Diagnosis and Repair of Problems With Your Imperial's Fuel Filter


Imperial Homepage -> Repair -> Fuel -> Filter

Question from John:

Most seem to agree that a metal fuel filter is what should be used on our Imperials. Trouble is, all the major brands in my area only sell plastic for the style that fits Imperials. I've seen them in 3/8 size, but all Imperials & most Chryslers from '59 into the late '70's use the same 5/16 filter.Does anyone have a source for them? I checked the Year One website & they carry them in 3/8. I have one of those that I bought at my local Checker Auto. Fram still makes that size in metal. The 3/8 will work for my carb change on the '69, but I will continue to need 5/16 on the '60.


From Francis:

The metal fuel filters can still be sourced from NAPA in the 5/16 line size. I just recently got one for my '68 Plymouth Fury,within the last month.

The NAPA part # is 3032 WIX # 33032 AC delco # GF61 These are all metal filters and 5/16 in and out.

From Elijah:

I recently bought a correct metal fuel filter for my '70 Imperial at Advance Auto Parts. They're a national chain. If you can't find one locally, you can order from their website at http://www.advanceautoparts.com/

Purolator F20011 ($2.07) appears to be the filter listed for 1960 and up Imperials. They have other options for pre-1960 Imperials.

From Ray:

Purolator changed the f20011 a year ago to the cheap plastic.

Question from Jeff (1956):

Spent the afternoon yesterday doing that great man/car bonding thing. Boy is it fun working on an old car!

I changed the oil and oil filter, cleaned the air cleaner and refilled it with fresh oil, replaced the worn front wheel bearings (did the other side just to keep them even) and toyed around with the fuel filter. My car still has the original glass fuel filter housing with a stone filter insert. Attempts so far to locate a replacement insert - either stone or paper element - have failed. Since the housing is in very good shape and doesn't leak and all of the fuel lines under the hood are in good shape (and still all steel), I'd like to leave the configuration the same rather than replacing it with a modern inline filter. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I've tried Kanter and Andy Bernbaum both of whom could not help me. I'm going to go looking on the Hemmings site but it was down earlier today.


From John:

Give Mitchell's a try. I know some folks don't like them, but he probably has the parts you need. I've bought a lot of stuff there without problems.

From Bill:

For your filter element I'd try a place like NAPA (go there), they have a huge filter catalog, including commercial and farm equipment filters. and on that note, also try places like "Tractor Supply" (a "farm" equipment store), where you can buy everything from jeans to horse feed. Worth a look.

From Paul:

The filter doesn't need to be changed as often as a normal fuel filter, but it should be cleaned and the bowl rinsed out occasionally (especially if the gas is bad).

I bought an extra element and have kept it in the glove compartment for the last 20 years. The original element is still functioning fine. I rinse out the bowl when it has an accumulation of dirt in the bottom of the bowl. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to start with a fresh filter element, but you probably will not need another one for the rest of your life.

From Dick:

Paul is correct about reusing the filter, but make sure and change the gaskets! The new oxygenated fuels swell and crack the old rubber used in these filters, and it will swell up so much that it restricts the flow of fuel into the carburetor. I have had them swell so much that the car will only idle.

This problem is getting worse as the old rubber parts like fuel lines etc. see more and more of the alcohol laced fuels.

You all need to be aware of this - it can also be a fire hazard. As I have posted on here at least 3 times before, inspect ALL the rubber that is in contact with fuel. If it hasn't been replaced in the last 5 years or so, do it now. The fuel hoses must be labeled "SAE 30R7" (or higher number) to be safe for use with today's gasoline. This includes any hoses at the rear of the car that connect to the tank.

Follow-ups from Jeff:

There appear to be two sources that may actually carry the stone filter elements: Valley Vintage Auto Parts and JC Auto. The folks at my local NAPA store were very familiar with the stone filters but could not locate them for me. I've submitted a request to NAPA's online help center and am awaiting a reply.

Paul - you suggested that the stone filters last much much longer than the paper ones and can be cleaned. This doesn't surprise me but I'm wondering what the best cleaning procedure is.

Someone suggested replacing the gasket due to swelling concerns with modern fuel so I went back and checked the gasket condition. It does not look the least bit out of shape; no bulging against the housing so I would say it is still okay. It certainly seals very well and I've had the thing apart four times

Reply from Paul:

I have done business with JC Auto and they do seem to carry high quality merchandise.

I have had success cleaning the element (it is actually made out of a ceramic) with compressed air blown from the inside. Do not expose it to water. I have heard that the element can become hopelessly clogged, but I have yet to encounter this. Be sure to rinse out the bowl and clean off the spring, too, before putting everything back together.

I am thinking that the gasket must be made out of something other than rubber since, as mentioned earlier, it wouldn't have lasted so long if it actually was rubber. Could it be neoprene? The material does resemble rubber. Be sure to also wipe out the inside of the metal holder where the gasket goes, and wipe off the gasket itself. Crumbs of debris will keep the bowl from sealing tightly to the gasket. If the gasket, the element, or the glass bowl appear to be damaged, by all means replace them.

Question from Joe (1969):

Is there any problem using a glass fuel filter on my car?


From Jim:

That glass filter is a fire looking for a place to happen. Get RID OF IT.

From Pete:

I second the motion. I'd use only a metal body fuel filter -- no glass or plastic for me. Further, I would never use a rubber hose on the pressure line between the pump and the carb. There's a reason the factory used a steel line. I've seen more than one car that "went up" after a rubber fuel hose on top of the engine ruptured. Most recently a nice Corvette.

From Rob:

I agree with this, however, I would like to state that Ma Mopar placed a whole lot of rubber fuel hose in the engine compartment of my '79 Ramcharger. I assume it's desirable to have a little rubber hose to allow for motion and vibration and keep the metal line from cracking. My truck had so much that it would kink right out of the fuel pump and cause problems.

Question from Chad (1973):

Since I put the new Carter carburetor on my 73 440, I replaced the fuel filter after the pump with an original style one and just today I installed a see through filter right before the carburetor that uses a nylon filter element. I went out and drove around for a while and it seems like the car is running hotter. Could it be that the dual filters are too restrictive and leaning out the fuel flow to the carburetor bowl? The only other changes I made when installing the fuel filter was to lean out the choke setting on the electric choke of the Carter by two ticks. It is now at the dead center between the rich and lean settings. I changed this because it was running too rich and running rough when the choke was on. I don't think this would affect the engine as it only regulates the mixture when the choke is on. Am I right about this? I am not too experienced with electric chokes. 

Reply from John

I've heard many say that more then one filter causes problems. Many of them here on the IML. One filter is plenty. Change it more frequently if need be.

Question from Stan (1981):

Does anyone know of a filter that you can still get for these?  I have gone to my local parts store and the one they give me is one not two and the size is so much smaller.


From Dick:

Take the old filters to your local NAPA store, they have one that is very close. Get the counter man to look it up in his "buyer's guide", you can match it by the picture and the fitting sizes. Be sure to replace the rubber lines at the same time.

From Bill:

I used NAPA filter # V33033. Beware of their listings, though. The first time I went to NAPA their book showed the 1981 and 1983 Imperial could use their V33032 filter. So I purchased two for my 1983 Imperial. After stripping out the old filters and cutting new hose to fit, I found out that the V33032 filters are 5/16" while the Imperial uses 3/8" fuel line.

A trip back to NAPA with the old filters, and the fellow found that V33033 would fit. Yes, the filters are smaller, but just cut the hose length to make up the difference. Have thought about using two filters in tandem to replace each old filter, but do not know if there is enough room to make it work. I also kept the V33032 filters as they will fit my 1962 Lancer and Valiant.

If you have never done it before, you will find the filters attached to a "Y" shaped steel fuel line at each end with hoses/clamps. The "Y" sections in turn are connected to the main fuel line with hoses/clamps. Change all the hoses while you are under there. In other words, you will need 12 clamps, along with 3/8" hose made for fuel injected vehicles. The tricky one will be the one attaching the "Y" piece to the front line to the engine.

From Dave:

I went to AutoZone today to pick up the fuel filters they ordered for me earlier this week. They are not regular store stock, but can be ordered from the AutoZone warehouse or you can go online to Autozone.com. The part number is G-492. They came in a Champion Laboratories box.

When I opened the box I was surprised that these are almost identical to the OEM filters on my '81. They carry the Chrysler Pentastar imprint and part number 4185536/4185533. I only say "almost" because the paint is gray rather than what appears to be an off-white for the originals. Otherwise, they seem to be an exact replacement.

From Neil:

I have just received a pair of fuel filters for my 82 imp from an ac-Delco dealer in the UK that i ordered about six weeks ago the part number is GF785 the other number on the box is 25177244.

These filters are as per the ones found at AutoZone by David Morrison with the Chrysler part numbers 4185536 and 4185533 painted on them as well as the Chrysler name and Pentastar, they are also gray but in an ac-Delco box as you would expect.

Question from Rob (1983):

I'm having a new motor put in my '83. It was already backyard converted to a 4bbl when I bought it. The car has a three barb fuel filter in the engine compartment. It was left that way after the conversion. The PO said that the 3rd barb was the return line to the tank. I think that's a vapor return line. Is there any other return line to the tank?


From Neil:

As far as i remember on the factory EFI cars there is a supply and one return line to the throttle body only.

On the EFI cars there are two fuel filters mounted under the passengers footwell floor with no other filters in the engine compartment.

A filter mounted in the supply line to the carb is normally an in out, so no third barb, if a third barb was used as a return of any kind it would end up causing problems the way i see it as the fuel lift pump would be trying to suck down this extra line as well as the fuel supply line which would mean this extra line if vented would be adding air just where you don't need it.

From Bob:

There was a return line to the tank with the EFI System; apparantly, the tank was left intact with the In-Tank Pump disconnected, (electrically), but the connections stayed the same. You should be able to blow air into this line to verifyy that; if true, remove it and cap the tank connection - just as a safety measure. A vapor storage tank should be found in the front of the engine compartment.

Follow-up question from Leo:

I have always assumed there are two fuel filters for my 83 but when checking with my frindly Chrysler dealer the parts book only shows one; part no. 4287-745. List price of $52.00. Is the part no correct? Price seems a little high for just a fuel filter or is this not even for my car? I didn't look at the picture and my FSM shows two filters, one for the supply and one for the return. If this is the correct do I need to replace the return filter? My car has 87 K on it and has never had the filters replaced.

Reply from Bob:

There are indeed two fuel filters under the right side, front floor pan. They are both supply filters. You can buy these from AutoZone, the identical filter with the Crysler markings, for $11 each, with one day delivery. Be sure you specify that the car is an EFI engine. These do not come with new hose pieces or clamps. There is no return filter on these cars. For general information, the whole system has five filters in the "flow" path. They are the sock on the In-Tank Pump inlet, the two under the floor, a mesh screen inside the Control Pump,, somewhat less than the diameter of the pump, in the HSP, and a stainless cylindrical screen about 3/4" long in the Injection Tower.
If you should have rust in the fuel, either from the tank or in the fuel itself, and it is a very fine particle size, the filters will not stop it, and indeed it may well find its way into the system, upstream of the two filters. The new cars could also have this problem - it is a potential problem even with current injection systems. One bad tank of gas can be a fuel flow disaster

Reply from Dick:

The supply line has two filters in it, mounted under the right side "A" pillar, but these are mounted in parallel, so in effect they make one large filter. You can buy replacements for the individual filters at NAPA for a few dollars each. Be sure to replace the old fuel lines with modern replacements using SAE30R7 or higher spec hose (look at the label on the hose itself, don't trust the counter man!), as the 20 year old hoses cannot stand up to the new oxygenated fuels. Take the old filters in to NAPA and ask the counterman to let you look through his "buyer's guide" - you can match them very closely.

I'm not aware of any filter in the return line, but perhaps there's one buried somewhere in the car. For what purpose I cannot imagine.

This page last updated June 9, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club