Draining the water separator - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 01-19-2012, 07:34 AM
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Draining the water separator

Hello all. I am new to the forum and the diesel world. I just bought a 2008 F250 King Ranch Crew Cab. When I first got the truck the fuel in water light kept coming on. I fought and fought and fought with the separator. I would open the valve and nothing would come out. I would turn the key on and wait till the pump shut off then open the valve and nothing would come out. After only a short while of this I took it in to my mechanic who works on railroad and electric company service trucks and told him to change everything that is serviceable. They changed the oil, filters, fuel filters, trans filter and all the fluids. I was standing in the garage when they took the rail fuel filter out and there was a TON of water in it along with what looked like mud or sludge of sorts. They cleaned everything out and buttoned it all back up. The fuel filters looked pretty bad. I drove it around for a few days and the water in fuel light came back on. I drained the water separator and then no problems for a week maybe then it came back on. I have only run 4 tanks of fuel through the truck since I bought it. I have used diesel kleen fuel additive on 2 of those tanks. I am wondering if the sensor is bad or gunked up or if there is a large amount of krud in the tank. The other thing I really want to know, and can't seem to find, is the right way to drain the separator. First of all do you need to be level or nose down to drain? Key on or off? Gas cap on or off? The next thing I really would like to know is what is the normal operation of the separator. Should a steady stream of water and fuel come out when you open or should it just be drips? Should it immediately come out or does it take a minute to get flowing? I'm not sure if I have had more sludge get into the filter housing and clog everything up because I'm sure that was part of the problem before but now I only get drops and it seems like it will drip indefinitely. Sometime I get water sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get a decent amount of fuel with water in it and sometimes I hardly get anything out of it. The frustration is setting in ... Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:08 AM
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I can't answer it all but it should have a steady stream. You may need to take the separator apart and clean it out, that gunk could be the reason it is not draining. Make sure you get a gasket for it before disassembling. Someone will come along with more answers before long. Check out the following links

Fuel Filter Change Write Up.

Drain Water Separator
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:38 AM
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I always open it and start the truck and let it run for about thirty seconds and shut it. You will have fuel running out but it should get all the water out as well. It wont be that much fuel, but I would have a bucket or do it on the dirt or grass...
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:52 AM
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If your light is on, it either has water in the system or the sensor is bad. If you say it's gunked up as much as it sounds, you may have to let it drain more then usual but it sounds like a cleaning is definitely needed. Normally, you only need to have the drain separator open a few seconds to determine if water is in the fuel.
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Old 01-19-2012, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barn3.co View Post
Hello all. I am new to the forum and the diesel world.

Oh by the way....
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:05 PM
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How fast does fuel come out of the separator when the truck is running? Never tried that before
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:31 PM
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When I pull the truck in the garage and it is sitting level I usually only get drips, but today I just happened to be backed into the driveway with the nose of the truck pointing down. On the way home the other night the WIF light came on and I hadn't driven anywhere since so I crawled under the truck to drain the water separator. This time I did it with the key off and it was like Niagra Falls. I'm used to just getting drips so I wasn't really ready for a down pour of diesel fuel. I didn't see a lot of water in the fuel, maybe just a couple drops. I am going to clean the separator out this weekend I think. This area that needs cleaned, it is on the face of the separator and not on the left side where the filter is. Is that correct?
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Old 01-19-2012, 07:09 PM
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Yeah, vehicle position is very important when draining. If the nose is parked up hill, you could end up getting none out of it and think maybe its clogged as a number of users have thought. Always make sure your on level ground or parked facing down hill.

Sent from my EVO using AutoGuide app.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:08 AM
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Fixed it ... I think

Had the sensor changed and the water separator cleaned out. TONS of junk, gunk, crap, sludge, waste and any other bad thing you could think of in there. I have been driving it for 3 days now and no light. The previous owner was obviously too cheap to replace the filters and too lazy to crawl under the truck and drain the separator once in a while. I had the filters changed when I bought the truck and they found sludge in the filter housing. It was all cleaned out and then when I had them check it again a month later there was more. I'm thinking krud in the tank? Anyways I'm going to drain every other day to see if I get any kind of dirt or gunk out of it.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:01 AM
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The way I drain mine, is to use a piece of vacuum or gas line. Place it over the plastic drain spout, then drain it into a plastic bottle. Good thing you caught this. If that gunk starved out the fuel system you would have had a pump and injectors to replace, about 8000.00
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