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Fuel Filter Change

This article was donated by "FordMan". This page contains quite a few large images. It will take a few minutes to load.

I would encourage you to read the entire instructions before performing this. Enjoy.

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I had a brainstorm awhile back (it happens) and thought it might be helpful to everyone asking if there were some pictures to guide us. I decided to do that when I replaced the filter on my folks' '96 F150. It uses the same filter as the newer F150s, same fittings, etc. The pictures aren't as clear as I'd have liked, but I was trying to do everything one handed in the driveway. Before you start, a word on safety. NEVER DO THIS WITH A HOT ENGINE! ALWAYS USE EYE PROTECTION!! DO NOT SMOKE WHILE PERFORMING MAINTENANCE ON A FUEL SYSTEM!!

*Webmasters Note* - You must release the fuel pressure in the fuel line or gas will literally spray everywhere. On the passengers side fuel rail (on the engine), there is a Schrader valve which you can depress and it will de-pressurize the lines. Sorry, I don't have a picture of it.

So here goes:

This is the tool I used, a K-D 3321, available at various auto parts stores for around $12. Use the smaller 5/16" end.
Fuel line disconnect tool

This is what things look like before you start. Note the safety clip on the end of the fuel line where it mates to the filter. Remove this by squeezing it together and unhooking the small latch. Your new filter comes with new clips, but I prefer the factory issue as they're somewhat sturdier so I always save them.
Picture of fuel filter clip

After you've removed the safety clip, slide the fuel line away from the filter so you've got enough room to insert the tool. On this particular vehicle, one of the fuel tanks interfered with my using the tool, so I had to slide the filter partially out of the bracket to gain access. No big deal. Push the tool in to the fuel line (away from the filter) and listen/feel for a click to indicate you've disengaged the locking device from the filter
Tool installed on filter

Once you've disengaged, pull the line away from the filter. At this point you'll start getting some fuel draining out. I like to take the dust cap from the new filter and place it over the discharge end of the old filter to control the mess. Try to move the fuel line so that it's raised to minimize fuel leakage from there as well.
Filter disconnected from line

I'd like to pause right here and re-emphasize safety. I was not wearing any eye protection when I started this. That was extremely foolish of me and I paid for that oversight when a small amount of gasoline splashed in my eye. I had to stop what I was doing and flush the eyeball. NO SHORTCUT IN THE WORLD IS WORTH YOUR EYESIGHT OR SAFETY!!! I was lucky and didn't cause any serious injury to myself, but it did burn like heck. SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!!! I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THAT ENOUGH!!!

I then moved on to removing the fuel line from the inlet side of the filter. Everything that was said earlier applies here, too.
Tool on filter

Here's the old filter, disconnected and ready to come out.
Filter ready for removal


Here is a view of the locking device within the fuel lines. Note the "teeth." These are springs that lock on the raised flange of the fuel filter. When you insert the tool to disconnect, you are pressing in on these springs
Line connector

When you're ready to install the new filter, insert it into the bracket and press the fuel lines on to the new filter. Just as you felt/listened for a click when removing the fuel lines, listen/feel for a click during installation
Re-connect the line

After you've hooked the fuel lines to the new filter, install the safety clips and you're done. It's that easy.
New filter installed