2006 and on fuel pump replacement/ internal fuel filter delete - Saab 9-5 Bulletin Board - Saabnet.com
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2006 and on fuel pump replacement/ internal fuel filter delete
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Posted by The Tall Guy [Email] (more from The Tall Guy) on Sat, 12 Dec 2020 06:22:36 Share Post by Email
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I replaced a fuel pump on my 2008 9-5 last month. The 2006 and on cars supposedly all require dropping the tank for this procedure because of the "hard" plastic lines with no provision for detatchment at the top. I thought that some details of this repair would be helpful to others looking at pump replacement or an upgrade to a higher flowing pump. My car has 170K miles. I was having random fuel cut while driving with no check engine light. I decided to replace the pump with a higher flow Walbro unit(225LPH) using the "drop the tank method". I have a lift which helped with this repair. I would probably advise against dropping the tank without the use of a lift as this was a difficult job even with the lift. I will cover the issues and the solutions.

The 2006 and newer cars fuel pump assembly is designed with the newer emmissions regs in mind so, as mentioned, there is no quick disconnect. Also the external fuel filter was moved to the inside of the fuel pump assembly. This internal fuel filter has no service life/replacement requirement. I am going to assume that the expectation that the fuel pump "assembly" would be replaced when the pump "went" thereby taking care of the filter at the same time. In researching pump assemblies, a decent assembly was around $450. This was not an upgraded unit just the basic OEM qualtity. Because of this high cost and the necessary "drop the tank" requirement, I went forward with the tank drop and then took a look at the pump assembly; at the time, I did not realize there was an internal fuel filter. When I removed the fuel pump assembly, and opened it up, the first thing I noticed was the "hard" fuel line from the fuel pump does not go directly to the cover of the assembly but, rather, it goes into the top of a black cylinder(fuel filter). From the top of this black cylinder another line runs out (fuel exit) and travels to the top of the pump assembly. This black cylinder does have a provision for removal by prying the three large tabs open and working the filter out. There is also an exit fitting off the bottom of this black fuel filter cylinder which plugs into the assembly "floor" where there is an additional valve (over pressure valve). So, the fuel travels through the pre screen and then through the fuel filter and then on out the top of the assembly. I pulled the filter out to have a look at it...however, in doing so, I tore a rubber grommet which seals the inflow of fuel into the filter from the outflow. The pulling of the filter out of this grommet required a huge effort...I would say that a spray of PV Blaster into the bottom of the black cylinder would make release easy as it was the grommet which was the single item preventing the easy removal of the filter after the release of the three tabs.The fuel filter is molded into the base of the black filter housing and has perforated stainless inner and outer walls which makes inspection of the filter material difficult. I had planned to bypass the filter and go with a straight shot back to the top of the assembly but eventually became concerned about the overpressure bypass which would be lost if I bypassed the filter (bypass is located below the filter). Because I am using a higher flowing pump, and I am looking for "performance" I was stuck unless I figured out a filter replacement (none found) or I removed the filter material. I removed the filter material by twisting the outer perforated stainless filter cover and seperating/removing it completely. Then, using a hacksaw blade, I cut into the filter material as close to the base as I could without cutting the inner perforated "wall". Once this is done, pulling the material out from the base (molded in) and the inner perforated cylinder out unharmed is childs play. I scraped out all the filter material from the "base" and was left with a very clean base surface. I will say that about 75% of the filter was clogged up with a grey sludge looking material. I am very glad I went with this solution! I reassembled using both inner and outer perforation cylinders with a fuel injector O ring to properly locate the top of the inner cylinder(takes the place of the torn grommet). I then, using the old filter housing O rings, reassembled the filter housing back into its receiving housing on the assembly. This was a complicated procedure to figure out and caused a good deal of stress and second guessing in the exploration of this "fix". However, not pulling and eliminating the filter puts the whole idea of "performance" to shame if the flow is restricted by a clogged filter or you eliminate the overpressure bypass function which is only available through the filter housing... anyway, this procedure works.

With the filter removed, I was now able to proceed to the pump which had additional problems: I ordered the OEM style Walbro 255LPH opposing entry/exit from MAP Performance. Unfortunately, this pump looks like a plug and play, but the lower pre filter screen locating pin is exactly 180 degrees off. Rotating the pump to the correct orientation basically eliminates the retaining "hooks" grasp on the pump's top and makes the gas line hose curve too tight. There are several ways to order these pumps...its possible that a different configuration would be perfect or the aftermarket prefilter which comes as an additional fitting "kit" would solve the problem. I am thinking the symetrical entry/exit rather than opposing entry exit would work better.The prefilter kit also has the special "fuel hose" required for instalation...regular fuel line hose does not "last" in an "in-tank" fuel pump assembly. As that kit was an additional $80, I went with modifying the fuel pre-filter by removing the locating pin and setting up the prefilter with white plastic zip ties. Furthermore, the only way I could get everything back together correctly with the prefilter properly in the bottom of the assembly was to remove one "spar" which rises up from the "floor" of the assembly. Once the spar is gone and everything is installed the "floor" holds the pre filter to the pump, the over pressure valve is retained, and you have an upgraded fuel pump installed. What a #$%!! bitch. I'm pretty sure this procedure could quickly be repeated by following these notes; it would just be a time consumming low stress job. Total cost for this part of the job was $105 ($65 for the pump and $40 for the "special" in-tank Gates fuel line hose).

One other encountered with the pump: positive and negative terminals are not marked. Supposedly, according to MAP Performance, the pump can run either way. This ended up being bad advise. I tested before the install. It did not run so I reversed. Success!

Unfortunately, not having a fuel filter is just a poor decision. Happily, Mann and other companies, make very nice in-line fuel filters designed to be used with the quick disconnects(same as what comes on the Saab's existing lines). When you remove the fuel tank the quick disconnects are located on the lower passenger side of the tank. I purchased a two pack "fuel line quick connect "barb"" fitting and two feet of the fuel injection line hose. I installed the filter using the original Saab quick disconnect fitting into one end of the filter and the other aftermarket quick disconnects (3/8s) barbs to the fuel line and the other end of the filter (the fuel hose spans the gap between the end of the Saab "hard line" and the filter location). There is room for the filter on the passengers side of the tank (as well as a convienient mounting hole for a bracket or a zip tie). Access and replacement of this style of inline filter is a breeze. I'm pretty happy with how that part turned out. Cost on all of this was an additional $40 dollars.

Other notes: dropping the fuel tank requires the removal of the rubber "coupling" for the fuel filler pipe. Its a step down angled fuel hose connector. On my car it had a compression clamp at one end (the end that was easily available) and a worm clamp on the other. The worm clamp would have been available if the orientation was correct. It was not. I tried a Dremel cut off wheel but abandonded that to use a hacksaw blade for better control/no spark. While successful, I did cut through a longer portion of rubber than the drimmel would/could have. Using a Dremel on steel on a fuel line is dangerous. Because of this the coupler was somewhat less than great meaning I had a possible hole. These damn things are $80 shipped from Sweden. I resolved this by cutting the hole out but kept the "bend" and added on to the larger 3" portion of the hose using Gates filler neck hose ($24).

In conclusion, I would suggest that actually cutting the hard plastic lines at the top of the fuel tank assembly with a Exacto knife and pulling the pump assembly out the top would be the better choice as far as time.Either that or go to a Saab Service professional! The pump assembly ring is, however, a bitch to remove without the proper tool. Dropping the tank may be the only way to do this job without the tool. Having said that, however, all the hard line hoses can be cut and replaced with fuel injection hose using the existing elbows on the top of the pump assembly. Originally, I was not clear if the hoses could all be replaced with fuel line hose...they can; plus, I did not have the pump assembly "ring" tool. To give you an idea as how hard this ring was to remove/install mine was not fully installed (last guy also had a problem) so removal was very tight but OK with a screw driver/hammer; however, returning the ring to its proper "seat" was not do-able using the screwdriver/hammer method even with the tank removed. Generall, I use the proper tool and I chose not to go above a 9 lb hammer used carefully. I will need the tool for this...I basically returned it to the car half tight with an alloy spacer pushed into the "slot" to insure sealing/no backing off. While this is not what I would have wished, the tank does maintain its seal with no evap codes thrown and the car returned to service on time. I will, hopefully, buy the tool and complete the job correctly"from the top". I did write a letter to MAP Performance requesting more info about prefilter orientation and also to eEuroparts regarding the external fuel filter listing for a 2008 9-5 (which there is not). I will, hopefully, have some additional information about which "performance" pump fits "best" at a later date. I hope this helps someone!

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