Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fuel filter replacement

This is a first for me, replacing fuel filters on any vehicle.  It wasn't overly bad, but took way longer than expected, about 3-4 hours..  Would like to blame this on Mercury Retrograde, but it was due to my unfamiliarity with the filters themselves.

This is one of the steps to add extra ooomph to the RV when going up hills..  Those darn hills, infuriating each time..  Will be towing a little extra when finally get my little Elio, which is looking to be end of 2016 right now.

Fuel Water Separator

Original fuel / water seperator
This is the first thing I replaced. The picture on the rights show original one, before replacement.  As can see it's easily accessible and fairly easy to work on.  It also seems to have been added on afterwards, maybe by the original owner, but not quite sure.  Either way, time for a replacement with a Fleetguard FS1242 filter.

Not many details on the official site, and there are upgraded filter media available, but I just used the replacement filters included when I purchased the RV.  Placed a small oil drip pan underneath to catch any diesel fuel that leaked out, and a bunch did leak.

Drian pan below
Removing the old one was easy, just twist the filter off.  Didn't see any sediment or dirty stuff in the filter.  There is also a seperator at the bottom, and I opened the drain valve ever so gingerly and only fuel came out.  This is most likely a good sign as fuel tank most likely doesn't have water in.  The opposite could be true to in that the separator doesn't work, but that's a very remote possibility.

"New" separator filter
 The other thing had to do was remove the bottom bowl.  This bowl is the first step in removing water as fuel immediately enters here and then seemingly goes up through the filter media and onto the engine.  That's my guess anyways, could be the other way around, where it goes through filter media first, then the bowl, then to the engine.  Anyways, the bottom bowl was really easy to remove and no problems there.  Just hold it over the oil pan and let all the fuel drain down.

Bottom of filter housing
This is the underneath of filter housing.  I didn't replace all the gaskets here as didn't feel the need to.  There's a little one in the middle, and there's another one on the fuel bowl underneath that could've been replaced.  The filter spins on and off of this, and there's a rubber gasket that seals with the bright shiny circle of metal up there.

Fuel Bowl going on
The next step is to put the fuel bowl on the bottom.  Unsure if this is the proper name, but it's one I'm using.  There are some threads on bottom of the filter which the bowl screws on to.  This is a little tricky in a way in that need to tighten it without cracking the plastic.  More on that later, but plastic isn't cracked!

Full of fuel
After have the filter "assembled, it's time to add fuel.  Was told to fill the fuel to the tippety top of the filter housing..  Some people say not to fill it up as fuel I put in there is unfiltered, but I saw hogwash.  Unless it's really really bad fuel, the chance that that little bit of fuel would ruin anything is very minimal, at least in my humble mind.  Used a small gas can, filled with diesel, and poured some until it got to the top of the filter.

Filter fully installed
Prior to this, I coated the top gasket with a smidgen of 15w40 oil, but don't think that helped anything as the diesel would "wash" it away.  Still tried.

Last step is fairly simple, screw the filter on without spilling much, or any, fuel.  This was fairly easy due to the easy access.  This also has to be fairly tight but without breaking anything.  Threads on top of the filter are metal, same with the filter housing too, so this is a fairly easy process and hard to goober up.

With this one, time to move on to the actual fuel filter.

Fuel Filter

This was a little more complex to get to, and filter is Fleetguard FF5052...

Filter looking down from top
The easiest way to get to the fuel filter proper was to lift up my Queen bed in the back.  This part was easy, but keeping cats away from the opening to outside was a little iffy, but successful.

This filter I couldn't loosen with my hand so had to dig around here, where I'm staying, for an oil filter wrench.  Thankfully they have one of the right size and used that.  It was on very tight, and had to put it back on equally as tight when replaced it.  Getting the filter wrench in there was fairly easy, and, as usual put the drip pan underneath to catch any spillage.  The pan was off a little bit though still caught most of it.

Fuel filter housing
The bottom of the filter housing looks very similar to the fuel / water separator that I replaced up above.  There was nothing to clean here as it's all shiny and happy and hunky dory.  I did replace the little O-ring , which was a pain to get off, but very easy to put back on.  There was a replacement included with the fuel filter.

Purrdy Fuel
I also put fuel in this filter too before screwing it on, as well as coating the top gasket.  It seems like coating with clean oil didn't work all that well as fuel seems to have washed it away.  Getting this lined up, while leaning down and over the engine, is a little tricky but finally got it.

Full installed, ready to start
 Last step for this filter was twerking it down nice and tight.  At first I didn't do it overly tight, and tightened it how I generally tighten oil filters, but had problems, which will cover a little later.  End result was to tighten it fairly tight so would hold the seal.

One thing is to be careful in that don't knock too many hoses around, and not to tighten the filter too tight as there's always a risk of breaking the actual housing, which would be a really bad thing...  Really bad in that would have to replace that, along with gaskets and who knows what else.  So be careful, but firm.

Starting the engine

 No pictures here, but was able to get engine started and it ran beautifully for 20 seconds, then abruptly stopped...  Was fearing the worst and looked for fuel leaks and other things that could've gone wrong, but nothing was found.

On a hunch, unscrewed the fuel filter and wala, it was mostly empty, just a little bit on the bottom.  The first time didn't really tighten it down all that much and it seems like air was leaking around the filter gasket at the top.  When put it on felt snug enough, but think part of it had to do with replacing that little gasket in the middle which wasn't all the way up, and, well, know rest of the story.

Tightened filter down, and cranked and cranked the engine until it barely sputtered to life, but still wouldn't idle or even run..  HMMMMM...  This wasn't a good sign...

Checked fuel filter again and it was down a little, maybe 25%, so topped it off, then tightened up again.

Checked fuel / water separator and that was down over half way, so am guessing this wasn't fully tightened down either.  Filled this with fuel again and made sure to tighten it at the top, where it connects to the housing, and at the bottom, where the plastic fuel bowl is.  With the bottom fuel bowl, tightened it hard enough until I heard the plastic "talking back to me", at which point knew couldn't really go much further without dire consequences.

After checking these, kept cranking and cranking and cranking, and it finally sputtered to life and kept running, but there was an awful squeaking coming from the rear engine area, a belt of sorts, probably the main serpentine belt.    It seems that this was the alternator providing surge to quick charge the batteries as I probably wore them down, and squeaking didn't last long.

So, idled the engine for at least 90 minutes, not to fully verify no more issues with the fuel filters, but to charge the starter batteries.  It also helped ease my mind that vibrations from idling the RV that long wouldn't loosen anything up.  I have a feeling, though not quite sure, that the fuel pump sucks it through and is located after the main fuel filter.  What else would explain why fuel got sucked out of the filter.  Am hoping didn't damage fuel pump as it didn't have fuel to lubricate it.  Time will tell.

One VERY IMPORTANT thing, is that when I was cranking the engine to get fuel through, paid close attention to the starter motor and made sure it didn't get HOT.  This would've been a bad thing and decreased life of said motor substantially..

 Preview for next filter adventure

Will be installing a toilet paper filter.  Yes, you read it right, toilet paper will be filtering my oil, Cottonelle single play I think is what's recommended.

Have a plan laid out, and will be installing two filters, with all the details I can think of.  Need to get couple extra parts which well get tomorrow, then install Friday / Saturday.

Horse adventures

Haven't ridden Copper again, though will soon, 2 is the number so far and am itching to get back in the saddle.  Saw a "horse whisperer" today and he was really really great!  He even liked explaining what he was doing, and it all made sense.  At times I thought he worked the horse too hard and seemed like was a little severe.  This was due to my unfamiliarity with training horses and this being the first time I watched.  The trainer was basically taking charge as in being leader of the pack.  He also explained himself as a horse psychiatrist!!!

1 comment:

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