I filled my 2001 F350 7.3 Powerstroke with B20 for the first time on Monday. Today, the Service Engine light came on. Coincidence? Or could the B20 have caused a problem, or confused some of the sensors? Doing a little searching, it looks like Ford doesn't officially recommend anything over B5, but it looks like a few people here are running higher concentrations in 7.3 PSDs. I haven't had a chance to take the truck in for service to find out specifically why the light is on.
and most of their concerns are things that might cause problems with long-term usage. I didn't see any suggestion that B20 might kill an engine overnight.
Earlier this summer, I had a couple of incidents of the Engine light coming on briefly, and then going out. It's possible that I had something ready to die and it finally did. The timing of it dying right after I filled with B20 might be a coincidence.
Fords concern with BD/Dino over 5% is based on the acctepted ASTM standards for diesel.
There are no standards for BD other than that to be used for blending.
Blends of 5% or less will still meet the standard for #2 Diesel while blends over 5% may not. Thus most diesel engine makers limit their recommendation to B5 or less so they can be sure of the quality of fuel being used.
I got the B20 at a truck stop, and it looked like the B20 was the only diesel they sold. I pulled up to the pumps and had a choice of two diesel pumps: the high volume one for the big rigs and the weenie one for little trucks. Both said biodiesel. I didn't see any pumps with plain dino. They didn't even list the percentage, but a website listing sources of BD said this place sold B20. I would assume a truck stop couldn't get away with selling crappy fuel. It's not like I got it from some guy who mixed it in a rusty barrel in his back yard.
I doubt the truck stop sells crappy fuel and most diesel engines will burn B100 with no problem; however, engine makers design an engine to operate on fuel that has certain physical properties. You have the best chance of purchasing fuel that has those properties if you buy fuel that meets the ASTM standard.
That does not mean that other fuel won't work it only means you can't be certain it will work without damaging the engine unless it has the properties the engine was designed to work with.
Last edited by Phydeaux88; 09-20-2007 at 11:24 AM.
Biodiesel is also known as an excellent cleaning agent. If this was your first tank of B20, it's also probable that it's the truck's first tank, and any kind of sediment or sludge in the tank would have been picked up and deposited in the filters. I don't know if the 7.3's have fuel pressure sensors, but that could be what's tagging the light.
If it's been more than a couple thousand miles since you changed the filters, you might change them again. I've had the filters on my Series 60 clog badly after only 1 load of fuel (within about 200 miles, no less).
I had heard about the possibility of clogging filters after switching to BD, but I didn't know that the filters might clog up after one tankful. In this case, it was far less than 1 tank. I filled up, drove home (about 10 miles), and the next day, the light came on, with the fuel gauge still on full. It's possible that I have a clogged filter anyway. I've only driven the truck a few hundred miles since I bought it, but I have no idea how old the filter was when I got it.
Fuel filter sits on top of the engine it's a round black bowl with a lid screwed on. Depending on what type of element was used the last time it was replaced the filter and lid (cap) may be in one unit.
Some filters have a square hole that accepts a 1/2 drive ratchet to loosen some have ears sticking up that you use a screwdriver to get a little leverage to open it. Most after market filters work fime and cost 1/2 the price of a Ford parts house.
Yeah .. I thought maybe I should just change the filter and see if that helps. But I wimped out. I'm a newcomer to the Powerstroke world, but my experience with diesel tractors makes me real nervous about air and fuel systems. According to my truck's owner's manual, it's not a real problem. It says that the system will purge the air after changing a filter, it might just run rough and smoke a little for a few minutes while it purges. But if the filter isn't really my problem, and there's something else wrong, and I complicate the issue by introducing a bunch of air into the system when I change the filter, I might make it go from bad to dead.
Since I already have an appointment with the Ford dealer, I'll just wait and let them check it out, and feel stupid if I pay their markup on the filter plus labor to install it when there's nothing else wrong.
Considering the truck's unknown history, I probably should have changed the filter as soon as I bought it. But that's hindsight now.
It does seem a bit odd that the SES light came on the next day.....but it has to be a coincedence. Nothing in the fuel system is monitored by the PCM. Your fuel pump could fail and you roll to a stop on the side of the road and the SES will not trigger.
Given the limited description and history with the SES light my guess woud be your camshaft position sensor, but you may also be having issues with your injector wiring harness, injection pressure regulator, or the previously mentioned ICP sensor. None of which are terribly difficult to fix.
As you've found out, the cheap scan tools (Actron, Auto X ray, etc.) won't read the PSD, but anyone with a good scan tool can pull codes.....doesn't have to be the dealer. Also, if you have any "diesel buddies" with a handheld performance tuner, they are very effective retrieving DTC's.
I've been using B20 in my 01 PS F250 4x4 and LOVE it. Runs great and the engine sounds a LOT better with the B20. I did change the fuel filter after the first 6000 miles and it looked about like it always does, brown...I'm going to go for the recomended 15,000 for the next fuel filter change.
It sounds like Simpsomatt just had bad timing with his SES light and B20.
Don't give up on bio, it's the fuel to use if you can get it!!
When your first few tankfuls will clean out your tank and fuel system. You can paln on changing some filters, but this should not cause your tranny to shift funny. One of the issues we have seen in this area with the automatics is corrupted software in the computer control and wiring problems going to the transmission. with an SES I would think you have a cose set someplace, but ford dealer can also tie in with his computer while truck is being driven to monitor and see what is happening.