Before we delve into how to find and solve VP44 pump problems, we need to learn a little more about the VP44 pump itself. Sadly every 98-02 Dodge Cummins engine is destined to have a problem with the vp44 sometime in it’s life. Not to worry though! Diesel Addict will arm with the most information possible to make the problem a piece of cake. Lets learn more about VP44 pumps below!
The fuel injection pump (VP44) is an electronic rotary distributor pump. The pump performs four basic functions. It first produces the high fuel pressure required for fuel injection. The pump also meters the exact amount of fuel for each injection cycle. As the diesel fuel moves through the VP44 it is distributing the high-pressure, metered fuel to each cylinder at the precise time. The fuel pump then varies the timing relative to your Cummins engine speed.
What caused my VP44 pump to fail? How common are VP44 injection pump problems?
The most common cause of VP44 failure is to lack of fuel. Dodge trucks 98.5 and up are notorious for having weak lift pumps. Unlike most injection pumps the VP44 is fuel cooled and lubricated. Therefore, if its fuel supply comes from a weak lift pump, it is very easy for the VP44 to overheat and cause damage to itself. This lack of fuel results in one of two types of failure within the VP44. One is that the diaphragm inside of the pump is damaged and does not allow the pump to build up the appropriate amount of pressure. The second is that the overheating causes the computer portion of the pump to also overheat and thus, creates a communication failure between the ECM and the Injection pump.
What is wrong with my VP44 fuel pump? Trouble code P0216
The most common mechanical failure of the VP44 pump is rupturing of the diaphragm in the front of the injection pump. The diaphragm ruptures allowing the timing piston to vibrate and damage the front cover until fuel bypasses. This will cause the dreaded check engine trouble code P0216. When this occurs your Bosch VP44 Injection Pump must be replaced. The rupturing of the diaphragm is caused by a poorly designed lift pump. When the lift pump does not supply the Injection pump with the correct amount of Fuel Pressure (a minimum of 5psi under load at wide open throttle) the diaphragm then doesn’t have enough positive pressure and ruptures. Dodge has recognized this problem as they will no longer even sell the lift pump that goes on the side of the block; they replace it with a unit that is now mounted in the tank. The average cost of having the lift pump put in the tank is about $800.
What is wrong with my VP44, truck will not start or has white smoke? Dead Pedal
A seized rotor is a common problem with 98-99 trucks or ones with a rebuilt pump without an upgraded rotor, coating, and distributor. This mechanical failure of the VP44 is located in the head of the pump and is a communal problem that has plagued the Cummins engines for a long time. According to Bosch this failure is a poorly “de-burred” rotor. This is a problem in the machining, but has been phased out in later years of production. A seized rotor can be contributed to the lift pump not providing enough fuel to the injection pump. Diesel Fuel is used as a lubricant, so when there is an insufficient amount of fuel the rotor does not get lubricated properly. If you are hitting high RPMs down the road and this is happening, you are not getting the lubrication your pump needs and you are likewise going to run into problems. If the rotor seizes the truck will not start and the VP44 Injection Pump must be replaced.
The last reason for the failure of the VP44 pump is electrical problems with the computer on top of the pump. Heat is the main reason associated with this problem, causing the soldered components to become crystallized over time and make bad connections. Lack of fuel is again part of the problem, because the VP44 is cooled with fuel instead of oil (as the old P7100 12valve pumps). When this problem occurs you will usually experience intermittent hard starts, white smoke and what’s usually referred to as “The Dead Pedal”.
What is the cause of a hard start?
Hard starts, as they relate to VP44 injection pump problems, are caused by lack of fuel or over pressurization by the lift pump. If a lift pump is going bad and failing to supply the proper amount of fuel to the injection pump, then the truck will hard start due to lack of fuel. However, if a new lift pump has been installed and is pushing over 15 PSI to the VP44 injection you can also get hard starts. The VP 44 is a very sensitive pump and needs approx. 12 PSI to run properly. Once you start getting about 15 PSI to the injection you actually begin to over pressurize the pump and cause it to act as if you had flooded the engine.
The above question “What is wrong with my VP44, truck will not start or has white smoke? Dead Pedal” may help in solving hard starts as well.
What will void my warranty on my VP44 pump?
The VP44 pumps will not be warrantied if a user taps or splices the pump wire and does not use a stealth cover. This is where having a BD Diesel stealth plate comes into play. The Stealth Cover for the 1998.5 to 2002 Dodge 24V fits onto the VP44 injection pump, providing a secure, sealed connection instead of notching the pump wire for power mods. If the wires are cut in any way the pump is no longer under warranty, and any repairs that need to be made to the injection pump will be the buyer’s responsibility.
It is also not advised to run bio-diesel fuel in your fuel tank because it gums up the internals of the pump and rusts the diaphragm. Running bio diesel through your engine will also void the warranty of a pump. VP44 fuel injection pumps are a great pump and work very well only if you give it the right fuel. It is also highly recommend to not be using cheap filters or watered down fuel to improve the quality of life of your VP44.
Where can I buy a VP44 pump?
Having VP44 pump problems? Thoroughbred Diesel offers replacement Bosch Vp44 Fuel Injection Pumps that have been rebuilt by a certified Bosch tech and have been tested on a test stand for 4hrs before the pump is sent to a customer. Bosch VP 44 diesel pumps are also upgraded with all the latest upgrades required by Bosch. The VP44 injection pumps come with a 1yr unlimited mileage warranty. If you unsure or just want some free advice on your pump you can reach them at (866) 737-4966. VP44 injection pump problems are going to happen but we are here to help.
Thoroughbred Diesel also offers several replacement lift pumps, which are better quality than what comes from the factory. If you are placing performance parts on your truck it is highly recommended that you use a performance lift pump such as the Airdog or Fass Fuel Systems. An Airdog or Fass Fuel System will supply the Injection pump with the fuel pressure that it needs no matter what performance upgrades you have on your truck.
Whether you are looking for a stock VP44 pump or a high performance one for those days at the track Thoroughbred Diesel has the pump for you! We also offer VP44 packages that nobody else offers.