Saab 9-5 DIY Fuel Pump Replacement

Looking to replace the fuel pump on your Saab 9-5? Here's a comprehensive guide with images to help you out.

**Obviously, please use common sense when working around fuel. Work in a well-ventilated area, wear protective glasses and gloves, and all that good stuff.**

Disclaimer: I am not a certified mechanic. I have, however, performed this procedure on my Volvo 850 once before. I cannot accept any responsibility for damage done to you or your vehicle as a result of following this tutorial. I am simply a Saab owner looking to share some knowledge. I believe that sharing this knowledge will hopefully support the SaabNet community that has supported me during so many other repairs. It's my hope that others can save a great deal of money by not having to buy the entire fuel pump assembly for $500. Or worse, having the dealer install for $750+.

A few notes before we begin:
- The work was performed on my 2000 Saab 9-5 Aero with 97k miles on it.
- While my fuel pump had not completely failed, I was receiving a "warning sign" - the car would experience extended start times once it fell below 1/4 tank. The pump has also become progressively louder. I replaced it as more of a precautionary measure since I have a long commute. I figured that for about $100 and some of my time, that's relatively cheap insurance.
- I purchased my fuel pump from eBay for about $115. It was a Walbro. They're not easy to find, so be persistent and make sure that you get the right pump for your model and year.

Prep:
- a large plastic drop-cloth
- a rubber mallet
- a "special" tool (I'll explain later)
- flat head screwdriver
- vice grips

- duct tape
- utility knife
- new fuel pump specifically for your model
- new fuel pump assembly gasket

- old rags
- small section (about 6") of fuel line and clamps

 
Step 1: Make sure that your tank is near empty. It will make your life easier...
 
Step 2: Pull the correct fuse for the fuel pump. Mine was #19 - a 20 amp fuse. Start the car and let it die to release any fuel pressure. Also recommend disconnecting the negative battery terminal as another safety precaution.
 

Step 3: Locate the fuel pump access area - beneath a carpeted flap under the back seats. Prep the area with your drop cloth and duct tape, as fuel will spill when you remove the assembly.

Remove the two fuel lines (one black, one white) as well as the electrical connection. Careful not to break the yellow tabs holding in the fuel line.

 

Step 4: Now, for the "fun" part. This took some time, but I eventually got it. You need to remove the specially designed black plastic ring that holds the assembly in place. You can buy a special tool at a dealship to do this (I've been told) or you can fashion your own. I've heard a number of different ways to do it, but I'll describe what I did:

I purchased a 4" shelf bracket and bent it slightly so that it would fit inside the diameter of the ring, positioned so that it would catch on the inner plastic rings. These rings a brittle, so you may break one or two in the process. I then got a pair of vice grips, clamped them at the 90 degree elbow, and then used a thick screwdriver as my turning lever. With some persistence, it worked. Apologies for the blurry picture.

 
Step 5: Remove the fuel pump assembly. Carefully. You will need to pull up, twist slightly, and wiggle it as you pull up to get it out. Shown below: fuel pump assembly removed, rubber assembly ring sitting on the side. Place a large towel over the hole to reduce fumes.
 

Step 6: Go to work on the assembly. You need to do the following:
1. Remove the lower "cup" on the bottom of the assembly to gain access to the pump itself.
2. Begin to disassemble the parts surrounding the old fuel pump - rubber gaskets and strainer.
3. Remove the 2 electrical cords (red + black) - make sure you put them back on correctly later - the pump will have a (+) for red and a (-) for black.
4. Use your utility knife to delicately cut the old fuel line from the top of the pump.

A few other points: The black thing that looks like it's on a hanger is your fuel guage float. Don't bend it! Remember where all of the tubes went initially so you can put the assembly back together correctly.

 
 

Step 7: Keep working. Get everything apart an get the assembly ready for the new pump. Here's a shot of the old pump once I had removed it. You can see the new pump (red cap) ready to be installed. Many folks use new fuel line and clamps since the old black fuel line is hard to work with.

 
Step 8: Re-assemble everything. Do the reverse of what you just did. Make sure that all fittings are tight and that the hoses are not pinched anywhere. Once you have the assembly put back together, make sure that you place your new assembly gasket (large rubber ring shown in step 5) in there. I've heard that some folks coat the rubber with Vaseline to assist with a nice seal. Get your assembly placed back in the same position it was before - again, with gentle twisting and turning. Seal everything up, plug in your fuse, connect the battery, and take it for a test drive!