Fuel Filter Installation

Vintage Volkswagen Fuel Filter InstallationI’ve heard this argument time and time again. I actually had a mechanic tell me once that he “refused” to put the fuel filter anywhere but the engine compartment. Bad idea. A fuel filter puts pressure on the inlet tube of the carb. If that comes loose; well game over for your vintage Volkswagen. Not to fear, moving your fuel filter out of the engine area is very simple!

For illustration, my fuel filter is already installed and I’m replacing it. However, the process is the same.
Let’s take a look at a few simple parts you’ll need.

      A German Fuel filter
      A few feet of German fuel hose
      4 German fuel hose clamps (Note: We offer two styles)
      Confidence (You can do it)

Alright, let’s get to work.
Jack the car up and remove the drivers side rear wheel.

Vintage Volkswagen Fuel Filter Installation Vintage Volkswagen Fuel Filter Installation
Remove the heater tube. This will expose where the fuel line exits the chassis.

IMG_5099It’s time to check the line. Is it rotten? If the fuel line 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 prep for the filter. (Don’t fear, you can do this!) A little gas might run out, but don’t sweat it. I usually wear gloves, and hold back the urge to strike a match.

You can now insert the new filter.. Make sure you insert it top side up. That’s how the filters are made to be placed. You might have an extra bit of fuel hose at the top. Trim as needed and slip the top of the hose on to the filter. (Look at that nasty old filter)

Pretty dirty, huh

IMG_5098Old and new.

Once finished, make sure you add those fuel clamps. Yes, I’m yelling at you.

IMG_5095It’s now the moment of truth. Turn the key, start the engine and watch fuel pass through the line. Success! You’ve now moved your fuel filter where it should be. By default, VW did not run a filter. The OG German fuel pumps had it built-in. Also, there’s a screen in the tank.

Put the heater hose and tire back on. Now you won’t have to worry about this happening:

Lastly, your engine compartment looks a lot cleaner without the filter.

Eric Shoemaker's '67 BeetleHope this helps.

Posted by Eric Shoemaker

Hello, I'm Eric. I started Air-Cooled Artifacts (previously, 1967beetle.com and Lane Russell). I drive a '67 Beetle daily and love to share vintage Volkswagen stories with the world.

  1. I’m replacing my fuel lines soon. Thanks for this tech tip!

    1. Matt,
      You’re welcome!

      1. Eric! Hello there. I’m the recent proud owner of a 77 VW bug, 1600cc. Love it. Working out a carburator issue. At high speed the acceleration doesn’t reach the full potential. I have a short list of items to check including sparkplug gap, dostributor advance, and carb settings. One of the items was restrictive fuel filter…well I have two new filters in there one before the new and awesome electric pump and one before the carb. Is having two filters a bad thing? Too restrictive?

        1. Joe,
          Hey! It’s not bad, but you don’t need it. The best place for a filter is where the line exits the chassis. Anything more than that is overkill.

        2. Hello, Joe…Thanks for stopping to chat at 1967beetle.com! As you well-know, the ’77 Beetle was fuel-injected. So your engine has had some extensive changes–removal of injection equipment and the computer. You do not say which carburetor you are using. Is your fuel pump mounted beneath the fuel tank at the front of the car? That’s where it would have been with the FI System. As for 2 filters–unless you are having some rust issues with the fuel tank, I’d get rid of one of the filters. Make certain that you regularly monitor the filter–esp. if you are having rust/sediment issues. If you are having problems with rust in the fuel or some other impurities, it’s time to remove the tan and clean it. The things which you mention (plugs and timing) could be issues, of course. Make certain that you are working well in those departments–timing certainly could be the problem. Your carburetor may need a rebuild–maybe the accelerator pump diaphragm is old. Maybe the accelerator pump dispensing nozzle is not positioned correctly. That begs the question again–which carb you are using. I guess that i should have asked what you consider “high speed”? Unless your engine has been modified, cruising speed should be around 75mph. With a stock engine, these little cars don’t burn rubber getting away from a stop light. LOL jay

  2. Can’t wait to put my fuel filter where it should be. Thanks!

  3. I have not had good success with the filter under the luggage area either, it is almost as bad if not just as bad as in the engine compartment. Many folks run through this vapor lock issue in todays day with our beetles. Why? Because todays gas has more alcohol in it and boils at a much lower temp than what the beetle engine is used to. Many people see it in their filters, when the gas is bubbling. When the gas bubbles, it creates a reservoir in the filter, thus slowing the flow of fuel down.

    Beetles need constant speed with the flow of gas. When you slow the flow down, you run lean, when you run lean, you run HOT! Now you get sluggish performance and a vapor lock type effect on your beetle. So what does this have to do with the fuel filter under the luggage area? Well your heat boxes (if they are there) omit a lot of heat when they are not in use. Where does all that heat have to go when they are not being used? Right there under the luggage compartment right by your newly placed fuel filter making it HOT. There is a lil slit on the top of the heat box to omit that hot air.

    I see this particularly happen with motors that support the fresh air heating system, early stale air not so much. My motor guy who was the East Coast Regional VW tech for 35 years gave me all the science on this. He tells me to put it under the fuel tank where there is no heat. Yeah it is a bitch to change it there, but you won’t run hot.

    People underestimate or do not even factor in that under the luggage area, it TRAPS the heat. It like practically stays there.

    My two cents,

    Chris Vallone

    1. Chris,
      Love ya bud… But, we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I have never had an issue.

    2. Chris, thanks for suggesting Star Tron fuel additive! That stuff is great!

    3. would Chris´s recomendation also apply to a 73 super beetle?

  4. Eric:

    I’m still cranking but don’t seem to be getting any gas through the filter. When do I remove the vice grips?

    Just kidding!


  5. After experiencing a VW fire of my own, I too have tried both locatiins, under the tank and beneath the cargo area. Although my current 67 has the filter beneath the cargo area (and is perfectly fine) I find it ALOT easier to lift the tank and replace the filter the front. Just my 2¢.

    1. Steve,
      What happened when you had a fire? My Grandpa too had one. If he had not caught it, if not have my ’67.

    2. Hello, Steve…Good point! Let me say to you and to all of Readers of 1967beetle.com: just because you have relocated your filter don’t believe that you are now immune from engine-gasoline fires! I strongly recommend a regular check of the fuel hoses in the engine compartment. With the advent of ethanol, these hoses break down much more quickly. As well, check the brass inlet tube into the carburetor. The loosening and falling out of this tube is the cause of most VW fires. There is something that can be done here–you can have a barbed fitting installed. Since it is threaded into the carb top, it cannot loosen and fall out. Usually the mechanic doing this job will use a special sealant such as Red Locktite 271 on the threads. Use good clamps on the engine compartment fuel hoses. Don’t put off regular maintenance. A well-maintained VW is a happy VW! And a happy VW gives its owner much pleasure. Happy Motoring! jay

      1. Thanks, guys. Not to be self indulgent, but we do stock the correct clamps, hose and fuel filters. Here to help, always of course.

  6. Michael Pastore March 29, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Vw lover, my dad had a Boss Bug dune buggy that he let rust away, I inherited it and learned how to rebuild it from the chassis up.It was a job to rebuild from the ground up, plus engineering mods to make it safer, I learned to weld,I upgraded to Irs, newer style wiper assembly, front end,, fuel tank mod, had to souce new windshield assembly and lets not forget the body work plus paint.

  7. Michael Pastore March 29, 2016 at 8:31 am

    I installed my fuel filter in the Boss Bug under the fuel tank along with a fuel shut off valve, note fuel shut off valve has a viton seal its from parts unlimited. It works great, turn valve off and change filter.
    Lately,I have been finding it harder locally to by fuel filters and have gone searching on the internet.
    The other thing is fuel, I live in florida and the fuel has too much ethanol in it plus with the florida humitity, my fuel system has been worring me.
    Im on my 2nd carburator the 1st was corroding from the inside, I found your info on star brite-star tron, Im now using it, I will let you know. I would also like to install a 2nd fuel filter.
    I have since learned my fuel filter under the tank is only 20 micron were as the vw fuel filter is 15 microns acording to Cb performance web on fuel filters.Im thinking of using your advice and install
    a second filter exiting the chassis, but install a thermal sleeve from DEI technology.
    Bye for now and thanks.

    1. Hello, Michael…I am glad that you have been able to restore your father’s Boss Buggy! Great story! Keep your ideas coming about gasoline filtration. Yes…the ethanol does a number on the fuel system. I’ve not had a problem with losing a carburetor due to the moisture but it does do a number on the hoses, especially. I wonder if moisture is getting into the carburetor another way? Is the engine exposed to the elements on your Buggy? Maybe it’s getting through the air cleaner? Keep enjoying your Buggy! jay

  8. Thanks, Jay.

  9. filter/electric pump under tank said palmdale desert vw tech. speed shop recommended 3 port filter as close to carb as possible plus return line to tank. this seems to work. but you have to put in extra return port in gas tank. filled tank with water and drilled hole in neck, thickess metal, of 67 tank then welded brake line in hole with inside 90 degree bend. need to attach fuel-line in tank so return gas does not splash against cap letting fumes in cab. no joke this is a problem because gas cap does not seal. bought new after market and same problem. cannot find any info on electrric pump/vapor lock.

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