Draining water from the primary fuel filter (HFCM)
This post will present the procedure for draining water from the primary fuel filter (Horizontal Fuel Conditioning Module / HFCM / fuel pump).
(note - link in tech folder is broken so I have put this together)
Before posting the links to the procedure, there are several points worth making:
1. Get a large diameter drain pan to collect the drained fuel. The larger the better. I use my 20 inch diameter oil drain pan.
2. The factory drain plug in the HFCM is a 6mm hex drive brass plug (removed with an Allen wrench). It is prone to stripping AND it allows fuel to drain along the frame rail, creates a mess, and has been known to soak the person doing the job. Also, if you keep this factory plug, be sure not to over tighten it!
3. An upgraded drain plug exists (and is highly recommended) that allows a "finger tight" installation that eliminates the issue of stripping the brass plug. This plug, if necessary, can also be removed with a 6mm Allen wrench or pliers since the plug is not "flush mounted" like the OEM plug is. It is designed with an "extension" so that it does not have to be completely removed from the HFCM like the OEM plug. This extension also causes the fuel to "wick" along the plug and away from the frame rail. This enables the flow to be directed into a container and practically eliminates the mess. Improved Fuel Filter (HFCM) drain plug: http://www.forddoctorsdts.com/articles/article-05-19.php http://www.itpdiesel.com/store.php/products/HFCM_DrainPlug
Optional fuel filter drain plug Ford #6E7Z-9C082-A or International #2589259C91 4. Diesel fuel will eventually swell rubber products. Coating the drain plug o-ring with oil before re-installing will help some to preserve its life, but you should keep a spare on hand because you most likely will need it at some point (I have 42k and I just had to replace mine).
5. The WATER IN FUEL (WIF) light will come on when approximately 0.2 pints (100 cc) of water accumulates in the module. Ford recommends draining the water from the HFCM monthly (IIRC) OR when the WIF light comes on. I do it every oil change. If you ever get the WIF light, drain the HFCM immediately.
6. If you keep the original drain plug, one recommendation I have read (primarily for 4x4's) was to get an 8 inch funnel and place it between front drive shaft and frame rail. Aim it into a catch pan and you won’t end up smelling like fuel for the next two days. You can also use a sheet of aluminum foil - you may have to play with the length and shape, but it should also help direct the flow of fuel into a large container. I personally love the modified drain plug. It drains perfectly into my container.
7. Last, after I have drained the HFCM and re-installed the plug, I cycle the ignition before starting: 1 cycle of (ignition on for 3 sec, ignition off for 15 sec), then ignition off for 3 seconds and START. This is an abbreviated version of the procedure after a filter change. It is most likely not required, but I do it anyway - personal preference.
Now the links to the actual procedure (they also include filter change procedures):
I have seen many on here claim that the hex plug is a real beeatch to work with but my 6mm hex tool fits like a glove and I see no need to upgrade.
Contrary to popular opinion, fuel is not supose to just keep flowing out, the amount that comes out is just the volume of the HFCM assembly, but its a good idea to do this when the tank is low. I use a 750g supermarket plastic honey container and hold it up to the plug. I wear dishwashing rubber gloves while doing it and have never gotton diesel on myself and very little hits the ground even on a filter change, one of the benefits of 2wd .
I myself use a fuel conditioner religiously (it controls water) and both times I have had the plug out there has been no water so I dont worry about this anymore myself.
I have only done mine once (almost to 30k), but I had zero problems. I used a 6mm allen wreck and opened up the plug. I took an old apple juice bottle (plastic) that was rectangular in shape, probably 3"x6", and it fit perfectly between the driveshaft and the framerail. I got some diesel on my hands, but I like the idea of kitchen gloves, so I think I will give that a whirl on my next one...
The issues with mess while draining the HFCM seem to be primarily with the 4x4 models:
From FDDTS web site:
"October 21, 2005 Having troubles draining your fuel water separator on your 2003 or newer Ford Super Duty truck? You are not alone and in fact, many technicians and owners that perform their own maintenance report that the 6 millimeter hex plug frequently strips out due to the soft metal that they are made from. Unfortunately once this happens most attempts to remove it fail. But when the plug does perform as designed fuel usually drains from the HFCM (Horizontal Fuel Conditioning Module) it spills onto the front drive shaft of 4X4 models and drips uncontrollably onto the ground and usually the person removing the plug."
What if you LIKE smelling like diesel fuel for a few days? JKStill can't rep ya, but I didn't forget! Haven't had WIF light yet but just updated plug anyways.
~ Tim ~
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I have had to do this twice and soon after that I narrowed down the service station causing the problem. My plug also stripped out so now I am just more careful but thanks for the new plug upgrade info. As far as the diesel on my hand it normally gets transferred to my beer huggie after putting the plug back in .
you know, I hear a lot problems about fuel in other states but in the over a year I've been on the forums I can't remember off the top of my head of anyone from california that had issues with bad fuel. Because california has more strict standards maybe?
Alright I'm literally outside and just did this. It seemed like nothing but diesel was coming out from the beginning. I let out about 3 secs worth then smelt it and it smelled like diesel. Normal? Also, no diesel bath here...instead of completely taking the plug out I kept it in just let the water/diesel drain until the stream got a little lighter. First time doing this and I don't see how anybody could get a "diesel bath" doing this. lol
That's on a 2wd, on a 4x4 I just use a 6mm hex key since the ratchet doesn't fit.
I've never gotten a "diesel bath" as some people have reported.
Great write-up (in your link) DCSpecial. Thanks. You definitely have more room w/ a 2-wheel drive than the 4x4. I have pretty much always had the "improved" drain plug and am very happy with it. However, the o-ring did swell on me a few weeks ago and it was hard to take it out - even with pliers. I guess I can see how the OEM plug could strip out if it got as hard to remove as my "improved" plug. I took the o-ring off of the OEM plug and it works great now / again.
As to the diesel bath - sounds like that may be somewhat exaggerated, but again I haven't done the job with the OEM plug - only going by what I have read in a number of posts in the past.
The responses have been great - thanks to all for improving the usefulness of this thread.
How often is this recommended? I would assume at each oil change it is a good idea to change the fuel filters and drain. Any other time necessary if the light does not come on. Please pardon my ignorance but I am purchasing my first diesel and upgrading from the F-150 x 4 so I have been reading a ton.
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2006 F-250 Superduty Crew Cab, Lariat, FX4, - Sold
Ok guys, i just bought my first diesel, 05 4x4 PSD. Unless I am going crazy, the bottom frame mounted fuel filter is not horizontal. Its veritical, different from what I am seeing in Bismic's link, http://www.dan.prxy.org/Truck/Owners...HFCM/HFCM.html
I assume it would be the exact same procedure for me or is there something i am missing? THanks for the help
I attempted to change my fuel filters today (05 PSD). My understanding, per the above directions, for the primary/chasis fuel filter is to remove the drain plug on the HFCM to let the diesel in the housing completely drain before changing the filter. I started this and set up a funnel to catch the fuel and drain in my basin (no big deal). It seemed to take a while to drain, the fuel just kept trickling. So, to keep from making a mess i was patient and just let the fuel continue trickling out and went ahead and cleaned my airfilter. Well about a 1 hr later, the fuel was still trickling out of the HFCM plug and I had about 2.5 gallons of diesel fuel in my basin. Again, how much fuel should drain out of this thing? I thought it would just drain the volume of the housing?? And once completely drained you could change the filter. Any input?
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