Corrado Fuel Pump Saga

Either the Corrado has been sitting for longer than I understood or gas gets really corrosive as it breaks down (or both).

Replacing a fuel pump on a Corrado should be a quick and easy job. I removed the fuel pump and sending unit from the car via the access panel in the trunk area. Well, to be truthful, I removed what was left of the sending unit and fuel pump. Large parts of it had completely disintegrated and were either gone or had fallen into the bottom of the gas tank.

It was obvious that we were going to need to remove the fuel tank for a cleaning. Luckily, it’s a VW and dropping the plastic tank is as simple as removing a hose and taking out 4 bolts. I siphoned out a lot of the gas (nearly a full tank) to lower the weight before removing, and then a lot of water and a shop-vac make quick work of getting all the remnants of bad gas and fuel pump from the inside of the tank and get it mounted back in the car.

Putting the new fuel pump that was included with the car back in is when we start to find our first clues as to the Corrado fuel system variances. VW starting bringing Corrado’ into the US in 1990. At some point during that year (and I think it’s fairly early in production, after around 5,000 or so being produced world-wide), they decided to completely redesign the fuel system and get away from the transfer pump/fuel pump combo and go to an in-tank fuel pump. That’s when I learned that my Corrado was one of the ultra-rare, early fuel systems that no one sells parts for. #awesome

Where do you go when you need rare parts? eBay and Craigslist, of course. After searching for Corrado parts across eBay and every Craigslist in the US, I found about 6 1990 Corrados that were being parted out (it has to be 1990 or older because of the fuel system change). I texted each one with the part I needed and only 1 replied. He claimed to have the exact part I needed and would update his ad with a photo of it later that afternoon. When he texted me that he’d added the photo, I rushed to my computer and pulled up his ad. Their it was, in like-new condition like it had never been in a car. “What’s your price?” I replied. “Make an offer and it’s your’s” he claimed. I shot back “$30 shipped” thinking he’d negotiate it up some. I waited in excitement. How lucky was I? Finding a part this rare in the first try. But where was his reply? Did I offend him with the price? I don’t know what this thing is worth. The supply is super low, but so is the demand.

I sent him another text to make sure he received my offer. That’s when it all went wrong. His reply was “I don’t ship, local pick up only”. What do you mean you don’t ship? I’m 2500 miles away. That’s a long trip for a $30 part. After a brief one-sided negotiation and me quickly caving with “name your price, no warranty, to put it in a box and mail it?” he quit responding.

I gave up for the day, but returned to my search on eBay the following morning. I found a new listing for a 1990 Jetta fuel pump that did not have a photo. I messaged the seller, hoping that the Jetta had the same fuel system and perhaps changed mid-year 1990 as well. He responded with photos and it was an exact match of what I was looking for. Score!!! I hit the buy now button, paypal’d him the money, $60 shipped and it was to me in two days.

Using a used rubber fuel seal is less than ideal, so I’m still trying to find the right seal for this size pump/sending unit. All the parts stores sell the larger one for the updated pump. Once I find this I hope I can install this thing and hear the Corrado run for the first time.

These photos show that I need to get the Corrado running so I can move it and clean the carport. 🙂