How to Change a Car's Fuel Water Separator

What You'll Need
Clean shop rags
Large drip pan
Protective clothing
Work gloves
New fuel water separator
New fuel filter

When the fuel pump or injector fails in your vehicle it usually can be traced back to the fuel water separator. This is because the fuel water separator is in place to prevent and remove dirt or other contaminants (including water) from fuel. It also reduces emissions from your exhaust. Keeping the fuel water separator maintained will help to keep your vehicle running at the top of its game. Over time you may need to have the fuel water separator replaced and the job is fairly easy to do. The following article will show you how.

Step 1 – Removing the Driver’s Side Kick Panel

The system that uses the water fuel separator is woven throughout the vehicle with an access point on the driver’s side of the vehicle. The kick panel is locked in with the trim on the front of the door jamb. Use the screwdriver to remove the screws on the inside of the panel and then the screws on the firewall. By the dead pedal on the floor under the carpet will be another screw to remove. There are also a few screws through the plastic trim on the door jamb which need to be taken out.

Step 2 – Relieve the Fuel Pressure

Inside the kick panel will be located the fuel pump relay. Remove it and then open the cap on the residual fuel tank. This will release pressure that is present. Start the vehicle and allow it to idle for several minutes until the vehicle stalls. Repeat the process to remove all of the pressure inside the fuel tank. Put back the relay and reassemble the kick panel. Do not restart the vehicle as doing so will create new pressure.

Step 3 – Remove Hoses

The hoses inside the vehicle transport fluids around the engine. Find the fuel filter and place several rags below it. They will catch any fuel that spills out of the filter. Back up the rags with a drip pan. Be sure to never smoke or try to run the vehicle while working near fuel. The fuel pipes need to be loosened by using the wrench. Pry the hoses off the fuel filter with a screwdriver and then disconnect them. Drain the excess oil or fuel into the drain pipe.

Step 4 – Fuel Water Separator Removal

The fuel filter is held in place by brackets. Remove them with the screwdriver and then remove the filter. Since you are replacing the fuel water separator you might as well replace the filter. Under the filter is where the fuel water separator is located. Remove the separator by unscrewing it from the vehicle. Put the new fuel water separator in place and screw it down and then put on a new filter. Attach the brackets and then replace all of the hoses you removed. When you tighten the hoses, do so between .08 and 1.1 pounds.