For-real, ACTUAL fuel filter problems? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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For-real, ACTUAL fuel filter problems?

2016 Powerstroke, F-350.

I just changed the two fuel filters for the second time (right about 48000 miles). And I'm definitely NOT advocating NOT changing them. But, I am curious how frequently, in the NORMAL world of normal fuel stations with reasonable quality fuel, and tanks that aren't dreadful and/or whatever it is that would actually CLOG the filters, these filters actually get clogged?

On my previous truck there was only 1 filter and it was changed (if I recall correctly) every 30K or 36K. On the Ford they recommend (again, if I recall correctly) changing BOTH fuel filters every 22,500 miles. So I have.

Is there a huge amount of appallingly bad diesel out there that clogs these things up all the time? Or is ford being significantly over-cautious? Or is there something about diesel fuel that even with "good" fuel clogs things up so quickly?

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post #2 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 06:31 AM
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I would absolutely not wait that long at all to change fuel filters. I can't quote what Ford recommends, but it's cheap insurance. I do mine every 2 oil changes, so about 10k on a set of fuel filters. So you're saying you bought the truck new, and have only done fuel filters twice? How often do you drain the separator?

It varies from suppliers and stations, if you get a low volume station you're using, who knows how long diesel have been in their tanks just settling. If you use high volume station, or brand name quality stations, you're less likely to receive garbage fuel. I always use the same Shell station in my town that moves product quickly and have yet to see any type of water when I drain the separator.

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post #3 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 06:35 AM
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I'm not reporting on ACTUAL problems. Just throwing some info/thoughts out there. ...and a question.

Was your previous truck a gasser?

Given the fuel system design - mostly, lack of bypass - a clogged diesel fuel filter will starve the engine of fuel rather than allow the injector to clog. So, the issue is mostly the amount of debris that the filter can hold.

On the 6.7, the fuel pressure sensor is just ahead of the 4u secondary filter. If someone really wanted to go needs-based on their fuel filter changes, they could install a fuel pressure sensor after that housing and monitor differential pressure across the 4u filter.

That said... the recommended fuel filter change intervals on the Powerstrokes have gone from 15K to 22K over the 7.3L to 6.7L years. I have a 6.0. I change mine at 10K even with the rec of 15K.

So... to your question: Is Ford being conservative? There is no doubt. Fuel filters are relatively cheap given their importance. If I were them, I'd be conservative, too.

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post #4 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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I crawl under and drain the separator when the oil gets changed. I've only had visible water in there twice...

The previous truck was a 2005 Silverado Duramax. I ALWAYS carried a spare fuel filter with me, and the wrench to change it. In 200K+ miles I never had a PROBLEM with the fuel filter clogging, but it always seemed like a simple thing to keep under the back seat just in case...

I've done the same thing with the F-350 - there's a spare serpentine belt in the back and a set of fuel filters. And of course, the tools to change them if I ever have a problem.

I started carrying the belt after a recommendation in the forum, and thought I'd never need it. Changed the old one at 100K and put the used one in the back. Then while in the middle of Louisiana, a LONG way down some little road near a bayou, at about 140K miles, the belt broke... Having the old belt and breaker bar turned what would have been a problem into a few minute annoyance...

I don't expect to ever NEED the spare fuel filters, but they're easy to carry, and if I ever DO have a problem, I'd a whole lot rather spend a few minutes changing them by the side of the road than waiting for help somewhere outside East Overshoe!

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post #5 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 08:18 AM
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For-real, ACTUAL fuel filter problems?

Being as the CP4 is finicky enough with ULSD, I donít even want to risk it running dry or partially dry. There are even lawsuits that allege the CP4 isnít compatible with ULSD.

Youíve got a ďchange fuel filter alarmĒ, based on fuel pressures, so I donít know why youíd drill and tap for a fuel pressure gauge.

Theyíre $60 man.

Also, this thread reminds me, I need to change my fuel filters.

I guess directly to your question, probably rarely. Would it hurt your CP4 in those rare times? Maybe, maybe not. Iím not brave enough to push it.
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Last edited by Old King Coal; 05-20-2019 at 08:22 AM.
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post #6 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 08:55 AM
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I take the great advice here, I change fuel filters on both my 6.0 & 6.7 every 10k miles, or every other oil change.

Just peace of mind, for $60 bucks, as previously mentioned.

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post #7 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 11:27 AM
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Like others have said, I do mine every 2nd oil change since I bought the truck new. Just makes sense considering the cost of the fuel system vice the time, energy and cost of changing the filters. Could they go longer? Probably but that is a huge probably.

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post #8 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies...

So as I understand it, Ford is most likely conservative at recommending changing the filters at 22,500 miles. And there's a low fuel pressure warning (on the 2016?) that would tell you if you had a filter that was starting to clog?. I found discussions of gelling in cold weather and the low fuel pressure warning coming on. And a good percentage of the responders prefer to change their fuel filters more frequently than Ford indicates is necessary.

Just out of curiosity, if the fuel pressure warning would come on if there was premature clogging, why would you change the filters BEFORE the recommended interval unless you've had problems with the fuel in your area?
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GracieAllen View Post
Just out of curiosity, if the fuel pressure warning would come on if there was premature clogging, why would you change the filters BEFORE the recommended interval unless you've had problems with the fuel in your area?


Itís my understanding they all have the low fuel pressure alarm. The reason I donít want to wait for that is because if youíre getting that alarm, then you probably have reduced fuel volume to the HPFP which is fickle.

We have water in fuel lights too, but itís been noted that once that light comes on, water has already made it to the HPFP, possibly causing damage.

Thatís why I donít wait. Itís cheap insurance.
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post #10 of 19 Old 05-20-2019, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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OK... So, check the water separator regularly (I do it with each oil change). Replace the fuel filters on the recommended schedule or earlier if needed. And carry a spare fuel filter because, like carrying a spare serpentine belt, it's really unpleasant waiting for several hours by the side of the road 'cause you got some cruddy diesel!

Thanks again.

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