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Pelican Technical Article:

Fuel Filter Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

30 min

Tab:

$16 to $38

Talent:

*

Tools:

Floor jack & jack stands or ramps, wheel chocks, ratchets, extensions, nut drivers, sockets 10mm, 15mm combo wrench or socket, screwdrivers, line clamp tool (optional)

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz SLK230 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

Replacement fuel filter

Hot Tip:

Drain the fuel tank if possible, have suitable containers ready to capture residual gas, wear protective gloves and safety glasses.

Performance Gain:

Ability for the car to start and run without sputtering.

Complementary Modification:

Replace worn/cracked fuel hose.

Changing the fuel filter is easy. It isn't the cleanest routine maintenance operation, but the job can be accomplished in a half hour or so once the car's rear is raised. The filter is easily accessed behind the plastic shield on the passenger's side of the car, in front of the rear suspension.

The filter traps impurities in the fuel. As the filter collects particles, fuel flow is impeded. Labored starting, rough idle and stalling are prominent symptoms of fuel-system problems. A clogged filter also causes the car to run lean, compromising acceleration and power. The fuel filter is the easiest and most-affordable fuel system fix.

Inspect the existing filter. Depending on model year, R170 SLKs came with 2, 3, and 4 port filters. Make sure you get the correct replacement for your year. Recommended service interval is 60,000 miles or 5 years.

Potential for fire is always a concern when working on fuel systems so make sure you take all safety precautions and have a fire extinguisher close. Disconnect the battery's negative cable to minimize possibilities of sparks. Work in a well-ventilated area away from open flame. Let the car cool down before beginning. Fully heated catalytic converters can ignite combustibles. Ideally, empty the fuel tank, either by siphoning through the filler or by disconnecting the fuel hose that feeds the fuel pump, but you can easily pinch the fuel hose closed that leads from the tank to the fuel pump. Special tools are available for this purpose but you can use a C-clamp or a vice grips and a rag, just make sure you don't gouge the hose, and pinching it at bends isn't recommended.

The OEM sliding-style hose clamps are realistically one-use only. Spring-type clamps are DIY-friendly and are normally packaged with the new fuel pump. In a pinch, worm-gear clamps have decades of proven effectiveness, providing they aren't over or under tightened. I always replace my clamps when replacing the filter. Remember about a pint of fuel will be trapped in the filter. Capture and dispose of it properly.

When installing the new filter make sure you note the direction of the arrow on the replacement filter. It should point inboard.

After you install the new filter and before lowering the car and reinstalling the plastic shield, add fuel, start the car and check for leaks at the fuel hoses and clamps.

Begin by safely raise and supporting the car. Please see our article on how to safely raise and support you vehicle. Next disconnect the battery ground strap. Please see our article on battery maintenance for help.

Begin by raising/securing the car and disconnecting the battery.
Figure 1

Begin by raising/securing the car and disconnecting the battery. Fuel pressure is relieved at the rail's Schrader valve, under a 15mm gold nut.

This SLK's fuel tank had been drained to replace its fuel level sender.
Figure 2

This SLK's fuel tank had been drained to replace its fuel level sender. Otherwise, rags and cups would be used to absorb any residual gas while relieving the fuel pressure.

A plastic shield covers the fuel pump and filter in front of the rear suspension on the left side rear tire.
Figure 3

A plastic shield covers the fuel pump and filter in front of the rear suspension on the left side rear tire. It attaches with three flange nuts: the 10mm socket is on one, a second is indicated by an arrow, and the third (top arrow) is on the trunk's floor.

Emptying the fuel tank is optimal.
Figure 4

Emptying the fuel tank is optimal. Plan B is pinching off the feed hose leading to the fuel pump (green arrow). Remove the filter's hose clamps. This 2000 SLK 230's filter has two ports. It still had the OE clamps, which can be cut off or twisted apart with pliers.

Remove the hoses slowly.
Figure 5

Remove the hoses slowly. Residual pressure can cause a brief spray of fuel; wear protective clothing and safety glasses. Have an appropriate container under the car to catch dripping fuel. If the filter has multiple ports on its ends, note how the hoses connect.

Loosen the mounting clamp's bolt with a Phillips screwdriver.
Figure 6

Loosen the mounting clamp's bolt with a Phillips screwdriver.

Drain the fuel trapped in the pump into an approved container.
Figure 7

Drain the fuel trapped in the pump into an approved container.

We reused the existing filter for this demonstration but replaced the hose clamps.
Figure 8

We reused the existing filter for this demonstration but replaced the hose clamps. The job requires only basic hand tools. Raising/securing the car and de-fueling takes longer than the actual filter swap.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Redward Comments: Thanks for the info
September 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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