite side, wooded blocks are placed for the bottom of the hull to rest against. Jacking up a 58-ft 25-ton boat by hand onto some timbers was nerve-wracking to say the very least!

The bottom of the hull has already been jet-washed to remove 3-year’s worth of slime, weed growth & the old blacking. First job is to get a fresh coat of paint on.

Running Gear
Running Gear

Looking under the hull shows the reason for the high level of vibration – the prop shaft has actually *worn through* the bearing & stern tube, to the extent that there’s not much left of the assembly! The only thing holding the shaft in place at this stage is the stuffing box inside the boat & the shaft coupling to the hydraulic motor.
, stern tube,
A replacement standard-issue Cutless bearing will be fitted, after the remains of the old tube are cut back to make room. To facilitate mounting the bearing, a custom stainless P bracket is being made at a local engineers, for me to weld onto the bottom of the hull.

(Surprised we didn’t lose the shaft, lucky that I kept pestering to get her out of the water!).

More to come as work progresses!