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 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.
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.
Simba on May 29, 2018:
I love your DIY's.
Steve on September 13, 2014:
Did the trick, thank you! I couldn't find the button on the clip. This totally saved me when I was halfway through the work!
Writen4u (author) on December 14, 2013:
That sucks, but you did see up above I gave the part numbers to order the clip alone from both any car parts store and the dealership right? To bad that such a tiny $2 part can make such a hassle if it breaks.
Benjabb on December 13, 2013:
Hey I got the same jam as Mehrab, Line clip broke on the fuel filter input, sprayed gas and then stalled the battery dead, went to pull my line through the bottom and it got jammed uptop. I spent several hours prying my long skinny hands in, finally used a crooked screwdriver to get the slightest play and rescue it.
Then I grabbed a clip from the Evap in the engine bay since it won't be pressurized in the same way. I used that clip to replace the fuel filter one which is necessary.
I don't recommend pulling the line to anyone unless you plan on actually dropping the fuel tank!! I was nearly fucked I just got lucky prying the line back to it's proper place.
Wiesbaden on November 05, 2013:
I am really glad I found this DIY! - I am one of those who do first and think later ... :) I ruined both my clips on the Motor side of my 2004 1.8T - thinking rather to pull them out than pushing - and believe me it was really hard to pull them out LOL.
The tip with the Dorman part No.800-021 http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores... was worth GOLD !!!!!
Writen4u (author) on July 13, 2013:
That sucks, I guess take that as a lessoned learned for everyone. Be gentle with those clips. There is no way that you can giggle it back and forth with the string till you find the sweet spot?
Mehrab on July 07, 2013:
Just wanted to say I will have to tow the car the clip of the fuel line does not go through seems to get stuck within the path. Guess that will have to take it to the shop to get the fuel tank lowered.
Mehrab on July 07, 2013:
You know that's exactly what i was thinking going with that option I need to replace it that way with the string ill let you know how it went. Hopefully I can take all the panels off to find the fuel pump.
Thank you very much for your input and time and YES I wished I would have seen your DIY.
Writen4u (author) on July 07, 2013:
I have never had to replace the line as I use butter fingers to take it off.
I would not cut your new hose if you just paid fiddy for it, and if you were going the "cutting the hose route" there are fuel line repair kits for around twenty bucks and you heat the hose in boiling water to press in the clip.
If I were in your position, DO NOT PULL OUT THE OLD LINE or my understanding is that you will have to drop your tank to get the new one in.
Unclip the line from the fuel pump and tie a strong thin rope/nylon string around the connection. Pull the line out from the bottom like a used tampon making sure that string is tied tight. Now you have the string/rope under your car tie on the new line and work it back up to your fuel filter. Plug both sides in and then ask yourself, "why didn't I try another dealership for the clip or just buy it from autozone", or better yet, 'why didn't I research and find this awesome diy before I attempted this".
Mehrab on July 05, 2013:
Just came back from the Audi dealership gave the number you suggested and they refused to sell just the clips so I asked for the line I needed and bought it (51$). Is there a possibility you can tell me what is the best option available, do i cut and clamp now woth the fiel line and clip part that i bought or do I need to take apart the passenger side to get access to the fuel pump and trace the line to the fuel filter? My audi tt is a roadster.
Writen4u (author) on July 04, 2013:
That sucks, not sure if you read the whole DIY or not as you're just searching for answers but about 3/4th's down there is the part numbers for both the VW and auto parts store clip to fix the line, hope that helps. Take it as a lessoned learned for next time. Good Luck.
Mehrab on July 03, 2013:
Just replaced the fuel filter on my 01 audi tt and was very disappointed. I did not brake the front clip but as you said I did brake the "death" one the back clip. What I did for the mean time is bought fuel line hose and clamped it for the mean time. I feel the car sometimes jerking I believe it is not receiving the right amount of fuel. There is no leak but still I am not fully happy with the job I wished I would have read your DIY before I did it myself. Any suggestions would be truly appreciated.
Christian on August 18, 2012:
Thanks for this, just did this with minimal fuss. I'm nervous about the clips not being on properly, but theres no leaks, so that gives me a little bit of confidence. :) (I'm a nervous DIY'er)
Writen4u (author) on August 17, 2011:
Yea you have to be careful with these clips. At least they can be bought for a couple bucks instead of replacing the whole line as what VW would do.
Thanks for the comment.
Andrew on August 17, 2011:
Thank You very much for this DIY! I broke front end clip(not 2000$ one) but will replace part as you stated.
Writen4u (author) on July 18, 2011:
Thanks, keep reading them and I'll keep writing them as I find things that need to be done.
allan on July 17, 2011:
not changing my fuel filter but read this and wanted to thank you. im one of those people that read your DIY