Fuel filter replacement nightmare

Messages
4,447
Location
Kuwait
On a Mercedes ML V8 (W163). Had to remove the left rear seat, carpet, left rear tire and mud guard to access the bloody thing, and the location was still pretty tight in terms of space. Did I mention you need a heat gun as well to remove a sealed cover on top of the wiring connections? Or how much care is needed not to snap any fragile trim pieces? Suppose sealing the cover on top of the connection was cheaper for them than to put a clip or bolt onto it. Had I taken it somewhere for the job, they would have typically attempted to pry the cover off, scratching everything in the process. Inevitably, they would have bent the cover as well. Why couldn't they have made it more practical to remove on a $60,000+ truck?! Since the fuel filter is located under the vehicle, it would have made sense to place all the wires under the vehicle - instead of under the left rear passenger seat! The filter has a regulator built into it, so there are several connections...but why the wiring couldn't have been located in a decent position underneath the vehicle is beyond me. Such a strategically, well placed location for something that needs changing every 25,000 miles. You need about 3 hours to change it, with beer break in between (whilst swearing like there's no tomorrow). Never had much 'pleasure' in servicing or repairing newer German cars...they seem to love over-complicating things. Could have been worse though...new VWs seem to be a real PITA to do anything on. But working on something like a Mercedes W115 or W123 is much more straightforward. In fact, give me a W123 over a new Mercedes any day of the week! Easiest fuel filter replacement I did was on a '01 Camry...took less than 5 minutes. On my Montero it's pretty straight forward as well, but it's a hassle to go under the truck. Was the same with my Grand Marquis. Probably best paying someone next time round, but I'm worried about that cover that is sealed in place. Nobody would care as much, and think because it isn't immediately visible, it won't matter if its scratched or bent.
 

djb

Messages
776
Location
Los Gatos CA
I don't understand the motivation behind the recent move to combine the pressure regulator and fuel filter. I expect a regulator to last far longer than the typical fuel filter change interval. (I also expect a reasonable fuel filter change interval is 50K or 100K miles.)
 

Falcon_LS

Thread starter
Messages
4,447
Location
Kuwait
The recommendation here is 50,000 km (30,000 miles) for severe service, but I like doing it earlier if time permits. Better out the way, rather than later as was the case here. The one I removed had 55,000 km (35,000 miles) on it (4 years) and was already restricting fuel flow...seemed to be partially blocked. There was a very noticeable difference in the way the engine ran and performed after the change.
 
Messages
6,987
Location
Michigan
My 2000 Sebring convertible is a nightmare also. You have to remove the back seat to access the wires to the fuel pump and then drop the fuel tank as the stupid filter is place above the fuel tank.
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Mine's a nightmare because the filter and line have become one hunk of iron oxide. If it ever gets replaced it's going to a mechanic. I'll gladly pay to not dink around with cutting and patching fuel line.
 
Messages
1,676
Location
Waldorf, Maryland
My 1998 Corvette is not too bad, it is under the car, but space is little to get tools on it to release. Factory says replacement is not needed unless restricted, I replaced at 100,000 miles. Later years have it combined with fuel pressure regulator. Still later years (2004 and up) have it in the gas tank (what a pain).
 
Messages
9,562
Location
Ontario, Canada
Sounds like cleaning the injectors would be easier, if they ever need it. Has anyone actually found anything in their fuel filter on a scheduled change? I'd think that until the tank starts rusting you wouldn't get much debris in there.
 
Messages
1,478
Location
Iowa
 Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Sounds like cleaning the injectors would be easier, if they ever need it. Has anyone actually found anything in their fuel filter on a scheduled change? I'd think that until the tank starts rusting you wouldn't get much debris in there.
When I disconnected the fuel line from the back end of the filter on my wife's car, the gas that drained out of the filter was almost black. I had a big wad of white paper towels underneath it to catch the spill and it looked like there was some sort of silt in the fuel. The filter media itself was very dark and gunked up. I think it's just a matter of luck. You could run a fuel filter for the entire life of a vehicle and as long as all the fuel is clean you wouldn't have any problems. Or... one tank of really bad gas could plug the filter right up.
 
Messages
9,562
Location
Ontario, Canada
I know some gas stations here have filters right on pump but I don't think all of them do. I'll have to check at my favorite station next time I go. I guess I've been lucky so far atleast, but I will check my manuals and see when the filters are recommended to be changed.
 
Messages
9,365
Location
USA
I've had two issues of a plugged fuel filter. 92 mitsubishi mirage and my 96 pontiac sunfire. had records that the previous owners changed it. when I changed it, they were original and never changed. this was at 13 yrs on both vehicles.
 
Messages
1,836
Location
Pac NW
For MOST applications (ie. vehicles) and in MOST locations (where you live & drive) replacing the fuel filter on a regular basis is the cheapest insurance you can buy! There are exceptions. On long trips I carry a spare fuel filter, a length of appropriate fuel line and a couple clamps with me in case I end up with a bad tank of gas somewhere 50 miles south of West Puckerbrush at 3:00 a.m. I have NEVER had ANY work done on ANY fuel-injection system on ANY car or truck I have EVER owned. Plenty of carb rebuilds/tune-up's, though... Cheers!
 
Messages
998
Location
Lexington, SC
That is an amazing story of the hidden Mercedes ML fuel filter. It is frustrating that MB didnt make it more easily serviced. The only worse thing is the new trend to 'no fuel filter' such as on the Chrysler and Jeep vehicles and now on GM vehicles. When the manuf. says the only fuel filter is on the fuel pump in the gas tank, they are actually saying there is 'no serviceable fuel filter'. IOW the only time you would replace one of these in tank FF is when you replace the fuel pump itself. This device is a small sock or fabric strainer and not a conventional fuel filter.
 
Top