Almost all vehicles on the road today, including the 1997 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck, come with a fuel pump. The fuel pump sits inside the gas tank and helps ensure a steady flow of fuel from the tank to the engine. The fuel pump needs to be replaced every so often to ensure that the engine receives the fuel it needs as the truck drives. Because the fuel pump sits in a difficult-to-reach place, it is important to troubleshoot whether it needs to be replaced or whether another part of the fuel system has malfunctioned.
Check the truck's fuel pressure. Attach a fuel pressure gauge to the Schrader valve of the engine. The valve is at the top of the engine block and looks like the air valve on a automobile tire. Screw the gauge to the valve, turn on the truck and let the engine idle while you read the pressure level on the gauge. The 1997 Chevrolet 1500 pickup should have between 60 and 66 pounds per square inch of fuel pressure.2
Determine whether the fuel pressure regulator is working right. Even if the fuel pressure gauge reads that the pressure is low on the truck, the regulator may be the cause instead of a faulty fuel pump. Leave the fuel pressure gauge attached to the truck's Schrader valve, turn the truck on and let it idle. Find the black fuel line running to the fuel pressure regulator at the top of the engine. Gently pinch the fuel line next to the regulator with pliers. If the pressure increases as you pinch the line the regulator is faulty, not the fuel pump.3
Listen to the fuel pump before the truck's engine starts. Put the truck's key into the ignition and turn it one notch to the right. The fuel pump should begin working at this point. Because the engine is not yet on you should be able to hear the pump on behind you in the gas tank. Be sure to perform this test in a quiet environment or have a second person help you listen for the pump while you turn the truck's key in the ignition.4
Learn and watch for the truck to exhibit signs that the fuel pump has failed. The two major signs to watch for are the engine stalling when the accelerator is pressed and the engine refusing to start at all.