Auto Maintenance: How to Remove an Air Pump

    November 21, 2013

My wife and I are the only two drivers in our household, although we own four cars. Two of them are my long-term project cars and I was told I could not buy another vehicle until I completed one. Last year, just before Christmas, I was driving home with my two sons after finishing up last- minute shopping. I decided to stop and inquire about an ‘87 Dodge pickup truck (photo below) that had been sitting for several years. The gentleman kindly gave me the truck for free. His wife, as you can imagine, was very happy to have the truck out of their driveway. My wife, however, was not thrilled with the new addition to the family, but she recognized that she had left a loophole in the rules. (I did not “buy” it.)

Now the question…where to begin? Where else? The drive train. The truck is almost 27 years old and a victim of the economy.  It came with a small block V8 (318 or 5.2 Liter) and a 904 automatic transmission. After three weeks of cleaning the undercarriage, two coats of Loctite® Extend® Rust Neutralizer and a coat of frame paint, I started under the hood.  In some states it’s legal to remove the pollution pump (or air pump) after a vehicle is 25 years old. This pumps fresh air into the exhaust and, contrary to belief at the time of its installation, doesn’t do anything for emissions. Removing the useless pump helps to lighten the weight of the vehicle and eliminates a horsepower draw. This particular truck also had a lean burn ignition system in it, so I switched that over to vacuum advance at the same time. When I get a chance, I’ll post the details on this change-over as well.

This photo was taken after I removed the air pump and stainless pipes that connected the pump to the exhaust manifolds.  My goal was to keep the appearance clean and complete the truck as inexpensively as possible.

The pollution pump was removed by disconnecting two hoses and unbolting it from the block.  I read on a couple of sites about some folks changing bolt lengths after removing the pump in order for the throttle return spring bracket and/or power steering pump bolts to tighten back up correctly, but that was not the case on my truck.  Most folks cut the stainless tubes off near the firewall and either crimped or welded them.

The driver’s air pump tube flange, where it attached to the exhaust manifold, unbolted easily from the top of the engine compartment, and the passenger side came out with little trouble from underneath the truck with a long arm reach. After they were disconnected, I fished them out from the top.  I then cut them off flush with the flanges and welded them shut. I coated them up with Loctite® 2620™ Ultra High Temperature, High Strength Red Threadlocker and reinstalled them to plug the holes in the manifolds.  See photos.

I also removed the two barrel intake and carburetor, replacing it with an aluminum intake and four barrel carburetor I purchased used. If you are going to do this, there is one more tube, which runs from the passenger side exhaust manifold up to the intake, which you will need to remove and plug.  This is a baffled bypass that is vacuum operated and circulates heat from the exhaust up to the intake to get the engine temperature up faster. I disconnected the vacuum line. This will keep the baffle in the open position. Once the tubing was out of the exhaust side, I cut the tubing, welded in the flare nut and reinserted it to be used as a plug. A standard tubing plug could have been used here, but I didn’t have one handy (I did have a mig welder). I used the Loctite® 2620™ again as sealant. Here is the final picture of the engine compartment with the pollution pump removed:  

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or auto maintenance or truck repair tips of your own to share, please comment below!


You might also be interested in: Saving Money on Automotive Maintenance; Exhaust Leak Problems & Repairs


About the Author, Loren Nauss

Loren Nauss is currently Business Development Manager for maintenance chemicals at Henkel. In his 24 years of experience, Loren brings expertise in everything mechanical to his personal and work-related projects. Loren's built, assembled and fabricated American and foreign cars, trucks, motorcycles, manufacturing, processing, and pumping equipment. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Business from Eastern Connecticut State University.

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