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Thread: The elusive fuel filter...

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    98 528i RIP, 2010 SRX

    Post The elusive fuel filter...

    Just thought I would post up a very brief DIY on changing the fuel filter. I just wasn't happy with any of the DIYs or threads I had searched.

    This was done on my '98 528i:

    Fuel filter is located literally under the driver's seat. After placing the drivers side up on jackstands, remove the underbody paneling. (about 6 screws, 2 screw caps, and 5 expandable panel plugs)


    Clamp the fuel line before and after the fuel filter. I used a C-clamp on the line leaving the filter and a pair of vice-grips at the input. (wrap the jaws with tape first):


    I had very little fuel spill and it all came from the filter, so try and keep it level as you remove it. (Tip: Use a small open end wrench to pry the line off the filter for ideal leverage.)
    The filter is held in place by a bracket with a 5mm Allen screw. The filter is directional, so be sure to pay attention to the direction the arrow is pointing.

    Secure the clamps on the lines and, once reinstalled, turn the key prior to replacing the underbody panel to check for leaks.

    Prior to starting the car, leave the key in position 2 for about ten seconds and step on the gas pedal fully for about 3-5 seconds. You may have to try starting a couple times untill all the air is out of the line.

    Good Luck!
    9/30/2007 - 200,000 Miles!
    11/29/10 - 300,000 miles and counting! 4/10/2012 - 332,635! 01/14/2013 - 350,000 miles! 10/25/15 - 395,872 End of the Road
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  2. #2
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    Good one to know

    Thank you for posting, I could use it some days.
    Alex

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    '98 540i/6, '00 Miata

    Fuel Filter

    This was an easy one. I did it in about an hour and a half while taking my time.

    I noticed that the old filter was the original one, according to date stamped on the filter (9/4/98). Therefore it had been in the car since 4/1998, and for over 100K miles, even though the first two owners of the car took it to the stealer for everything. It appears that (according to my Bentley manual) the fuel filter is not covered by inspection I or II.

    The filter was about 18 bucks from Zygmunt Motors. Well worth the time and money for the peace of mind, IMHO.

  4. #4
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    Exclamation Tech people PLEASE HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by Petes540i6 View Post
    This was an easy one. I did it in about an hour and a half while taking my time.

    I noticed that the old filter was the original one, according to date stamped on the filter (9/4/98). Therefore it had been in the car since 4/1998, and for over 100K miles, even though the first two owners of the car took it to the stealer for everything. It appears that (according to my Bentley manual) the fuel filter is not covered by inspection I or II.

    The filter was about 18 bucks from Zygmunt Motors. Well worth the time and money for the peace of mind, IMHO.
    Dear heaven that was a bitch and I am not even done!!! OMG the manual sucks. There are 2 lines on each side of this thing. Closest to the front of the car are easy. Furthest from the car one of the lines was easy. The other going into the high pressure IN was a Bitch. It has these high pressure hose and clamps that can not be removed with a screwdriver or socket. They are pressed on and must be cut off. Problem is - how do you cut them off with fuel vapors everywhere. I basically cut in the middle but you still have to get a new hose on so you have to remove one of these clamps. I kept grabbing it with lineman pliers and tried to squeeze the SOB to deform it enough to come off. I worked at that high pressure line for like 1 hour and every time I lost my grip I cut my hand. Did I mention the gas on my hands into the cuts?

    Well I went to AutoZone after calling and confirming they sell gas line by the foot. I got there and an old timer tells me that the clamps are high pressure clamps and they don't sell them. He recommended the dealer and said I would have to buy the special tool to put them on. ARGHHHH. What's worse. I have forgotten with all the gas fumes which line is which. There is one line that goes "straight" and the other has a 30 degree bend in it.

    Questions:

    1) On the 2 lines that go into the filter farthest from the front of the car - The one with the bend is the "IN" or not?

    2) What type of clamps does everyone use? What type of hose?

    Any help GREATLY appreciated.

  5. #5
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    5 series sport
    when do you replace it

  6. #6
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    I took some pics during the install. The first one shows the closest line going into one of the "outs". The high pressure is hidden.

    In the second pic the high pressure is visible with the crazy clamps and it must be coming from the bent line.

    Does this make sense?

    Is the high pressure line a different type of gas line and can I use any clamp or do I have to get special clamps?

    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ru3rd View Post
    when do you replace it
    Replace what? A fuel filter?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by matteni View Post
    Dear heaven that was a bitch and I am not even done!!! OMG the manual sucks. There are 2 lines on each side of this thing. Closest to the front of the car are easy. Furthest from the car one of the lines was easy. The other going into the high pressure IN was a Bitch. It has these high pressure hose and clamps that can not be removed with a screwdriver or socket. They are pressed on and must be cut off. Problem is - how do you cut them off with fuel vapors everywhere. I basically cut in the middle but you still have to get a new hose on so you have to remove one of these clamps. I kept grabbing it with lineman pliers and tried to squeeze the SOB to deform it enough to come off. I worked at that high pressure line for like 1 hour and every time I lost my grip I cut my hand. Did I mention the gas on my hands into the cuts?

    Well I went to AutoZone after calling and confirming they sell gas line by the foot. I got there and an old timer tells me that the clamps are high pressure clamps and they don't sell them. He recommended the dealer and said I would have to buy the special tool to put them on. ARGHHHH. What's worse. I have forgotten with all the gas fumes which line is which. There is one line that goes "straight" and the other has a 30 degree bend in it.

    Questions:

    1) On the 2 lines that go into the filter farthest from the front of the car - The one with the bend is the "IN" or not?

    2) What type of clamps does everyone use? What type of hose?

    Any help GREATLY appreciated.
    matteni-

    On mine, which is a 1998, I only had one line going in each side of the filter. I don't recall whether any of my clamps were of the "crimped" variety, as opposed to the screw-driven type. However, in my experience I always get a tighter fit from the screw-driven type of clamp than one that is crimped. Like you, if any of the clamps were crimped, I simply fought it off with needle-nosed pliers.

    Someone out there please correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect the guy at autozone who said that those are special "high pressure clamps" is wrong. I wold try a high quality screw-driven clamp of the right size.

    Of course, when you are finished putting in the filter, start the car and look for fuel leaks before putting the plastic panel in.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petes540i6 View Post
    matteni-

    On mine, which is a 1998, I only had one line going in each side of the filter. I don't recall whether any of my clamps were of the "crimped" variety, as opposed to the screw-driven type. However, in my experience I always get a tighter fit from the screw-driven type of clamp than one that is crimped. Like you, if any of the clamps were crimped, I simply fought it off with needle-nosed pliers.

    Someone out there please correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect the guy at autozone who said that those are special "high pressure clamps" is wrong. I wold try a high quality screw-driven clamp of the right size.

    Of course, when you are finished putting in the filter, start the car and look for fuel leaks before putting the plastic panel in.
    Thanks for your reply. I am by no means an automotive expert but here is what I guess and what I know.

    Guess - the new fuel filter has a bypass. When the newer M62 TU Engine with DME Bosch ME 7.2 was designed they redesigned the fuel filter to bypass in the case of flow restriction. That is why there appears to be 1 in and 2 out (not including the little one out which appears to be a vent that gets recirculated to vent air).

    Know - look again at my 2 pictures. I didn't make the pictures at the time to study later, I was just collecting pictures for a series of DIY updates. Anyway the first picture shows the lower pressure line and crimps. Notice how different the line is? Even the color stampings are different. I checked out the lines and the "high pressure" one appears to have a lot of nylon webbing in the middle of it too. I am going to try carquest and then the dealer to figure this out. Also - the little crimp connectors the factory put on are "staked down" so they will never slip (unlike a standard worm clamp). FYI.

    If anyone can confirm or deny this info - I would appreciate it!

  10. #10
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    I was told by BMW that standard replacement of the fuel filter should take place at 90K miles (unless something takes place beforehand etc).

    Jamaican71, did you notice any difference, increased mileage, acceleration etc?

  11. #11
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    97 528i, 06 750 iL
    Thanks for the detail on this job. I just replaced mine this morning with the Mahle. I was surprised to find that the original was not on the car but an OEM BMW with a stamped manufacture date of May 99. It was evidently changed out before I bought the car in 2000 when it had 53,000 miles on it. Now at 110,000 I thought it best to change for good measure.

    The rubber hoses are very short. I found it easiest to use needle nose vise grips to hold off the flow of fuel. It seems just perfect after a test cruise to the bank where I got more money to pay for the next parts I will need.

  12. #12
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    you should post 1 and 6 in the FAQ... very good stuff for 528 owners and i think the 540's not much different.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petes540i6 View Post
    matteni-

    On mine, which is a 1998, I only had one line going in each side of the filter. I don't recall whether any of my clamps were of the "crimped" variety, as opposed to the screw-driven type. However, in my experience I always get a tighter fit from the screw-driven type of clamp than one that is crimped. Like you, if any of the clamps were crimped, I simply fought it off with needle-nosed pliers.

    Someone out there please correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect the guy at autozone who said that those are special "high pressure clamps" is wrong. I wold try a high quality screw-driven clamp of the right size.

    Of course, when you are finished putting in the filter, start the car and look for fuel leaks before putting the plastic panel in.
    Exactly right, those crimp on connectors are just factory type crimp on's they are nothing special (not high pressure clamps). BMW uses them on all kinds of different hoses because they are cheap and quick to install. Screw on type hose clamp is far superior.

    Quote Originally Posted by matteni
    Thanks for your reply. I am by no means an automotive expert but here is what I guess and what I know.

    Guess - the new fuel filter has a bypass. When the newer M62 TU Engine with DME Bosch ME 7.2 was designed they redesigned the fuel filter to bypass in the case of flow restriction. That is why there appears to be 1 in and 2 out (not including the little one out which appears to be a vent that gets recirculated to vent air).

    Know - look again at my 2 pictures. I didn't make the pictures at the time to study later, I was just collecting pictures for a series of DIY updates. Anyway the first picture shows the lower pressure line and crimps. Notice how different the line is? Even the color stampings are different. I checked out the lines and the "high pressure" one appears to have a lot of nylon webbing in the middle of it too. I am going to try carquest and then the dealer to figure this out. Also - the little crimp connectors the factory put on are "staked down" so they will never slip (unlike a standard worm clamp). FYI.

    If anyone can confirm or deny this info - I would appreciate it!
    The reason the M62TU fuel filters have those extra lines is because they have a built in fuel pressure regulator, the second line out the back is simply the fuel return line. The small "vent line" as you called it, is actually a vacume line that activates the diaphram in the fuel pressure regulator under low vacume (Wide open throttle), to increase fuel pressure.

    All fuel filters are on the pressure side of the fuel system, and m62tu is no different. nothing new, just a couple of extra lines because of the integrated FPR. A standard hose clamp will work fine, hose clamps hold hoses on on cars that have a lot higher fuel pressures, so you don't have to worry.

    To get it off is easy. Stick a screwdriver in the hole of the raised part of the crimp, and twist the screwdriver, that will loosen it, then just use a pair of needle nose pliers to take it the rest of the way.

    Edit: One more thing, the hose is high pressure 120+psi rated. So that would need to be replaced with the same.

  14. #14
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    FYI those factory clamps are made by Oteker. As mentioned they are cheap and quick to install. For the purist who wants to keep things looking factory they are easily installed with a pair of diagonal cutters. Finding the suckers in anything less than bulk is another issue.

  15. #15
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    Which fuel filter I have in my 97 528iA?
    With or without pressure sensor/regulator?

    BMW 528i Automatic - Premium and Winter Package - Avital Remote Starter - XM Satellite Radio - e60 wheels - LPG

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMW 528 View Post
    Which fuel filter I have in my 97 528iA?
    With or without pressure sensor/regulator?
    It doen't specify in the Bentley Manual. Let me check a couple other places for that information.

  17. #17
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    Thank you...

    BMW 528i Automatic - Premium and Winter Package - Avital Remote Starter - XM Satellite Radio - e60 wheels - LPG

  18. #18
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    I just got one from Auto Zone, for $20.

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  19. #19
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    i did some research here, I have a 98 535i and was told that pre 09/98 is the USD$15-ish filter the easy one, POST 09/98 is the USD$50-ish one that has the pressure lines.

    Side note, I rang my stealership

    pre 09/98 AUD$75

    post 09/98 AUD$197

    its easy to see why i source my parts international.

    DUbs
    "In Dubs We Trust"


  20. #20
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    Also, the fuel filter is NOT JUST 'on the drivers side' its on the left hand side of the car, mine is RHD and it isnt on the drivers side


    Dubs
    Last edited by Dubs; 02-12-2008 at 03:01 AM.
    "In Dubs We Trust"


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamaican71 View Post
    ...Prior to starting the car, leave the key in position 2 for about ten seconds and step on the gas pedal fully for about 3-5 seconds. You may have to try starting a couple times untill all the air is out of the line.
    Did the above a few times and my car still won't start up.
    Any other suggestions?
    "If she spills anything, she MUST clean it up. After she is done, I tell her to "Tuck and roll" at 65mph." -Gumbi4u


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  22. #22
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    NVM guys. It was weak battery.
    Used my other car to jump the E39 to get it down from the ramps.
    Tomorrow I'm taking the battery to Autozone.
    What a PITA. Stupid Battery!
    "If she spills anything, she MUST clean it up. After she is done, I tell her to "Tuck and roll" at 65mph." -Gumbi4u


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  23. #23
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    This may sound like a stupid question but, there is a plate covering the bottom of the car. Do you have to remove this to get to the filter? Or are they in a difffrent place on newer models.

  24. #24
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    I changed the filter on my 540 and that plastic clamp on the inlet side did not have to be cut off or pryed off. I believe it is designed such that you slide the outer ring forward toward the fuel filter and then while holding it forward you pull back the entire thing. It is made to lock on and not require breaking or cutting. It is a clever design.

    Bill

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jszrom View Post
    This may sound like a stupid question but, there is a plate covering the bottom of the car. Do you have to remove this to get to the filter? Or are they in a difffrent place on newer models.
    on my 98 i have a plate that resembles a butterfly wing (there is another one under the RHS of the car)

    ensure you take your time to remove it and you will also have to remove a couple of clips from the inside of the wheel well

    take your time

    if it doesnt come off real easy then there is likely to be a stud or screw you have missed



    hope it helps

    Dubs
    "In Dubs We Trust"


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