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Fuel system maintenance after a breakdown

Messages
69
Likes
50
Location
Henagar, AL
Thread starter #1
Well, I got bit. Was loaded up at a site with a fifth wheel trailer, warming up to pull out for the trip home and my 6.5L just quit. Turned over just fine but no start. No fuel to upper filter. Folks there carried me to a parts store, no Walbro pumps in stock, and I wasn't about to give $185 plus tax for a chinese replacement. Bought a Mr Gasket generic diesel pump as a patch. Had enough tools and supplies in truck to get it mounted and working. Wasn't thrilled with the 4-7 psi rating. But, it got me the 175 miles home. About 6 hours later than I was expected and the wife wasn't happy, even after the 'phone home' via cell phone.

This adventure led to some discoveries and some more maintenance. And some planned additions.

First, my pre-pump filter got plugged with crap from the tank. The Walbro died.

I now have a new fuel tank, sending unit, pump pre-filter, Walbro pump, AN fittings.

Planned additions will be to replace the hard lines from the tank and add a redundant Walbro behind the filter on the plate with enough capped off lines to put it into service in case of a future failure on the main pump.

I don't like laying in the mud with diesel fuel running down to my armpit in the dark. I may even rig up a mounted light source for that area!

97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 013_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 014_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 015_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 016_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 017_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 018_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 013_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 014_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 015_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 016_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 017_sml.jpg 97 Sierra Fuel upgrades 018_sml.jpg
 

deejaaa

Diesel Beginner
Messages
1,659
Likes
467
Location
Texas
#2
what did the inside of the tank look like? i had probs with mine and cut it in half with a grinder and cut off wheel.
how did the walbro die with a pre-filter? what micron? i have a goldenrod right at the exit from the bed mounted tank. i can see when it gets filthy. i made the mistake of putting a gasser clear filter on, right after i got it running, and it clogged so bad the element collapsed.
i also have a spin on filter right before the FFM. not sure what the microns are but it's probably not needed.
if i had bad fuel i would clean the inside bottom FFM. seems to collect trash. there is an IP screen at the back, right inside where the fuel line connects. don't recommend removing it with pump still connected. kind of a pain to get the vanes and rod oriented. best done removed.
never messed with a walbro. is it serviceable?
 
Last edited:
Messages
69
Likes
50
Location
Henagar, AL
Thread starter #3
The TSU was rusty, upper parts of the tank looked rusty and the lower part looked as if a coating was peeling off of it. Lots of 1/4 inch and smaller metallic looking flakes. Puddles of muddy looking water were apparent when sloshing it back and forth.

It didn't look anything like this when I installed the original Walbro pump. I checked it before installing the pre-pump filter.
I didn't keep the old filter when I replaced it on the breakdown, but now I wish I had to cut it open and see just what it caught.
 

deejaaa

Diesel Beginner
Messages
1,659
Likes
467
Location
Texas
#4
The TSU was rusty, upper parts of the tank looked rusty and the lower part looked as if a coating was peeling off of it. Lots of 1/4 inch and smaller metallic looking flakes. Puddles of muddy looking water were apparent when sloshing it back and forth.......
mine looked like that.


that's the galvanizing hanging.
 

Will L.

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,473
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8,022
Location
Boulder City Nv
#5
Reading this about 1 1/2 hours after I was at a gas station where a guy rigged up a fiter set up PRE TANK! He had an inline filter/ water seperator, output hose that he pushed into his tank. Larger Input side hose he slips over the filling nozzle with a wingnut style hose clamp.

I look over at him attaching it, he glances up and sees me eyeballing him. He said "I lost 2 engines to bad fuel in the last 3 years, never again." I said "good idea."

Dont know that i would go through it, but can't blame him.
 
Messages
69
Likes
50
Location
Henagar, AL
Thread starter #6
DeeJaaa, mine looked alot like that. Will, I'm SERIOUSLY considering putting my 100 gallon transfer tank on and filling into it while out on the road and pumping out of it through my Fill-Rite and a doubled filter system into the stock tank. Picking up too much water and trash and biodiesel degraded diesel on the road here in the Southeast. Got some of the biodiesel blended stuff at a P*L*T Truck Stop and got about 3 mpg on it. Didn't want to pull, lousy performance. Ran it out as low as I could dare and changed the pre-pump filter before refilling. Started running better within a few miles. (Didn't restock my truck with another filter, which was a mistake.)
 

Will L.

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,473
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8,022
Location
Boulder City Nv
#7
Yeah if you can do that, not a bad idea.

If i lived in a place where it occurred once in a while, I would invest in 3 clean barrels. Fill #1 in the bed of the truck, pump it through a filter into barrel #2 at home. Barrel heater on it up to 195 degrees (that is where water auto seperates from oil and fuel) then pump through water separator to barrel #3.

CAUTION!!! Do not heat it if you have ethonal mixed in. 173 is boiling point for methonal.
 

GM Guy

Manual Trans. 2WD Enthusiast
Messages
4,722
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527
Location
NW Kansas and SC Idaho
#8
I have pondered adding a bed mounted tank to a few of the rigs in the fleet and running a big cheap spin-on before dumping it in the main tank, the pics in this thread might hurry that along... :)
 

SnowDrift

Radical Right Wing Extremist
Messages
1,879
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504
Location
Central Ohio map dot
#9
Reading this about 1 1/2 hours after I was at a gas station where a guy rigged up a fiter set up PRE TANK! He had an inline filter/ water seperator, output hose that he pushed into his tank. Larger Input side hose he slips over the filling nozzle with a wingnut style hose clamp.

I look over at him attaching it, he glances up and sees me eyeballing him. He said "I lost 2 engines to bad fuel in the last 3 years, never again." I said "good idea."

Dont know that i would go through it, but can't blame him.
Fascinating to me.

I learned a couple years ago that hydraulic oil, straight from the manufacturer and right out of the factory container is too dirty to use. This is why hydraulic systems go directly into a filter system before pumping oil to the hydraulic system on a machine. Otherwise, a guy has to have an oil pump (usually mounted on a truck dedicated for this purpose, if it's a company) equipped with an online filter system before pumping into a tank on the machine to be serviced.

I love the guy's idea to pre-filter the fuel. Big hassle, but I'm still fascinated by this!
 

schiker

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,459
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604
Location
Pendleton, SC
#10
Have to chemically treat algae. It can pass through filters. Use additives occasionally even if you don't think they improve mpg or performance. And if it ever sits parked for an extended time. Fuel stations are franchises and fuel is the same regionally so pay attention to each station's cleanliness and if it appears run down. If they don't clean where you see you can figure they don't do tank maintenance either. I don't like Pilot stations. Around here QT has the best stations.
 
Messages
69
Likes
50
Location
Henagar, AL
Thread starter #13
It's been almost 4 years since I replaced the original factory fuel pump with my first Walbro fuel pump. I posted about that installation, but didn't about the adding the pre-pump filter and checking the condition of the tank. The original fuel pump was NASTY looking inside, which led to dropping the tank and inspecting it. It was clean four years ago. I'll admit it looked crappy on the outside, but it was shiny inside.

During those four years, I've managed to put around 150K miles on the dually, with a majority being on the interstate system. Southeast, Midwest, Eastcoast with fuel from truck stops to convenience stores. I'm bad about getting the cheapest diesel I can find. Lots of pre-pump filter changes, typically every second oil change. But seeing the condition of the fuel tank and the tank sending unit left me dumbfounded.

Can the use of a fuel conditioner/cetane booster contribute to such a problem? In addition to poor fuel? I try to always add it at every fill-up. I use the silver jug.
 

schiker

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,459
Likes
604
Location
Pendleton, SC
#14
I would think cold would help with reduced moisture in air some but more later...

Just 3 times I have had other than normal fuel. I have never been stopped by it: 1. Water in fuel light the next day from a fill up at a bigger but still a mom and pop truck stop. 2. sort of bad..... Buying off road fuel and it smelled like rotten eggs and I did not use it. I am not sure if its the new bio blend or what but stale old fuel can build a strong sulfur smell. 3rd. I looked in container of some fuel I just bought and there some brown crud in bottom could have been in jug from before but I don't think so.

Its mostly bad luck if you get a slug of contamination. I'd say buying fuel at low turn convenience stores is a bigger gamble than truck stop. I'd avoid the most suspicious....one that went out of business, sat empty for a while reopened, and looks to be struggling with new ownership. On a trip I try to avoid any no name station that has a small pump station/parking area that can't accommodate at least a dually with trailer.

Additives like PS white and grey help keep stuff from sticking to the fuel system and injectors clean. They don't remove water or slime (bad contaminations). They don't kill algae either. They shouldn't harm the tank though. The gm tank delamination is a material break down or something from poor selection of materials or manufacture.

Rusty water and "slime" could be some algae or just crud build up of condensation. Rust on metal parts would come from water contamination and separation then air exposure would increase severity. I don't know details but Algae and different bio fuels can corrode metal worse than plain ole dino diesel (which we don't really have anymore). When you leave a tank on empty for a long time is about the worst thing you can do after a slug of bad fuel. So in general its better to keep tanks topped up. Continual refill and run will dilute and mix good fuel with bad so small contaminations clear up on their own as filters catch it. Also, because better stations and distributors use storage/cleaner additives to keep their systems clean you get some effects each time you fill up. I would bet more cold weather areas typically have better tank maintenance so pumps don't gell. Probably colder areas run more "detergent/dispersant" additives through by default???

Since you put on a new tank and its all clean I would run a batch of algaecide through a tank or 2 so it does not re-contaminate itself just to be sure.

I like to rinse my fuel storage cans out with gasoline let them dry and treat new fuel with stabilizer and biocide.

For a tank that gets all kinds of weird and questionable fuel you might consider some "fuel polish additives" occasionally.
 
Messages
69
Likes
50
Location
Henagar, AL
Thread starter #15
I haven't experienced any problems with vehicles I run local. Except for a water problem in a tractor that my cousin provided off road diesel while I was working on his property. That's a story unto itself. My fuel problem has only been with the truck I travel the roads in. This has been an eye opening experience that will definitely change the way I do things in regards to diesel fuel.
 

WarWagon

Well it hits on 7 of 8...
Messages
8,705
Likes
3,444
Location
AZ
#18
Bottom line is use a water separator that's better than the low bidder excuse the big 3 use on pickups. A good water separator gives your injection system a fighting chance. The OEM fuel filters do not do a good job at all including the better than ours, but, still wimpy Duramax separator design.

Bugs grow slower in a refrigerator. Bugs are: mold, yeast, and bacteria.

@SlowBoat
It is difficult to find info on what Biodiesel does to diesel fuel let alone ULSD: and that is they adsorb more water than LSD or past diesel specs. It's to a point that IMO there can be enough waster adsorbed into the fuel that the bugs can grow in the fuel rather than just at the water fuel layer in the tank.

You need to test the fuel to see what kind of infection you have so you can use a fuel soluble biocide that will kill it as not all formulas kill all bugs. Gasoline aside of it's side effects does work well to kill bugs.

http://www.thetruckstop.us/forum/th...ulsd-and-biodiesel-this-can-affect-you.35096/

@schiker
Corrosive fuel from bug infections and/or leftover biodiesel methanol appear to ruin the old GM tank linings. Nevermind age itself. Biodiesel wasn't exactly in use back when our tanks were made. Now that biodiesel is a common component of diesel fuel note all the "plastic" fuel tanks that are not affected by the above. Even modern metal aux in bed fuel tanks are affected and very difficult to clean. IMO get a plastic aux tank for modern diesel's problems.
 

Burning oil

LeroyDiesel.com
Vendor
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10,269
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1,757
Location
Houston
#19
Slow boat. how do you have LP wired in? If still on stock harness it will be mandatory in my mind to power it with something like my LP relay harness or equivalent.
 
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