Fuel Filter Replacement

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Thanks go to Hugo Teufel, Joe Aubertin and Scott Patterson.
The fuel filter is located about a foot in front of the right rear wheel along the frame. It is the same filter installed in many Ford vehicles and aftermarket versions are available at any auto parts store. Unless you decide to release the fuel pressure from the manifold (see below) the only tool you will need is a screwdriver. Access to the filter is tricky, in particular, the plastic hairpin clips that hold the push connect fittings on the fuel hoses to the filter.

The replacement procedure follows:

  1. Depressurize the fuel system. Locate the impact switch - it's inside the trunk behind the left wheel arch. Either shake it to trip the switch or unplug it. As you are shaking the switch, you will likely hear the switch activating. Run the engine until it stalls (the switch cuts out the fuel pump).

    Note: The impact switch in the trunk only cuts the 12V power supply to the fuel pump to reduce the risk of fuel-fed fire in a severe accident. It does NOT prevent the engine from turning over. The switch does not affect the starter.

    Turning over the engine will release some, but not all, of the pressure in the fuel lines. To release the remaining pressure, find the pressure relief valve located on the fuel rail on the top of the engine. It is similar to a bicycle tire Schrader valve and has a black plastic, screw-on cap. To safely release the fuel line pressure, attach a tight fitting rubber hose to this valve and place the open end of the hose into a catch container (plastic bottle). To open the valve, use a straight pin (needle) to pierce the rubber tube and depress the stem in the center of the valve. Fuel pressure vents to container, no spray, and no spill. Place a paper towel around the valve, pinch the hose just above the valve and pull the hose off the valve. Once removed, raise the hose over the container, release the pinch and allow the fuel in the hose to drain into the container. This will minimize the spillage when removing the hose form the valve. This procedure releases all of the fuel line pressure. The only fuel released during removal of the filter is from gravity drain and is much easier to contain.

    Note: You do not need to depressurize the system, OR trip the safety fuel cut off impact sensor. Just disconnect the fuel filter and hold a rag over the end you are disconnecting. Keep in mind that the if you don't depressurize, you will have a lot of pressurized gasoline flowing out of the hose!

  2. Next, return to the filter, carefully remove the clips from both ends of the fuel filter, and ease off the hoses. Beware! Expect a pint or so of fuel to empty out of the hose. If you did not relieve fully the pressure, expect fuel to spray about, catching the frame, gas tank, and anything else in the area. If so, expect a spray and immediately point the hose into the catch pan.
  3. Loosen the filter-clamp and juggle out the filter. Be patient as the access is tight.
  4. Put in the new filter (with the "fuel direction" arrow pointing in the direction of fuel flow) with the nozzles protected. Tighten the fuel-clamp with the screwdriver. When done, remove the protection, clean the assembly and slide on the hoses. Get the new hairpin clips and use them to secure the hoses to the filter.
  5. Reconnect or reset the impact switch and turn ignition to "on." DO NOT crank the motor. While the ignition is in the "on" position, wait a few seconds. You should be able to hear the fuel pump hum. Turn off the ignition. Now turn it on again. Listen for the fuel pump to stop, turn off the ignition, and then turn on yet again. Only after a few times of this cycle, and a check of the filter for leaks, should you start the car. It should start without cranking a lot as it would normally.

    Note: On some cars you can actually hear the fuel as it fills the new filter, and then makes its way to the fuel lines.

  6. Continue to monitor the filter for leaks occasionally.