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How To Build A Fuel System

The Key To Longevity And Maximum Power In High-Horsepower Applications Is Feeding The Thirsty Beast

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One of the most critical parts of a street/strip machine is its fuel delivery system, yet it’s frequently overlooked or underbuilt in favor of shinier, sexier parts, either because of lack knowledge or the can’t-see-it-so-I-don’t-need-it mentality. Whatever it is, the key to longevity and maximum power in high-horsepower applications is feeding the thirsty beast. Whenever you create a lot of pressure in the cylinder chambers, more fuel is required to supply the combustion.

Too little fuel can cause a lean condition, possibly leading to serious internal damage, and definitely compromising power. With reputable fuel-system companies like Barry Grant Fuel Systems (BG Systems), there is no reason to be lost in the feeding game. The folks at BG offer superior pumps individually, and better yet, have what we consider the most complete turnkey fuel systems available for applications ranging from mild street cars to full race cars. The complete kits make it easy and economical to get your fuel system put together properly the first time.

On our ’86 Mustang, we decided to install a BG 220HR pump and fuel system to feed the motor side of the junkyard 302 we’re bolting into it. Since we made 406 hp on the motor, this 220 gph pump is ideal for supplying the engine’s fuel requirement and maintaining streetability. The 220HR uses a bypass-style fuel regulator (see the Regulators sidebar) with a return line to reduce the burden on the electric pump and allow it to run continuously on the street without overheating. On the nitrous side of the equation, we have to feed an additional 250 bottle-fed horsepower without a hiccup. At that power level, we’re wary of running a single fuel system for both the engine and nitrous with this big a bottle hit, even though we know some racers who do it successfully. But for safety’s sake, we insisted on two systems. Originally, our intent was to run a second 220HR pump to the nitrous system and connect both to a single return line to the 12-gallon cell we ordered from Summit Racing Equipment. After speaking with Mike Knowles at BG, we decided that the fuel volume would be too great for a single return line and could result in abnormally high line pressures. As a result, we ended up with two complete, independent fuel systems and return lines to handle the fuel needs of both the motor and nitrous unit.

Check out the schematic for the plumbing details. It’s a bit of overkill, but it meets the unique needs of a streetable nitrous car making big horsepower. Once all the components arrived in a single box from BG, installing it was pretty simple.

SOURCES
BG Fuel Systems
Rte. 1, P.O. Box 1900
Dahlonega
GA  30533
706-864-8544
Summit Racing Equipment
P.O. Box 909
Akron
OH  44309
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