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The fittings at the '92-up fuel filter seem to be problematic for most people (including me) and I couldn't find any good diagrams, so I've made this.
Step 1: For the best chance of getting it apart on the first try, start by pushing the coupling together HARD so the fingers of the bail are NOT touching the catch ring on the filter.
Step 2: While holding the coupling firmly together, insert the tool fully (I prefer the regular or low-profile scissor). It may be necessary to rotate the tool so its gap does NOT align with any of the fingers, thus holding them all clear of the catch ring.
Step 3: With the tool fully against the catch ring, pull the filter & tool out of the coupling.
If the fingers are not free of the catch ring before the tool is inserted (Step A) or if there's dirt behind even one of them, they may be bent (Step B) semipermanently locking the coupling together. If this happens, the coupling can sometimes be forcibly separated, but this severely damages the bail. With some effort, a small pick tool can be inserted between the filter nipple & the coupling (Step C) and the bail can be removed from the coupling (Step D). After the filter is removed, the bail can be bent back into shape & reinstalled into the coupling to receive the new filter.
Replacement 10.5mm spring bails are available from Ford as E9UZ-9B307-B
. Dorman also offers them in 10.5mm
, and as a pack of 3ea of both sizes
3/8" hairpin clip 2F1Z-9A317-BA
Dorman 800-004 (5-pk)
5/16" hairpin clip 2F1Z-9A317-AA
Dorman 800-003 (5-pk)
There are many versions of each tool shown, and there are other tools available including a set that will work over the fuel tank. Prices range from ~$8 for a set of 6 collar tools to ~$25 for the low-profile scissor.
When installing the new filter, apply clean motor oil to the filter nipples so they slide into the O-rings more easily, without distorting or damaging them. Never use ANY other lubricant anywhere on the fuel system, particularly NOT silicone grease.
Another common problem is the use of the wrong filter. Older ('84-89) filters that are designed for the plastic hairpin fitting have a MUCH shorter nipple, which doesn't allow any tool to be inserted between the filter body & the coupling. One of the few options is to CAREFULLY cut the nipple off the filter (without generating any sparks, and with a fire extinguisher at the ready) to allow a tool in to remove the nipple from the coupling. The other option is to simply rip the lines off the filter and then repair/replace the damaged bails.