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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I'd post some points regarding changing a fuel filter. I've seen a few posts regarding the merits of changing or not but I'd like to stay away from all that and just pass along some pointers. I recently purchased a 2003 Grand Caravan ES with a 3.8L and am in the process of completing several maintenance items as I do not know the previous history of them being accomplished. I had the tranny flushed and filled at a garage and decided I'd replace the fuel filter myself as there was 154,000km on van and a little bit of a stagger when coming to a near stop then accelerating again. Also at steady lower rpm's, around 1500, the tach, and engine noise, would vary up and down occasionally about 100 rpm. :ask_wsign
The filter was mounted above the tank on the inboard side and is almost accessible without lowering the tank. It has three lines with two going to tank and 1 going forward to engine. You will need to lower the inboard side of the tank so I backed the van up on a set of wheel ramps, chocked front wheels, then removed three bolts holding tank straps. Two on inboard side and one at front. This allowed the one side of the tank to be lowered a few inches onto a couple of pieces of wood for support. There was now enough access to remove the bolt holding the filter to the tank and pinch the locking tabs and remove the lines from the top of the tank. The forward connection is accessible without removing tank. I'd suggest lubing up the removed bolts and fasteners as mine were fairly rusty but did come out OK. I also sprayed above the tank with RustCheck spray prior to re-installing it. Also, have a length of wire and crimp type connectors as the ground strap from my filter to the tank strap was corroded and broke. The whole job took less than an hour. :thumb:
The filter was purchased from AutoZone for about $25 and has a metal canister. The removed filter was plastic.
 

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did you have to de-pressurize the fuel lines? if so how did you?
 

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You don't have to depressurise the fuel line to change the filter.
Unplug the fuel pump relay while the engine is running if you want to reduce pressure. (may set a code though)
 

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Welcome to the forum, WRENCHPRO and thanks for the write-up.

Let us know if you notice a difference in how it runs.
 

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These have a tendency to idle a little rough, especially with the AC off. Don't be surprised if your fuel filter replacement has no affect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I didn't have to relieve the fuel pressure as the van hadn't been run for several hours and when I opened the line there was no pressure left. (I was ready for some spray of fuel but it never came) As far as the performance it does seem to be better as far as accelerating from a near stop as I haven't noticed the stagger, but the steady state driving at lower rpms still appear to have the fluctuations. My mechanic from the garage had to reset my tranny pressure switches after the fluid change so we went for a drive with his magic box hooked up and he said at the time that that is the way the tranny works and it was the internal workings of the tranny causing the moderate smooth rpm fluctuations. Perhaps he's right and I just have to get used to the workings of a new vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Followup to engine hesitation

The filter change seemd to make a difference in the engine hesitation at first but did not fix the problem. I researched the situation a little but as it was fine at highway speeds didn't get around to doing much. Finally scheduled an appointment at the garage and they thought it might be vacuum lines. I changed the spark plugs before taking it in ut the problem remained. (the plugs were ready for replacement though) Turns out all they did was clean the throttle body and everything is fine now!! Haven't had a chance to get a detailed explanation as my wife took the van in and relayed the cure to me, as best she could, but seemd like it may have been a dirty MAF sensor or something? :rolleyes:
 
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