Water in the fuel filter

Discuss (and cuss) the Nissan LD-series OHC Six diesel engine, popularly available in the US in 1981-83 Datsun/Nissan Maxima Sedans & Wagons.

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windsock
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Water in the fuel filter

#1

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

G'day,

Had a real scare this morning (and am now quite stumped). Was driving away from my favorite river fishing spot when the engine spluttered, stammered lost power, regained it again and lost power and stopped. Luckily I was on solid ground. Sounded like a fuel issue so emptied the contents of the fuel filter into a clean bucket (no fish this morning) and found water in there. :oops: :roll:

I now fear I have water in the IP and injectors.

I had a spare filter onboard so spun that on, primed it up, through the IP return, through to each injector and away I went. Laughing I thought I had come close to ruining something.

Acceleration is normal, aside from the intial black smoke on start up after priming, no smoking - normal, but out on the open road I cannot get the truck to go beyond 75-80kph.

Symptoms are hunting or starving for fuel, i.e. surge, lag, surge, lag etc. No perceptible missing in the engine tone, and no unusual smoke but rather, a lack of it. This 'no smoke' is an odd one as when I am normally cruising I can plant my foot and see the cloud of black smoke behind me (and then I ease back on accelaration till no smoke), this however is not the case anymore and I can push the loud pedal hard and no black smoke, no increase in engine revs, no change from the surge lag surge lag behavior till I ease right back and sit on 60-70kph (in fifth).

Idle - fine/normal and smooth, acceleration (both at rest or in gear on road) is as responsive as is usual and I don't (no matter how paranoid I now listen to the engine tone) hear any knocking other than the usual rattle. There is however a 'whirring' sound that follows the rev up and down with a little lag. I suspect this is coming from either PAS pump or the IP.

I have not got a tach onboard and so had to do some calculations and based on these I estimate the highway cruise symptoms appear at around 2600rpm. I tried inducing the surge lag surge lag in 4th and in 5th gear and at both recorded speeds (4th=~65kph, 5th=~ 80kph) calculations indicate about 2600rpm.

This motor has been very reliable and issue free up to stopping this morning. Prior to that (and in hindsight) there was a small stammering yesterday. I disregarded it as being a blunt truck travelling into a slight wind that may have hit a gust of wind - as it is that sort of feeling currently - a blunt truck driving into a very strong and gusty headwind - sometimes slowing quickly sometimes surging ahead.

Any ideas for checks before I start swapping injector and IP bits out from the spare blocks?

Cheers

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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asavage
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#2

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

First, see some amusing fuel system tales.

Next, find yourself one of these antiques for a couple quid at your local used tool emporium:
Image Image

Put a hose barb tee in the fuel line that runs from the fuel filter to the IP. Plumb that vacuum gauge to the tee. Duct-tape the gauge to your windscreen. Drive. Watch the gauge. If you start pulling more than 2-3" vacuum, you have a restriction from the filter back to the tank. Could be the filter, could be the tank pickup, could be a crushed line, but it's back there somewhere.

Paul affixed a permanent vacuum gauge to his filter outlet. I prefer a remote gauge. These days, it's easy to buy a dash-mount vacuum gauge kit, because so many diesels have fuel system problems related to fuel restrictions to the IP.

[later edit]
These things are cheap to buy, even new. Google "fuel pressure tester vacuum" and you can find a list of them. Like these:
Image Image
Last edited by asavage 11 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

windsock
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#3

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

Thanks for the advice Al, will get onto that this afternoon. Even though I have laid all new fuel line with the engine swap, it is rubber and is not laid straight-as-an-arrow-straight but rather is slung from one end of the vehicle to the other and tied up with zip-ties so there is stretches where there is a bit of a sag. This may allow debris to build up and settle causing a restriction in flow. I'll go check once the dripping has stopped - washed the truck down in case I needed to start working on it... :roll:

I have no idea what the condition of the fuel pick-up is. When I swapped out the petrol engine (Dec 2007), I flushed the tank out repeatedly with the 'dumped' petrol after filtering it so I figure this would have cleaned most of the petrol-related rubbish out. Once I got back this morning and had a cup of tea I drained quite a bit of diesel out and found nothing of evil intent. A bit of water (half a dozen little globules a few mm accross)and a bit of misc stuff (dust, grit, small pieces of misc stuff from re-fuels in the field etc) and the usual grime but thankfully no sludge or algae.

I'll most likely find a vacuum gauge straight away at the local parts shop - you guys have referred to them as FLAPS in one or two posts I've read.

Thanks for the reference to the other posts/threads. I'll read them carefully.

Cheers,

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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asavage
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#4

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

FLAPS = "Favourite Local Auto Parts Store"

Your petrol tank may have been zinc-plated internally -- "galvanized". Diesel fuel tanks are not internally galvanized; diesel fuel will etch the zinc and move it to the fuel filter or worse. In practise, this does not seem to have been a large problem for conversions. I mention it only for completeness.

Using a vacuum gauge is a vital part of diagnosing fuel delivery problems on rigs that have the VE-style IP (as does the LD28).

The IP has an internal feed pump to lift the fuel from the tank and through the filter. This internal pump wears out. If you do not see much vacuum (restriction) showing on the vacuum gauge, it's possible that the feed pump has failed. Read the first bit of my post about a Toyota diesel I recently worked with that had that problem. It can't be tested without the proper adapter for the IP housing. Rebuilding that Toyota's IP (also a VE-style IP) cured its problem.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

windsock
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#5

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

Hi Al,
asavage wrote:FLAPS = "Favourite Local Auto Parts Store"
:lol: :lol: We call ours SuperChimps - reality is they are Supercheap Autos and they are real friendly alright, especially if buy parts :wink: Other alternative is called Ripco - again if reality spoils the fun they are Repco :wink:
asavage wrote:]Your petrol tank may have been zinc-plated internally -- "galvanized". [snip] I mention it only for completeness.
yep, aware of the reaction and been watchful for it. Nothing major with rust so far so I think the zinc is still being etched off :evil: Narrowly missed out on a deal on a custom made stainless steel tank made for a Range Rover on our E-Bay equivalent - TradeMe (http://www.trademe.co.nz - check it out occasionally as a few LD28's pass thru in various adaptations :wink: ). Missed the deal through not being around in the final hours of the bidding. Wary of homemade stainless welding as I have seen some crack along the seams before. We have a truck dismantler in town and I may need to introduce myself and have them watch out for a nice compact aluminium one. I've plenty of room under the deck. Alternatively can fork out big coin and get a new Land Rover one shipped from England or Australia :shock:
asavage wrote:Using a vacuum gauge is a vital part of diagnosing fuel delivery problems on rigs that have the VE-style IP (as does the LD28).
Apparently so, and all makes perfect sense. Had a look at my rubber fuel line last night and tried using pliers to collapse the line. Would take a bit of vacuum to do so at a small pinch point like what pliers could only do. I guess under heavy vacuum loading a longer section may be induced to semi-collapse and restrict the flow. A vacuum gauge will answer it. Later today I should be able to borrow wifes van and drive into town to visit SuperChimps :lol: I stripped out the rigid plastic gas fuel line when I did the conversion and being of scottish heritage I stashed it away so I will dig that out and see if it has any numbers on it I can equate to withstanding diesel fuel.
asavage wrote:]The IP has an internal feed pump to lift the fuel from the tank and through the filter. This internal pump wears out. [snip] It can't be tested without the proper adapter for the IP housing. Rebuilding that Toyota's IP (also a VE-style IP) cured its problem.
I have two spare IPs. One off an old engine that last ran in someones imagination and is only a parts block now, and another whole engine that was a good reliable runner bought off someone who swapped it out for a 350. Worse comes to worse I can swap the IP off the latter and do a comparison. Refused to bid on a "reconditioned" IP on TradeMe when they couldn't find receipts. They do pop up on the site occassionally. We also have a few good diesel shops in town and one of whom I would trust with my truck entirely. They are also the local Bosch agents 8) and accredited with servicing a few truck fleets around these parts. Will be much spendy if forced to go that route but this truck is my daily drive.

Cheers,

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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exmod110
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#6

Post by exmod110 » 12 years ago

Being that it is in a rover did you grain the sedimenter at the back by the tank? if the filter was full of water so would be the sedimenter. they also have been known to get plugged with one piece of crap...
Don
85 Landrover 110 300tdi
02 Mazda protege5

windsock
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#7

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

exmod110 wrote:Being that it is in a rover did you grain the sedimenter at the back by the tank? if the filter was full of water so would be the sedimenter. they also have been known to get plugged with one piece of crap...
Don
I stripped out all the petrol fuel line when I swapped it out. I assume the sedimenter would have been beside or incorporated within the petrol pump mechanism behined the cross member beneath the driving seat?

There is not nor was there ever anything in the fuel line between petrol engine and fuel outlet on the tank other than the petrol pump. There was the bowl on the firewall in the engine bay but that I removed also.

Cheers for the advice though.

Done some testing as per Als posts with a vacuum guage and will post some details soon when I get a chance to go over what I filmed etc.

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

windsock
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#8

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

asavage wrote: Watch the gauge. If you start pulling more than 2-3" vacuum, you have a restriction from the filter back to the tank.


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

How does 23" sound? Drop-jaw... :roll:

Installed a vacuum gauge between IP and filter. Drove. Went straight up to 18", then progressively advanced to 23" before the trouble occurred. I'd also installed a clear plastic tube for the return. Had 2 metres of the stuff so I looped it out the hood, and up over the window wiper and back to the normal return pipe so the looped section over the window wiper would be visible to me while driving. Loads of air bubbles when the problem occured.
Could be the filter, could be the tank pickup, could be a crushed line, but it's back there somewhere.
Blew a heap of stuff out of the tank pick-up from the outside and emptied a whole heap of stuff (water included) from the tank. Drained the whole tank, and then flushed more diesel into it when empty to rinse stuff off the bootom. Went onto the road again and whoa... the difference was sublime :D

Vacuum down to 0-3" even at full noise. Accelerated freely, cruised at 100kph easily and did all the stuff I'd come to know and love of this motor.

Went into town with the vacuum gauge still on and did a few errands there and drove home again with the vacuum sitting on 10-11"... :x

OK, so I then took the intake out ofg the tank to find a thick layer of gudge which looked like water/dust/misc all stuck together in one foul and successful effort to slow me down. A few squirts of degreaser and a bit of a blast of air and back in it goes and yep, back up goes the revs and way down goes the vacuum level. Almost zero most of the time but hovering about 2". Nice.

Al, I owe you a few beers (or whatever) mate. Good advice
Paul affixed a permanent vacuum gauge to his filter outlet. I prefer a remote gauge. These days, it's easy to buy a dash-mount vacuum gauge kit, because so many diesels have fuel system problems related to fuel restrictions to the IP.
After today, it is on the list of gauges to be installed. Have a small list of VDO stuff to get and install and vacuum will be right there also.

Cheers

Phil.
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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asavage
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#9

Post by asavage » 12 years ago

windsock wrote:How does 23" sound?
That's unusually good suction for a VE IP!

If you haven't read enough on fuel system tales, you might read my SD22 Primary Fuel Filter tale of woe. The wrong filter (installed by me!) led to fuel line collapse at temperatures under 10°C. I mucked about far too long before digging out my trusty vacuum gauge and doing what I should have done earier.
OK, so I then took the intake out of the tank to find a thick layer of gudge which looked like water/dust/misc
You might have to add some biocide to kill algae that grows in the water/diesel interface. It's a common problem when you don't keep water out of a diesel fuel tank. The biocide will keep the algae down, but keeping the tank dry of water is the best long-term solution.

I sold an old '84 Ford F250 diesel to a friend here a couple of years back. He found more than a 5 gallon bucket's worth of algae in one of the two fuel tanks!
Al, I owe you a few beers (or whatever) mate.
I'd love to take you up on that. Unfortunately, I don't seem to travel much.

Cheers to you for taking my advice. I dispense a lot of advice here but many seem to know more than I do or have to learn their lessons the hard way. Especially with electrical problems.

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#10

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

asavage wrote: That's unusually good suction for a VE IP!
Yip, thought so to. Was surprised to see it go so high and still be able to drive at all.
asavage wrote:You might have to add some biocide to kill algae
There are a couple of big rig shops in town here and I figure I'd have better luck there getting a product specifically for biocidal action. Most of the products I have seen on the shelf at all our local FLAPS list "clean injectors" as the primary focus.

Do you know of any effective ingredient I should look for?
asavage wrote: Cheers to you for taking my advice.
Hey, I am old enough and I consider wise enough to realise good advice when I read it... :wink:

Cheers,

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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#11

Post by Carimbo » 12 years ago

I installed my vacuum guage using this kit (3/16" semirigid nylon tubing & assorted adapters) found at my FLAPS, similar price:
http://www.jcwhitney.com/SUNPRO-VACUUM- ... _10108.jcw

Easy to do, into the fuel supply hose I spliced a 1/8" NPT black iron tee fitting w/ two 1/8" NPT-to- 5/16" hose barb nipples screwed into it. The center outlet of the tee has the 1/8" NPT to 3/16" ID nipple (the tubing compression fitting housing) screwed into it for the vacuum gauge tubing run.

Run the tubing inside a length of corrugated split wireloom housing to avoid chafing or abrasion issues. The nylon tubing is tough but is small and can wear thru or crack if kinked. A hair dryer can help reform its memory of being coiled, and can even help form it to the contours of your installation.

Use the orange (gasfitters) teflon tape for the nipples/adapter into the black iron pipe tee because diesel fuel can dissolve common white teflon tape over time.

Make sure your gauge itself does not leak air into the system!

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#12

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

Hi Carimbo,

Thanks for post.
Carimbo wrote:I installed my vacuum guage using this kit (3/16" semirigid nylon tubing & assorted adapters) found at my FLAPS, similar price:
http://www.[snip].jcw
We have a good outlet here in NZ called TWL (Transport Wholesale Ltd) who sell to the large truck market and they always have a great supply of all the air, hydraulic, and fuel fittings that any truck would need. Have already scanned their shelves successfully for the required bits and pieces, I am having to build slightly heavier than would otherwise be required in a road-going car - needs to be able to withstand water flowing against it and the water blaster to clean it all. With this in mind, I have opted for heavy rubber tubing resistant to diesel and collapse.
Carimbo wrote:Run the tubing inside a length of corrugated split wireloom housing to avoid chafing or abrasion issues.
Great idea. Will need some as it will need to pass by a few areas of potential chaffing.
Carimbo wrote:Use the orange (gasfitters) teflon tape for the nipples/adapter into the black iron pipe tee because diesel fuel can dissolve common white teflon tape over time.
Another good point and one I had overlooked. You've saved me some grief here thanks 8)
Carimbo wrote:Make sure your gauge itself does not leak air into the system!
Have sort of decided to go with VDO gauges for all other signal readings (voltage -12V, oil press - mech, water temp - mech, etc) and so will look for a mechanical vacuum gauge within their range and assume given the usual VDO quality, can only hope this prevents any air leakage.

Cheers for the input, appreciate the know-how.

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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#13

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

exmod110 wrote:Being that it is in a rover did you grain the sedimenter at the back by the tank? if the filter was full of water so would be the sedimenter. they also have been known to get plugged with one piece of crap...
Don
Hi Don,

You got me thinking and searching all the various land rover manuals I have and I found reference to sendimters being optional. Obviously someone in the past opted out of one for my truck. So...

I ordered a sedimenter yesterday and I look at it today and take it home if suitable - it is a Simms 45Gal/min capacity, polycarbonate lower viewing body, a small drain plug at the base, and a series of baffles to slow flow enough to allow sendimentation. Sounds like what I need.

Question is, where in the line should I put it? I am currently thinking a high spot on the current lay of the line to allow bleeding of air locks and to minimise any issues with fuel line joints at any low spots. Other option and equally accessible as the previous location, is right beside the fuel filter under the hood. Any ideas out there?

While looking at the catalogue for this, the good guys at the shop showed me a real simple inline filter that is exactly like the end filter on the fuel uptake pipe within the tank. Been thinking of removing this filter and leaving a straight pipe in the tank and placing the simple inline filter just outside the tank. It is a simple nylon mesh filter housed within a clear polycarbonate body, and has a simple non-return valve, any trouble would be clearly visible. Next time I get sludge on the first filter, I don't need to open the tank to clean it... any thoughts?

Yep, realise the key to all of this is not to increase the now acceptably low vacuum so all I need to watch for is the non-return valve on the simple inline filter, and the baffles in the sendimter.

Cheers,

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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#14

Post by davehoos » 12 years ago

I have and I found reference to sendimters being optional.
land rover use a CAV sedimenter.a basic unit without the filter element.
the isuzu has a small screw on like early toyota.
its an alloy casting with silly plastic drain cock that gets smashed off or eventually rot from the inside.

these are fitted to all the vehicles built in sydney and most of the newer vehicles.the HICAP 130 is mounted next to the rear muffler.ive thought it might have been to heat the fuel for the trip to the front.

the old ser3 type had a light duty ac/cav type bolted to the scuttle with no glass window,ive seen these retained in the parts book.i not impressed with these and to me its silly to fit a filter at the high point of the system needing copper and rubber seals to seal so that fuel can be drawn from the tank.

CAV/lucas filters--these have arrows cast to show fuel flow direction.lots of work has gone into designing these.however the army found the work better if the direction is in reverse and i have to agree.normally fuel comes in the front conections and rubbish is caught in the element or a sedimentor cone.water is suposed to be stoped by the filter material until it collects into droplets but the light switch if any is in the bottom section after the filter. you find that fuel gets to the bottom and is stired up the center flowing out the rear conections with the failed filter material and water.
often an extra fuel return is conected to the outlet side any air in the system collect at this point stopping any chance of fuel getting through.

reversing the flow fuel goes to the bottom first.heavy material/water can fall to the bottom,setting of and waning system.the sedimenter has a cone to deflect material away from the outlets and the normal element has a cyclonic deflector to help keep the element clean.air will flow through the filter but fuel will be drawn up lick a wick keeping the engine running.

these have been fitted to most farm machinery for years and you often find them conected both ways.
some using a dual type that has 2 fitted both ways.

our fiat dozer has a cav under the mount with a standard screw on filter on top.it has a bleed drain screw on top and none on the bottom.

flaps sell a assembly with element and glass bowl.under $100.australian rarley bother with heated fuel,locally here we have some cool areas that need attention in winter.for our farm use ive fitted a sedimenter to a normal filter unit,is now common to convert OE to use cav elements.

i like the finerfilter RACOR brand that is now common on trucks as OE.
i puchased a 13+Liter[truck] unit years ago to get the primer pump-
since 1988 ive repllace 1 element.
WCJR31 Skyline.3.0 manual.wagon
R31 SKYLINE/Passage GT/PINTARA
LPG Ford Falcon 99-06 93 Disco
Local Shire Southern Zone Mechanic.

windsock
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#15

Post by windsock » 12 years ago

Thanks Davehoos,

Some very informative stuff in that post. Will consider my next move now with sedimenters carefully.

In the meantime, I sent the one I looked at yesterday back to supplier. I ordered Left to Right flow in 14x1.5mm fittings and they sent right to left in 1/2" UNF :shock: :lol: :lol:

After reading your post this may have been good to use except for a small plastic drain plug on the bottom... :wink:

On reading your post I am also wary of where I mount it now. Was thinking high on the line under the flat deck (I think you guys in Aust call them traybacks) but now in the engine bay next to filter may be the best option.

Cheers,

Phil
Good roads lead to bad fishing.

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