Pump Pickle


Mr. Ehrenberg, I am trying to change the
fuel pump on my dead grandfather’s 1964
Dodge 880. I took the old pump off with no
problem, but I can’t get the new pump into
place, there seems to be something blocking
it. What am I missing?

Man, does this bring back memories. I
had the exact same problem around 1962,
the first time I tried to swap a big-block
pump. It was on a 300-F (ram induction),
making this job even tougher.
There is a floating pushrod between the
pump lever and the camshaft’s eccentric.
It will slide down when you remove the
pump, blocking the opening. Depending
on the cam’s clocking at the moment, you
may be able to slide it back up and, while
holding it up with a finger, slip the pump
lever under it. If the cam happens to be
positioned wrong, however, you will have
to crank the engine until it can be slid up.
The correct way requires slightly more
effort but can be easier in the long run.
Just below the pump cutout in the block
you’ll find a small Allen-recess pipe plug.

Remove it. The pushrod will probably slide
out as you do this, try your best to note
which end faced up – the pushrod wears
(mates) to the cam’s eccentric just as a
lifter does to a cam lobe.
Coat the pushrod with the heaviest
grease you can find and slide it back in.
Hold it up with a blunt instrument (nutdriver
works well) and have someone
crank the engine over, stop when the
pushrod is at the top of its stroke (might
take a few revolutions to get this right).
Replace the pipe plug and install the
pump and gasket.

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