2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2, Page #39[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Fuel Pump Repair Business Going Strong Since 1978The main skills needed for this business are good eyesight, nimble fingers and being able to do the same thing over and over again without getting bored,” says Feltz Terrill Jr., whose niche company in DeLeon, Texas rebuilds fuel pumps and vacuum advances.
They work mostly on mechanical pumps for cars, tractors and commercial equipment made prior to the 1960’s. Most of his customers own vintage vehicles where they want the original equipment repaired, not OEM replacements. Terrill says his main pump expert Brian has probably rebuilt more than 20,000 pumps in the past 10 years.
“We can rebuild any kind of pump, as long as its mechanical and held together with screws,” Terrill says. “From the late 1960’s on up they’re crimped together, and I can’t do those. All the materials we use inside are modern, so they handle ethanol up to 10 percent. We do pumps for tractors and farm equipment, but our main business is vintage cars and trucks.”
Pumps that come to Terrill’s shop range from thoroughly rusted to partially working. “We usually have to put in a diaphram, a seal and 2 little check valves. Sometimes there’s linkage or a spring that needs replacing, maybe a gasket or 2. We thoroughly clean them and will resurface the casting if its warped. The arm has to be good to make a sound repair. We put in a new mounting gasket with a 1-year warranty and put the pump back together with all new screws. Work is usually done in 2 to 3 weeks.”
Terrill says repairing and rebuilding pumps isn’t something just anyone wants to do or has the skills to do. “My daddy and I got into this because we had access to a big supply of used auto parts. We liked tinkering with old stuff to make it new again. At first we started fixing fuel pumps and water pumps, then people found out about us and it’s just sort of taken care of itself since 1978.” The business still sells other parts for vintage cars and trucks.
Terrill says he’s busy enough that he buys more than 100,000 helmet head screws annually for pump repairs. He charges $85 to $95 to repair and rebuild single action fuel pumps and $105 to $115 for double action pumps. Vacuum advances are repaired for $75. Customers pay shipping both ways, and whenever they call, a real voice answers the phone.
“We’ve got a lot of experience, are happy to talk about the work we do, and we charge a fair price,” says Terrill. “Those are probably the reasons why we’ve been successful.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Terrill Machine, Inc., 1000 Co. Rd. 454, De Leon, Texas 76444 (ph 254 893-2610; email@example.com).
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