Can’t access fuel filter?

I have almost 100k miles on my 3.7L 2011 mustang and pretty sure the fuel filter’s never been changed. I have read that the fuel filter is not serviceable unless the entire pump is removed. This seems like a major design flaw, since changing the fuel filter every 15-20k is pretty standard and will help the pump last longer.

Can someone clarify/explain if these cars with unaccessible fuel filters have a different fuel system that allows the fuel pump to not get clogged due to the filter never getting serviced?

Good question. I really don’t know the answer. I do know I’ve put many miles on vehicles with the filter in the tank (150k on my wife’s Toyota, 170k on my GMC, 180k on my Buick, and 190k on my former Dodge truck) without having fuel pump or pressure problems. Maybe the fact that the vehicles with non serviceable filters are running higher fuel pressure compared to the old carbed or tbi engines that had the replaceable inline filters has something to do with it. It seems like replaceable filters went away some time after carburetors and then low pressure throttle body injection were replaced by the higher pressure port injection engines, but maybe that’s a coincidence. GM did away with replaceable filters on the half ton trucks when they went returnless on their fuel system, I believe. Maybe that has something to do with it too.

Or maybe they just did away with the filter because most people never changed it anyway unless there was a problem.

You can get to the pump without dropping the tank, there’s an access under the rear seat that allows you to pull the pump out of the tank, from what I understand there’s only a sock type filter at the end of the pump.

It is far cheaper to put a large sock like filter on the suction side of the pump than put a filter inside a can with attachment fittings that will handle the pressure of the fuel system.

A filter external to the pump means the dirt has already gone through the pump. An internal sock filter means the pump, and injectors get clean fuel. This system works just fine.

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Many new vehicles have a back-flush system and the filter is attached to the pump that’s in the tank. I was very very leery of how effective this system is in keep the fuel system clean when I bought my 2005 4runner. I sold that vehicle in 2014 with over 300k miles and the original filter. My wife’s 07 Lexus has the same setup and has over 250k miles and original filter. My 14 Highlander has the same setup and it now has over 150k miles and the original filter.

The Toyota fuel filter is expected to last the life of the vehicle. I suspect the same for the Mustang.

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Where did you get that idea . Maybe years ago but not now .

I agree the new systems seem to be working just fine. The one thing I don’t like about it is…the dirt is never removed from the system. It just sits there in the bottom of the tank. At least with the older filter systems the pump would pump the gas and dirt out of the tank and the filter would remove the dirt. Then when you replaced the filter the dirt is removed from the system. I haven’t had a problem with the newer systems…so I’m pretty convinced they work fine.

In my old 09 Focus, I replaced the fuel pump around (I think) 185K or 190k. The tank had 2 small pieces of dirt in it when I pulled the pump out. I think you’re more likely to get dirt in the tank if you’re filling your car from a gerry can than from a pump at a gas station. I don’t think there’s hardly any dirt being added into the gas tanks from the pumps.

The older systems with the external filter that you replaced - I’d replace mine a couple times a year. And every time I replaced it - it was FILTHY.

The saddle tank in your mustang is made of plastic.


With a plastic fuel tank, there’s no concern for rust. So there’s no purpose for a down-stream fuel filter.