Wrenchin’ Wednesday: Lassoing engine plumbing for tricky territory

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Phillip Thomas

Plumbing lines around an engine can be tricky business. The jungle under the hood is layered in parts, making access to certain spaces nearly impossible without spinning out a million bolts and pulling a dozen things to get to that one hose. It’s clear from the valleys and tunnels created by the engine bay that the factory cares nothing for mortal hands or wasted time.

In my case, a tired and leaky fuel line on my 1996 Suburban’s 6.5-liter diesel motivated me to finally install a fitting kit that both seals way better than the original rubber-hose-and-clamp factory affair and increases the inner diameter of the fuel line between the filter and injection pump, thus reducing a bottleneck. In the process of removing the filter housing to drill and tap it for the AN fitting, I’d encounter the two outlets that go underneath the intake manifold: one for the water/fuel drain and the other for the injection-pump feed. If I were to remove the hoses without any forethought, snaking the new ones back underneath the intake would be like flying a plane through a cave, blind. So, for today’s Wrenchin’ Wednesday, we’re using a quick trick to make fishing the new hoses easy.

The idea is shared with pulling wire through home walls by tying a rope to the end of the hose you’re removing. I used a quick slipknot, hoping that that the increased tension on the rope would grab the hose tighter, and used a strip of duct tape to secure it.

Phillip Thomas

From there, I pulled the hose through the engine bay as I removed the fuel filter, drawing the rope through and taking the same route.

Phillip Thomas

As they say, installation is the reverse of removal. I knotted and taped the new hose just the same, but this time, I used the rope to tow the new hose back to its proper location. This strategy saved about an hour of work, a set of intake gaskets, and a mass of potential headaches.

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