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Replacing Fuel Lines

Replacing Fuel Lines
From: Joel Walker
Year(s):  All
Model/Type:  Vanagon
Bentley Page(s):  Not in Bentley
Symptom(s):  Leaks in lines, fuel smell

Published with author's permission:

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 09:51:07 CST
Reply-To: Joel Walker
Sender: Vanagon mailing list
From: Joel Walker
Subject: Re: replacing fuel lines

On Mon, 1 Dec 1997 23:13:26 Tonya said:
>case, I'll have to get it towed in to the mechanic. So, why not give it
>a try. I've replaced other things and other hoses on it, so it

it's not "hard", but it is tedious .... just one hose after the other. and
two of the hoses are a bitch to get to. :( here goes:

>Any words of wisdom out there? Advice? Does the Bently tell me all I
>need to know about replacement hoses? Advice there? Anyone know about

no. bentley doesn't say squat about it. :(

>what lengths of what sizes/kinds I need? Or should I just look for the

two sizes:
- 8mm (can't recall the inches-size). pretty sure it's 8mm. this is the
most hose you'll need. get about 20 feet.
- 10mm. you'll only need about two feet of this one.

and BOTH need to be reinforced "fuel injection" quality hose. well, actually
that's not true. the 10mm doesn't HAVE to be, cause it's not under pressure.
but the 8mm DOES. if you look at the end of the hose, you should see some
little "threads" that are about halfway in the thickness of the rubber of
the hose. that is, it looks like you cut through a two-layer hose ... which
you did. without that reinforcement, the hose will swell up like a balloon
and burst! trust me!! i screwed up the first time (thinking ALL hoses were
fuel injection hoses) and when i tested the system, there was this black
baseball-size lump on one hose!!! so i got to do it ALLLLLL over again with
more expensive hose.

oh, yeah. the cost. fuel injection hose costs about $3.00 per FOOT. :( no,
you won't have an awful lot left out of 20 feet. in fact, it might be better
to get 25 feet. the bus is about 15 feet long, and you have to go down BOTH
side, and then criss-cross the engine. well, try 20 feet first.

get about two dozen new hose clamps. if you can find the "fuel injection"
kind, get them. otherwise get some good quality screw-clamps (that also
have a hex-head shape to the screw part ... so you can use a small socket
on them, too).

the 10mm goes between the fuel tank and the fuel pump. best thing is to
put the new hose up to the old hose, and cut it an inch longer. yes,
longer. trust me. :) then remove the fuel pump end, and plug it up quickly
(you'll spill some gas, so do NOT be directly under the hose end. watch
your eyes! if you get gas on your skin, go ahead and finsh that hose but
then immediately afterward wash it off with a LOT of water. gas will cause
a "sunburn" type rash on some folks, so be ready. and have a fire extinguisher
handy. just in case. :)

on all of the old clamps, it's highly likely that they are original ... so
you'll have to CUT them off with a pair of "dykes" (diagonal cutter pliers.
they look like regular pliers, but have a cutting edge and a sharp nose ...
like little really-short scissors. get good ones that are decent size, like
"normal-size" pliers, not the little "electronic" ones (they won't have the
muscle to cut the clamps).

anyway, remove the fuel pump end, plug it up. put the new hose on the fuel
pump (WITH the clamp already on the hose!!), skoonch it down on the pump
good, then tighten the clamp. note that there is a "bump" in the little
tube on the fuel pump. put the clamp behind that bump Iso it'll seal better).

ok, now you've got two hoses hanging there. put the new clamp on the end of
the new hose, and pull the old hose off the tank. put the new hose on and
push it up good. then tighten. :)

that's it. tighten the clamps until they start to "bite" into the rubber ...
that is, until you can see the clamp indenting the rubber surface.

that takes care of the 10mm hose. notice you have a bunch left over. well,
that was in case you screwed up. :)

now you can start at the other side of the pump and work your way back to the
engine. notice that some of the fuel line that goes over the wheel-well/rear
axle is PLASTIC, so be careful with it. it also does NOT have the bump on it
so you'll need to cut EACH of the new hoses about that same inch longer ...
so it'll go up on the plastic tubing just a little farther than the old hose
... cause the old hose kinda shrunk over the years.

now the bad news: there are TWO hoses going from the fuel tank to the engine.
one on each side of the bus. the other side (drivers side) is the "return"
line, where excess fuel is sent back to the fuel tank to be reused. so you
can do the other side of the bus now as well.

the problem comes in going INTO the engine compartment ... on each side,
there is a short little hose, waaaaaay up high over the transmission. and
it's a bitch to get to. :( but after those two hoses, the rest is easy.
it helps if you can jack up the car and remove the two rear wheels ... that
gives you a little more room and you might be able to reach in from the
side, instead of having to reach up from underneath.

ok, now move into the engine compartment. notice where the hoses came in
(the bad ones, remember?). you have TWO hoses coming in, one on each side
of the engine. the one on the right is the input. it comes from a little
plastic thingie-pipe that is screwed to the firewall at the front of the

on these hoses, you can just remove the old one, and use it to measure the
new one (cut one inch longer, remember??), then put the new one back. do
ONE hose at a time, and remember how it is routed through the rat's nest
of wires and hoses on the engine!! put the new hose back the same way. be
SURE to put clamps at both ends and remember to tighten them down ... this
fuel is under a lot of pressure (from the fuel pump) and it WILL try to
get out of that hose if it can.

also: there is some tubing surrounding the old hose. save it and put it
back around the new hose. you'll need to spray some WD-40 in the inside
of the tubing, to lubricate it so the new hose will slip through. it's a
"heat shield" for the fuel hose. and yes, you need it.

now, you'll notice that there are some really short little hoses right down
at the fuel injectors. i did NOT replace these, cause i didn't want to mess
up the injectors. some folks do replace them. i don't know exactly how. :(

that's about it. just take it one hose/step at a time. be prepared with rags
and towels to mop up and stop any spray (the fuel system WILL have pressure
on it, but after the first opening of the system (behind the fuel pump), the
pressure should be released. even so, be careful and wear some eye protection.

just start at the tank, and follow the hose and you should get all of them.
on the engine, it splits into two "rings" or loops. just follow them around
and replace the hoses one at a time.

when you are finished, go back and check the clamps, one by one, on ALL of
the hoses, starting at the tank again. then mop up any and all gasoline that
spilled. then if you can wait for a couple of hours (so any gas that is left
will evaporate), good. then crank the engine and quickly run around looking
at all the hoses, looking for any leaks. if you see any, shut off the engine
(another body at the wheel helps a lot here), and tighten the clamps. mop
up the spill and try again.

it takes about four hours of fiddling and shuffling and screwing up. :)
and your back will be sore from bending over the engine.

>bad one and leave the rest alone? Will I need to jack it up (i.e. put
>it on some stands of sorts -- that ought to be fun with no gas)? I'm

well, i did it on my 88 without jacking it up. but it is kinda tight under
there at the front. and the rear wheels kinda get in the way of those two
bad places.

anyway, that's the general idea. it's not really hard, but it is kinda
time-consuming and tedious (LOTS of hose clamps). and your hand gets tired
from screwing (which is why i started using the little socket wrench to
tighten them after a while. but be careful: you can easily over-tighten
with too big a wrench. use a 1/4-inch drive, not a 3/8-inch).

good luck.

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