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Fuel Filter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Fuel Filter Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Socket set, fuel pump collar tool, drain pan

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Coupe/Conv (2006-08)

Parts Required:

Fuel filter, fuel filter sealing O-rings

Hot Tip:

Clean bottom of fuel tank before removing pump

Performance Gain:

Repair clogged fuel filter

Complementary Modification:

Fuel pump in left side of fuel tank

The fuel supply system in a BMW Z4(M) consists of:

  • Fuel tank.
  • Fuel filler with associated breathing and venting pipes.
  • High pressure fuel pump assembly with fuel filter and fuel level senders.

The fuel tank is two-lobed. There is one fuel level sender, located in the right side of the tank mounted to the bottom of tank. The right fuel tank lobe holds the fuel level sender, fuel filter and the fuel pump.

In tank fuel pumps have many benefits, the fuel pump is submerged in fuel keeping it cool, preventing vapor lock and electrical issues. The fuel pump delivers a constant flow of gasoline to the fuel rail at a regulated pressure and volume. The fuel pump draws fuel from the fuel tank and pushes it through the fuel filter, mounted outside of the fuel tank.

A dirty or restricted fuel filter can cause poor engine performance and hard starting problems. If you suspect this is your issue you should replace your fuel filter. BMW claims this is a "lifetime" filter which would normally indicate a 100K mile lifespan. However, since this is a paper filter and with today's fuels, I'd recommend changing it every 60K miles just to be on the safe side.

Replacing the fuel filter on a Z4 can be done without removing the fuel tank. There is an access panel under the right side of the vehicle that allows servicing. It is best to replace your fuel filter with the fuel tank drained. Otherwise the fuel in the tank will spill when it is removed. When replacing, work in a well-ventilated area. Working outdoors is a good choice. Do not use incandescent work lights or power tools. Fuel and fuel vapors are highly combustible.

To relieve fuel pressure, remove the fuel pump relay and crank the engine until engine starts and stalls. See our tech article on fuel pump testing.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Drain your fuel tank. Run the vehicle for about 20 seconds. This equalizes the amount of fuel in the siphon unit.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. See our tech article on battery replacing and reconnecting notes.

Remove the fuel cap, then slide an anti-static siphon hose down the fuel filler neck. Once the hose has bottomed out, pump fuel out of the fuel tank into a suitable storage container. If you are unsure of the amount of fuel in your tank, you can monitor the fuel level via the fuel level sender units. As the fuel level drops, the fuel level sender resistance drops. You can measure this across the terminals at both sender units with a digital volt / ohm meter (DVOM). You will need a wiring diagram from a repair manual.

The fuel pump, filter and sending unit is located in the right (red arrow) side of the fuel tank.
Figure 1

The fuel pump, filter and sending unit is located in the right (red arrow) side of the fuel tank. Remove the entire exhaust system. See our tech article on exhaust system replacing.

With the exhaust removed, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield to the right of the transmission mount bracket (purple arrow).
Figure 2

With the exhaust removed, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield to the right of the transmission mount bracket (purple arrow).

Working at the rear of the exhaust heat shield (red arrow), remove the two 8mm mounting fasteners (purple arrows).
Figure 3

Working at the rear of the exhaust heat shield (red arrow), remove the two 8mm mounting fasteners (purple arrows).

Next, remove the 10mm nut (red arrow) on the heat shield to the Left of the transmission mount bracket.
Figure 4

Next, remove the 10mm nut (red arrow) on the heat shield to the Left of the transmission mount bracket.

Working on the left side of the body, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield.
Figure 5

Working on the left side of the body, remove the two 10mm nuts (red arrows) on the heat shield. Then remove the 8mm fastener (purple arrow), remove this fastener on the right side as well. Support the heat shield as you remove the final fastener.

Remove the exhaust heat shield toward the rear of the vehicle (red arrow).
Figure 6

Remove the exhaust heat shield toward the rear of the vehicle (red arrow). Store it in a safe place, do not bend it when removing. Then remove the driveshaft flex-disc. See our tech article on driveshaft flex-disc replacing.

Working at the fuel pump service cap, cut the tie strap to free the wiring harness (red arrow).
Figure 7

Working at the fuel pump service cap, cut the tie strap to free the wiring harness (red arrow). Be sure to replace the tie strap when reinstalling.

Slide the electrical connector lock away from the connector (red arrow) and disconnect the connector.
Figure 8

Slide the electrical connector lock away from the connector (red arrow) and disconnect the connector.

Working at the fuel filter housing, remove the fuel line by pressing the plastic collar (red arrow) toward the filter while pulling the line (blue arrow) straight out.
Figure 9

Working at the fuel filter housing, remove the fuel line by pressing the plastic collar (red arrow) toward the filter while pulling the line (blue arrow) straight out. See following steps for more info.

It is a tight fit, I used a pair of trim panel pliers to lever down as I released the fuel line (red arrow).
Figure 10

It is a tight fit, I used a pair of trim panel pliers to lever down as I released the fuel line (red arrow). Be sure to cover the line with a rag as you detach it.

Remove the fuel line (inset), the collar stays on the filter.
Figure 11

Remove the fuel line (inset), the collar stays on the filter. Be sure to cover the line with a rag as you detach it.

Next, you have to unscrew the fuel filter assembly threaded collar.
Figure 12

Next, you have to unscrew the fuel filter assembly threaded collar. There is a BMW special tool (number 16 1 022) made to do this. The tool has notches that match the teeth on the collar. However, if you do not have this tool you can use a brass punch (red arrow) and a rubber mallet. Using the brass punch and a rubber mallet, tap the threaded collar on one of the ridges counter-clockwise to loosen. Once loose, unscrew the remainder of the way by hand. If the collar is damaged during this process, you will need to replace it with a new part. Remove the collar.

Slowly pull the fuel filter out of the tank enough to allow any remaining fuel to drain into a pan (blue arrow).
Figure 13

Slowly pull the fuel filter out of the tank enough to allow any remaining fuel to drain into a pan (blue arrow). If you push the filter into the seal at the top, creating a gap at the bottom, it will drain faster. Be sure to let it drain completely to avoid major spills.

Slowly pull the fuel filter out enough to access the electrical connector.
Figure 14

Slowly pull the fuel filter out enough to access the electrical connector. Squeeze the release tabs at the sides and pull the connector (red arrows) straight out. If stuck, which is likely will be, wiggle back and forth as you pull.

Working at the base of the filer, squeeze the plastic clips together (red arrows) and slide the fuel line off the filter.
Figure 15

Working at the base of the filer, squeeze the plastic clips together (red arrows) and slide the fuel line off the filter. Next, press the square tab (blue arrows) and pull the fuel line off the fuel pressure regulator.

Remove the filter from the vehicle (red arrow).
Figure 16

Remove the filter from the vehicle (red arrow). You will be replacing the entire unit.

Replace the filter sealing O-rings (red arrow).
Figure 17

Replace the filter sealing O-rings (red arrow). Be sure to clean the sealing surface. Wipe it clean with a lint free cloth. Reverse steps to install new filter assembly, connecting fuel lines and electrical connector. Feed filter into tank. Hand tighten the threaded collar. Then use the BMW special tool 16 1 022 to tighten the threaded collar. Or tap the threaded collar tight (clockwise) with a brass punch and a rubber mallet. Connect the fuel line and electrical connector. Fill the fuel tank with about two gallons of fuel before attempting to start the vehicle to check for leaks. Once you are sure that the fuel pump is operating normally, fill the remainder of the fuel tank and check for leaks. Once done, reassemble the exhaust.


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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:08:38 AM