It's located under the body of the Focus. The fuel tank is located inthe rear of the vehicle. If you jack up the car on the passenger side, then crawl up underneath about where the back dor is located, you find the filter. It is about the size of beer can. It's fairly easy to change. There is on screw that holds it to the undercarrage. Loosen it and it will drop a bit. Then remove the 2 connections of the fuel lines that attach to it and your done. ***NOTE: Be careful when you loosen the side closest to the door. It will still have some preasure and will spew gas. Just ease it off until it starts to leak, then wait 'til it finishes. Otherwise, you'll gat a gas bath! Good luck
Rather than letting the precious $3 gas leak out and create a fire hazard, you can locate and remove the fuse to the fuel pump. Once removed start your car and let it idle until the engine stalls. This will remove all fuel pressure. Replace the fuse, and start the fuel filter replacement. Hope this provides a better alternative!
Pulling the fuse on the fuel pump (which is located in fuse box under the hood at the driver's side firewall), and running it til it stalls is called "depressuring the fuel system." After it stalls the 1st time, try starting it up again and let it run til it stalls again. Keep doing it until it won't start all. Then disconnect the battery ground cable.
I just used the previous location answer to help me change the filter today. Here is what I would do next time. Instead of using my ramps for the 2 back tires, I would use them on the 2 passenger side tires. This might help with the gas constanting dripping out while trying to change the filter (and, yes, I depressured the system before starting, but there is reside fuel left in the lines still.) The only tools you need are an 8mm socket with a at least a 6in extension to get the filter bracket bolt out, a 9/32in socket to get the filter out of/into the bracket, and 10mm wrench to get the battery ground cable off, and a rag to wipe dripping fuel. Also, USE safety goggles.
This is only slightly difficult and saves a lot of money. NAPA has a great filter for $12 and it will take about 45 minutes of your time (set up and tear down included.) I know Firestone wants $90 to do the job. If I can do it, any scmuck-on-wheels can do it.
I tried the directions above on my 2001 Ford Focus SE and it is MUCH easier to just unscrew the harness from the undercarriage rather than try to squeeze a socket wrench between the filter and the gas tank. Also, at least on the 2001 model, the bolt is not an 8 mm, more like a 7 or 6 mm. Finally, on the 2001 model, the fuel lines are held on simply with clips that are fairly easy to pop off. Finally, there's no need to take the grounding cable off the battery, just remove the fuel system fuse from the fuse box under the hood. It should be a blue 15 amp fuse.
On my 2000 Focus SE the directions above helped with locating the filter; under the passage side rear door. Almost in line with the seam between the front and read door. 8MM socket with 8 inch extention to remove the bracket holding the filter to the body. Small screw driver helps with getting the clips to slide up. They do not come off; just slide to one side. Once the hoses are loose the filter and bracket comes out. There was another hose which the filter and bracket has to be moved around. Once off a 7mm socket to undo the bracket from the filter. Paid attention to fuel flow and put the bracket on new filter the same way. There is a little tab that raps over the end of the rounded end of the filter. Put filter with bracket back in place and attach the hoses. Then attach the bracket to the body of the car. Took about 30 minutes but some of that time was cleaning up the fuel spill. Holds alot more fuel than I thought!
Thanks guys for the tips. I needed to perform this task on my daughter's 2000 Focus. Here are the steps I took. I used my ramps on the passenger's side and got the car as high as I could. I wish I could of gotten it another foot, it sure would of made the job easier. Once elevated I loosened the clamps holding the brake and fuels lines. My focus had a short plastic line that connected the forward end of the filter to the fuel line, so I removed that first. The clamps on my focus needed to be squeezed together and then pushed out to disengage the flange on the hard lines and filter. I did not depressurize the system, but I was prepared with a pan and rags. Next I removed the bolt securing the fuel mounting bracket to the undercarrage (8MM). With this removed, the forward plastic hose removed and the brake & fuel line brackets loosened, I was able to pull the fuel filter down enough to remove the back clamp. Once removed the filter came out with the mounting bracket attached. I removed the mounting bracket (7MM), inserted a new filter and put the system back together in the opposite order from which it was disassembled. I started the car, ran it for about 5 minutes and checked for leaks. Job finished. For the filter on my 2000 Focus, I used a Fram filter, G8018, $7.95.
Glad to have received the tips, I hope my input also helps.
Mark in Kent, WA
Tony D: All above is good advice. There's three additions I'd like to make.
For the novice, these clips holding the fuel filter on aren't intuitively obvious on how to undo them. For my 2002 Focus ZTW, they are little white plastic "C" clips (but may not appear white, all covered with "muck") and they run about .25" long along the length of the end of the fuel pipe fitting. They are clipped around the fuel fitting OD, but are locked into place with a little cage that surrounds the fuel fitting. The opening in this cage is where the ends of the "C" clip snaps into. You have to pinch both ends of the "C" clip, which releases it's lock from the opening of this cage, and then push the clip radially out from the centerline of the fuel pipe (in opposite direction from the cage's opening), where the clip rests until you are ready to re-assemble. If you have strong fingers, I imagine you can pinch and push the clip in one action. I had to release each end of the "C", one at a time. Once the locked ends are released by pinching, this is where the small screw driver comes in handy to push the clip radially out from the pipe's centerline. At this point with the clip pushed out, the fuel fitting easily slides out.
If you are going to "macho" this repair by not depressurizing the gas system, just make sure the surrounding exhaust system is very cool to touch and you are using a cool light source (like a flashlight with bulb covered or flourscent light, NOT an electric trouble light with a conventional light bulb), so that any gas spray will not ignite once it hits a hot surface. I replaced my filter on a cool day after the car had been sitting over night. I had only run the car for about 5 minutes just to get it up on the ramps and experienced minimal gas spray and about a half a cup of fuel drainage once I started to pull off the fuel fitting.
One other thing, for my 2002, there was indeed this approximately 4" to 6" transition piece between the fuel filter and the long run of fuel pipe on the undercarriage. So this makes for three of these "C" clips to undo: one on both ends of this transition pipe and the third on the gas tank side of the fuel filter. Only two of these three need to be removed to extract the fuel filter with the transition piece still attached. Here's the sequence for minimal dis-assembly that I found: Undo the 8MM bolt holding the bracket to the car body and gently pull filter down to access bottom most of the three "C" clips; undo this bottom most "C" clip (closest to the long run of fuel pipe on the undercarriage) and slowly slide the metal fuel fitting off, getting ready to receive gas spray and leakage with your rags, safety glasses, drip pan, and cool light source; there should be just enough flexibility in both pipes to gently pull this just released male metal fitting out of the end of this female clip cage, allowing the filter and transition piece of pipe to drop down a bit so that you can access the "C" clip on the fuel tank end of the filter; undo "C" clip on the fuel tank end of the filter and slide entire filter and transition pipe down and towards passenger side to maneuver around the available clearance and pull out. The third "C" clip still fastened to the end of the fuel filter opposite of the fuel tank can be disassembled once the entire filter and transition pipe are extracted from the vehicle. From here, you'll figure out the rest.
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