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Old Fri, Sep-25-2009, 12:07:47 AM   #1
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Location: West Hills, CA

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Default DIY Fuel Filter Change

Since I couldn't really find one thread that had all the information inclusive, I decided it would be beneficial to document it as I did mine for the first time on the M3. There are a few different methods to disconnect the hose from the filter which I'll try to include. Please perform at own risk, this is only a general guidance.

Part numbers are for a 2003 M3, but I'm pretty certain they are the same for all years.

Parts needed:
(1)Fuel Filter
13-32-7-831-089 ($32.31)
(1)Copper Washer
07-11-9-963-129 ($1.61)
Prices may vary.

Tools needed:
8mm Socket
10mm Socket
Phillips head or the like
Needle nose pliers
Few pairs of latex gloves

I believe the general consensus is to replace the fuel filter every 20k, or with every Inspection II. I replaced mine because I bought my car used and didn't know much about the previous owner, so I'm just going down the list one by one.

First get in your car, open the glove compartment and swing down the fuse box by undoing the two white flaps on the top-inside of the glove box. Remove fuse 54, which stop the fuel delivery. Now try starting the car once or twice. Car should start and die immediately.

Get your drivers side of the vehicle lifted up. Once securely elevated, get underneath the drivers seat area and you will see a plastic splash shield. This splash shield is held up by a couple of 8mm nuts. Once removed, it will swing down and you can un-mount it.

After this, there is another larger plastic shield that is closer to the center of the car. This also is removed by taking of the 8mm nuts that secure it.
Finally, you are able to see part of the fuel filter which is partially blocked by an aluminum shield. You have to un-mount that as well. There are two screws that are out of sight which you have to follow the shield up (close to engine bay) and undo those. Remove shield.

Using a 10mm socket, remove the nut that holds the cradle for the fuel filter.

Unscrew the bleeder cap (fuel pressure regulator - block looking thing right in front of the fuel fiter) and using needle pliers bleed the valve. Be careful as gasoline will fizz out pretty violently. Relive the pressure for about 10 seconds. About half a cup of gas should pour out. Remove the outlet (closest to the front) by using a 19mm wrench and an adjustable wrench to hold the fuel pressure regulator. Mine was on there pretty tight so it may take some muscle. Once loosened, it can be unscrewed by hand.

The rear inlet potion of the filter is a bit trickier. There is a white collar that you have to press into the tubing, while pulling the filter itself toward the front of the car. A bit wiggling and a few yanks will usually do the trick. If you need more leverage try using the needle pliers but be careful to keep even force.

Old filter on top, you can see the "ridge" that the collar has to pop over when removing the inlet nipple from the hose.

Swap in new filter and just trace the steps back. Make sure you buy a new copper o-ring. I tried using my old one and it leaked, but I also pinched it. They are easy to pinch because the ring tends to "hang" on the outlet threads so make sure you supervise is as you tighten it. Don't over tighten it either! I bought 3 rings because I messed 2 up. It only needs to be hand tight and then another quarter turn. If your unsure, put your fuse back in, and start the car without the clutch. Check for leaks. Reinstall plastic panels.

After putting the fuse back in and everything is ready, start the car but don't put the clutch in. I held it on position II (as if you were cranking the car) for about 5 seconds and did it twice. This allows the fuel to saturate the filter element as well as travel up the fuel line into the engine. I didn't get any check lights this way nor a rough idle.
I felt a good bit of pep back with the new filter.

(Thanks to Reach for this info)
Also, if you do mangle your rear fuel line that has the plastic connector on, you need to order a new rear line as the plastic connector piece only comes with the entire line. The line goes for around $45 from Tisher or the local dealer.

Part number for this line is #16122229409.
It's item 2 in the diagram.

Another tip (Thanks to Remi M)
If you happen to mangle all your copper O-rings and the dealer closed for the day, you can use the copper O-ring provided with the oil filter. Haven't tried this myself, but according to Remi this is a possible solution in the time of need.

How-To Video. Courtesy of MClub.LA

Last edited by aznbo187; Mon, Nov-07-2011 at 03:55:36 AM.
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