• If you log in, the ads disappear in the forum and gallery. If you need help logging in or getting registered, send request to: webmaster@southernairboat.com

Electric Fuel Pump vs hand primer bulb.


Well-known member
Opinions please. Currently I have only the manual fuel pump on my 0540. Been starting good and runs great. However after sitting for about two weeks, I couldn't get it to start. The manual pump is brand new. Guess it somehow lost the prime. So I have a new Facet electric fuel pump was planning on installing it between the tank and the manual pump. Here's my question. Would I be just as good by installing a hose with hand primer bulb instead? I'm thinking both would work just as good, but in case of an electric pump failure, the manual again may not be able to pull fuel up from the tank. But using a hand primer bulb would. Thoughts? Thanks.
I had a primer bulb on my AV540, squeezed it twice before first start of the day, replaced it once but never had any issues, never ran an electric fuel pump.
Slidin Gator has a nice setup for his electric fuel pump going to his manual on his 540 Stossel boat he uses the electric pump (facet) to prime for the first start of the day
kwanjangnihm said:
I had a primer bulb on my AV540, squeezed it twice before first start of the day, replaced it once but never had any issues, never ran an electric fuel pump.

Unless you route that primer bulb way out of the way, you ain't got arms long enough to squeeze the Charmin and crank/fire your future injected boat. I ain't climbing down from the seat every start for sure. But that really has nothing to do with a carbureted 540 :banghead:

The mechanical pump includes a check valve, but it leaks, just like any check valve. During a day or 3 of running, the carb keeps enough fuel in the bowl to fire off the engine, then the mechanical picks right up. But let it sit for a while and the AV gas in the bowl evaporates out. At the same time, the fuel pump has leaked down.

A primer bulb is a great way to re-prime the system and if you have to do it more than first thing in the morning it's time to start planning a fuel system refurb.

In the good old days the only thing we ever heard about injection was Big Daddy Don Garlits and some BS speed records in California. Us professional cheap skates kept a case of Old Milwaukee simmering in the trunk all day with 3-4 shotguns while in High School. When the bell rang we would jump in the car, not the fuel gauge just above E and head to the woods quick! Back in the carb car motor days the car would run the best right before the bowl ran dry, duhh, she's lean. Timing that coast off the interstate and into the first Shell was an art. Keeping a charged battery to crank until the bowl is filled was another art. All lost on today's youth. :cry:

I use an electric pump for priming vs. the primer bulb. I normally prime with the electric and start on the electric and then shut off once stable. On my carbureted 540 I never use the electric the rest of the day unless the filter clogs. On my injected engine, she ain't starting without a prime. I ain't climbing down from my seat to prime the bulb every start, I go a switch for that.

See the circuit below for my injected engine setup, in my best Crayon. Ball valves are used in place of the check valves on my carbureted setup. Racor filters work best on the suction side of the fuel system, but they clog up quicker. I carry a spare Racor element and a spare electric pump and I have proven you can gravity feed an updraft carb from a 5 gallon jug in the back seat.


In summary, the $15 primer bulb will work just fine, just make sure you have enough fuel line in the parts kit so you can pump the bulb and drive all the way back from the furthest place you are going. It becomes more complicated from there.
Thanks for all the good info gentlemen. I installed the hand primer bulb today and it fired up 1st try. Ran great. There is just less than 3 feet from the tank pickup to the manual, and my primer bulb is only about 8 inches or so south of the manual. So I'm hoping even if the manual does leak down a little, the primer bulb should hold enough fuel to feed the manual what it needs. Time will tell. If all else fails, I can install my Facet electric pump.