Much of the cost of fuel regulators is directly related to the materials and the quality of the components used to build them. When you look at an inexpensive regulator, chances are the body of it is going to be cast, while the more expensive pieces are machined from billet aluminum. Inexpensive billet versions are most likely produced overseas with lower quality materials to lesser standards. The price and quality of the internal components also need to be considered. Cheap springs, and cheap rubber diagrams aren’t going to control fuel pressure as accurately as quality regulators will. Many times these components will bring the price up, but when you need precise control of your fuel pressure, it’s well worth the cost.
The type of fuel you run in your race car is going to directly affect your regulator, and the rest of your fuel system for that matter. Regular pump gas, and even some high-octane race gasses have different characteristics than alcohol-based fuels. Methanol, and even fuels that are part-ethanol are much more harsh than non-alcohol fuels. Alcohols break down fuel systems components, including the metals that hard components are made out of. To combat this, manufacturers have gone to harder coatings on components that regularly come in contact with these harsh fuels. Internal components with hard-anodized coatings have become common, and many manufacturers offer products specifically designed for methanol and ethanol blends. If you run these fuels, be sure to look for components design to be used with them.
Fuel pressure regulators have inlet ports and outlet ports. The inlet port is the supply of fuel from the fuel pump to the regulator. The outlet supplies your method of fuel delivery. Multiple outlet ports allow you to supply fuel to more than one means of delivery (multiple fuel rails, or multiple carbs). Multi-port regulators are also used very frequently in nitrous applications in drag racing and on street cars.
For the circle track world, an extra port can be useful if you run a series where they take a fuel sample as part of tech inspection. An extra port can feed a ball valve, giving tech officials an easy and safe way to take a sample.
What It All Means
A fuel-pressure regulator might not be the glamorous part you save for and brag about when you get to the track, but they are extremely important. Controlling your fuel will directly affect your performance on track, and how can you overlook that?