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Old 11-14-2008, 03:42 PM   #1
Rick Norwood
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Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

I really don’t think there is any single maintenance item that will save you more time and avoid costly repairs for the price invested, than to regularly replace your Fuel Filter. One of the simplest and most important preventative maintenance items you can do is to replace it once a year. If you put a lot of miles on your vehicle, you may need to change it more often.

The old rule of “It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it” does not apply here! There is no way to tell if your fuel filter is dirty or partially plugged. A partially plugged fuel filter may not make your vehicle run noticeably bad. However, as the fuel filter traps dirt and debris from your fuel tank, it takes more and more pressure to push the fuel through it, and sooner or later, the fuel pump will not be able to stand the increased pressure and it will ruin the pump and stop pumping fuel. At that point, replacing the filter is too late, the damage is done, and you are looking at a very costly repair.

In today’s vehicles, fuel pumps are installed inside of the Gas Tank and run with electricity. These new style of pumps have to deliver 60 lbs. of pressure to start the engine. Older fuel pumps that were mounted on the side of the engine block only had to pump fuel at 5-7 lbs. and were mechanically driven off of the cam shaft inside of the engine. Replacing the new fuel pumps requires the Gas Tank to be removed from the underside of the vehicle.

New Fuel Pumps start at about $100 USD and can go as high as $800 USD depending on the year, make and model, and whether you buy OEM or Aftermarket. This price does not include installation; this is only the part cost. You can expect to pay at least $200 USD or more for labor, or spend 2-4 hours if you do it yourself.

The actual location of the fuel filter varies from model to model. It is usually found underneath the vehicle, just forward of the Gas Tank and is secured to the frame with a clamp. When you go to your favorite Parts store, ask them for a new fuel filter for your make and model, then, when you crawl underneath your vehicle you will know what to look for.

A $10 USD investment along with 10 minutes of your time can and will save you a lot of money and a big headache. I am not saying that replacing your fuel filter will eliminate fuel pump failure, nor am I saying that if you routinely replace your fuel filter that you will never have to replace your fuel pump. I am saying that replacing your fuel filter regularly will go a long way to give you the longest life possible out of your fuel pump. Pick a date that you won’t forget, and make it a point every year. Do it on your birthday and call it a present to yourself, but just do it. I do mine twice a year, on the 4th of July and New Year's Day.

I actually cut apart a plugged fuel filter one time, expecting to see a coffee cup full of sand and crap clogging the element, but there was absolutely nothing but a discolored element. Nothing loose came out and the particles clogging the element were so small that they were not visible to the naked eye. Try this to prove it to yourself. Once you have the old filter out of the vehicle, and before you install the new one, drain all of the gas out of the old filter, cover the end with a rag (if you don't like the taste of gasoline), and blow through the old filter, then do the same with the new one and compare the two. You will see a huge difference. I have seen fuel filters so plugged up that you could hardly blow air through them.

I have not written this for the experienced mechanic, but for those people that are new to do it yourself repairs. That is what this forum is all about. (Sorry guys, Deal with it).
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:41 AM   #2
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Thumbs up Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

I just want to thank you for reminding me to change my fuel filter. I recently bought a used 96 blazer with 98000 miles. I purchased the fuel filter but I got caught up in messing with the coolant which was stiil the original Kool Aid orange stuff Chevy puts in it. I forgot to change the filter so after reading your post I promptly did so, and none too soon. The fuel coming out was without exaggerating BLACK! It was the original manufacturers filter ! Holy Crap I could'nt believe it the guy that owned it prior apparently only knew to change the oil. I'm hoping this will encourage my fuel pump to keep on keeping on for another 100k! So now I'm definitely giving this beauty a full tune up.
I'm afraid to see what the injectors look like. Got any recommendations on injector cleaners? I've read about Lukas products and recently heard about seafoam I'm just looking for something the give the entire fuel system a good cleaning. I have also heard lots of good stuff about marvel mystery oil but I don't think it will help remove deposits?
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:39 AM   #3
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Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonsblazer View Post
I just want to thank you for reminding me to change my fuel filter. I recently bought a used 96 blazer with 98000 miles. I purchased the fuel filter but I got caught up in messing with the coolant which was stiil the original Kool Aid orange stuff Chevy puts in it. I forgot to change the filter so after reading your post I promptly did so, and none too soon. The fuel coming out was without exaggerating BLACK! It was the original manufacturers filter ! Holy Crap I could'nt believe it the guy that owned it prior apparently only knew to change the oil. I'm hoping this will encourage my fuel pump to keep on keeping on for another 100k! So now I'm definitely giving this beauty a full tune up.
I'm afraid to see what the injectors look like. Got any recommendations on injector cleaners? I've read about Lukas products and recently heard about seafoam I'm just looking for something the give the entire fuel system a good cleaning. I have also heard lots of good stuff about marvel mystery oil but I don't think it will help remove deposits?
Your Welcome and Thanks for Posting back.

As far as a Fuel system Cleaner, the only brand I use is the Techron stuff from Chevron. You can buy it at AutoZone for about $10 USD, and most places sell it in two different sizes for 10 or 20 gallon tanks. I don't mean to sound like a TV commercial, but if the system has been neglected for that long, I would repeat the treatment 2-3 times.

When I bought my 2000 Jimmy SLE, the Dealership mechanics told me that GM sells a fuel system cleaner for these trucks at about $25.00 USD per bottle, but if you looked real close at the bottom of the bottle you would see the Chevron symbol molded into the plastic bottle. Then they told me as a side note about the Techron stuff I mentioned and it was the same basic product. Someone on this forum did an MSDS sheet comparison on the two different products and found that the GM stuff had 1 additional ingredient which was (approximately) less than .5% of the bottle. I would suggest that after using any fuel system cleaner product that you plan on replacing your fuel filter again in about 6 months or so as the built up stuff from the inside of the tank will ultimately end up in the filter again.

I cannot honestly comment about the Marvel, Seafoam or Lucas Fuel System cleaners. Never used them.
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Old 08-27-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

Seafoam is amazing, I used it more as an injector cleaner for my olds 89 3800. that stuff made that car come to life, i was amazed. So I have since used it in other applications and it never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:31 PM   #5
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Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

Well I am staying true to form, (well almost, I missed it by 1 day). I changed my Fuel Filter again today. I know it's colder than a Well Digger's @$$ in the Yukon, but don't let it slip. The damage is tooooooo great if you don't change your Fuel Filter at least once a year. I change mine as close to New Year's Day and the Forth of July as I can.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:44 AM   #6
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Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

The Snow is melted and it is Time. Get out there and change that Fuel Filter!
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:11 PM   #7
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Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

Did mine this afternoon, in 110 F sunshine, July 2nd, 2 days early for $10 and 10 minutes.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:23 AM   #8
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Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

I know it's become a ritual for you, but what happens when you buy a vehicle with no external fuel filter.....
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:08 AM   #9
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Re: Fuel Filters. Two words. Replace them!

I have one of these vehicles. Apparently there is nothing to change. I was surprized at this too. I sure hope the genius in Detroit that removed the Fuel Filter from these systems also made provisions in the Injectors that allows the crap to pass through without clogging.
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