Help! I stripped the threads on my fuel filter.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1995 Toyota Tercel. When removing the old fuel filter, the threaded fitting that secures the fuel line to the bottom of the filter turned a couple of times and then was quite stuck. I had never changed the filter and thought it would be a good idea. -- Rob

TOM: Boy, oh boy, were you ever wrong, Rob!

RAY: Toyota must have had some problem with these fittings coming loose and fuel spraying out and setting the cars on fire, because it now uses "thread lock" on these fittings.

TOM: Thread lock is a glue you put on the threads, and it keeps the fitting from coming loose. And it works great! I'll see one of my guys with a long-handled pipe wrench on one of these fittings, and the car will be spinning around, but the fitting stays put.

RAY: Most of them come off relatively easily, but others -- like yours -- won't budge. And if it gets stuck and won't turn in either direction, we sometimes have to break the fuel line to get it off. And then you have to wait a week for a new fuel line to come in from Toyota's warehouse in California.

TOM: So I'm going to suggest you just tighten the fitting back up, and then, the next time you're in for service, innocently ask your dealer if he can change the fuel filter. In fact, it would be better if you forgot this whole incident ever happened.

RAY: We happen to be experts in newspaper-based hypnosis, Rob. So follow along. You are now getting sleepy ... sleeeeeepy. You will now forget you ever tried to remove the fuel filter. You will forget you ever wrote to us asking for advice. You will forget you ever read this article, Rob. And when you wake up, you'll turn directly to the Sports section.

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