DeatschWerks enters the lightning market with X3 Hanger
Second-generation Ford Lightning owners like me are used to getting ingenious to make aftermarket products work on our beloved single-cab trucks. The Lightning’s limited run and lack of direct support in the aftermarket realm left us to fend for ourselves or band together via forums and Facebook groups to discuss the best method to achieve an end result.
Fortunately, the early gurus provided insight on how to solve nearly every performance dilemma from Lightning’s early days through a do-it-yourself process documented online. However, with the modular motor regaining great power through the use of modern power adders and motor swaps becoming increasingly common, the beginnings of home engineering are left in the dust.
This sad truth doesn’t hit harder than in the fuel tank. Ford’s stock fuel pump bracket hung two fuel pumps on a thin metal bracket. Fuel would be drawn from the baffled region of the fuel tank through an ultra-thin sock filter before being pushed through the pumps and into a Y-connector. From there the fuel would flow to the metered fuel line in fractions of an inch.
Power to the pumps is provided by light gauge wiring that attaches to the fuel pump cap. These leads provide dual amperage based on motor load in the form of a high and low voltage switch. Similar to the operation of a Boost-A-Pump, this multi-voltage method keeps the fuel pumps alive longer than running them constantly at full voltage.
The electrical architecture, fluid flow, and pump placement provide adequate performance in stock form, but issues quickly arise once you start modifying the performance of the truck. In the case of my Lightning 2002, I quickly found problems appearing in all sections.
Ford used a single harness to connect the two pumps in the tank through the use of a jumper wire. This is immediately problematic because the factory pump harness uses a different connector than the aftermarket one. Add to that the hassle of wiring two or three power-hungry pumps on a single 18-gauge wire, and the factory wiring in the tank looks like a recipe for disaster – or at least another attempt to bring down the tank.
When researching why my Lightning stutters at full throttle and frequently has burnt caps, all the answers pointed to the inside of the fuel tank. Ford decided to use a plastic Y-connector inside to join the fuel flow from the two pumps into one. Again on the 93 pump this wouldn’t be a problem but once you add more fuel flow and E85 into the mix it’s yet another point of failure
In my case, I was pleased to see that the fitting had already been replaced with a Home Depot special stainless steel fitting, but the pipes were rough and showed signs of potential leak points. When checking fuel pressure during wide-open throttle spurts, I only saw 40-45 psi in high mode, even after bypassing the low switch. I wanted to test my theory outdoors, but after a small spark caught a fuel vapor, my pumps and connector pressure test shots turned into watching a small, but spectacular, bonfire in my driveway.
The final straw for me was the pipe size. It is commonly accepted that factory fuel lines will hold close to 700 horsepower, but my goals far exceed that number. The idea of risking expensive engine building to avoid running spare lines was quickly dismissed.
Aftermarket options remain rare in the days of Lightning ownership. After all, Ford’s latest Lightning reincarnation was a slap in the face for most enthusiasts. However, a few companies still understand the power of these sport trucks and the cult behind them. Deatschwerk noticed the lack of pump mounts available on the market and decided to bring their high quality fuel components to the truck side.
In addition to being aesthetically the most beautiful piece I will ever see again, the Deatschwerks X3 Series Fuel Pump Bracket for Ford F-150 Lightning 1999-2004 offers huge advantages over its OE counterpart. In addition to increasing fuel delivery capability, the Deatschwerks kit fixes factory faults. Everything from wiring, pump placement and fuel flow is handled, while factory functions such as the fuel level sensor remain intact.
The DeatschWerks unit allows up to three pumps to be mounted on its stand. I decided to use two DW 400 pumps and leave the third slot open in case things got out of control. However, not everyone aims for the moon and can choose the DW 100, 200 or 300 pumps to fill the gap in the billet pump mount.
Instead of trying to route fuel from up to three pumps into a single fitting, DeatschWerks implemented an internal flow junction in the top cap that prioritizes flow from the main pump and allows for add fuel from the remaining pumps. Fuel then exits the top hat through a -10AN fitting. Which brings me to my favorite part of the kit: the removal of Ford’s pop-on fuel line fittings!
Power to the pumps is provided by a series of 5mm power terminals located on the underside of the top hat. The main pump receives a dedicated terminal, while the second and third pumps share a terminal. What excites me about this is that instead of depending on an antiquated high/low switch, you can run staged pumps through an aftermarket ECU. Although my Lightning is currently on the stock ECU, I decided to completely bypass the high/low switch by running a Deatschwerks Dual Pump Wiring Kit.
The DeatschWerks unit’s pump setup, flow, wiring and billet construction all make sense, but it’s the hanger’s ability to cater to the large population of Lightning owners that stands out. You can have a bone stock truck and decide to run two DeatschWerks 100 pumps, or take it a step further with three DW 400 pumps which would produce 1200 l/h with just a 54 amp load. You can run up to a -10AN fuel line from the top hat forward, or cut it down to a more modest -6AN.
The hanger is more than just a fancy pump case, it modernizes the truck’s fuel system to stay competitive in all forms of racing. So if you’re like me and want the best for your truck without having to deal with a fuel system on your own, then DeatschWerks has you covered.