I’ve heard this argument time and time again. I actually had a mechanic tell me once that he “refused” to put the fuel filter anywhere but the engine compartment. Bad idea. A fuel filter puts pressure on the inlet tube of the carb. If that comes loose; well, game over for your vintage Volkswagen. Never fear, moving your fuel filter out of the engine area is very simple!
For illustration, my fuel filter is already installed and I’m replacing it. Let’s take a look at a few simple parts you’ll need, all of which we carry here in our shop.
Remove the heater tube. This will expose where the fuel line exits the chassis.
It’s time to check the fuel line. Is it rotten? If the fuel line is in good shape, you need to clamp it off right where it exits the chassis. Good old vice grip pliers seem to work fine. Gas is a precious resource — why waste a single drop?
Once it’s safely clamped, you need to cut the line in prep for the filter. A little gas might run out, but don’t sweat it. I usually wear gloves, and hold back the urge to strike a match.
You can now insert the new filter. Make sure you insert it top side up. That’s how the filters are made to be placed. You might have an extra bit of fuel hose at the top. Trim as needed, and slip the top of the hose onto the filter. (Look at that nasty old filter).
Pretty dirty, huh?
It’s now the moment of truth. Turn the key, start the engine, and watch fuel pass through the line. Success! You’ve now moved your fuel filter to where it should be. By default, VW did not run a filter. The OG German fuel pumps had it built-in. Also, there’s a screen in the tank.
We hope this helps!
Have you installed or replaced a fuel filter in your vintage VW? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!
Photography: Timm Eubanks