SUMMARY: The fuel pump I bought uses a pulsating flow which shakes everything – Not Acceptable for CPU cooling.
I have received a number of emails asking about using a fuel pump for water cooling, so I bought one to try out. This one is a Master E8016S and sells for about $40 at Auto Zone. The compelling reason to use something like this is that it runs on 12 volts DC rather than 120 volts AC, so it makes the hookups very simple. The pump also comes with a “Lifetime Warranty”, so I guess that’s a plus.
It’s fairly compact; the body measures about 2 1/2″. With the nipples attached, about 7″ total length (no filter). Diameter of the body is about 1 3/4″. It comes with assorted parts including a mounting bracket and the nipples you see in the pic above. You can use other fittings than these – the threads are standard, so any number of brass fittings can be used.
To test it out, I first removed the fuel filter, then hooked it up to a radiator and waterblock, powered it with an AT power supply and turned it on. First thing I notice is that the pump is jumping all over the place. This pump uses a pulsating motion; this results in a very noticeable throbbing throughout the system – hoses, radiator and waterblock are rhythmically jumping around.
Basically, the pump pounds water through the system at about 2.5 – 4 PSI; the more familiar aquarium pumps result in a continuous, smooth flow – no pounding, no vibrations.
I secured the pump to see what happens – everything bounces around except the pump. If you feel the water hoses, you feel the water throbbing through the system.
Now, I don’t know if all fuel pumps are of the pulsating type, but I can’t see how there is any advantage to using a 12 volt vibrator in a computer system. I can imagine the racket if you bolt the pump to a case (although the pump itself is fairly quiet). I can’t recommend this approach, although I’m more than happy to post anyone’s experience using a fuel pump.
In sum, considering it costs as much as an EHEIM 1046, I’d definitely go with the EHEIM – no contest.
PS: If you want this pump, I’ll sell it for $30.