Trucks Of The Month
NEVER WORK ON THE FUEL SYSTEM WITHOUT FIRST RELIEVING THE PRESSURE!!!!!
ALWAYS WEAR GOGGLES, A LIFETIME OF EYESIGHT IS NOT WORTH THE 30 SECONDS
IT TAKES TO FIND YOUR GOGGLES. KEEP SOME EYEWASH HANDY, GOGGLES AREN'T
FOOLPROOF. I HOPE IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER SMOKE OR
HAVE ANY OPEN FLAME NEAR GASOLINE.
I wrote this short article because I had a terrible time changing the
fuel filter on my '98 4-Banger, at least at first. Turns out it can be
pretty easy, no thanks to Haynes and my local parts store. I tend to do
a lot of preventative maintenance, in the hope that my baby will
eventually go from being a highly reliable rig to an extremely reliable
A Word on the Importance of Having the Right Tool for this Job:
So I go to my Haynes, and look up the fuel filter. The instructions
refer to a Quick Disconnect fitting, and suggested my local store oughta
have an inexpensive tool to... ...quickly disconnect it! Now, I bet you
can guess... Haynes didn't bother to include a picture of the tool or
the process, and the directions were contained in 6 six separate
chapters. I Go down to the auto parts store and ask for the tool. First
I get some dumb looks, then somebody shows me a set of rinky-dink
plastic rings made by OEM. You got several sizes, and the package said
they were for Quick Disconnect fuel lines. They wanted 12 bucks for this
crap! Now some of you live in places like CA, NY, and NJ, and twelve
bucks is what you pay for your coffee and sandwich in the morning. Up
here in Maine, I pay 2.89 for a large Italian (that's a sub to you folks
from Away), and 12 bucks is heck of a lot of money for a piece of
plastic crap that doesn't work!
Line Disconnects - Plastic (avoid these)
my tongue and bought it. Went home, read the directions again. Relieved
the pressure in the fuel system, piece of cake! Crawled under my truck,
found the fuel filter, and stuck the plastic things in. Tried every size
I could, slipped it in the fitting, felt it bending and squirming in
there, and something told me that tool wouldn't work. Asked a gearhead
friend, and he'd never heard of them, and said just use vice grips. Some
people are idiots. That might work, but I'm not really into the idea of
going down the road with fuel lines that could fail. Some other people
said spray some PB Blaster on it for a few days (is there anything
people don't suggest that for?), and I did. No dice. Gave up for several
weeks, figuring I'd get it eventually. Finally I'm at a different parts
store and I spot a tool from Ampro for Ford Quick Disconnects, made of
METAL, and it was only 7 dollars. Something told me it was gonna work a
lot better, and let me tell you, it DID!!! Forget PB Blaster, DEFINITELY
forget the vice grips, it is all about the right tool for the right job.
Fuel Line Disconnect Tool (amprotools.net)
that you have the right tool, here's the quick instructions:
Relieve the Fuel Pressure:
Find your Fuel Inertia Switch down by the panel your passengers might
put their feet against, just under the glove box. Mine wasn't really
labeled at all, but you can recognize it from the little recessed button
on top of the assembly. It's about 1 inch square, and has some wires
connected to the bottom. Use a small flathead screwdriver to disconnect
the wire connector. Now you just put your key in the ignition, and crank
the engine for 20-30 seconds. You know you've got the switch because it
will not start. Now you are ready to take out the old filter.
Remove the Filter:
PUT ON YOUR SAFETY GOGGLES!!! I got a good splash of gas on my goggles,
which means it would've been in my eyes if I hadn't been wearing them.
I'll say it again, there is no reason at all to risk your eyesight. How
are you gonna drive that Ranger without seeing?
Note the direction your existing filter is facing so that you can
install the new one in the same way!!
Raise up the front of the truck to prevent fuel siphoning.
The filter is under the driver's frame rail, on the inside, about where
your seat is. There are some springy things on the Quick Disconnect
fittings you have to take off. Just squeeze them and sort of twist them
to release the tab and slot that holds them together. The book called
them retainer clips or something. I removed my filter from the big
spring clips that held it to the frame first. Take your METAL Quick
Disconnect tool, put the two halves of the tool around the fuel filter
tube, and slide them into the fuel fitting. If there isn't enough room
to slide the tool in, put one half in first, then the other. Slide them
in as far as they can possibly go. There might be a click. You can hit
the tool lightly with a hammer if it's sticking. GENTLY hold the fuel
line with a pliers, and pull the filter out while pressing the
disconnect tool into the fitting. This seems to be the easiest way.
You might lose a half-cup of gas when that filter is unhooked. You can
cap it with the caps from the new filter.
Install the New Filter:
This is really, really, really easy. Not a bad idea to take a clean
cloth rag and make sure those Quick Disconnects are clean inside. There
might be a touch of rust if you live in the Salt Belt, but I wouldn't
sweat that. Make sure your new filter is facing the right way. My FRAM
was marked with an arrow, but I don't think the old NAPA was. Just slide
the filter tubes into the Quick Disconnect fittings, give 'em a tug to
be sure they're in there firmly, replace the spring retainer doohickies,
and snap the new filter back into the clip on the frame!
Test out the New Filter:
If you're like me, you'll put the key in the ignition, put it into the
accessory position for a minute, crank it up, and wonder why the heck
your truck isn't starting, then remember you unhooked the Fuel Inertia
You'll have to plug that switch back in. The Haynes says you might need
to push that little button on top, but I didn't have to. Put the key in
Accessory, and wait a minute. Turn the key, and you're in business!!! I
figure my old filter was slightly clogged, because it does run a bit
smoother now, especially at idle. At the very least I can check off one
dot on my maintenance list now.
for a complete list of images for disengaging fuel lines