How to Fix a Faulty Fuel Separator
What happens when the fuel separator of your vehicle fails? You will begin experiencing startup problems, misfires, stalling, surging, rough running, as well as rough idling. Lack of normal power and poor acceleration will also be significantly noticeable. These happen because the fuel separator is no longer up for collecting contaminants from the fuel, subsequently increasing fuel consumption while losing its capability to produce power. Wise car owners do a weekly checkup of the fuel water separator to ensure that it doesn't cause more serious internal engine damage. But if worse comes to worst, the best option is to install a replacement fuel separator.
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- Large drip pan
Step 1: Remove the kick panel at the driver's side in order to gain access to the system that uses the fuel separator. It is locked within the trim of the door column at the driver's side. You will need a screwdriver to remove the screws of the inner part of the panel, through the plastic trim on the door jamb, as well as of the firewall. Also remove those on the floor that is near the dead pedal to free the kick panel completely.
Step 2: Releasing the fuel pressure from the fuel tank is now possible because you have already gained access through the kick panel. There, you will find the fuel pump relay. Remove it to be able to open the residual fuel tank's cap and release the pressure from within. Start the engine, and let it idle until the engine stalls. At this point, there is still pressure that remains in the fuel tank, so you will have to repeat the process in order to fully release the pressure. After which, reinstall everything that you just took off. Do not restart the engine in order to avoid creating new pressure in the fuel tank.
Step 3: Drain the fuel off the hoses. To do this, you have to loosen the hoses using a wrench, and disconnect it from the fuel filter with a screwdriver. In this process, the fuel will surely spill, so use some rags or a drip pan to catch the spill. After splitting the hoses and the fuel filter, drain the excess fuel into the drip pan.
Step 4: The fuel separator is located under the fuel filter, so you have to remove first the brackets that secure the fuel filter using a screwdriver. This very location also requires you to remove the fuel filter before you can unscrew the fuel separator off.
Step 5: Install the new fuel separator properly in place. Secure it with the screws. While you are installing new separator, it would also be wise to also use a new fuel filter. This will not only improve fuel filtration, but also help the engine work better.
Step 6: Put the hoses back in place, and secure them with brackets. Tighten the hoses between .08 and 1.1 pounds. Note that if the hoses are showing cracks, it is best to also have them replaced.