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I bought this 2000 Toyota Camry from some very nice folks who cannot even spell "maintenance". So I need to replace the fuel filter as no one knows when it was last done. What I would love to know is how to not be sprayed with fuel when I remove the fuel line from the filter?

I know I need to pull the fuse / disconnect the battery, but that only prevents the pump from running again. The fuel line is still pressurized from the last time the pump ran. Will I damage the fuel line if I crimp it flat with a C clamp? I know I can put a bolt in it once it's free, but how do I prevent that initial spray of fuel?

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I'll preface this with the caveat that I haven't replaced the fuel filter on this specific vehicle before, and my advice is based on experience with other cars. I do think it's good advice regardless.

I agree that you should not crimp the lines, but I strongly disagree that you should just disconnect it without depressurizing the lines. Remove the fuse for the fuel pump, start the car, wait till it stalls, and try starting a few more times. Even after doing that you'll want to wrap the filter in a rag as there will still be residual pressure.

Also, wear eye AND ear protection. Gasoline is extremely painful if it gets in either area. If it does happen, flush with water as long as you can bear. If you get any on your skin, clean it off with soap and water at your earliest convenience. It won't cause immediate pain or discomfort but it is an irritant.

  • I didn't even think to start the car and let it run to stall. The car is fuel injected, so I'm assuming when the fuse goes back in it should just pressurize again and all is well. Is there any other procedure I need to do when starting after depressurizing everything? – cdunn Mar 17 '16 at 20:50
  • Nope, it'll just take an extra second or two of cranking before it starts. You can turn the key to On and then Off a few times to avoid this, but it's not necessary. Turning the key to On runs the fuel pump on for a second, pressurizing the line. – atraudes Mar 17 '16 at 20:56
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    After the filter replacement I do the following as a safety check. I cycle the key to "on" several times. Visually check the filter and fittings for leaks. If everything looks ok I then attempt to start the engine. This prevents fuel spraying or dripping while the engine is running. – mikes Mar 17 '16 at 22:53
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    @cdunn some cars have a Schrader valve somewhere on the fuel line (mine has it on the fuel rail), if yours does then you can simply press in the valve with a small object and depressurize the system. Just make sure to have a rag handy to collect the fuel. Or you can wait a day, the system will usually lose pressure naturally over time. – I have no idea what I'm doing Mar 18 '16 at 10:36
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Do not crimp the fuel line.

As long as you put a rag under the filter, you won't even notice the spray. While the rail may be held at a fairly high pressure, the line is small, so there isn't much fuel in there to escape.

On top of that, the fuel line will depressurize into the bottom of the filter and drip down, so you won't have to worry about fuel being sprayed around the engine bay.

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    In my case the fuel filter is under the driver side of the car about midway between the front and rear wheels. Kind of right under the B pillar. But I have to be somewhat under it when this happens so I can see. But a rag sounds like a great idea. I didn't like crimping the line. Sounded like a sure fire way to cause cracks and leaks. – cdunn Mar 17 '16 at 19:54
  • Ah, my mistake. The pitfalls of assuming all cars are the same. I replaced the filter on mine and a friends civics, where it was located on the firewall. Turns out on my current car the filter is in the fuel tank, no rag required! – MooseLucifer Mar 17 '16 at 20:12

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