I've broken more than I can count. Most of the time it was the very tip of a valve spring that got into the pump...and locked it solid. I was running brand X springs back then. Upgraded to another brand, and have not had a problem since....knock on wood.
I really don't want to say what brand they were. They worked great, but had a nasty habit of breaking the tips off for some reason.
While you have the pan off, it'd be a good practice to pull the pickup and at the very least, clean the crap out of the screen. If it were me, I'd replace the pickup. You simply cannot get behind the pickup baffle to get the junk out without cutting it apart and re-welding it. They're pretty cheap, and still available at the Ford dealer if you need one. I think Pioneer also makes them, even cheaper. Also look at the end of the distributor where the drive rod goes into it. I have cracked a few of those, especially on 302's (tiny shaft and tiny pump drive rod)
"it is better to appear ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"--Mark Twain
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mavman on 5/16/06 9:04am ]</font>