2000 Caravan fuel filter


#1

All, the fuel filter is leaking on my 2000 Grand Caravan. It’s the 3.3L flex fuel.

The filter itself is crammed up on top of the tank and is not a typical in-line filter, but is an assembly with 3 fuel lines attached. It is shown in the attached pic of a tank that has been removed (from an '03). Of course, if you can answer for me, then I don’t need to explain it - because you already know!

If you’ve ever done one of these, or do them sometimes, I’m wondering whether you drop the tank or not. All of the formal repair manual write-ups say to drop it some to get at it. But just eye-balling it, it looks like I should be able to do it without having to mess with the whole tank, and I have seen a few discussion threads elsewhere where people mention having done it with the tank in place.

I’m just on a pretty tight time schedule right now and need to figure out how much time to leave (and how empty I need the tank to be). While it is not a typical, easy fuel filter change-out, if I can leave the tank in place it actually just looks like about a 20 - 30 minute job.

Thanks for any input.


#2

Yeah! These are a real SOB to change out…

The tank doesn’t need to be removed. But you’ll need a 1/4" drive set to get at the mounting bolt. Then once that’s removed the filter can be pulled out so the lines can be removed.

The fun part is holding the filter in position so the mounting bolt can be reinstalled.

Tester


#3

Thanks tester. I have the 1/4" drive stuff and accessories (extensions and what-not).

As far as needing probably three hands to get the thing mounted back on, I’ll be on either ramps or jackstands on my back. But I have an extra set of hands called “teenage son”. Do you figure there is room for 2 bodies and four hands? Or just juggle? I guess I’ll figure it as I go.


#4

Here’s how you reinstall the filter.

Take the mounting bolt and mount in the bracket. Then hold the mounting bolt to the bracket with the socket/U/extension. Using the fuel lines, position the filter to get the mounting bolt started. Then tighten it with a ratchet.

Tester


#5

Excellent. Thanks so much for your help. So excluding the jack standing or ramping, I’m figuring 20 minutes?


#6

Let’s first see if the mounting bolt can be loosened.

Tester


#7

Good point. (I did already hit it with PB - no new filter in hand yet). I’ll post back when I have it done. Thanks again for filling me in.


#8

It never ceases to amaze me how the engineers put maintenance items in hard to get to places like this. I wonder if it is the all brains, no common sence or them banking you’ll take it to the dealership and pay out the nose to get these items replaced.


#9

I agree. They sure don’t put much thought into the maintenance aspect of vehicles anymore. I’ve worked on some vehicles where you needed the hands of a 5 year old just to get in the cramped confines. I haven’t had 5 year old hands since around the age of 4.


#10

I will loosen the tank straps as much as possible just to give you that little bit of extra room. I also slather a little grease (actually transmission assembly lube) on the bolt to hold it in place in the bracket while getting it up in place, then put a socket on it to start and tighten it.

I think one set of hands will be easier, less chance of getting an elbow in your eye.

Easier than some, harder than others. If you think this is hard try a late 80’s 4 cyl 4-Runner.


#11

Ok. First, no one has been driving around in a ticking bomb. I’ve just been really busy with no chance to report back. The report is not good.

When I asked Tester about the time he said “Let’s first see if the mounting bolt can be loosened.” Well the bolt was no problem at all and was already a little loose.

What he should probably have said is “Let’s first see if one of those brittle, cheap crap, 15 year old plastic nipples breaks off the top of the fuel pump.

So yes, much of a day and $350 later (flex fuel - the pump is $300+). the van is back on the road and not leaking.

I’ll only take 50% of the blame for being too careless. But the fact is that I had not even gotten anywhere close to manhandling the thing yet. I was still on gentle. So I give the other 50% of the blame to Mopar. It was the smaller of the two fittings.

It probably was a 20 min job otherwise, and I would have ended up loosening up the tank straps as asemaster mentioned because the larger connector was probably not going to clear the body of the van. But it would have been a simple matter to drop it a quarter or half inch and cinch it back up. No matter because the whole tank came out anyway.

So that’s the report. The van has 135K on it, so I guess I’ll just say the fuel pump might have needed to go soon anyway. At least that’s what I’ve been trying to tell myself…$300 buys a lot of beer.


#12

Glad you got it fixed, although it turned into a larger and more expensive proposition for you.

Just had a thought…what if you were Mr. Customer who brought your van to your trusted local auto shop for the routine 100,000 mile service, which according to the manual includes fuel filter replacement. And you get a call in the middle of the day stating that upon removal of the filter the fuel pump module broke. You now need a $350 pump module and an additional $90 labor to replace it.

Would you pay it without question or complaining?

What say all of you out there?


#13

I would want to know if it happened because of carelessness, or it was bound to happen, because the connection was brittle or extremely tight

Of course, I could imagine a shop wouldn’t be too proud to tell the customer the pump needs replacement because the mechanic was careless.

I also know darn well that some customers will ALWAYS assume the worst, and will just know with 100% certainty that the fuel pump broke because of carelessness.

And some customers will pay the bill with a smile, then sic their lawyer on the shop

Realistically, I know there are situations when a part will break, no matter who works on the car, no matter how careful they were.

There were situations at the dealer, when I ALWAYS included component x in the estimate, because from my experience, it breaks 90% of the time, no matter how careful you are.


#14

I would ask for the inspection of the whole set-up and parts, but I am just one of those types, I guess. And if I trusted the shop then I’d probably move most of my mind’s blame to Dodge, groan and bite the bullet. But I think I’d ask them for a large discount on the labor for the pump replacement, and perhaps a lower than normal mark-up on the part.

I’ve done a little bit of internet work, and this is not an uncommon problem. (And I’m not surprised). I also noticed that, at least on mine, the line from the filter to that smaller fitting actually has some tension on it. It tugs on that nipple a bit toward the front of the van. I think that if I had a shop, every fuel filter customer might get a pre-warning. Except then you don’t want to give people license to be careless either.