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Pelican Technical Article:

Fuel Filter Replacement


1 hour1 hr






Screwdriver, oil catch pan

Applicable Models:

Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-01)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-01)

Parts Required:

Fuel Filter

Hot Tip:

Tackle this job only in a well-ventilated area

Performance Gain:

Cleaner running fuel system

Complementary Modification:

Replace worn out or cracked rubber fuel lines
101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

One of the basic maintenance projects that you should perform on your Porsche is the replacement of the fuel filter. Starting in 2002, Porsche moved the filter to inside the gas tank, and called it a "lifetime" filter that never needs to be changed. For cars with a replaceable filter, I recommend that you replace your fuel filter about once a year, or every 10,000 miles. It seems that with today's odd blended fuels, there always seems to be some gas station that has problems with dirt or grime in the gasoline that can clog your tank. I don't think quality control with gasoline stations is really what it used to be. Needless to say, I try to replace all the fuel filters at least once a year.

Changing the fuel filter is not a job that I relish. It is almost guaranteed that you will spill at least some fuel on the ground and yourself as you swap out the fuel filter. Be sure to perform the replacement in a well-ventilated area. That means outdoors or in your garage with a few large fans blowing air both in and out. Have a fire extinguisher handy, wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and have a few rolls of paper towels handy: you will need them.

The fuel tank should be as low as possible - drive around the car until the gas tank is almost empty. This will minimize problems if something should happen to go wrong.

The first step is to jack the car up (Pelican Technical Article: Jacking Up and Lifting the Boxster on Jack Stands). The Boxsters have an intelligent design when it comes to fuel flow. The fuel pump is located in the bottom of the tank, and pumps fuel out of the top fuel tank cover. Why is this good? Well, when you go to change the fuel filter, you can pull out the fuel pump relay, crank the car a few times, and be assured that fuel isn't going to flow everywhere if you make a mistake. Some older cars have a gravity-fed system that takes fuel out of the bottom of the tank. With these systems, you have to disconnect the line, and clamp it very quickly - otherwise, the entire tank of gas will empty out! Unfortunately, with the Boxster system, you can't get 100% of the fuel out, and some will spill when you disconnect the fuel filter. In addition, the filter itself will mostly be full of fuel too.

Now, crawl underneath the car. The filter is located behind the large plastic panel located in the very center of the car. This panel is held on with some plastic nuts (10mm head): remove them and the panel should easily drop down. Next, remove the foam fixture piece that wraps around all of the lines in the center tunnel, and remove the two bolts that hold the plastic coolant line bracket (see Figure 1). Disconnect the fuel filter ground strap, and loosen up the clamp that holds the filter. Now you want to disconnect the lines to the filter. The Boxster filter has connections that are very easy to attach and remove. Simply push gently on the grey tabs on opposite sides of the plastic connector, and the connection should easily slide off. Take a close look at your new filter for guidance on how this quick-connect connector works. Have a small pail or bucket handy to catch the excess fuel when you release the connection.

When the connections have been released, expect quite a few ounces of gasoline to be coming your way. Be prepared (gloves, eye protection, paper towels, bucket, and a well-ventilated area). Take the filter out by pulling it towards the rear of the car, put it in your bucket and take it, and any left over or spilled gasoline outside of your garage immediately. Let the garage sit empty for about 15-20 minutes before you re-enter - it will take about that long for the fumes to clear. Then, simply reattach the new filter in place of the old one, observing the direction of the arrows located on the filter - they point in the direction of fuel flow, which is from the gas tank (front) to the engine (rear) . Check that the snap-fit connections are properly seated by gently tugging on them. Reattach the ground wire (important!). Tighten the clamp that holds the filter tight. Then reinstall the foam piece, and the large center panel.

The filter (green arrow) is located almost dead-center in the middle of the car, hidden somewhat behind the coolant pipes.
Figure 1

The filter (green arrow) is located almost dead-center in the middle of the car, hidden somewhat behind the coolant pipes. The blue arrow points to the foam piece that needs to be removed so that you can pull the filter out towards the rear of the car. Removal of the filter is made easier if you remove the two screws that hold on the plastic coolant line bracket (yellow arrows). The orange arrow shows the screw that needs to be loosened in order to release the fuel filter from the clamp. The purple arrow points to one of the two tabs that must be depressed on the quick-disconnect connector. In the lower right, a brand new fuel filter is shown. Note the arrows which indicate fuel flow direction printed on the side of the filter. The lower left inset photo shows the small ground strap that needs to be removed from the old filter and reattached to the new one (red arrow).

Comments and Suggestions:
nolz Comments: 2002s don't have a replaceable filter? Is this model year 02s or build year 02s? I guess my question is... how would I know without pulling the panels to find out?
April 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Some returnless fuel systems do not have a serviceable filter. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Gerry Comments: I have 3.2s Boxter 2000 model,which will not start.I suspect thefuel pump.Is there a fuse for the pump?,or relay.There is half a tank of fuel, so I can only it is teh pump.Am I correct in assuming the pump is located in the fuel tank.
August 31, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There should be a list of fuses on the fuse panel door, use that to locate your fule pump fuse.

If your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and fuel pressure, volume and quality. Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Butch Comments: Nick at Pelican. To follow was a cracked fuel line from the fuel pump, inside the fuel tank. I replaced the complete fuel pump 7/29/13, purchased from Pelican. Thanks for your support, I appreciate you. I believe the original pump is still working but poor fuel line material and design.
July 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Butch Comments: Nick at Pelican. Yes Nick, the engine runs strong with starting fluid. I have replaced the fuel filter and relay on 7/15/13, yesterday purchased from Pelican. I checked, still no measurable fuel pressure at the Schrader valve maybe 5 psi instead of the approx. 50 psi it should be. I jumped the relay, the fuel pump motor runs but still no fuel pressure. My last resort is to pull the fuel pump not a fun task check it, replace it if necessary. What else could be the problem before I do that. Thanks for your quick reply and help.
July 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's probably the fuel pump but the output hose in the tank could be broken allowing pressurized fuel to leak right back into the tank or possibly a plugged fuel filter but unlikely- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Butch Comments: Help...My car is a 97 Boxster with 26,000 actual miles. Car sits a lot, then only low mileage runs around the Arizona neighborhood. Recently started the car, it ran very rough, could not get the RPM's up. The check engine light came on. Restarted the car several times and finally the problem seemed to go away. Drove the car approx. 1/2 mile, it crapped out stopped running. After a few minutes, after a couple of start tries, it started again. It ran very rough, coughed, stumbled, backfired but I got it back to the driveway. I've tried many times to start it again, it won't. The starter turns over fine strong...the battery charges to near 13 volts. At inital start seems to want to run for a quick second but then immediately just cranks. My thought is a fuel delivery problem. I pulled and checked the fuel pump relay for click and ohms, it works. Fuel filter has never been changed. Fuel pump is original. What would be your suggestion regarding the process of elimination of probable causes?
July 6, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you have a weak fuel pump. If you spray carb spray or starter fluid does the engine start quicker? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JR Comments: The last time I had my 20000 2.7 Boxster serviced the mechanic could not find the fuel filter.. I was there and we checked everywhere but could not find it. Is there definitely a fuel filter in the 2000 model?
February 15, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes there is a fuel filter. It is located in the center tunnel under the car. You will need to raise the car and remove the lower tunnel covers for access.

grimesb Comments: I unfortunately tore up the spade-connector of the grounding wire that connects to the fuel filter.

Any suggestions on "regrounding" the fuel filter properly?


August 26, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need to crimp or solder on a new connector. If that is not possible for you strip the wire back and ground it to the filter. Assure you have wire to metal contact.

dag Comments: hi, 1999 boxster,50200 miles to date,had new oil air separator,6 new coils,6 new plugs, new mass air flow sensor,to it for MOT,failed on emission, fast idle test.rrm 2500-3000 rpm,CO 0.2% 6.62 MAN CHECK, HC 200 ppm 414 mam, lambda 0.97-1.03 0.82, how do i get this down, chris.

August 1, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Please read our oxygen sensor article. There is useful information there that may help you. You did not mention if your check engine light is on. High emissions will normally set the check engine light. If it is on have your car scanned for fault codes. The results should point you in the right direction. Another possibility is a reprogramed ECU causing the engine to run rich.
teknow Comments: Wayne - love your book - have saved me thousands!

A few observations I made whilst doing the fuel filter project on my 2000 Boxster S UK Spec.

My Boxster has aluminium water pipes running the midsection of the car, which mate to rubber at the rear near the water pump. So seperating the pipes is not easy.

I first removed the hose which comes attached to the fuel filter istelf. Bucket caught around 1/2 litre of fuel.

I then reconnected that hose temporarily to save a mess when doing the next bit.

Removed the two bolts like you say. The smaller hose running between the two of them, simply unclips.

Loosened the metal circlip that retains the fuel filter like the book said.

Then removed the foam which sits between the fuel filter and the engine end of the car. You need this out of the way to slide the fuel filter rearwards for removal.

Then unclipped the hose I'd already drained, and tipped the fuel filter up to drain yet more fuel.

Then I let the earth wire go and the fuel line at the earth wire end of the filter. More mess.

Once this was done, slid the filter rearwards and pulled out of the gap between the two fat rubber hoses. It does fit!

Then disaster, the circlip separated from the mount. No great shakes, it simply slides into the top of the plastic bracket that you let the two bolts go on earlier. It slides in from rear to front. Best to put the circlip on the new fuel filter, loosly tighten it, then slide the filter back in and engage the circlip in the plastic clip. Now tighten, making sure the earth wire will reach!

Reconnect both fuel lines until they clunk.

Now put the foam back in ... if a |_| shaped plastic bracket falls off and you think, what is that .... it goes around the top of the foam insert and pushes onto the stud in the underside of the body! Took me a few minutes to work that out.

Bolts back in and you should be good to go.
July 15, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tips, I'll copy this to the forums and share with others... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
londonblacktaxi Comments: great site,clear simple instruction.manythanks
March 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thank You and happy we were able to help.

Denny at Pelican Parts
KCinBR Comments: In project #4 Fuel filter replacement the caption in the photo calls the fuel filter an "oil filter"
""In the lower right, a brand new oil filter is shown. ""
February 7, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thank You for pointing that out to us. The caption and picture have been corrected.


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Page last updated: Fri 1/19/2018 02:13:09 AM