High Speed Performance Fuel System for the 6.0L Power Stroke

A lift pump, as it’s commonly called on a modern diesel, is not the main injection pump. It simply supplies the main injection system. On a pre-2010 Duramax or late-model Cummins, these pumps supply a CP3 (CP4 on the new Duramax and Power Stroke, VE rotary or P7100 pumps on the earlier Cummins) with a low-pressure supply of fuel that is generally less than 10 psi on stock trucks.

The CP3—the main, high-pressure injection pump—takes this low-pressure supply and ramps it up to a maximum of 26,000 psi (again, on stock trucks). It then injects it into the cylinder, creating the combustion event. Duramax trucks, with the exception of the newest LML models, do not have a traditional lift pump installed from the factory. The CP3, mounted on the engine, pulls all the fuel it needs from the tank. While this is an issue for another discussion, without a lift pump this can cause problems, including but not limited to, air-contaminated fuel, collapsed lines and stressed CP3’s.

On a 6.0L or 7.3L Power Stroke (the 6.4L and 6.7L are common rail engines much like the Duramax or 5.9/6.7L Cummins), the injectors are essentially the high-pressure pump. There is no CP3 to ramp the pressure to 28,000 psi. The early-model Power Strokes use high-pressure oil and a series of differently sized pistons within the injector to pressurize the fuel. These systems (known as a HEUI system, Hydraulic Electric Unit Injector) require a much higher pressure fuel supply to the injectors. A 6.0L likes this supply to be around the 60psi range to run smoothly (yet again, on stock trucks).

1 After removing the intake, upper radiator hose, and both intercooler tubes to gain access to the front of each head, Bud’s Diesel’s Hector Lezama removed this banjo fitting and bolt. The banjo fitting is what supplies each head with fuel.
2 The factory system feeds fuel to the heads through lines into two small holes in the banjo bolt (right). The new HSP system will flow much more fuel directly into each head through this new fitting (left).
3 Once done, each head will get a supply from 3/8-inch line directly.
4 Each 3/8-inch line then runs down to a union fitting that Lezama chose to mount on the frame below the driver’s seat. He chose this location due to its ease of access. If there’s ever a problem, it will be much easier to fix than if it were up in the engine bay where it’s more cluttered.
5 Next up we assembled the HSP kit. It’s a fairly complex kit but came with everything we needed, as well as a set of very well laid out instructions.

In the last issue of Diesel World, the crew at Bud’s Diesel in Southern California installed a set of modestly larger 175/30 (flows 175cc of fuel with a 30-percent larger nozzle) injectors from Warren Diesel on our 2003.5 Excursion, a.k.a. Project Grocery Getter. Warren Diesel recommended we replace the stock lift pump with something larger that could keep up with the new, larger injectors.

So we called up High Speed Performance in Randleman, North Carolina and picked its experts’ brains. Knowing us, never being able to let good enough be, Kenneth at High Speed Performance recommended his high-volume fuel system with a 2-micron filter and water separator. The regulated return, simply stated, helps keep fuel supply pressure at peak levels even at high rpm where the fuel demand is high. This kit consists of a manifold, which takes fuel from the tank with a 5/8-inch line and feeds it through the filter and water/air separator to the engine using a high-quality Fuelab pump. This system completely replaces the stock fuel system and filter, replacing the tiny factory lines with a mix of 3/8- and 5/8-inch lines. For the install, we headed to our local shop, Bud’s Diesel in Southern California for one long day of wrenching. DW

6 The kit includes a water separator as well as a 2-micron filter. It takes a supply from the tank and first sends it to the water separator. Fuel then goes through the Fuelab pump to the filter.
7 Post filter, the fuel is fed to this regulator. The regulator is adjustable for just about any situation.
8 With all parts loosely mounted, Lezamo then slowly tightened every fitting to be sure nothing would be kicked out of alignment and thereby causing a leak.
9 & 10 Generally, this type of fuel system would be mounted on the outside of the frame, but our Excursion has rear air conditioning as well as factory running boards that get in the way. A custom bracket was made and welded to the frame inside the rail.
11 The pump assembly was then bolted in its new home once and for all.
12 & 13 Wiring was extremely simple as the Ford comes from the factory with a small supply pump. All Lezama needed to do was cut the factory plug off and wire it to the new pump. However, the Fuelab pump has two speeds: high and reduced. Kenneth from High Speed Performance advised us to simply ground the speed selector wire. This would put the pump in reduced power mode. With the injectors we’re using—175/30’s—that will be all the fuel we’ll need.
14 The factory supply and return fittings are way too small to supply our new High Speed Performance kit and Warren Diesel injectors. Lezama needed to drill out the factory sending unit assembly to accept two new supplied fittings, one of which would be for the new draw straw.
15, 16 & 17 The pickup tube is made of stainless steel and is a massive 5/8 inch in diameter. It’s long enough to fit any Super Duty or Excursion but needs to be trimmed to fit per application. For our Excursion with the rear-mounted tank, Lezama had to remove roughly 7 inches. This put the tube about a half an inch off the floor of the tank. Perfect distance to avoid restriction while still being able to get the most fuel out of the tank as possible.
18 HSP supplied us with this fitting for the return. It uses two O-ring washers, one on either side of the tank, to provide a tight seal. HSP recommends using a small amount of silicone sealant as well to help ensure a perfect seal. The pick-up tube also utilizes this type of seal.
19The fuel lines then thread on using AN-type fittings. Once tight, the tank could then be reinstalled into the Excursion.
20 Bud’s Diesel’s techs continue to impress us. Before calling the tank done, Lezama did a quick check with his camera scope to make sure there was plenty of room between the cab and fuel pick-up tube. No surprise, we were good to go.
21 With the tank done, pump mounted and the lines plumbed into the heads, all that was left was to plumb the system: return and supply from the tank to the pump, and the supply to the distribution T that feeds the heads.
22 After cycling the key a couple dozen times and cracking the fuel lines at the heads to bleed the air out of the system, Lezama started the 6.0L Powerstroke. He let it idle for a half an hour before taking it on a spirited test drive to be sure all of the air was out of the injectors.
Next issue, we’ll be putting Project Grocery Getter on a dyno to tune it for the new KC Turbo, Warren Injectors and HSP Fuel System. We’re excited to see exactly what we’ve gained from this long week of moding.


High Speed
(336) 617-4580

Bud’s Diesel
(714) 902-1467

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