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Marc, Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1888
Experience:  33 years exp. automotive repair NYS emisisions repair cert.
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How do you change the fuel filter on a 1999 saturn SL1

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I have a 1999 saturn sL1. The car has had a hard time starting lately, it will start but it kind of bogs a little at first. It has 130,000 miles on it and the fuel filter has never been changed to my knowledge. I contacted the dealership to find out where the fuel filter is on this car they told me that it was in the fuel tank and I could not replace it only they could. I also called vavoline instant oil change and they said they could do it no problem, for about half the money the delaership was going to charge me which was $200.00. When I got there all of sudden they did not have the fuel filter. So im not sure if im getting the run-around or not. Could you please help? No one has been able to tell me where the fuel filter really is. Thank you    -- Tom

Optional Information:
1999 Saturn SL1 not sure

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery.

  2. Properly relieve the fuel system pressure as follows:

    1. Remove the air cleaner or air intake duct, as applicable.

    2. Wrap a shop rag around the fuel test port fitting on the fuel supply line at the fuel rail. Remove the protective cap and connect pressure gauge tool SA9127E or equivalent.

    3. Install the bleed hose into an approved container and open the valve to bleed the system pressure. After the system pressure is bled, remove the gauge from the pressure test port and recap it.

  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely.

  4. Loosen the fuel filter/pressure regulator bracket retaining screws.

WARNING Exercise extreme care when opening the retaining clip. The fuel lines must be retained in this clip; if damaged, the fuel tank assembly must be replaced, since the fitting is not serviced separately.

  1. Disengage the quick connect fitting on the left side of the fuel tank by pinching the 2 plastic tangs together and pulling on the supply line.

  2. Disengage the EVAP purge line at the 90° quick connect fitting.

  3. Slide the outlet of the fuel filter/regulator out of the support on the fuel tank bracket and disengage the fuel feed line at the 90° quick connect fitting.

  4. Pivot the fuel filter/regulator down while moving the leg of the mounting bracket out from under the parking brake lines.

It is not necessary to separate the fuel filter/regulator from the mounting bracket, since both items are serviced as an assembly.

  1. Disengage the fuel feed and return line quick connect fittings on the fuel filter/regulator. Discard the filter in an appropriate container.

To install:

  1. Install new fuel line retainers (3) into the female portion of the quick connect fuel line fittings.

  2. To ease installation, lubricate the male ends of the fuel filter/regulator with clean engine oil.

  3. Install the fuel feed and return lines onto the fuel filter/regulator and snap them closed. Pull back to verify that the fittings are secure.

  4. Install the fuel feed, return, and EVAP purge lines into the fuel tank's retaining clip.

  5. Slide the leg of the fuel filter/regulator mounting bracket under the parking brake lines and pivot upward.

WARNINGBe sure to route the chassis fuel feed and purge lines above the parking brake cable. The parking brake cable must be firmly secured to the underbody to support the fuel and purge lines.

  1. Install the 90° fuel feed line quick connect fitting onto the fuel filter/regulator outlet and snap it closed. Pull back to verify that the fitting is secure.

  2. Install the 90° EVAP purge line quick connect fitting to the purge line and snap it closed. Pull back to verify that the fitting is secure.

  3. Install the fuel feed outlet pipe of the fuel filter/regulator into the retaining clip on the fuel tank bracket.

  4. Install the fuel filter/regulator bracket mounting screws. Tighten the bracket mounting screws to 71 inch lbs. (8 Nm).

  5. Lower the vehicle and install the air cleaner or intake duct, as applicable. Connect the air inlet tube and fresh air hose.

  6. Connect the negative battery cable, then prime the fuel system as follows:

    1. Turn the ignition ON for 5 seconds and then OFF for 10 seconds.

    2. Repeat the ON/OFF cycle 2 more times.

    3. Crank the engine until it starts.

    4. If it does not start, repeat Steps a-c.

    5. Run the engine and check for leaks.

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 9: Fuel filter/pressure regulator location on the vehicle's underbody, at the forward edge of the left side of the fuel tank

Click image to see an enlarged view
Fig. 10: Removal of the fuel filter/pressure regulator bracket mounting fasteners

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