How To: Fix a Clogged Fuel Intake or Change a Fuel Filter! - Jeep Wrangler Forum

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Old 06-06-2010, 01:07 AM
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How To: Fix a Clogged Fuel Intake or Change a Fuel Filter!

So I've been having a problem for the six months I've owned my Wrangler where I cannot fill my Jeep by holding the pump handle down all the way. It just won't work and you have to give her just the tip. I know it's a common problem at the pump and I know others have had some problems, so I decided to fix my own Jeep and do a quick write up on how to address your gas tank woes. Plus, being that I'm in NJ (full-service) it got WAY to embarrassing having to get out and tell the attendant I'll fill it. Like he couldn't do his job

There are a ton of resources on the web, and as we go along I'll post some links. I apologize there are a lack of pictures, simply because I didn't think I'd be making a guide. Basically I'm walking through the proper checking procedures to the grand finale. Try to address your problem along the way and save yourself some time!

These instructions are from a 1999 Wrangler, but your results shouldn't be too different

Alright, basically filling up you're going to have one of two major problems. First is the problem I described above like mine, the second is the spurting out of some extra fluid at the end because of a vacuum buildup. Unfortunately, I don't know how well these steps will address that situation.

There is a great video basically walking you through the same thing I'm explaining. The job is possible with one person, I did it myself, but it's a pain putting everything back together without someone to help you out.

Make sure you are out of gas. Not a half a tank, not a quarter. Out of gas or running on fumes. You'll hate yourself as you dunk your hands into a tank full of gas. Plus it will get everywhere! Grab an extra 1 gallon canister to fill up afterwards.

1) Put your rear end up on jackstands. Don't depend on simply using a floor jack, jackstands are a necessity. I had the tires roughly 4 inches off the ground, if you have a lift, it'll be less.

2) Go under your hood and open up the engine-bay fuse box located in front of your battery. Pull the left-side fuse named "Fuel Pump Relay" or something. Pull that one out. Now start your Jeep, and run it until it dies (should be right away). Your fuel system is depressurized. You might want to go ahead and disconnect the negative battery cable too, but I didn't.

3) Unscrew your gas cap and then remove the four outer and four inner screws. The video says they're torx. Mine were phillips head. Remove the gas bezel and look at your two hoses inside. Feel around and see if anything feels kinked or contorted. You can see where the tubes fit through pass the frame to the fuel tank. Are they being pinched? Note now, the large one is the fuel intake, the smaller one is for air displacement.

check that out to see how a gas pump works

4) Now it's time to drop the gas tank. Watch the video first, read my instructions, then lets get started.

5) The gas tank is held in by 7 bolts, four in the rear (which you can see underneath the bumper), two underneath towards the driverside, and one underneath towards the passenger side. Before you start unbolting, look towards the driver side underneath. You should see an electrical connector with a plastic loom around it. This plug needs to be disconnected. It's a Chrysler PITA plug, so what you do is grab a flathead screwdriver, pop out that red clip that's on the side then simply squeeze and pull apart.

6) Then, there are two hoses connected to metal tubes right near the wire connection you just disconnected. One has a plastic clip on it where you need to pinch the sides and pull apart (watch out, some gas will still leak out), the other is just simply two tubes and you yank the rubber hose off of it.

7) Place your floor jack directly underneath the gas tank and put some pressure on the tank to support it. Begin unbolting the gas tank. Remember, four in the rear and 3 directly underneath. It's a 1/2 sock, and I used extensions. You might need to throw some PB Blaster on before, but I had no trouble breaking mine. There are two bolts in the rear that have rubber caps on them. Don't touch 'em, they are responsible for holding the skid plate to the gas tank.

8) One everything is unbolted, slowly being to lower the gas tank. Only go about half-way, then unscrew the hose clamps from the two rubber hoses on the side. It's a flathead screwdriver for this job. Remove the hoses and drop the tank carefully to the ground. I put mine on a rolling board.

Crack a beer here, you deserve it! Smoke a cigarette too right next to the gas tank. Kidding! Don't do that.

9) See that hose in my pic with the green FUEL GAS OMG sticker? Remove that from the gas tank so it's out of your way. Be careful, fuel will spill out of here.

10) With your intake hoses free, inspect for any damage. Is it piched or closed? I ran a shop vac through the assembly to see if there were any stoppages or leaks, and found nothing in mine. If there is damage, don't try to use it, and don't spend $40 at your dealer for the tubes. Take it to loews or Home Depot and see if they can help grab a replacement.

11) This is your whole gas tank. Pretty cool huh? Now on the TJs, there is a locking plastic bezel that holds everything together. That's the white thing on top. To break and open it, use a punch and a hammer to unscrew it. Remember, NO SPARKS so NO METAL to METAL contact. That means no full-metal punches. You can use a flathead screwdriver as a punch with a plastic handle. It'll take some oomph, but finally the bezel will unscrew.

12) One apart, you'll see the fuel pump spring up. There's a rubber gasket surrounding it so don't lose that in the murky gas abyss. Have towels ready and pull the whole assembly out. Be careful not to bend the gas gauge lever. How sick is this!?!?

13) If you're changing the fuel filter (probably the whole assembly), then just simply replace the unit and go to the re-installation. If you bought a new prefilter, it's at the bottom of the unit. It just pops off and replaces. Note, Jerry Bransford is not a liar, the fuel filter really shouldn't NEED replacing too often.

14) Now if you're having a problem similar to mine, here's your culprit. Look inside where your intake hoses were. See a ping-pong ball looking contraption?

This little nifty primitive device pushes back when gas flows in and then pops back out to prevent any vapors from leaking out. Pretty cool right? Unfortunately, it has a tendency of getting stuck and jammed up. So what you do is reach your hand inside of the tank (gloves maybe?) and feel the assembly behind it. You'll feel that all that's there is that ball and a spring that pushes the ball forward. In my case, the ball was caught up in the springs and I just had to straighten it out. Your springs may have rolled over on its side which is also common. Just straighten that out and use a small screwdriver to see if it's difficult to push the ball back.

That should do it, beyond that I have no other ideas. Make sure there are no obstructions in those intake lines or on the gas tank. Check to make sure where those plugs are, the air (the smaller) outtake has no blockage.


1) Simply enough, put the fuel filter back in, push down and screw that plastic locking bezel around. This took me about an hour to accomplish. It's a huge pain in the ass to screw on properly. Make sure it's lined up. Don't kill yourself.

2) Line up the gas tank on the floor jack and lift the tank about half way. Reinstall all the proper tubes (1 electrical connector, 2 rubber tubes right next to each other, and two vent intake tubes. Push the fuel filler intake into it's proper position.

3) Align the gas tank with the bolt mounting holes (here's where a friend comes in handy) and bolt it down with a 1/2 inch socket. Rescrew in your gas cap and bezel and install the fuel pump relay and your set to go!

Good job, overall it's not a difficult job. It took me a while to get all together, but let me tell you - when I went to the gas station and didn't have to fill up by holding the pump, it was like I died and went to heaven! Let me know if you guys need help, have questions, or just comment away!
It's got a Willy's body, a Chevy engine, Ford axles, GM transmission, and Dodge steering components... it must be a Wrangler.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:35 PM
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So... any questions? Sorry I want one response

It's got a Willy's body, a Chevy engine, Ford axles, GM transmission, and Dodge steering components... it must be a Wrangler.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:09 PM   #3
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Very entertaining and informative! Thanks for the write-up. I may be replacing my fuel pump in the near future and this gives me a good idea of what to expect.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:10 PM   #4
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and here i thought i was crazy
i was wondering what was causing the problem
a bad pump or my tank now i know.

Thanks for the guide
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info and the work you put into the thread! I made a link and filed it for possible future use. My fuel level sending unit acts up at times and if it ever fails I'll be into the tank....replace the pump, filter, sending unit, etc.
Never argue with idiots......they will drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:42 AM   #6
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Nice work

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