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It's for noise and splash control, but not critical. My 92 and 93 Daytonas have had one. I think the thick cast aluminum covers are the only ones that didn't have it.
 

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13 psi is way too low. Should be at least 39 psi.

Be sure the fuel lines are connected correctly. Return line is 1/4" hose and should go back to the tank, either to the sending unit or the pump, depending on vintage. The vent line goes from the vapor canister underhood, and the purge solenoid, to the vent valve on top of the tank. It's also 1/4" hose. If you mix these two up, it can cause poor operation and suction in the vent system that makes the pump strain.
 

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1991 appears to be a changeover year from 14 psi to 39 psi, so chances are that your pressure is correct.
 

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Pumps usually die a hard death, or just stick and work intermittently, rather than fail as you think it might.
 

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By intermittent, I meant that it would not die while running for a period of time, but that it simply would not start, unless you tap on the gas tank with a mallet. More likely that your Hall effect pickup is going bad. But run the code check first.
 

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How many miles per quart? When fairly new, these motors could go 3,000 miles per quart, but generally seem to use a quart every 2,000 miles when used, even 1500 miles without smoke or external leakage.
 
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