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Changing Fuel/water filter

mcan3 Member Posts: 9
Trying to change my fuel/water separator on 2002 201 G/S. Wow was it stuck. Anyway, finally managed to loosen it and then realized there is not enough clearance below it to unscrew it completely. The shape of the compartment is such that there is a ledge half an inch below that extends directly under the filter about half way. I did note that this ledge is a sheet metal plate instead of fiberglass. Perhaps this is exactly why it's there, so it can be unscrewed and removed to get out of the way of the filter? Anybody have direct experience with this issue? Man, after the constant issues with access to this engine my next boat will be an outboard.