Ford Winstar Starting Problems - Fuel Pump?

Hello, I have a couple of questions for you if you have the time....
My 2000 Winstar has had trouble starting a couple of times, usually after it has ran awhile. So I brought it to my local mechannic
yesterday and gave him the symptoms and then he asked me if I usually ran the gas tank down low before refueling and I told him yea I usually don't refuel until the gas light comes on. Well he started talking to me like I was an ignorant fool and said you can't do that with the Winstar because it burns out the fuel pump which is in the gas tank. Well I had never heard such a thing so I wanted to check here if anyone here has heard of this with the Winstar?
He is going to check the fuel pump and give me an estimate if it needs replacement. I am in the Chicago area. What is a ballpark cost for a new fuel pump plus labor? Thanks for all your help, is is very much appreciated....
Brian
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This is true. Most new car have the fuel pump in the gas tank letting the fuel get below 1/4 full can cause damage. For the cost it will be some where $350 to $700 to replace (cheaper if you "do it yourself").

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Doc wrote:

I disagree about letting the tank get below 1/4 full causing damage. On systems where there is a return line to the tank, as long as you don't run it completely dry there should be enough cooling of the pump to avoid damage.
On cars like my Focus that has no return line, Ford has engineered the fuel gauge and low fuel warning light so that you still have a couple of gallons left when the needle is on E and the warning light is lit, so the pump is always bathed in fuel for cooling. Too bad their fuel pump design was so crappy they had to replace all of them, but mine was done for free after the warranty ran out, so no worries.
It is a good idea to fill up when the tank gets below 1/4 tank just so that you have a reasonable amount of fuel in an emergency, though.
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I don't think the problem is due to the pump overheating because the tank is empty, but the theory that sucking up the debris from the bottom of the tank and running it through the pump kills it.
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Scott wrote:

Unless the pump is on a pivot and it floats, the pump picks up fuel from the same level whether the tank is full or near empty.
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Thanks for the help here. It did help in this case :-}
To summarize what happened so far, my shop could not duplicate the non-starting condition. The computer codes showed a problem with the fuel pump or possible voltage problems. It would have been $550 to replace the pump. I elected to pay the $85 diagnostic fee right now and wait a week or two and see if (when?) the problem arises.
I did replace one of the tie rods because it was really noisy. I was told this was a very common problem on the Winstars?
My '92 Mustang LX Convert has never had this many problems and it is eight years older!!!!
Thanks again, I'll let you know what happens......
Brian
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