How to Replace the Fuel Filter on a Dodge Dakotaby Marion CobrettiUpdated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
Socket wrench set
Metal catch pan
2 fuel hose clamps
A damaged or clogged fuel filter in most cases will prevent the engine from starting and running. The filter is solely responsible for filtering dirt and rust particles out of the gasoline before it reaches the engine for combustion. As the filter fills up with debris over time, the engine will stall repeatedly or bog down. The fuel filter on the 2.5-liter Dodge Dakota mounts beneath the truck on the inside of the left frame rail, just forward of the cross member.
Open the fuel door and slowly remove the gas cap to relieve the pressure within the tank.
Open the driver door and remove the five screws holding the trim panel in place just beneath the steering wheel with a Phillips screwdriver. Take the trim off to reveal your fuse panel. Identify which of the fuses in the cluster operates the fuel pump. You should see small writing beneath each of the fuses. Remove the appropriate fuse.
Start the engine and let it idle until it stalls out. Try to start the engine four more times, waiting 10 seconds between each attempt. Once the engine fails to start, turn the ignition off and remove the key. Open the hood.
Remove the black (negative) cable from the battery post with a socket wrench. Position the cable down along the side of the battery away from its post and any other metal.
Slide under the truck on the left side and locate the fuel filter along the frame rail. It should be silver and about the size of an empty toilet paper roll. Place the metal catch pan under the filter.
Remove the bolt from the filter’s retaining clip with a socket wrench. Lower the filter down from its mounting position. The retaining clip does not come off the filter; your new filter should have the clip already installed on it.
Loosen the front--engine side--hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver. Pull the fuel hose off the filter’s nipple and allow the residual fuel in the line to drain into the catch pan. Slide the fuel hose clamp off the hose and install a new one. Repeat this step and remove the rear fuel hose from the filter.
Note the small arrow on the new fuel filter. The should point toward the engine, not the gas tank. Push the front fuel hose back down onto the fuel filter’s nipple. Install the rear hose the same way. Slide both of the fuel hose clamps back into position at the center of both fuel filter nipples. Tighten the clamps.
Raise the fuel filter back up into its original mounting position. Install the bolt back into the retaining clip and tighten it until it's snug. Remove the catch pan and set it aside.
It may take a few attempts to start the engine but don’t be alarmed. The fuel system has to rebuild the fuel pressure within it before the engine will start.
If you notice fuel leaking from the filter, quickly shut the engine off and tighten the fuel hose clamps. Perform the check again.
- "Haynes Dodge Dakota Pickup, 1987-1996 Haynes Repair Manuals"; John Haynes; 1996
- "Chilton's Chrysler Dodge/Plymouth trucks, 1989-96 Repair Manual"; Kerry A. Freeman; 1996
Marion Cobretti began working as a freelance writer in 2006. His work appears on Newsvine and other websites. Cobretti completed a three-year course in automotive technology and is currently seeking an Associate of Applied Science at Macomb Community College.