Michael Galimi
June 1, 2009
Swapping in an Aeromotive Stealth fuel system requires dropping the factory fuel tank and replacing it with this new one, complete with sump.

There are two key ingredients that an engine needs in order to run: fuel and air. The air segment is the easy one, thanks to the abundance of airflow products like blowers, turbos, and fancy engine parts. Moving to the fuel part, there are many solutions to help feed dead dinosaurs to a hungry engine. Those solutions are in the form of adjustable fuel pressure regulators, larger fuel pumps and injectors, as well as multi-pump combos. Like the air induction side, there are so many parts and pieces that navigating through them all can be difficult. That is, unless you open an Aeromotive Fuel System catalog and flip to the section with prepackaged systems, which is what we did.

Like most people, we prefer making simple and straightforward modifications to our Mustang(s). This scenario was no different when it came time to update the fuel system in our '89 Mustang LX. To say it simply, the car has been neglected over the years, and it was time to update the aging fuel system. Some might remember this coupe from the Feb. '09 issue of MM&FF article, in which we slung a Granatelli Motor Sports front suspension under it.

Aeromotive provides fittings, tank, fuel pump, filters, Y-ablock, fuel rails, and wiring components in the Stealth System. It's designed for '86-'93 EFI Mustangs, but the company's catalog has enough parts and pieces for custom systems to be built for any application.

Replacing the worn-out setup is an Aeromotive A1000 5.0L Stealth Fuel System (PN 17147), which includes every bit and piece, from a new fuel tank to the fuel rails. The Stealth moniker describes the hidden fuel pump (submerged in the sump) and it runs silent, barely audible when running and pumping fuel--more on that later.

Over the years, the coupe has seen several different combinations, all of them utilizing a Vortech S-trim blower. In the forefront of every engine combo was an upgrade to the fuel system to keep up with the increased airflow. The first round of fuel mods were a 110-lph in-tank fuel pump, Vortech T-Rex booster-pump, fuel pressure regulator, and larger injectors. That was followed up with a larger in-tank pump (155 lph) and dual external pumps, still with the stock fuel lines. Another increase in horsepower required more fuel to feed the hungry 5.0L. The final system consisted of larger feed and return lines, a single Paxton pump, a pick-up tube (eliminating the in-tank feeder pump), and ½-inch fuel rails.

The First order of business was removing the old setup, which consisted of a Paxton pump and filter as well as larger fuel lines. The system was installed back in the mid '90s and served us well, but the time has come for an upgrade to handle today's rigors of fuel consumption.

Time, unfortunately, has caught up with the car, and the pump quit working for unknown reasons. The corroded wiring probably had something to do with it. Rather than fully diagnose and attempt to fix the problem, we felt it was better to install a new and improved system. Fuel-pump technology has advanced rapidly since the Paxton fuel combo was installed. Also, we plan to add a stroker engine with a 76mm turbocharger later this year, so the coupe will require significantly more fuel when that swap happens. We ventured to DMC Racing where we hoisted the '89 LX on the lift and began pulling off the old stuff.

As we stated earlier, evaluating fuel system parts and pieces could take you in a circle as you try to mix and match your way to the perfect setup. "The complete system eliminates the guesswork. It's easier for the customer in terms of servicing and less chance of failure (Editor's note: pump failure) due to improper installation or pump mounting," comments Jesse Powell of Aeromotive. In the past, users battled for proper pump placement, which caused a host of problems, including pump failure. Most of the failed pumps we have come across are due to poor wiring or bad placement. Improper pump mounting makes it struggle to suck the fuel out of the tank--ultimately the pump burns out.