Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

For discussing the modifications needed for diesel vehicles to run with 2 tank veggie oil conversions.

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Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:05 am

Sorry, I know that this is really long, but if some kind soul out there could help me, I would be forever grateful! I am working on a conversion on my 87 300TD and really need some help. This is the general setup that I am following:

cummins-wvo-conversion-t28.html

I got all the components from a working system from a friend's similar car.

So far, I hooked up just the diesel portion of the system(no veggie, no coolant). My diesel startup tank is located where the spare tire used to be. The electric portion has not been hooked up either, but thats okay since the valves are set up to be on the diesel system when no power is applied.

I got this diesel system up and running and it was working fine. I then decided to drive a few hundred miles away to finish the conversion at my mother-in-law's house. About half way there, I decided I should put more fuel in the tank, especially since the fuel gauge was not yet installed. Since I had about 50 gallons of veggie oil in cargo area, I figured it would be alright to mix it in with what was in the tank. Even though the conversion was not yet finished, I know that many people do a mix with no conversion. And while I would not do this long term (hence the conversion), it really should have been okay as long as the oil was good, right? Even though I was sending it through the stock filter.

About the oil: I bought it from a guy on craigslist for $2 a gallon. He claimed it was settled for weeks and as good as 5 micron filtered. I shouldn't have just trusted him and how that I look at the oil it is kind of cloudy and looks like there may be stuff in it. At least I learned to be very cautious about this.

Well that's when the trouble began. About 30 miles down the road, I started experiencing significant power loss until the engine shut down, luckily in a parking lot. It really seemed like my filter had clogged up and unfortunately I didn't have a spare (Okay, I did have the veggie filter, which maybe I could have installed). Just for the hell of it, I put some more diesel in the tank to see if it would help. The car did start after that, and I don't know if it was the diesel or just taking a break, but it only lasted for a few more miles before it broke down on the side of the freeway and I had it towed the rest of the way.

The next day I siphoned the fuel out of the tank, replaced it with diesel, and changed the fuel filter. Started right up with a jump, and I really thought everything was good. Of course, not all of that veggie oil could have been removed by siphoning and of course, the contaminants may have settled to the bottom some or at least left residue throughout the system. I am having the same hard start and power loss problems and am unsure how to proceed. At this point, I just want to get my fuel systems running on diesel before I go any further. Do I just keep changing the filter? Do I clean out the tank more thoroughly? Any help would be wonderful.
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby SunWizard » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:48 am

It probably clogged your inline filter/strainer just before the lift pump, replace that next. If that doesn't do it, check for a strainer in the tank. I haven't done that so you would need to refer to a mercedes manual or ask on a mercedes forum.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:04 pm

Thanks, someone else was telling me that that inline filter can be clogged even when it looks okay. Its not my stock tank that is having the problem. I am running diesel from from another tank that I installed and it doesn't have a strainer. I was relying on that inline filter, and that's probably at least part of the problem.

I'm getting pretty frustrated with troubleshooting this because my battery can't handle it and I need to keep asking for jumps.
Anyway, thanks for your help, anyone else?
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby SunWizard » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:35 pm

Another thing to watch out for is that electric valves that are installed without liquid on all ports can suck air and cause trouble.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:54 pm

I actually reconfigured my setup to just bypass the valves, basically returning it to stock but still using the new tank. It didn't help, but at least I am pretty sure that's not the problem and it will be good to troubleshoot this way.
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:02 pm

I forgot to mention that there seemed to be an excessive amount of air bubbling through my clear inline filter when I could actually get the car to start. Also there is bubbling at the end of the fuel line that goes into the stock filter. I tried tightening that hose clamp but can't seem to get a good seal. At least its showing me where the air is!
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby SunWizard » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:05 pm

Learn how to do the hot pan test for water. If there is suspended water in your WVO it can clog your brand new filter very quick, faster than particles.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
SunWizard
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:35 pm

Okay, thanks! I think it must have been water in the oil that is doing this since the filters are getting clogged so quickly.
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby John Galt » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:51 am

Dissolved and suspended water in the biofuel is one of the most common causes of problems as described.
This information might be useful
about72.html
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:09 pm

Thanks for everyone who replied. I completely drained the tank and lines, and installed new filters. The car is running just like she used to!
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:28 pm

Arg! last night I tried starting the car again just to make sure it still would and I really had to work at it. I got it started and ran it for about 20 minutes. I could rev it up no problem. towards the end I just had it idling and could tell it was having some trouble with sputtering. Finally it died on me and I couldn't get it started again. The starter is just fine, and there is plenty of fuel but I'm not getting anything from the engine. I am thinking I will empty out the filter and refill it with diesel purge. I am fine with replacing filter after filter if that's what I need to do to clear things out, but not if its not necessary.
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby SunWizard » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:02 pm

That sounds like an air leak. Put a clear inline filter in the line and move it around to see where its coming from. Probably no need for more diesel purge or new filters if you are running only diesel.
YVORMV - Your veg. oil results may vary.
95 Dodge Cummins 4x4 SVO WVO conversion.
81 Mercedes 300D- stock and happy on V80/D20 blend.
Low fossil net zero house- 100% solar power and heat.
SunWizard
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:23 pm

Yes, I do believe that it is an air leak. My inline filter has a lot of air in it. I will try to hunt down the leak, but I find it odd that this started happening after I put veggie oil in. Of course, I didn't spend much time before that testing things, so that makes it more likely that it wasn't actually related to the veg or maybe I had more than one problem. Anyway, I did get it started again today and it died after idling for about 10 minutes. I noticed that there was a good amount of white smokey exhaust. Could this be indicative of air in the fuel lines? I believe its unburnt fuel.
jessesaur
 
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby John Galt » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:13 pm

The best way to troubleshoot the system is to first run diesel in both tanks. Then once you can switch between tanks with no change, only then add VO to one tank and keep increasing the amount of VO till you're at the mix you want.
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Re: Help! I think my fuel system is contaminated

Postby jessesaur » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:46 pm

Okay, I found a line just before the clear inline filter that looked really deteriorated and like it must have been leaky. I replaced that and now I am having a really hard time starting the car. I have loosened the injector lines. Through out the day, whenever my battery was fully charged or when I could get a jump start, I would try cranking it for about 20 seconds. At first there was no fuel at the injectors, now four are wet and I have tightened them. The engine is not firing at all, it seems like it would some if there is fuel at some of the injectors, but maybe I do not have adequate pressure. Do I just keep cranking? And I read in a couple places that I can crank for up to one minute? I don't want to fry my starter.
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