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Old 08-20-2013, 09:33 PM
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Fuel filter cap stuck = filter housing replacement

Long story short, I have aftermarket aluminum oil and fuel filter caps, made by an as-yet unnamed company. I've had them since March, so this is my first time trying to take them off since I put them on. The oil filter cap and the lower fuel filter cap, which are both the same size, work fine. The upper fuel filter cap though, that's another story.

When I first installed it months ago it went on a little rough. But it went on, so I didn't think too much of it. It's getting to be time to change my filters, so I tried to take it off today, with terrible results. The oil filter cap came off fine, but not that f'n fuel filter cap. After breaking several wrenches and adapters, including a 3/8" breaker bar (without using a cheater pipe), I gradually moved up from large crescent wrenches, to pipe wrenches, and finally to a 48" pipe wrench on the outside of the cap. I could kinda get that to work with a cheater pipe, to effectively make a 7' wrench, but I could still barely move it when I put all I had into it. And I'm not exactly a small guy. It's WAY too much torque to be putting on something like that, I'm not sure why I took it as far as I did. I included a couple photos for reference, it's not pretty. I could have gotten a longer section of pipe and kept trying, but I probably would have broken something else so I didn't see the need. Just getting that cap to where it is was incredibly difficult. It wasn't getting any easier, and it's not even close to being off.

In any case, I'm resigned to the fact that I'll have to replace the entire housing and filter, which will be a couple hundred bucks I suppose. That doesn't thrill me right now, but whatever. I looked over the workshop manual and it looks like a fairly straightforward process to swap it out, and I think the only consumable parts are a couple of sealing washers. The instructions make me really glad I don't have EGR coolers to get in the way of things.

My questions are, can I reuse the banjo bolts and other hardware, or should I replace these along with the washers? And more importantly, how likely is it that metal shavings could have found their way past the filter housing? And if they have, what's the best way to keep those or other contaminants from entering my fuel system? I really really really don't want this to cause further issues down the road, so I'd like to keep nasty things out of my fuel.

Any help or insight would be appreciated.

And one other thing: I think I'm going to need to replace some or all of my rockers/pushrods/etc at some point. Should I tie that in with this repair, or just worry about that when it becomes more of a problem? Adding that in seems like it would make the job a lot more difficult (and expensive), but I don't know.
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Fuel filter cap stuck = filter housing replacement-img_20130820_220557_750.jpg   Fuel filter cap stuck = filter housing replacement-img_20130820_220528_395.jpg  
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:05 AM
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Have you tried using some dry ice to shrink the metal. I'm know some metals don't expand or contract as much as steel with temp changes but its worth trying.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:14 AM
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That might work. It probably would have helped if I'd run the engine first too. But I'm just going to pull the whole thing off and replace it. I'm not thrilled about it, but parts are on the way. Hopefully everything gets here before the weekend, but if not I'll get it done early next week.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:51 AM
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You might want to be sure and lube the threads on the filter caps before you re-install them next time. Plastic has a tendency to want to grip without some lubrication.
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:14 PM
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I never had an issue with the plastic ones. I'm not sure lubrication would have helped on the aluminum one either.

What would you lube them with that wouldn't have a negative effect on things if it seeped into the fuel or oil?
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Old 08-24-2013, 03:21 PM
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I just use motor oil. Usually when you change the filters you have some residual oil or fuel on the threads that provide some lubrication. I'd guess when you installed the Al. ones they were dry and that is where your problem started. The oil housing might have had some oil on the housing threads but the fuel housing was clean. JMO
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:01 AM
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penetrating oil and some heat to get the metal to soften up a little bit. Use a pick and try to get some of that O-ring off to release some of the tension and allow the penetrating fluid to do its thing. use a good heat gun that has higher temp settings and you should be able to get it off. check the threads on the housing and make sure they didnt get cross threaded or damaged. if the didnt get damaged pick up an OEM cap from Ford.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:17 PM
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Damn boy! That sonbich is on there! Righty tighty, left loosey!

Get a MAPP gas torch and heat that housing up. Make sure to use heat shielding around it or some really wet rags to protect the other bits. Heat it nice a warm and that o-ring will give for sure. Get a utility knife and cut that o-ring up in a dozen places. O-ring probably welded onto the housing, happens...

Good luck buddy. Save that cap for a souvenir!

Last edited by Expirobo; 08-25-2013 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:00 PM
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Well, I got my new housing installed. It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped. I didn't try to get the aluminum cap off again, I just took the entire housing off without draining it beforehand. I did my best to soak up the fuel leaking out with towels, and it actually worked pretty well.

Here's the thing though, the old plastic cap won't thread on properly to the new housing. The new housing is part number 8C3Z-9C166-A, which is an updated version of 8C3Z-9C148-A. I'm starting to wonder if they changed the threading a little bit after Job 1. That would explain why the aluminum cap didn't work, and why the old plastic one doesn't work on the new housing. Another off thing is that the old housing has what looks like an International label on it. Is it possible that I had the International version of the housing, which isn't quite compatible with the Ford version?

I included a photo of the old housing that shows the label it has on it, and I also attached a photo of the inside of the filter cap, which is the only part that has any numbers on it. Anyone have any insight into these things?

I'm going to order a new cap tomorrow, hopefully that'll do the trick. In any case, it's close to being back on the road. I think.
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Fuel filter cap stuck = filter housing replacement-img_20130827_234735_199.jpg   Fuel filter cap stuck = filter housing replacement-img_20130827_234929_964.jpg  
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:34 AM
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I gave the cap another chance this morning, with a little more oil on the threads, and it went on OK. My truck is back from the dead!
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