Fuel Filters

Thanks to Bob Caffee for his ongoing maintenance tips.

Fuel Filters

In these tough economic times we need to start doing some of our own maintenance ourselves that we would normally pay someone to do for us.  So with the idea of saving on expenses we will start with the basic toolbox.  I believe that every truck should have a basic set of tools, including but not limited to, a flat and Philips screwdriver, a pair of pliers, vice grips, 3/8th drive socket set, open end wrench set from 3/8th to 1 ¼ “, 10” adjustable wrench, ball peen hammer, wiring pliers and assortment of wire ends, a filter wrench, and a set of torx (star)bits. A good pair of gloves is almost a necessity.  Disposable gloves are good for jobs like changing filters and lubing the chassis. You should be able to set up your basic tool box for under a hundred and fifty dollars.  You do not need professional tools but you need the best you can buy, depending on your budget.

Now that we have some basic tools lets change our own fuel filter.  For most trucks there are two filter elements– one on the frame rail which is the fuel/ water separator and one on the engine which is the primary fuel filter.  Make sure you have the right filter number which you can get off of the current filter or you can call your truck dealership parts department and they can tell you the correct part number.  I recommend using OEM (original equipment manufacturer) Cat for Cat and Detroit for Detroit, Fleet Guard for Cummins.  Using the OEM filters guarantees you will have the correct micron and flow rate for your engine.   You can get the OEM filters at most trucks shops.  You will need to have at least a gallon of clean diesel fuel to fill new filters.

The primary filter is the last filter your fuel goes through before it enters the engine.  In most cases it is a “spin on” filter and changing it is as simple as , take the  filter wrench , slide it over the filter and turn to the left, once it comes loose you can “spin” it off, some fuel will spill but not enough to worry about.  Fill the new filter with clean diesel fuel “spin” it on to the right and tighten with wrench till firm, if you get the filter on to tight it will be difficult to get off next time.  The fuel/water separator is basically the same process.  Some have a heater in them that must be unplugged before removing.  Some have a clear bowl on the bottom this may require a special tool to remove.  The special tool to remove the clear bowl can be found at truck stops and truck parts stores or OEM dealerships. The clear bowl will need to be removed from old filter, wiped out with a clean rag and installed on the  new filter after replacing the gasket which came with the new filter. Fill filter with clean diesel fuel, install new gasket on the top and then “spin” on to the right.  Tighten same as primary fuel filter.  Plug in heater if equipped.  Start truck and check for leaks.

Changing your fuel filters is an easy task and one that can be done by most people.  This procedure should not take more than 30 minutes. If you don’t know where the filters are do not be ashamed to ask, as we should be learning something new every day.

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