Fuel filters on outboard engines perform two primary functions. The first, as the name implies, is to filter out particles in the fuel before the fuel is injected or drawn into the engine for combustion. The second is to act as a water separator. Marine conditions often allow water to enter the fuel storage tanks, and a quality fuel filter limits the volume of water which will enter the engine. Outboard engine fuel filters are primarily available as screw-on or inline types, though some outboards utilise a screen in the engine's fuel pump to restrict particles from entering the engine.
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Things you need
- Replacement fuel filter
- Zip ties
- Brake parts cleaner
- Soft-bristled brush
Remove the engine shroud. Locate the inline fuel filter. Follow the fuel line to locate the inline fuel filter. It will be connected to the incoming line to the engine.
Remove the pressure from the fuel system. Disconnecting the fuel connection to the outboard will be sufficient.
Remove any clamps connecting the inline filter to the fuel line. Remove the fuel lines from both ends of the filter.
Install the new filter by connecting the inline filter to the fuel line. Be sure to check the flow direction of the filter before connecting. Inline filters typically only allow the fuel to move one direction through the filter. Replace any clamps used to secure the inline filter to the fuel line. If no clamps were present, zip-ties may be used to secure the filter in place.
Replace the engine shroud.
Locate the fuel filter canister on the outboard. Using a strap wrench or cap wrench, loosen the fuel filter canister by turning counterclockwise. Remove the canister by hand. Be sure not to damage or lose the rubber gasket which secures the filter to the connection point
Lubricate the rubber gasket with engine oil, and place the gasket on the new fuel filter.
Install the new fuel filter by reversing the process used to remove it.
Locate the fuel pump. The fuel pump generally has a clear bulb, which will show fuel flowing through it. Some engines have dual carburettors that will each have a fuel pump.
Unscrew the fuel bulb to access the mesh screen. While this commonly can be done by hand, any tools required will depend on your engine make and model.
Remove the mesh screen from the fuel pump. If necessary, use a fine diameter screwdriver to lift the screen from the connection point. The screens are held in place with pressure and should not be difficult to remove, nor require significant pressure. If the screen is not easily removed, inspect the housing for additional parts that need to be removed to provide access. Do not force the screen, as this may damage it.
Clean the screen with brake parts cleaner and a soft-bristled brush.
Reinstall the screen. Reinstall the bulb.
Tips and warnings
- For optimal performance, fuel filters should be regularly replaced according to engine or fuel-filter manufacturer recommendations.
- If your engine does not have a fuel filter, you can install an inline fuel filter on the incoming fuel line. Determine the interior diameter of the fuel line, and select an inline fuel filter with ports that match this diameter. Cut the fuel line, install the filter and secure with zip-ties.
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