This article was a collaboration between Jay Salser and Eric Shoemaker. As always, thank you Jay for all the contributions to 1967beetle.com. Your knowledge of these cars continues to amaze ’67 owners around the world.
The debate rages on over where to place a fuel filter. Even, whether or not to have a fuel filter in the first place.
There is a fuel strainer in the bottom of each VW fuel tank. This strainer is enough to stop large particles but fails the test of holding back fine particles and moisture.
Moisture! Every fuel tank accumulates some amount of moisture. When the tank is opened, ambient air, laden with moisture enters these vintage ’67 tanks. They are not sophisticated. Let’s face it, they simply are “holding tanks”!
Volkswagen owners began encountering the ethanol-gasoline fuel mixture and found themselves faced with a new problem. Ethanol and water latch onto one another and become one, passing right through the fuel strainer and into the fuel pump and landing in the carburetor. The strainer finally had met its match.
Well, complicate this with older tanks that began to have some rust issues.
There is a complicated explanation of how water and ethanol blend because the ethanol molecules are smaller than the water molecules. Given a mixture of equal parts of water and ethanol, the volume actually drops because the ethanol molecules fix themselves between the water molecules.
One of the major factors involves these old tanks which seldom get cleaned. If they already contain some moisture, which accumulates at the tank’s lowest point (where that strainer is installed), the ethanol combines with the water and drags the water and any tiny foreign particles with it through that strainer and directly to the pump and the carburetor—where it does its damage plugging tiny orifices.
When it comes down to it, an OEM fuel filter is necessary! These are German made, and metal lined at the screen, (not the cheaper version), and the perfect defense against modern day ethanol based fuels. Stop debris as small as 15 microns from reaching your fuel pump and carburetor.
Where to place the filter becomes the next issue.
The easiest solution is to place the filter between the fuel pump and the carburetor. It is easy to do and it is easy to monitor. But, because the filter adds a certain weight to the fuel hose at that point, combined with the constant vibration of the car’s movements, it is possible that the combination can lead to a loosening of the brass inlet tube to the carburetor until it falls out of the carburetor altogether. This almost always proves to be disastrous! With the engine running, fuel is pumping onto the hot engine case. And, there is the electrical sparking possibility. It doesn’t take much to ignite the fuel. The air being sucked into the engine compartment acts like a flame thrower. The end is fairly quick.
But, someone will be quick to point out that a barbed inlet can be substituted for the brass inlet tube, thus averting the possibility that the tube could ever come loose again. In fact, a barbed tube also can be substituted for the vintage fuel pump outlet tube.
Having a filter between the pump and the carburetor still opens the possibility for fuel hose failure. Instead of only two ends to the fuel hose, there will be 4 ends to monitor.
So…why take the chance with your beloved 1967 Volkswagen Beetle?
Not to fear! Moving the fuel filter out of the engine compartment is very simple!
- Raise the driver’s rear of the car, use a jack stand to stabilize the car and remove the wheel.
- Remove the heater tube. This will expose where the metal fuel line exits the chassis.
- It’s a good time to check the hose between the metal line from the chassis to the metal line into the engine compartment. Is it rotten? If so, you need to replace it. We stock the correct OEM cloth braided German fuel hose for your vintage pride and joy, the same as it left the factory long ago. A full fuel line replacement requires 4 – 7 feet, depending on if you are restoring a Beetle or Bus.
- If the fuel hose is in good shape, you need to clamp it off right where it exits the chassis. Good old vice grip pliers seem to work fine. Gas is a precious resource, why waste a single drop.
- Once it’s safely clamped, you need to cut the line in preparation for the filter installation. Don’t fear, you can do this. A little gas might run out, but don’t sweat it. I usually wear nitrile gloves. Oh, and I don’t advise smoking while you’re doing this.
- You can now insert the new filter between the two ends. We also stock the OEM German made fuel filters. Make sure you insert the filter with the arrow pointing towards the engine compartment. You may need to shorten the fuel hose a bit once the filter has been installed. Trim as needed and slip the hose onto the filter.
- MAKE SURE TO ADD FUEL HOSE CLAMPS. Yes, I’m yelling at you! You can also get the hose clamps for your engine area from us. These are the good OEM German type. Caution—do not over-crimp the clamps and crush the plastic filter tips. This will result in restricted fuel flow and possibly a leak.
Make a note to monitor your filter every time you do a tune-up.
Noting is worse than a really dirty one.
- It’s now the moment of truth. Turn the key, start the engine and watch fuel pass through the filter. Success!
- Reinstall the heater hose and bolt the wheel on.
- If you want to do a full fuel line replacement, including hoses and a filter. Here’s what you’ll need. 6-7 feet of Cloth Braided Fuel Hose, 10 fuel hose clamps, and 1 In-Line Fuel Filter. Again, all we have in stock.
Now, you won’t have to worry about this happening.
Lastly… your engine area looks a lot happier without the filter.
Now. Go outside and get that fuel filter out of your engine compartment! You’ll thank us. Feel free to email if you have other questions, etc. Or, join the conversation below.
Thanks for the walk through! This will help when I can finally get to replacing/moving my filter!
Sure. That’s what we are here for. You can also reach us by calling 1800-….. Ok, I’m kidding.
Haha! You guys would be too busy if you had a hotline.
I’m already too busy.
Yet you somehow find the time to help out people like myself. That’s love and dedication, and for that, we thank you. :)
I do this because I love it, not because I have to. I was in a VW shop once and the counter guy said, “that’s the guy that runs 1967beetle.com.” A reader was in line and looked at me like I was important. It was funny!
Eric & Jay: Once again you’ve been reading our minds. Gary & I were discussing this just the other day and here you are with the solution and the parts! Thank you.
You are welcome! We have both the German fuel filters and hose in stock! Let me know if you need more help, etc. It was fun to revise this article.
Eric & Jay:
Thanks for the step-by-step instructions. At the TN show this past weekend, I bought braided fuel line and a filter to do just this with my newly acquired 67. Do you recommend using clamps on ALL braided fuel line connections, or just the connections to the fuel filter?
You are welcome! Yes, clamps 100% on ALL lines. It takes 8 to run from the front to the back of the car. We have the OEM German style in stock.
Hello, Jim…the problem I am finding is that fuel hose doesn’t last as long given the ethanol in the gasoline. This means that connections are not as sound as once they were. The fuel hoses from the factory had pinch clamps at connections. So, yes–use clamps. Eric supplies “pinch” clamps which are especially nice in the engine compartment–they show well. jay
I am considering using ethanol-free gasoline in my 67 after changing the hoses and relocating the filter, since it is readily available here in SC for around $0.40/gal more than 10% ethanol. Today’s price, around $3.65/gal. For peace of mind, I’ll certainly used hose clamps all around.
Is ethanol-free gasoline available on the left coast?
Hi, Jim…I live in Texas and “commute electronically” with 1967beetle.com. We have ethanol-free gasoline at very few stations scattered here and there in Texas. The nearest one to me is almost an hour distant–it would not pay for me to travel that distance just to buy ethanol-free fuel. So…I, like my VW Brothers and Sisters, limp along on this lemonade. Other than the detrimental effects to anything rubber in the fuel system, we do surprisingly well. If you can obtain E-free gas–go for it! You may not notice much performance difference but you will have fewer problems with fuel hose, fuel pump and carb components. However–don’t get lulled into thinking that you don’t need to monitor your fuel system! Keep a close eye on things–always! jay
YES. OG fuel clamps are a must.
Sweet, thanks for another great article guys!
Agreed! Very important information. Eric, I’m placing an order now for the clamps. These are very hard to source, so kudos for helping us old folks.
Got your order! These will ship out today.
VW wisdom! Thanks Eric.
Extreamly appreciated, and valued information. Could be one of the most simple, and overlooked to do things on most people’s list.
Yes, overlook most times and very important to keep your fuel lines running clean. We are vert happy to be able to stock the correct parts for our ’67 Beetles.
I have a chance to buy a 1967 bug that has set in a mans field , not driven sense 1984. He is asking $1250.00. my grandson found it and is going to send me pictures. I feel that setting there that long it may require to much to make it worth while, I’ll know more when I get the pictures. I thought about offering him less because its been setting so long. The only way I would even consider this is if its all original and not a rust bucket. At best I would have to replace the engine and do a brake job. What would you advise .
The ’67 is such a special year. It could be a gem that’s been stored away. The engine is a one year only item. Even if that’s the worst case, I’d rebuild it and keep the car numbers matching. Keep us posted!
Good morning, Ken…
You are correct to proceed with caution. If, as you say, the car has been sitting on “dirt” for 30 years, the bottom is bound to be completely rusted away. I would suspect the heater channels, also, to be rotten. Unless it’s sitting in the desert somewhere.
Rust is expensive and time-consuming to deal with.
The interior, too, is bound to be rotten. All electricals will be corroded and would need to be cleaned, in the best case scenario.
I had an acquaintance who bought a Bug from a similar circumstance (had been in a field for about 17 years). He gave only $100 dollars for the car and that was what sold him on the car. It was rusted everywhere you can imagine. He spent a lot of money (thousands) to dip-strip the car and completely restore the chassis. Looked like a honey-comb! He finally had to ditch the efforts and find another car to begin all over again.
There is a saying which applies: “There is nothing so expensive as a cheap Volkswagen”.
Buy a running, driving car–spend more money up front for an original car that hasn’t been wrecked or rusted–you will be ahead “years” in time spent and loads of money.
See my article: https://1967beetle.com/?s=buying+a+beetle
Be pound wise!
We do have the correct fuel lines in stock. We recommend both fuel hose, the German clamps and hose.
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