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Old 12-06-2019, 05:28 AM   #1
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Diesel repairs for older TVs, looking for those who have been there

I was at my dealer and we are very good friends, I told he we are looking hard at a dually diesel and he brought something to my attention with a work order they just completed.

He showed me a bill, I kid you not, the final total was $12,700 & change (visually saw the end line item). The cause, water in the fuel tank that damaged the fuel pump forcing new fuel lines (pieces & stems throughout feed and return lines), all new injectors (shrapnel damaged from pieces). $135/hr and around 50 hours, 6k in labor, the rest of the cost were parts he mentioned. Granted this was the dealer, but at that level of damage, it makes sense to me that a dealer vs. a private shop do that type of repair....IMO.

He said the root cause was "water" in the tank which water is a friction component and not a lubricant as diesel itself is and that it damaged the components and it systematically damaged the truck.

The odometer was 106k and out of warranty.

So my questions stem from.......how does this even happen? He said, have you ever seen a gas station squeegee attendant the concrete around the tanks? I said yeah......well I guess that how it happens and you really have no control over where and when you have it happen to you.

Those of you that own diesels, does this concern you? Is this a common occurrence? Do people really spend this much to repair the truck as it probably is only at 1/4 of its life expectancy?

We have been looking hard at diesels for our next TV and this really gives me pause.

Where do you folks stand on this type of thing? Seen it? Done it? >>> Keep the truck? Scrap it?

Thx
Chris
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:15 AM   #2
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I am going to reply from my boating experience. There were all kinds of ways that water got into marina diesel tanks; it was a given. There had always been strong advice to boaters to use additives that killed algae and emulsified water. In addition, smart boaters periodically completely emptied and cleaned out their fuel tanks. I cannot see any reason why a truck owner would not be in the same situation given that station fuel tanks are underground and subject to gravity flow of water into the tank, unintentionally.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:27 AM   #3
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If you park your truck for long periods of time with less than a full tank of fuel the tank will get condensation and collect water. If you always have a full tank of fuel it wonít get water in this fashion. I learned this the hard way with one of my tractors. I would only keep enough fuel to get the job done well one day it quit running...reason water in tank. This tractor was always kept in barn out of rain and not used very much.
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:50 AM   #4
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I'll go with my diesel vehicle experience.

Yes, fuel contamination of any sort is a focus with modern diesels as they are not happy with other than fuel in the fuel. And the parts between the tank and piston are EXPENSIVE! This is the main reason to avoid fuel stations where the diesel pumps do not look like they get a lot of use (stain-free pavement is usually the warning sign).

The rhetorical question I have for the stated scenario is how the vehicle itself did not alert to water in the fuel as manufacturers tend to have a water sensor somewhere in the plumbing (usually the filter housing) and indicator light somewhere in the gauge cluster to help avoid that magnitude of damage. Even tractors should have a filter which allows visual inspection of contamination. Boats should have filters that allow visual inspection too. But it seems people do not religiously do pre-start checks, so all the available visual clues are going unnoticed.

Given the scope of damaged / replaced parts, ~$6K seems about right as just the injectors were likely ~$3K presuming they were new.

I know that folks love the newer diesels, and at the same time am not convinced that these same folks understand how complex and expensive the systems are to maintain or how vulnerable they are to dirty fuel.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:00 AM   #5
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Toward the theory of a fuel tank sitting for a long time as a good source of water collection, I am struggling with the physics of that. Point is (and am not looking to insult anybody) that I am not aware of *anybody* who keeps their fuel tank 100% full, 100% of the time. Put another way, pretty much all fuel tanks are at some stage of empty even when the vehicle / equipment gets regular use; also, they are exposed to the same conditions as the one that sits. So, am not seeing where over time the vehicle that sits collects any more water in its fuel tank than the one that gets frequent use. Am sure that some will find the need to argue this point with a rare example, but data is not backing this as a wide spread risk or issue.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:05 AM   #6
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The really big problem these days with modern diesel, is Bio diesel. Ethanol and other organic based additives are added to refined diesel to promote Ethanol subsidies and whatever other go green balldadash they're slogging these days.
The problem with organic products in fuel is they will attract moisture, grow a form of algae if not treated with fuel stabilizer, or have the tank full, which reduces condensation. This condensation, algae and water occurs at the diesel stations tank, if the station doesn't get regular traffic.
This huge bill is not uncommon with modern day diesels if people don't maintain them, or modify them to get more power.
Sometimes the huge bills are because a manufacturer doesn't care about how you're going to service the vehicle. Ford Super Duty's in the mid 2000's, required you to take apart the front end of the truck and remove the cab to get to the last two fuel injectors. That resulted in an additional 14 hours of labour on your bill.
Modern day diesel aren't like the old ones I own.

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Old 12-06-2019, 07:08 AM   #7
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There is usually some content of water in fuels. I've chatted with the delivery man at our local gas station and asked him what the water contents are. They measure it at every delivery. In my aviation days we'd check the water in the fuel tanks of the plane before every flight. There's a system designed to check it. With commonly driven auto's there is low risk. Really sorry to hear about that repair though. Sounds like a very expensive endeavor. You can talk to your gas station attendant to get the reports from each fill. It has to show water content levels. Aside from that, the other advice to keep your tanks full is good. Possibly additives for fuel for extended storage. Sometimes the first thing to do with diesel is drain the tank and put fresh fuel in after extended sitting.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:18 AM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback thus far, I will add, if I were to buy a 2020 diesel like a 3500HD or something is that it would be used daily and during wintertime as my daily driver. Down time MAY be 1 or 2 weeks at any given time based on vacation or travel but nothing like sitting around for 4 -5 months at a time type of thing.

The 100% full just wouldn't work for me as I travel 80 miles round trip daily for work, so there will always be fuel running through it at a regular interval.

I have a shell and mobile within .5 miles from the house which would be the primary filling points, and the mobile was fully rebuilt from the tanks to the building recently and the shell get super high volumes through it as we are next to an industrial park that houses CINTA which trucks use diesel all the time.

I see diesels all the time on the road, so these responses perplex me as to if it should even be on my radar for the next TV........
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:20 AM   #9
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And apologies as the opening thread did state older TV, but my comments remain the same presuming the motor is using either common rail or HEUI which started around the 2000 model years. If the TV is older and uses an injection pump, effects from water are the same, but the costs of parts are less expensive (if you can still find them).
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:33 AM   #10
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You didn't mention what brand diesel truck it is and maybe better off if you keep that info out of the discussion.

But this is my question for the TRUCK OWNER. what does your owners manual say for water in fuel (WIF) warnings?

I can only speak for my TV. The WIF system in my rig is at the bottom of the primary fuel filter and it's sensor is maybe 5" below the feed to the high pressure pump.

When the sensor detects water, WIF indicator light comes on. Maybe your friend needs to have that system verified.

I'm not a diesel tech, I am a diesel owner over 600,000 miles between my two diesels in the driveway right now. So far, filters only.

Gary
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:43 AM   #11
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All diesels have fuel filters that are supposed to not let water into your fuel pump. It is also the owner's responsibility to maintain the filters and drain water out of them and if water is a constant problem the tank needs cleaning. Modern fuel with low sulfur is more prone to have problem and biodiesel is most likely worse about bug growth.



I have heard of fuel pump failures on the new Ford trucks that are not related to water ingestion. The pump fails and pushes metal particles into the injectors and you have a $15k repair bill. Any diesel made in the last 10-15yrs is liability once the warranty expires. Pay attention to water in fuel indicators drain water separators often and pray and get an extended factory warranty or sell the truck.



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Old 12-06-2019, 07:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
You didn't mention what brand diesel truck it is and maybe better off if you keep that info out of the discussion.

Gary
I am looking between GM and Dodge, Ford a distant 3rd.

I'm in the exploratory phase and still a year or more away before we buy, I just found it shocking to see the repair bill.

NOTE: The invoice shown to me was a strangers repair, I don't know the person, it was only shown to me as what the future could hold buying a diesel.

Knowing what I saw, I am interested to see if it is/was a common occurrence or is it a rare someone didn't take care of their rig type of incident >>> and costly at that!
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
I am looking between GM and Dodge, Ford a distant 3rd.

I'm in the exploratory phase and still a year or more away before we buy, I just found it shocking to see the repair bill.

NOTE: The invoice shown to me was a strangers repair, I don't know the person, it was only shown to me as what the future could hold buying a diesel.

Knowing what I saw, I am interested to see if it is/was a common occurrence or is it a rare someone didn't take care of their rig type of incident >>> and costly at that!
Probably the wrong forum to get a good statistical sample. Spend time on truck forums and see what you learn. It occurs to me that you will have nothing but anecdotes and no real reliability statistics. It has been folklore for a long time that diesels will run forever, but when they don't they are very expensive to fix. However, modern trucks with modern emission systems have not been around long enough to fit into that "forever" timeframe.

Larry
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:17 AM   #14
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There are guys on youtube that specialize in these trucks and they can tell you what the problems are with each brand. Many problems are related to the EPA gadgets on them like DPF and DEF.



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Old 12-06-2019, 08:33 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by JayTheCPA View Post
Toward the theory of a fuel tank sitting for a long time as a good source of water collection, I am struggling with the physics of that. Point is (and am not looking to insult anybody) that I am not aware of *anybody* who keeps their fuel tank 100% full, 100% of the time. Put another way, pretty much all fuel tanks are at some stage of empty even when the vehicle / equipment gets regular use; also, they are exposed to the same conditions as the one that sits. So, am not seeing where over time the vehicle that sits collects any more water in its fuel tank than the one that gets frequent use. Am sure that some will find the need to argue this point with a rare example, but data is not backing this as a wide spread risk or issue.
I was advised early on to never let the fiel tank indicator go below 1/4 in the tank, and to keep algaecide/water dispersal additive on hand for any time I hit 1/4 and was not close to a station. Whenever I jave been low, I have put in the additive before refueling.

Never drained and cleaned the tank though. Hmm.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:04 AM   #16
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It happens but it isn't common. There are improved aftermarket fuel/water separators that some folks swear by. If it is a big concern to you you might look at upgrading the stock filter. I've got about 208K on mine. I change my fuel filter regularly and check for water. To date I've never seen any sign of water in my fuel filter bowl. I do avoid biodiesel like the plague.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:28 AM   #17
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The best place to get information on care and feeding of any generation of diesel is on the appropriate forum. Not tying to insult any of the diesel drivers on this forum. And just like any internet forum, use care as descriptions can have a bit of exaggeration within the narrative.

One excellent tool in staying ahead of costly un-planned repairs is the use of computer diagnostics. Even older diesels (starting with OBD in the late 90's) had enough sensors in the motors to give some advance warning of doom, but people do not want to spend the $$$ necessary for the software to talk with the truck. Or, they do not want to pay a mechanic the ~$100 to do the reading as that is seen as an unnecessary cost.

As an example, CRDI systems usually give enough warning of injector failure *IF* somebody whom knows how to read fuel flows actually takes a look and does some simple math. But, nope. People just pay $7 - $8K to the shop (including tow) for new injectors after the truck suddenly dies or does not want to start. Sure, in this example the cost would not have changed much had somebody done regular analysis of the system's health by way of computer, but the difference is that the owner could have planned the repair well ahead of the failure and minimized risk to other parts.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:35 AM   #18
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Diesel newbie

I recently bought an F350 diesel. Was recently on a caravan and 100% of the people with diesels loved Ďem. Having said that, a diesel isnít for the person who just wants to jump in the truck and drive, IMHO. You really have to pay attention to the maintenance.

Every diesel truck has/should have a water separating filter in the fuel line and an indicator to tell you the water needs to be drained from the water separator. Ignoring this warning is what leads to the $15K Repair bill....and wonít be covered by warranty. They can tell if water made it past the filter by rust on internal components.

Being the nerd that I am, I joined the Ford Diesel Truck forum. Read a lot and learned a lot. The prevailing wisdom is that you should drain the water separator once a month (YMMV) whether the light comes on or not. That way you can see whatís going on with the fuel youíre getting. I donít mind doing that, but some folks might not want to mess with it.

You also need to pay attention to the emissions stuff.

The plus side is a diesel is great for towing... and the engine braking for downhill with a trailer behind you is really nice.

There are thousands and thousands of these diesels on the road. In fact when I was searching around for Super Duty trucks there were very few gassers on the lot. Most were diesels. The catastrophic failures do happen, but if they were very common I donít think the diesels would be as popular as they are.

Just my 2cents worth.
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:46 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JayTheCPA View Post
The best place to get information on care and feeding of any generation of diesel is on the appropriate forum. Not tying to insult any of the diesel drivers on this forum. And just like any internet forum, use care as descriptions can have a bit of exaggeration within the narrative.

One excellent tool in staying ahead of costly un-planned repairs is the use of computer diagnostics. Even older diesels (starting with OBD in the late 90's) had enough sensors in the motors to give some advance warning of doom, but people do not want to spend the $$$ necessary for the software to talk with the truck. Or, they do not want to pay a mechanic the ~$100 to do the reading as that is seen as an unnecessary cost.

As an example, CRDI systems usually give enough warning of injector failure *IF* somebody whom knows how to read fuel flows actually takes a look and does some simple math. But, nope. People just pay $7 - $8K to the shop (including tow) for new injectors after the truck suddenly dies or does not want to start. Sure, in this example the cost would not have changed much had somebody done regular analysis of the system's health by way of computer, but the difference is that the owner could have planned the repair well ahead of the failure and minimized risk to other parts.
Agree. In fact I have a Banks Super Gauge on order. $300. Plugs into the OBDII port and can be mounted on the dash. I mainly bought it to monitor the state of my diesel particulate filter and to know when the truck is regenerating the filter (so as to avoid interrupting an active regeneration process).
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Old 12-06-2019, 09:58 AM   #20
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Buy clean fuel....never store it in a steel tank....use plastic or aluminum...I have been running diesels since the early 1970’s and never had any problems...especially with water
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