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Clean Energy for My Tacoma - Time for a Fuel Filter

Well, the Tacoma got a new fuel filter today. It's a part I've had sitting around for maybe 18 months now or so, just taking up room in the garage. Because, who needs to install a new filter when the one that's on there seems to be working just fine.


Well, it finally dawned on me why they call it preventative maintenance, and I figured I might as well get it done.

Interested in doing this yourself? Here is a handy little how-to that lists the tools and parts you'll need:

How-to: Replace the Fuel Filter in a 96-04 Tacoma or 96-02 4Runner

First thing I did was to set myself at ease that I wasn't going to have a ¾ tank full of gas all over the floor by doing a little internet surfing to determine that - while a bit of gas would leak out of the lines - without the fuel pump going, it wasn't going to be all that much.

Then, I grabbed a few tools and the new filter and got to work - mentioning to @mrs.turbodb that this would either be a 30 minute project or the truck would be undriveable!

32 minutes later, the old filter had been exchanged for a new one, and the truck fired right up. With no leaks, it was time to cut open the old filter to see if preventative maintenance was overrated.


  1. Kyle Sullivan
    Kyle Sullivan December 13, 2019

    How do you know that it was needed? What happens if you used a really old, dirty filter? Would the pump have to work harder to pump fuel through?

    • turbodb
      turbodb December 13, 2019

      I don't think there's a way to know *for sure* that it is needed; it's just a good thing to do on a reasonable schedule as preventative maintenance - like an oil filter, or lower ball joints.

      And yes, what it's really doing is making sure that good fuel gets to the engine, and that your fuel pump doesn't have to work harder than it needs to (b/c changing the fuel pump is a royal PITA!)

      I think every 50-90K miles is probably a good timeframe.

  2. Jim Battagin
    Jim Battagin December 13, 2019

    Well, what was your analysis of the old filter? Worn out? Still good for a long time? Don't know for sure? What? UJ

    • turbodb
      turbodb December 13, 2019

      Well, it looked a lot cleaner than I was expecting, and the fuel that came out of it was clear - unlike what I've seen from other trucks of a similar vintage (with even newer fuel filters). I chalk that up to being reasonably careful about *how* I fuel up (not getting a bunch of gunk in the tank) and being careful with my Jerry cans.

      Probably could have gone another 100K with this filter, but it's nice to know that the new one will go even longer (I hope)!

  3. Rich V
    Rich V December 13, 2019

    That brown gunk on the filter media looks yucky! Good thing to have it out of the system!! Cheers!

    • turbodb
      turbodb December 13, 2019

      I think that brown gunk on the filter media is really just the "inside" of the media (it's folded over on itself, and that part ripped). All in all, it was much cleaner than I've seen from other folks, so I think I was in pretty good shape still. But, nice to not worry about it now! 🙂

  4. Brandon
    Brandon February 10, 2021

    I am doing catchup maintenance on my Tacoma and replacing the fuel filter was pain to get off. I had all the right tools and that @#$^ fuel filter would not come off then somehow it did. I was like you little $#!@ making me suffer like that. I threw that used fuel filter in my outdoor barbecue and burned it. The new Toyota fuel filter went on easy after I showed it what happens to fuel filters that #$&% with me.

    • turbodb
      turbodb February 10, 2021

      LOL! ??

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