How to Install a Fuel Filter in a 2003 Ford Mustangby Allen Moore
The 2003 Ford Mustang is a fuel-injected pony car and one of the most recognizable Ford vehicles in the 2003 model year. The Mustang's fuel-injection system relies on the fuel pump and fuel filter to supply the fuel rail and injectors with clean gasoline in order to keep this stallion in motion. The filter itself removes impurities, such as tank sediment and rust that find their way into the Mustang from gas station storage tanks. The filter can hold only so much, which led the Ford Motor Co. to recommend replacing the filter every 15,000 miles.
Drive the Mustang's front wheels onto ramps. Turn off the car, remove the key and set the parking brake before getting out. Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels.
Slide a drip pan under the driver's-side door, on the ground. Climb under the car with a socket set, fuel line disconnect tool and the new filter.
Locate the fuel filter on the inboard side of the frame, about midway between the front and rear wheels. The easiest way to locate it is to simply follow the fuel lines forward from the fuel tank until you see it.
Unbolt the metal retaining strap that holds the filter firmly to the frame. Use the socket set to do this.
Disconnect the front fuel line from the fuel filter outlet, using the fuel line disconnect tool. The line has a small clip in the end where it flares around the fuel line outlet. You must pry this clip up with the tool before the fuel line comes off the outlet.
Pull the front fuel line off the fuel filter outlet. Remove the rear fuel line from the fuel filter inlet in the same manner, then pull the old filter out of the retaining strap and put it in the drip pan.
Insert the new fuel filter into the retaining strap. Make sure the direction arrow points toward the front of the Mustang. Reinstall both fuel lines in reverse of removal and thread the bolt back into the retaining strap, tightening it down with the socket set.
Climb out with all your tools and parts. Turn the ignition key to the "Run" position and wait until you hear the fuel pump shut off. This should be about 10 seconds. Once the pump turns off, start the engine. Move the wheel chocks, release the parking brake and drive the Mustang off the ramps.
- You can pry the clip on the fuel line out with a pocket screwdriver or pick, but using anything other than the correct tool can easily break the clip. If the clip breaks, you'll have to buy a new fuel line to replace it. You can purchase the fuel line tool at most auto parts stores for a fraction of the cost of a new fuel line.
Things You'll Need
- Wheel chocks
- Drip pan
- Socket set
- Fuel line disconnect tool
- New filter
- Automotive repair can lead to serious physical injury or damage to the vehicle if you do not have proper training, skill and the right tools. Never undertake an automotive repair project without these prerequisites unless you are working with someone who has them.
- Never work on a fuel system while smoking or around open flames.
Allen Moore's career includes awards in poetry and creative fiction, published lyrics, fiction books and nonfiction articles as well as a master certification in automotive service from the Ford Motor Company. Moore is a contributing writer for RF365.com and various other websites, a ghostwriter for Rainbow Writing and has over a dozen works of fiction currently in print.