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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Disclaimer: This may not work for everyone depending on your filter design.

I'd attempted to remove the bowl from an old fuel filter/water separator in order to clean the film inside. Unfortunately, two of the four screws that held it to the housing were frozen. So instead, I paid a visit to the local hardware store and picked up a special kind of bottle brush.



It's essentially a twisted wire coat hanger, with a strip of *soft* scotch-brite-like material at one end, and a plastic drill adapter at the other. While it was meant for a drill, I just twisted it by hand, and it did a great job. In fact, I don't recommend using a drill, as it increases the chance of scratching the plastic bowl or possibly causing friction burns and other damage.

I'm sure you could make your own if you really wanted to but it was definitely worth the $8.

NOTE: Before using the brush, I dipped a small corner of scrubbing pad in diesel, to insure the fuel would not melt the material. That would have been far worse than the algae. If you make your own, or buy a different brand, to be safe, I recommend you do the same before inserting it inside the filter housing. And to avoid scratching the plastic bowl, do *not* use standard abrasive Scotch Brite pads. Use something much softer You could probably even use strips of rag. Avoid anything with too many dangling threads, as they may get caught inside the filter housing/bowl.


Step 1), I drained most of the fuel from the filter, leaving just under half the bowl filled. I then removed the filter:



Step 2) I *carefully* inserted the brush, down inside the filter housing, to the bowl. It was necessary to slowly turn the brush, like screwing in a bolt, while pushing with some gentle force to get it past thin internal structure and down in to the bowl:



You can see all the crud at the bottom of the bowl:



Step 3) I turned the brush by hand, making sure to tilt it, and work it around the bowl. I then drained the dirty fuel from the bowl.

Step 4) I repeated the process one more time. You may want to repeat addition times depending on the condition of your bowl.

Here are the before and after photos:

[before]
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[after]


The brush was *so* easy to use that it will be standard operating procedure from now on. Much easier than removing a bowl and only takes 5-10 mins to do; including a filter replacement.

For comparison, on the left is the fuel I drained from the bowl *before* cleaning. On the right is what came out *after* scrubbing the bowl. If you notice, the bottom of the bottle on the right is practically black, while the fuel near the top is a little clearer. The bottom was from the first flush with the brush and the top is from the second.



Hope others find this useful.

Cheers all!
 

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The bottle washing brush is a great idea. Maybe an unused brush for the dishes would do the job as well in case there is no hardware store nearby.
 
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