: DIY - Fuel filter

03-02-2009, 08:18 PM
- Mainly this is routine maintenance. By the book, I'd recommend replacing every 30K miles, although the size of the filter is so huge, you would probably be perfectly fine waiting until 50K or more
- If there is an issue, low or irregular fuel pressure could cause rough idle, lack of power

- You are dealing with fuel (and probably quite a bit of it). Please have an extinguisher nearby and turn off water heaters, home heaters if they are in close proximity.
- Wear safety glasses in case dirt/debris falls on you from the panel or fuel from the pressurized lines decides to squirt in your face.

1. Jack up the car at the LEFT FRONT. You can roll it onto ramps for easy access.
2. Examine the LEFT FRONT underbody panel. This panel is directly behind the front left wheel and extends all the way towards the middle of the rear left door. It has (by my count) 11 screws and 4 expansion nuts (these are just plastic nuts).
3. Remove all screws and expansion nuts. Support the panel underneath if necessary.
4. The back of the panel is snapped to the panel next to it. You'll have to pull the panel far enough downwards to get it out. This would be more easily accomplished if you jacked the car up higher, but if you toil with it, you should be able to get it loose.
5. Once the panel is removed, you should be able to see the fuel filter.
6. At this point, I would recommend you run the car and disconnect the fuel pump fuse while it is running to try to remove some of the fuel in the fuel lines. This is not an absolutely required step, but it will help. The fuel pump is fuse #73 in the right-side fuse panel in the trunk. Start the car, then remove this fuse while it is running. The car will eventually stall and stop.

6A. DISCONNECT BATTERY (for safety - I didn't though - so take your own chances)


7. Using a flat blade screwdriver, untighten the 2 hose clamps at the rear of the fuel filter.
8. The fuel lines will likely not pull loose until you break them loose. To do this, I took a pair of vise grips to grab the end of the hose where it connects to the fuel filter and twist it. You should hear/feel it snap free a bit. Then you should be able to slide the lines off. If you can't get good leverage, you may want to take the fuel filter loose from the body first (see step 11). BE READY TO CATCH FUEL - LOTS OF IT :)

Make a NOTE of which lines go where - don't get them reversed...

9. Remove the vacuum line at the front. DO NOT PULL on it if it is stuck (it seemed a bit flimsy and might rip/break). I used a flat blade screwdriver to wedge on the edge of it and slowly push it off from the front (instead of pulling from behind). Take your time. You don't want to have to replace the vacuum line - :thumbup:
10. Now remove the front fuel line the same as you did the rear (in step 8).
11. There is a bolt (I think 10mm) holding the fuel filter to the body. Remove this bolt and the fuel filter should drop out.
12. Get the new fuel filter and push the lines back onto the fuel filter as far as they were previously. Don't forget to ensure you have the hose clamps in place ahead of time or you'll end up having to take the lines off again...
13. If you didn't notice already, the hose clamps cannot be tightened with a flat blade screw driver (they can only be loosened). To get around this, vise grips to the rescue... The screws are rectangular in shape and you can clamp a vise grip on them and turn it slowly until you get it tight. Maybe you are lucky and don't have "normal" hose clamps on your car, but mine had these weird ones.
14. If you disconnected the battery, hook it back up. Insert key in the ignition. DO NOT PRESS BRAKE and press the Start/Stop button. Remove key from ignition. REPEAT. This should pressurize the lines with fuel before you attempt to start the car. Otherwise, you may cause your car to "throw a code" and you'll have to clear it.
15. Start your car. It may run rough initially but should smooth out in just 10-20 secs.
16. While the car is running, check underneath and make sure there are no leaks.
17. Shut down the car.
18. Remember that panel? Put it back. This was the most annoying part for me. I'm assuming you can figure that part out.