How to Replace the Fuel Pump in a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier

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The fuel pump from a 1989 to 2005 Cavalier can be easily replaced as long as the proper precautions are taken to make sure the fuel is not accidentally ignited. Working with fuel requires precautions. The procedure is fairly straightforward and lets you save money by doing the work yourself. With proper preparation, basic auto repair knowledge and the right tools, this job to be done in three hours or less.

Things You'll Need

  • New fuel filter
  • Water pump pliers
  • Rubber mallet
  • Wrench set
  • Jack stands
  • Wheel chocks

Prepare the Car

  • Raise the rear end of the car using ramps or jack stands. Chock the front wheels to prevent it from rolling off of the supports.

  • Remove pressure from the fuel lines. The easiest way to do this is to remove the fuel pump relay in the engine compartment fuse box. Once the relay is out, start the vehicle and let it use the rest of the fuel in the system.

  • Disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent the system from accidentally powering and possibly igniting fuel. Wrap the negative cable with tape to prevent accidental connection.

  • Siphon the fuel to reduce the amount to 1/4-tank or less.

Remove the Fuel Tank

  • Disconnect the rubber hangers on the exhaust system by removing the bolts securing them to the underbody of the car. Allow the exhaust pipe to rest on the back axle.

  • Disconnect the fuel filter hose and the EVAP line by unhooking the connectors, pushing the connectors out of their holders and pulling off the hoses. Disconnect the fuel filler neck by loosening the clamp and removing the hose.

  • Support the fuel tank with a jack stand to prevent it from falling on the floor.

  • Remove the straps holding the tank in place and disconnect the heat shield by bending it to remove it from the rivet holding it to the underbody of the car.

Remove the Fuel Filter

  • Lower the tank far enough to reach in and disconnect the electric lines from the pump. Finish lowering the tank to the ground.

  • Remove the pump lock nut with a pair of water pump pliers to free the fuel pump from the tank. If the pliers do not work, use a piece of wood or a brass punch and a rubber mallet (to prevent sparks) to strike the lock nut in a counterclockwise direction.

  • Remove the pump by pulling it out of the tank. Make sure the fuel drains from the pump before it spills over the floor. Make sure the electrical connector from the old pump matches the new pump. If they are not compatible, check if the new pump came with a wiring harness and change it. If there is no harness, exchange the connector on the pump itself with the connector on the new pump.

  • Replace the O-ring before installing the new pump.

  • Install the new pump by following the removal steps in reverse order.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fuel is a highly flammable liquid and could be set afire by not taking the proper precautions. Wrap the negative battery cable with tape to prevent an accidental connection.

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References

  • "Haynes Repair Manual: General Motors Chevrolet Cavalier & Pontiac Sunfire 1995 thru 2005"; Rob Maddox, Mike Stubblefield and John H. Haynes; 2010
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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