Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fuel fuel everywhere....

Diesel fuel that is.  After spending several hours trying to fix it on the road, decided to move on and probably left a little line of it stretching from Yuma to Vegas.

It all started when was leaving Yuma and, ironically, dumping my garbage right before leaving the RV park.  I have a habit of walking around the RV and peeking underneath to see if anything is dangling or leaking or just doesn't look right.  In this case saw a steady drip drip drip...

The drips were coming from two different areas, one was near the radiator, other was just behind that.  Could tell, by the color, that one was anti-freeze, and by smell the other one was diesel fuel.  These weren't large leaks so felt safe to get going.

Finding leak
About five miles up the road, there is a large open air flea market that also had an equally large parking lot.  Had a feeling needed to check leak again so pulled in and left engine running.  Turns out that the antifreeze stopped dripping, but fuel leak was going pretty good, increasing in volume, but still drips now and then....  GRRRRRR..

Now, this type of analysis isn't really my thing, but when it needs to be done we must step out of our comfort zone(s).  In this case it was diagnosing things on the fly.

What I knew at this point:  Have a fuel leak.  Engine runs fine. Have a fuel leak.  Fuel leak doesn't seem pressurized as it's slow steady drip instead of spray or stream.  This also points to it not being on the intake, where the engine would exhibit some issues.  There is also deductive reasoning involved in that it's best to eliminate some of the more major possibilities.  Thankfully a diesel engine is fairly straight forward.

Leak area
Area where leak is is on the passengers side, in the rear, just to the right (looking forward) of the engine.  It is dark, and noisy, under there so hearing protection is recommended, if have it.  My preferred method of identifying where problem lies is using my cell phone camera, which doubles as mandatory picture taking for this blog!

If look at the picture, the middle piece is the fuel line, then there's an outer thing.  The fuel was originally coming from this outer thing, which looks to be some sort of protective sleeve.  While don't know for certain, this protective sleeve was probably added by the prior owner, and believe the joint shown was also done that way.  Unsure why.

Judging by the pictures, leak appears to be coming from the brass fitting where the two pieces of hose are joined together.  What I did to try and resolve the issue was take it apart, at this fitting, snip the hose back a bit, and reattach.  Did this a couple of times and still same result, which meant that the leak was coming from some other place, or the fitting was bad.

Was in parking lot for a good two hours investigating, then attempting to resolve it, when said enough is enough.  Leak wasn't all that bad, knew had enough fuel in tank, so picked up my tools and pulled the rig forward.  I then took the opportunity to clean up the parking lot, to the best of my abilities, so didn't leave a big mess around.  Still left some fuel on the pavement only because it's hard to get up.  As was writing that just remembered had kitty litter.......  ooops...  Not that I want a next time, but will now know.

Old hose connected
Got to Vegas with no problems.  Most of my reasoning for determining that it was safe to travel with that fuel leak is it's on the return line from the fuel injectors and it was a few drips here and there, not a full on constant drip.  While I felt bad about wasting fuel, and still feel bad, figured this was the best thing could do to preserve some sanity.

In Vegas, went to the auto parts store and was expecting to get 3/8" fuel line, but the guy behind the counter came back and said 5/16" fuel line was a closer fit, and it was.  As a matter of habit, I generally take what am trying to replace to the auto pars store.  In this case snipped off a small piece of the fuel line and took it with me.  He then matched it up and came back with proper size.

Upper hose barb

Install process for the top was super simple.  Only had to undo the hose clamp, with a small socket and ratchet, loosen the clamp and slide down, then pull hose off, gently as possible.  Want to be careful don't mess anything up up there..   Install process is precisely in the reverse order, with additional step of transferring old hose clamp to new hose.

One thing had to be careful of is fuel leaking out.  As mentioned, this is somewhat directly connected to the fuel tank, so if hose end is below fuel level am sure can guess what happens next...  A puddle appears.  To remedy this after unhooking hose, stuffed end of it up in the catacombs above me someplace so that it wouldn't slide down.

Next step is to replace the bottom part, where it was full of fuel.  With hindsight being the clearest, what I should've done is loosen clamp, slide clamp forward onto metal pipe, take hose off and put finger over end, slide new hose on and slide clamp back over.

Bottom new hose connection
What I actually did:  Loosen clamp, slide clamp onto rubber hose, take hose off and plug leak with finger (and nitrile glove).  Then slid new hose on and remove finger.  While new hose was loosely connected removed clamp off old hose.  Then had to take hose off, plug hole, slide clamp on new hose, then slide over metal pipe and finally tighten hose clamp.

As can see, there is some extra work that was unnecessary.  One thing I had to do, to remove the hose from metal pipe, is use a box cutter to lightly cut the hose.  I say lightly as didn't want to mark up the metal pipe.

While didn't trace this metal pipe all the way to the fuel tank, it does go quite a bit forward, and of course, has fuel leaking out.  My natural assumption is it's directly related to the tank.

Final step was to start engine and validate it is all leak free, which it is.  yippee!!!!

An updated picture of the cats....  Scatter and Bob this time..  Bob is growing like a weed...  Look at how long he is all stretched out.
Scatter (top) and Bob lounging

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