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7.3L IDI Diesels (Not Power Strokes) Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 7.3 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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Old 03-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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copper fuel lines

has anyone used copper fuel lines?

I'm thinking longevity over steel and compatibility with fuel line
heaters over rubber/nylon/vitron.

any thoughts....
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you cruise the Alt fuel forums they all say copper is a NO NO...That may be just for WMO or WVO. I would probably pose this question in that forum for a more informed response.
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Copper corrodes and keeps on corroding, same with steel, that's why we use plastic or Aluminum these days. Aluminum has a fatigue problem so you have to be serious with clamps and with not stressing the lines. But once it oxidizes the oxide layer protects the metal beneath, which is why it's OK to use with any fuel including altfuels. Heat plus acid eats stainless, too, especially if you have dissimilar metals. Talked to a guy who welded up a gatorade factory and the filler rod was just different enough from the pipe, even though it was meant to be identical, that the system ate the welds with hot, salty, acidic gatorade on day one. They shifted to Aluminum, think about that next time you suck down a sports drink.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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but copper is has been used for heating oil forever without any major issues.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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just found out. copper accelerates the oxidation process of the biodiesel. stainless or aluminum is the answer. thanks
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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wouldnt it be easier to use that viton, and from what they say it will last forever with b100 biodiesel. also what would you use instead of rubber gaskets in the fuel pump becasue i heard those start going out and leaking from using alternate fuels to.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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actually what would be easier is nylon 77, which is fairly readily available, heat-resistant, and multifuel compatible. viton gaskets and seals where available, Buna-L also works. Silicone does NOT
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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viton would be easy. I need to be able to heat the fuel lines. I don't know if non-metallic fuel lines would conduct heat as well.

has anyone had any problems with using aluminum fuel lines?

as for the motor gaskets, I'll cross that bridge when I pull the motor and do an overhaul. thanks for the advice about fuel pump gaskets.

what silicone product are you referring to that "does not"?
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Old 03-17-2012, 01:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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aluminum works great, you just have to support it very very well to protect it as stated above.

Silicone is NOT compatible with biodiesel OR diesel. It KIND OF works with one or the other but doesn't really hold up. And that's all silicone.
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What about Brass does that corrode from diesel? not for a line but in case you needed an 90 or 45 degree fitting on some kind of make shift set up. just curious cause i have one in my truck between the lift pump inlet and the end of the steel fuel line that ends by the passenger side exhaust manifold. they ran the 3/8 flex up to the fender wall put the elbow and ran another 3/8 down back to the lift inlet. dont know why its there but it is. I even tried to put a fram inplace of it just to observe fuel flow but that didnt work out too well. so i put the elbow back.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:41 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There are brass pieces in the stock fuel system, aren't there?
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Lemme give a little personal experience why copper fuel lines are a bad idea. One time at work, someone used copper tubing to replace a section of steel fuel line on a burner on one of our aircraft deicing trucks (it uses 3 Carlin or Wayne burners similar to a home heating furnace, except these put out 1.4 million BTU each.) Anyway, the copper line quickly cracked from vibration (within a month or so, IIRC), and the burner fuel pump caused fuel to spray all though the burner compartment at the rear of the truck. The other burners and all the wiring were covered with fuel, and finally some of the fuel got sucked into another burner with the intake air. A huge fireball blew out from the back of the truck, and by the time the fire suppression system had activated and the crew got the system shut down all 3 burners were on fire. I ended up having to replace the 3 burners and all their associated wiring & hoses/ tubing, which IIRC ended up running around $20K.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:10 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Aluminum potentially has the same problem, in fact, which is why I've been harping on about fasteners. It's just not quite as prone to it. Best practice is to use flexible sections and to make VERY sure that the line is not stressed when it is in place - the fasteners should not hold the tubing in a flexed position.

If I were trying to heat fuel I would probably build an Aluminum block, or a jacketed line heater. If you could find a good place to get some oil on the P/S of the engine you could possibly use that. Something similar in operation to the oil cooler on the D/S. But you can buy stuff like that, you don't have to make it. Without a lathe or a very good drill press you'd have a hard time anyway.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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there are kits out there for using engine coolant to heat the lines, but i like the idea of using electric heaters so that, like a block heater, the fuel lines STAY warm.

this is still just an experiment. I need to replace my fuel lines anyway.
sounds like I'll be using aluminum and possibly insulating them to help with protection.

thanks for the input.
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