As a car owner who takes pride in doing his own repairs, my articles focus on helping other vehicle owners handle DIY projects.
Replacing the Fuel Filter in VW MKIV and Audi A4s
This guide covers about every VW MK4 and Audi A4 that does not have a diesel engine. For the 1.8T, VR6, 2.0L, and others, the fuel filter is located in the same spot with the same connections.
Audi/VW states the fuel filter is a lifelong part that never needs to be changed, even though they offer and recommend the service for over $200 dollars. Just like their "Lifetime Transmission Fluid" that the dealership will also recommend changing.
This guide is not full of pictures as it is nearly impossible to take pictures in such close quarters. From the few pictures I have taken, you should be able to complete this DIY as it is mainly a feel-while-you-work job as opposed to seeing what you're doing.
Changing the fuel filter should only take around 30 minutes to an hour. Just make sure you go slow and have a lot of patience with the fuel clips.
Fuel Filter Tools & Parts
Aside from this DIY being a pain in your A, tool wise it requires almost nothing. A few things are recommended but not necessarily needed.
- Flathead & Philips-head screwdriver or 7mm socket and wrench
- WD-40, PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench spray (optional)
- 4" Hose Clamp that can fully open (optional)
- Fuel Filter: 1J0-201-511A, Mahle KL-79, or whatever they sell at your local parts store.
1. Pull Out Fuse 28
First start by opening your fuse panel on the drivers side and pulling out fuse number 28. By pulling the fuse you will cut power to the fuel pump. After cutting the fuel pumps power start the car and wait till it dies. If you haven't ran the car for a day or so it will die out fast. After the car has died pull out your key and open the gas cap to release any existing pressure. This step is optional but it will reduce the amount of gas that spills out while you are changing the filter.
2. Jack Up the Car
Jack up the car, it will be easier to reach the fuel filter clips. You can also do this diy by pulling up on a curb so you can access underneath the car but it will be a little harder only having about half the arm space.
3. Open the Hose Clamp
The fuel filter is connected by a hose clamp that can be fully opened with a flathead, Philips head or 7mm socket. If yours is rusted you can use your WD-40 or whatever optional spray you bought to break it loose. If you opted to buy a new $2 hose clamp you can just cut it off.
Tip: If you feel like you want to make a habit of this, you can also just replace the hose clamp with a fat zip tie so you can easily cut it off 20K miles from now and replace the filter again. Even if you don't plan on replacing the filter again a zip tie will not fail and it is a lot easier to deal with than a hose clamp.
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4. Pull Two Hoses Out of the Way
There are two cables/hoses in your way. the emergency break line can be pulled out of the wire holding it still and the other white hard hose (it's white, it's hard, it's a hose) can be pulled out of the black clamp wrapped around the filter. Don't break that black clamp you will use it on your new filter.
5. Remove the Front Clip
You can start on the back or front clip. I like to start in the front and casually make my way to the back, but enough about my personal life. In the front the button you need to push in should be facing down which is the red line in the picture. (I will cover these buttons better in the next segment if you are unfamiliar with them).
It will be a very tight fit for your hand, but as long as you unscrew the clamp first, you should be able to pull the filter down a bit little more to give your hand some clearance. Push in on the button/clip and push the whole hose towards the fuel filter. Carefully rotate the filter as you pull off the hose. If you feel any resistance stop and make sure you have the clip fully depressed.
Once you feel that cold, sweet gas running down your arm you know you did a good job. Tip: once the front clip is off, cap the end of the filter with the cap that comes on the new filter, it will keep gas from pouring everywhere.
6. Remove the Rear Clip
Now that that first clip is off and you have the hose clamp released you can pull the filter down a little bit and get at the back clip pretty easy. Remember the back clip is the clip of death; you breaking that piece of hose means $2000 dollars at the dealership to drop your gas tank to replace the fuel line!! Ok, that's what the dealership charges and there are cheaper options but like before take your time and don't force it. If you do break the clip options are listed below. Remember be patient and don't break the hose clips.
7. The Rest of the Job
- Pull your old filter free and put it in some old Tupperware to drain.
- If you need to change hose clamps, now is the time. I would really recommend using a fat zip tie as it is such a small place to work it and separated hose clamps are a b**ch to get back together. You can feed your new hose clamp or zip-tie through the hole above where the filter sits
- Put your new filter into position with the arrow pointing towards the engine.
- Push both hoses onto the fuel filter. You will know when they are fully on as you will hear them click.
- Tighten your hose clamp or zip tie around the filter but don't forget to slip in that black plastic clip in-between the filter and the hose clamp that the white hard hose clips into. Now put your emergency break cable back into the metal wire holder.
- Close the gas cap, prime the fuel pump by tuning the key to the on position (not starting the engine), waits five seconds and do it again. Repeat four or five times.
- Then try to start your engine.
Your Options if You Break a Fuel Line Clip
There are plenty of horror stories out there of people attempting this and breaking a clip or a hose and in turn having to pay the dealership close to $2000 dollars to have their gas tank dropped so the fuel line can be replaced all because a 50 cent clip was broken.
If you call the dealership they will say that it is the only option if you break a clip. I have another option because I care about the three people a year that read my DIY's!! The clip can be replaced by Dorman products part # 800-021, or you can call your local dealership and order part # 1J0-200-059L. From dealership or Dorman, both parts should be less than a dollar compared to VW's two thousand. If you actually break the whole black L clip on the back side of the filter you will have your work cut out for you but the line can still be replaced without taking it to VW/Audi.
In the picture above, you can see how the bottom side of the "L" has a white strip. on the fuel filter that strip will be black, but it will be in the same place and the concept to release it is the same. Press that strip down and the clip releases.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.