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DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change

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Old 05-23-10, 09:59 PM
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DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change

Hey guys -

Been saying for quite some time that it really isn't that bad to change an FD fuel filter. Well, today I had a chance to put my money where my mouth was, I took pics and got some hints that might make it easier for you guys.

I timed it - start to finish was right around 20 minutes. Went nice and easy.

First, what you're gonna need.

- Safety glasses. Fuel dripping in your eye is no fun, and you'll also be likely to get some dirt and junk dripping down on you as well. Safety first, kids!

- WD-40. This is the key here. You have to use it to lubricate the rubber fuel lines to easily remove them. If you try to remove it dry, you'll be there a long time.

- Small pair of needlenose pliers.

- Regular size pair of regular flat nose pliers.

- Hose pliers suitable for the FD fuel filter lines. These things are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Harbor Freight sells these as well, get a pair if you don't have them.

- 10mm socket and extension. I usually use 1/4" drive for most 10mm stuff. The 1/4" drive gives you more maneuvering room. If you don't have a 1/4" setup, go get it.

Step 1

Jack up the rear of the car and support it on jackstands. If the car has been sitting for overnight, the fuel pressure in the system should be low. If it's not, start the car and pull the fuel pump fuse or circuit opening relay to kill the fuel pump. The car will stall out and the fuel lines will be depressurized. Also, remove the gas cap, pressure in the tank can push gas out.

Step 2

Remove the metal aero shield that's at the back of the car on the passenger side. You can also remove the plastic one on the driver's side, but it wasn't in the way for me at all.

Step 3

Find the fuel filter. It's above the diff, in front of the rear subframe. Once you find it, get your WD-40 can up in there and squirt some on the 2 fuel lines. You want to wet the end of the fuel line.

Step 4

Use the small needlenose pliers and slide back the hose clamp on the passenger side first (the one that goes to the metal line on the fuel filter that comes around the side of the fuel filter). With it slid back, get the hose pliers up there and twist the fuel line. It will be hard to twist at first and you'll hear a "squeaking" noise, but as you twist and as the WD-40 works in it will twist smoothly. Slide the hose down to where it's almost off but not all the way off.

Step 5

Get your 10mm ratchet and go up between the subframe and the gas tank. There are 2 10mm bolts that hold the fuel filter in place. You'll need to have the right size extension and socket combo to comfortably reach there. Break both loose then remove the 2 bolts.

Step 6

With the filter loose, you can pull it towards the passenger side of the car, allowing you to see the other hose clamp. Use the needlenose or the flat nose pliers to move the fuel clamp out of the way down the hose. Coming up from the passenger side of the diff, get the hose pliers on the hose, break it loose, then push it off. You can clamp onto the hose and pry it off by pressing against the fuel filter's body as a pivot point. Be prepared, once it comes off gas WILL be coming out. When it does, get out of the way and let it drip for a minute or so, then get back in there and take the fuel filter out of the car.

Yay! It's out!

Transfer the new filter filter to the bracket and reinstall. Just work your way backwards - put the driver's side hose on the filter first, then seat the hose clamp. Bolt the fuel filter in - get one bolt started, then get the other bolt started, then tighten both down. Install the passenger side line and clamp, put the rear belly pan back on, done.

Again, the trick is the WD-40 and the hose pliers. That's the hardest part of the job is getting the old hose off the fuel filter.

Let me know if you need clarification on anything.

Dale
Attached Thumbnails DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00127.jpg   DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00119.jpg   DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00121.jpg   DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00122.jpg   DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00123.jpg  

DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00124.jpg  
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Old 05-23-10, 10:00 PM
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Rest of the pics.
Attached Thumbnails DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00126.jpg   DaleClark's 20 minute fuel filter change-dsc00128.jpg  
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Old 05-23-10, 10:18 PM
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The joys of basic maintenance. Great writeup, Dale.
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Old 05-23-10, 10:21 PM
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i need to do this before i make the road-trip back up to NY next month
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Old 05-23-10, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by theorie View Post
i need to do this before i make the road-trip back up to NY next month

Ditto. This was the first thing I did when I got my FD... 8 years ago I think its time to replace it

Nice write-up Dale. Its nice to see someone contributing some valuable information to these forums again.
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Old 05-23-10, 10:44 PM
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Old 05-24-10, 02:09 AM
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Superb writeup, I have been dreading replacing my fuel filter, but it looks like it really won't be as bad as everyone claims it to be.
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Old 05-24-10, 02:29 AM
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i thought ur car was black?!? lol nice write up! dale ftw!!
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Old 05-24-10, 02:51 AM
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guess i finally need to get a set of hose pliers.
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Old 05-24-10, 03:13 AM
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very nice, thanks
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Old 05-24-10, 08:06 AM
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Yep, my car is black - this was on a friend's car I'm working on. My car is also much less rusty .

Every time someone has posted up a thread on relocating the fuel filter, I always think how it really doesn't take that much time to change the fuel filter. In the time it would take to do a fuel filter relocation I could change the stock fuel filter 3 times over. Considering it's something that's not done terribly often (I think Mazda's schedule is either 30,000 or 60,000 miles) I don't see the reason to re-engineer everything so a few years down the road you can save 10 minutes.

Later today I'll post up the length of the socket and extension I used - that's another thing that makes it go easy is having the right length extension to get to the 10mm bolts.

Dale
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Old 05-24-10, 09:13 AM
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Nice write Dale guess I have a new task to do this week.
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Old 05-24-10, 10:09 AM
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Nice addition Dale. I like to keep things that work well stock also.

By the way, do those stripes on your car make it look smaller? Or is just you?

Barry
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Old 05-24-10, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by DaleClark View Post
...Considering it's something that's not done terribly often (I think Mazda's schedule is either 30,000 or 60,000 miles)...
Understood on the "Mazda schedule" however, I usually change mine about every 10K and it's pretty grosse even then. Steve Kan told me a few years back to replace mine annually since he claims that clogged filters and weak fuel pumps are one of the top problem issues he encounters when tuning customer cars. JMO!

Thanks for the writeup Dale. Nice job!!
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Old 05-24-10, 11:07 AM
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Three reasons using an Aeromotive filter relocated on the rear subframe is superior to the stocker:

1) I can change it in 5 minutes, max. Three if I was timing it.
2) The Aeromotive simply outperforms the antiquated stocker, which is 50 to 100 micron, relatively coarse material and allows signifcant fine particulate to pass through to the injectors. The Aeromotive is 10 mircon, it catches more stuff, and it's a larger pleated element. Use what racers use, not cheap Mazda stuff. Clean, high pressure fuel delivery is critical, why not upgrade the filter with all the other stuff you have to replace on these cars?
3) Connections on the Aeromotive are threaded and 100% leak-free. I will never mess with those annoying pinch clamps in a fuel filter application (especially one that was so poorly located) again.

In short, keep the lame stocker is you're a cheap or a masochist, otherwise, chuck it straight into the garbage can with the plastic AST.

Last edited by no_more_rice; 05-24-10 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 05-24-10, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by no_more_rice View Post
In short, keep the lame stocker is you're a cheap or a masochist, otherwise, chuck it straight into the garbage can with the plastic AST.
What a phrase. I couldn't agreed more along with the part to chuck it away with the plastic AST =)

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Old 05-24-10, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for the great writeup, Dale. Time for hose pliers for me, too!

(P.S. I replaced the (broken) original plastic AST at 98K miles with a stock AST, which now has 10K miles on it.)
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Old 05-24-10, 01:02 PM
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I just took advantage of a clutch job to change the fuel filter... no ppf or driveshaft in place plus the diff hanging lower made it easy!
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Old 05-24-10, 04:32 PM
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I can see the logic of upgrading to an aftermarket fuel filter, but 99% of folks won't do it. It's nowhere near as simple as a bolt-in AST, you have a decent amount of plumbing and bracketry that will need fab work, and if any of the plumbing is screwed up you could have a potentially dangerous fuel leak.

For me, the stock fuel filter has worked great, never had issues with it, and it requires no re-engineering to install a new one. The AST is an obvious problem .

Dale
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Old 05-24-10, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by DaleClark View Post

Later today I'll post up the length of the socket and extension I used - that's another thing that makes it go easy is having the right length extension to get to the 10mm bolts.

Dale
AHA! You know this is THE critical thing! I have approximately 13 different ratchets of various sizes, along with 37 different extensions, and no fewer than 4 different lengths of sockets and.....

**** all if NONE of them were the correct combination to get the 'right' length!

I agree 100% with your "20 minute" time to change IF you can come up with the right socket/ratchet combo. OTHERWISE it is a MAJOR pain in the ***, knuckle-busting bitch from HELL!
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Old 07-17-10, 06:27 PM
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Thanks for the how-to, will be doing this tomorrow.
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Old 07-18-10, 09:06 AM
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Old 07-18-10, 11:38 AM
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this is such a PITA ! I'm at 1.5 hours now. Taking a lunch break. I have everything swapped, not just need to bolt filter back in place. Taking this job to dealership / shop next time.
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Old 07-18-10, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by doofy View Post
this is such a PITA ! I'm at 1.5 hours now. Taking a lunch break. I have everything swapped, not just need to bolt filter back in place. Taking this job to dealership / shop next time.
Yeah maybe you should. 1.5 hours? You must suck at this mechanic stuff LOL! Now try installing a VMIC by yourself lol.
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Old 07-18-10, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TRISPEEDFD3S View Post
Yeah maybe you should. 1.5 hours? You must suck at this mechanic stuff LOL! Now try installing a VMIC by yourself lol.
Maybe it's his first time doing it and not having the right too =]. Not everyone is born to do handy work like some of us do.

But I do think installing a VMIC is much labor intensive task =P.

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