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Fuel filter issue advice

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Old 01-30-2016, 11:42 AM
Pheadrus
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Fuel filter issue advice

Hi
I'm having some issues with my fuel filter light coming on in my 1989 7.3idi and was hoping for some advice. I'm up in Canada were it's 0c/32f today.

I use my plow truck just for doing the driveway and it sits in between plowing. The filter is about 3 years old but has maybe 100 miles on it because I only use it around the yard. I meant to change it this Fall but forgot.

When it was about -20c/-4f a few weeks ago, I had to rev the truck up more than usual to clear some snow banks and the fuel filter light started coming on. It also started to run rough and died a couple of times and would start after turning it over a few times. At idle the light seemed to stay mostly off. The truck would fire no problem after being plugged in and the light wouldn't come on until I started to plow. I have winter fuel in it and added some Power Services Diesel Fuel Additive to both tanks and ran it around the yard to get it mixed and to get it up to the motor. The light was still coming on regardless of which tank I used so I let it sit for about 30-45 minutes. I went out and started it and reved it up. The light came back on but after a few minutes of reving it, the light went out. I thought it was gelled fuel and was now fixed.
But the next time I went to plow a few days ago, the light started coming on again. I was able to plow most of the driveway keeping it at low speeds and it died once. It turned over and seemed to want to catch and after a few tries it fired and I parked it. It also seemed to be running rough at times.
So I bought a filter and diesel kleen to fill the filter up. The truck has an electric pump to help it and I'm working on the truck myself so if I get the filter as full as possible with Kleen, do I need to bleed the schrader valve? I know I let it run for about 30 seconds and shut it off. Can it sit for a couple of hours or should I let it sit overnight? We got snow yesterday and I'd like to plow today but I can wait if it's worth it sitting overnight. Any advice and knowledge is greaty appreciated.
Thanks, Steve.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:26 PM
Pheadrus
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I have to get this done this afternoon or tomorrow before it goes down to -20c/-4f and snows on Monday. Any advice on the schrader valve and how long I should let it it sit? I might be able to have someone turn the truck over for me tomorrow. Should I just change the filter, fill it up with Kleen, run it for 30 seconds, and then wait until tomorrow to bleed it?
Thanks.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:19 PM
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I changed the filter and filled it almost to the top(maybe 3/8" from the top) with Diesel Kleen. My oil filter wrench was too small so I hand tightened the filter(after oiling the rubber O-ring gasket) until I couldn't turn it anymore without lots of force. Is this tight enough or do I need to get a bigger wrench? It didn't leak when I ran it for 30 second's.

The truck has been plugged in for a couple of hours. The glow plugs cycled for about 10 second's and the truck fired right up. The motor seemed to change pitch after about 5 second's but idled fine right around 500rpm. After 30 seconds I shut it down and will leave it until tomorrow so the Kleen has time to work. Will I have a problem starting it tomorrow with it being about -5C/23F with the Kleen in it and not bleeding the Schrader valve? I will have someone to help me tomorrow. Is it worth bleeding it, or just fire it and see if it stays running?
Thanks.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:32 PM
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plug it in 2-3 hours before you go to start it. it should start rite up.
if it still turns the filter light on when increasing the RPM's, i would check fuel pressure. i am thinking your lift pump may be failing.

as far as the filter wrench goes, i always put my filters on hand tight. this makes it easier to remove them.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 04:29 PM
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Thank you Sir. Much appreciated. The fuel I dumped out of the old filter did seem to have a fair bit of pepper sized debris. The large hole in the middle of the filter had debris as well. I haven't got the bottom bowl off yet to see what was at the bottom. I'm not sure about water because I drained the filter before removing it and had to use a rag to catch the fuel. But the rag didn't seem to have a strong diesel smell so I think there was water in the filter.

I'm worried it maybe the pump as well. At least tomorrow the Wife can turn it over if I need to check the pressure at the Schrader valve. The PO added an electric pump because the lift pump was getting weak. I guess I'll know tomorrow when I fire it up. I'm hoping it's just the fact the filter was dirty and had water in the filter because it's going back down to -20C/-4F and I don't have a garage.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 04:35 PM
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did you put a one piece filter on, or put the filter with the lower aluminum water separate back on?
i have been using the one piece filters for close to 15 years now. much easier to use and less chances for leaks.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 05:55 PM
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I had to go to 4 different parts places but I finally found a one peice filter and that's what I went with. Once I got the bottom bowl off I saw someone had forced a screw into the water seperator valve so I'm glad I went that way.

Unfortunately, I had to get the NAPA Gold which I know doesn't have the best filtration. But like you said, the one piece is way easier. Especially without a garage. I'm dying to fire it up tomorrow to see if it's fixed. I'll update tomorrow.
Thanks.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 06:57 PM
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It may be possible you have algae in your fuel plugging even the new filter if it really gets driven that little.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 07:25 PM
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Lift pump would be suspect if the light still comes on. I have also seen the rubber line at the lift pump collapse (sucked together) causing low fuel pressure and volume. For the price its a good idea to change the rubber fuel line anyway. I seen one flexing/collapsing while idling. Edit: just now seen electric pump added. What brand of pump is it?
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 08:01 PM
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Sounds like you were gelled up to me. Could also be a combination of weak lift pump and cold diesel. NAPA Gold are some of the best filters you can buy actually. Any single stock replacement filter is horrid compared to actual filtration. Probably no difference between wix and fram, other than you wont circulate the guts of the wix through your engine. Idk how strong you are, but that's probably more than tight for the filter. Should say right on it how tight to go. I never go more than hand tight when putting filters on.
 
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Old 01-30-2016, 10:14 PM
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I'm glad to hear the NAPA Gold filters are good quality. While researching my filter issues, I found some threads that seemed to indicate they weren't the best in terms of finer particle filtration.

I have a bad back so I've never bothered to check what electric pump it has since I bought it 3 years ago. It got new coolant, an oil change and a block heater cord when I bought it and I've been lucky that it's run great so far with no maintence other than oil and coolant level checks. From 30C/90F to -50C/-58F it's always started(other than swapping frozen batteries). But other than the 4 hour drive back from where I bought it, it likely hasn't had 100 miles put on it in the time I've owned it. I now have an oil leak from the bottom half of the motor that's going to have to be dealt with as soon as it warms up.

I know I should have changed the filter and been draining the bowl in the Spring and Fall now that I've read up about it. But being my first diesel I sometimes forget they need a few extra maintence steps to keep them running great.

I'm 260lbs and use to carry bare 351 Cleveland blocks around so it's tight enough I think. Tighten it just until it breaks and then back it off half a turn. lol

I really hope it's not the lift pumping dying or the line. It's getting cold again Monday and I have to work outside with two herniated disc's. I agree if the lights on, it's likely the pump. Now I wish I had revved it even a little today just to see if it came on during the 30 seconds I ran it.
 
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Pheadrus View Post
I had to go to 4 different parts places but I finally found a one peice filter and that's what I went with. Once I got the bottom bowl off I saw someone had forced a screw into the water seperator valve so I'm glad I went that way.

Unfortunately, I had to get the NAPA Gold which I know doesn't have the best filtration. But like you said, the one piece is way easier. Especially without a garage. I'm dying to fire it up tomorrow to see if it's fixed. I'll update tomorrow.
Thanks.
napa gold filters are all i use on my rigs. i have had problems with other filters, but never with napa gold.

Originally Posted by Shawn MacAnanny View Post
It may be possible you have algae in your fuel plugging even the new filter if it really gets driven that little.
i doubt that he has algae problems in canada.
if he was in florida i would agree, but not up in canada.

Originally Posted by hairyboxnoogle View Post
Sounds like you were gelled up to me. Could also be a combination of weak lift pump and cold diesel. NAPA Gold are some of the best filters you can buy actually. Any single stock replacement filter is horrid compared to actual filtration. Probably no difference between wix and fram, other than you wont circulate the guts of the wix through your engine. Idk how strong you are, but that's probably more than tight for the filter. Should say right on it how tight to go. I never go more than hand tight when putting filters on.
agreed. probably slightly gelled fuel with a weak lift pump.
 
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:13 AM
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Well bad news on two fronts. The truck fired fine ran great for about 5 minutes and then the light started coming on again. But it wouldn't always come on under acceleration or load and would sometimes at idle. At times I accelerated hard and it didn't come on. If I sat for about 5-10sec's it would usually flicker off. So I'm guess the lift pump is pooched. But shouldn't the light have come on right away if the pump is the issue? Could it be the electric pump dying or bad electrical connections to it? I'm going to have a buddy with a pressure guage come by tomorrow so we can check the pressure at the schrader valve to confirm the issue. He's a diesel mechanic and owns a bunch of IDI's so he should be able to identify the problem. How big of a job is it to do in the driveway? I have two days of -6C/20F weather before it drops to -20C/4F.
The second and more troublesome issue is I located the oil leak on the motor. The passenger side of the oil pan is rusty and is leaking about 3-4 inches up from the bottom. And it's leaking to the point of not being driveable. Any miracle fixes? Would something like JB Weld work? The truck doesn't see the road, it's just for plowing. Is there's any temporary fixes just to get me through until Spring. It looks like I'll have to pull/lift the motor to change the pan?
Thanks.
 
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Old 01-31-2016, 01:55 PM
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it could very well be a bad electric pump if it is wired to run all the time. most of the little electric pumps are not diesel rated and only last about a year or so before they die.
the injector pump will pull just enough fuel to run at an idle or around 1000 rpm, but after that it will start to pull a vacuum in the filter which will turn the light on.
as for the oil pan, there is a 2 part epoxy stick made for temporarly fixing petroleum leaks.
i have used it on diesel tanks and oil pans with some success.
as for JB weld, they would probably work too. but you will have to drain the oil, clean the pan real good and scuff it to give the JB something to stick to, and let the JB harden completely before refilling the pan
 
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Old 01-31-2016, 02:04 PM
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lift pump is bad or debris have clogged up the little valves in the pump and its not pumping enough. or you said it has a electric pump? it may have debris on inlet side preventing fuel flow.. I always put cheap 100 micron mesh type fuel filters pre pump on all my rigs as crap from the tank is usually the culprit. the light is indicating a vacuum being pulled buy the ip on the filter head, this usually is a dirty filter. but may indicate blockage in fuel system. or failing pump. if the oil pan has rusted thru you can use some epoxy, like JBweld, park it on a block clean it well, mix and spread..
 
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