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Old 04-08-2010, 09:36 AM
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Water in fuel - won't start

I think I got a lot of water in my fuel. I filled my truck yesterday from a 55 gal drum that I've had for a couple of years. I got about 1/2 mile from home and the engine stopped. I checked the fuel filter and the fuel in the chamber looked like snot. I drained it and replaced the filter. I also switched to a different tank that I didn't fill yesterday. The fuel in the filter chamber now looks good, but the engine doesn't even sound like it wants to fire. I've cranked until the batteries got tired. I've cranked way longer than I normally would after a fuel filter change. Is there something downstream of the filter that I should be checking?
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:43 AM
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That was most likely bad fuel with a lot of water and sludge in it. That could have killed your injectors. Do you have fuel pressure? The only other filter type thing you have is the screen in the tank.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:15 AM
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Let's hope I haven't killed my injectors, although after 154K miles I might be due. I'm not sure how I would check fuel pressure. I've been trying to find a place to access the fuel lines just to bleed the system and they seem to be locked up tighter than fort Knox. It looks like I might have to pull the turbo to get at them. I thought I had all of the factory service manuals on this truck, but I'm not finding much on the fuel system for the 7.3. My 1997 manual refers me to the 96 powertrain control/emissions diagnostics manual, which I don't have.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:17 AM
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I deffinetly would run clean diesel thru it, then empty the canister, change the filter, and fill it up with seafoam and run it thru it, then i would either somehow drain the tank or put seafoam in there aswell.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:22 AM
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Symbols is probably right with the screens in the tank being clogged. The fuel filter assembly has a drain on it - that yellow handle in the back - you might want to put a short extension hose on the bottom of the metal hose it connects to, or it will drain on your axle. You could open that drain and turn the key on - if fuel is flowing, it will shoot out at a pretty good pace. The fuel system is a closed loop - coming from the tank, through the booster pump, up to the filter assembly, through the pressure regulator and back to the tank. Just cleaning the filter assembly won't do anything if you're still shooting crap from the tank. Looks like its time for a cleaning session.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:58 AM
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Remember that I switched to a tank that I didn't contaminate, so I think I'm getting clean fuel to the filter. I've opened the filter chamber and it looks good. I'm just trying to figure out how to clean the part of the system downstream from the filter. I will still need to clean the contaminated tank, but that shouldn't be contributing to my no-start problem
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:04 AM
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Well the problem is that the stock fuel system is closed loop. If you have clean fuel in the bowl then that should mean everything to that point is good. That means that everything that made it through the fuel filter went into your fuel rails and most likely also your injectors.

I would try what was suggested above and open your drain valve and turn the key on and see if you have good fuel pressure. If you think you have good fuel pressure then I would see about getting it on a scan tool and see what is going on and maybe run some tests.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:33 PM
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Success!
I disconnected the fuel return line where it connects to the filter module and cranked the engine. For a little while I got snot and then clean fuel. Once I got all the snot out, it runs and seems to be OK. I'll have to take it for a test drive to be sure. I guess we proved that a diesel won't run on water.

I still need to clean the contaminated tank/tanks, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Thanks to everyone for the help.

Does anyone know about how many miles a set of injectors is good for? I ask in case I may have harmed these. On my 6.9 Ford, I was told they are pretty much gone after about 120K miles. I've got 154K on these.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:53 PM
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People try to give me old diesel fuel all the time, just not worth the aggravation, sure if it looks clean then I will take it and run it in my old tractors after filtering it, but no way in my PSD just too tight tolerance in that fuel system. Do yourself a favor and only run clean fresh diesel fuel out of the pump in your truck.
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdc0581 View Post
Success! Does anyone know about how many miles a set of injectors is good for? I ask in case I may have harmed these. On my 6.9 Ford, I was told they are pretty much gone after about 120K miles. I've got 154K on these.
I've seen them go before 100,000 and others last over 300,000. Its probably half luck and half taking care of them - keeping clean oil and the quality of fuel you're running.
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