Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

June 17, 2012

Fuel Filter Replacement

The last thing on my maintenance list was changing the fuel filter.  Old diesels require bleeding the air out of the fuel lines whenever the filter is changed but that isn't necessary with my Sprinter.  Mercedes-Benz says I should change the fuel filter with every oil change at 10K miles.  Many don't think that is really necessary and change them every other oil change.  Since I have no idea when it was last changed, if ever, I thought it prudent to put in a new one.
The top picture shows the parts that came with the new fuel filter: the filter, new screw in top for the sensor, and 2 new O-rings.  The clamps are fuel injector clamps that are less likely to damage hoses than worm clamps
Fuel Filter in the engine on the right side
I took off the clamp on the metal pipe with needle nose pliers.  The hose was not easy to get free but I finally managed it.  The clamp on the entry tube was a worm clamp and it was also difficult to pry loose.  I had to be careful not to damage the hoses.  The sensor plug took pliers to get it free.  That unfastened all the things on the filter.

Fuel Filter hoses disconnected
  The bracket is held by a T30 Torx screw that I had to back almost all the way out.  Even so, I had to twist the filter and pull it back to clear the metal pipe above it to get it out of the engine..
Old filter showing all the things that need to be removed and put on the new filter

All the things on the old filter had to be removed and put onto the new filter. The base has a plastic ring that I had to remove and place on the new filter.  It holds the filter in the right position in the bracket.  The exit hose had the fuel injector clamp and the hose on the center appears to be an air hose but was broken.  The other piece was on the clamp on the exit hose.  I replaced it later.

New and Old Fuel Filters
All that stuff has to go to the new filter
The sensor was held onto the metal tabs with T20 Torx screws.
Sensor twisted out of metal tabs
 Had to twist the sensor to get it free of the metal tabs.  It took quite a bit of prying and forcing it with a big flat bladed screwdriver.  I unscrewed the top and it then twisted out of the hole.  The filter was full of bluish, clear fuel. There was a plastic clip on the two metal pipes but it didn't fit on the new filter because it has ribs near the base of the pipes.
New filter with the parts that go on it

Sensor inserted into center hole of filter
I put the sensor into the hole in the center of the filter and twisted it to engage the screw holes and screwed down by the 2 T20 Torx screws.  I screwed in the new center air nipple and attached the air hose.
Sensor, hoses installed onto new filter
 Then re-clamped the exit hose to the inside metal pipe.  The new filter is ready to install back into the engine
New filter inserted into the bracket

New filter reattached
I used the 15mm clamp on the entry hose and the 13mm clamp on the exit hose attaching to the metal pipe.  Reinsert the sensor wire plug and tighten the bracket screw.  The filter is replaced.

I double checked that everything was tight and done.  Cleared off my tools and started the engine.  I held the key at position 2 for about 40 seconds, then to ignition and it started right up.  Nice.

I completed this job Friday afternoon and took it for a spin to be sure it worked.  And it did.  I saved myself several hundred dollars doing it myself.  It took longer than it should have, probably because at least some of it hadn't been done maybe ever so getting things loose took awhile and several tool changes to find something that worked.  But I got it done.  And now I know how.  Next time, it should go easier.  I feel very accomplished.


  1. I am in utter awe at your DIY abilities!

  2. Thanks. I am feeling pretty good about it but the real credit goes to all those people on Sprinter-source who document each step so well with great pics so pretty much anybody can do it. Without that, I would have been stumped at several points.


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