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What is this on my fuel filter??
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I have a 2003 Ford F250 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel. We have been running BD in it since 2009. It has recently started with a rough idle. Other symptoms are no power when attempting to pass or go up a steady grade. Check engine light will come on when trying to get it to go into passing gear and it runs very rough. Almost like you're going down a bumpy road. The check engine light will go out if you quit trying to get it into passing gear and just drive along normally. One thing that it has been doing for a while (prior to these other symptoms) is acting like it's starving for fuel when it gets around 1/4 of a tank. The engine starts "clacking" and it runs rough. Anyhow, we took it to a diesel shop. The guy says it has algae in the fuel tank and the #1 Injector is bad along with the #8 Injector out-of-balance (what is that?). When questioned about how he determined these findings. He said it was his experience that these symptoms were a result of algae and bad injectors. He admitted that he did not physically look in the fuel tank. Nor did he actually look at the injectors to see if they really were bad. We decided to do a little investigating ourselves into the algae problem. We dropped the fuel tank and found that the Fuel Tank Sender Pickup Screen had completely disintegrated and was actually just floating around in the fuel tank. We replaced that. The fuel tank itself was clean...no algae. We replaced the fuel filter. I've posted a pic of what was in the filter. Some type of light brown sludge. After doing all of this, we test drove it and it was like its old self. Plenty of pick up. No rough running. Would go into passing gear with no problems. Would run like a scalded dog (it does have a Bullydog chip in it). This was yesterday. Today after driving around town for several hours (off and on), when heading home on the interstate....it starts with the same symptoms! No passing gear. No power when going up a steady grade. Check engine light came on while trying to get it to move on. What's up with this?? Our BD processor uses a dry wash. We heat up the oil and pump 40 gal into a large mixing tank. We pump 8 gal of methanol into small mixing tank and add sodium hydroxide per titration test (usually titrates at 2-2.5). After mixing methoxide for 20 minutes, I slowly introduce it into the oil and mix for 2 hours. Let it sit for 2 hours. Drain off the glycerine. Then run it through a NAPA 4006 Fuel Filter and a Purolite Tower continuously for 2 hours. When pumping into our truck, the BD goes through a NAPA Golden Rod 4042 Fuel Filter with water separator. Any help would be gratefully appreciated!

ImageFuel_Filter_1a.JPG (35 Kb, 47 downloads) Fuel Filter
 
Registered: July 03, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The substance on the fuel filter appears to be soaps and/or glycerol. It's fairly typical for the process you describe. How is the BD tested for water, soap and glycerol before it goes into the vehicle? What tests are used to determine when 'drywash' columns need recharge or replacement?

The disintegration of the tank inlet screen and the crud on the filter suggests that the whole fuel system should be flushed with seafoam and the injectors cleaned or overhauled then run on diesel only till operation is normal.

If you live in a climate where it snows then biodiesel made from fats and hydrogenated oils will settle out and clog screens and filters.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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And therein lies the problem. After making BD the same way with the same oil provider for over 4 years....I've gotten slack in my testing. I just ordered the kits to test for soap and water. I'm also looking at the specs on the purolite to see when it should be cleaned. What suggestions can you give for lowering the soap content in the method of dry washing we are using? Also...all these symptoms I'm experiencing, do you think they are a direct result of the glycerol/soap residue?
 
Registered: July 03, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would think demeth and settle before purolite dry wash, after removing the glycerine layer. I have not used purolite yet. I only make 1/2 liter amounts. I think you're not getting all the methanol out before dry washing. You can test your finished product biodiesel by putting it an appropriate flask, put a stopper in it. Heat the bottom of a flask on a sparkless hot plate or oil bath, up to 70-75 degrees centigrade, for an hour or so, so it all heats up thoroughly. Fill up the small flask about 1/3 to 1/2 full. An erlenmeyer flask about 1 liter would work. Then see if there is any condensation on the upper inner walls of the flask. If there is I expect there is too much methanol in your finished product. If there is too much methanol in the biodiesel it carries a little soap and glycerol with it. To get a sparkless hot plate for little money you might find an adjustable crock pot hot plate. I think I read on another biodiesel site that too much methanol in the fuel can cause problems with smooth burning in the diesel motor(knocking?). You know, when you remove the glycerine layer about 20-30% of the excess methanol is still in the biodiesel crude product.
 
Location: Texas | Registered: April 27, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I only make 1/2 liter amounts.
Seems like that would take quite a bit of time to make a week's supply of fuel, even for a diesel Smart car.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Read the post titled gummy substance. I just cleaned the tank on my 2001 f250 and there is 3 strainers in the pickup tube. One on the foot and two inside the plastic piece that the foot attaches to. There is also a strainer inside the frame mounted fuel pump. If you found something in the fuel filter it may have stopped one of these other strainers.


Daniel
 
Location: Mobile, Alabama | Registered: June 30, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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