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6.4L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 6.4L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 2008-Up Super Duty trucks. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 6.4L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 02-18-2012, 05:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Air Lock in Fuel Lines? - Freaking Out.

Hi All,

I changed out the fuel filters as recommended. Lower first, then the top one.

Truck started for 10 seconds then when dead and got the wrench symbol.

I believe that there is air in the system and I've done this so far:

1. Opened the water separator lever under the frame rail, fuel is flowing fine.

2. Cycled the priming cycle "key on for 30 secs" and key off.

3. I try and start the truck every time I do 6 cycles of the above priming cycle.

4. Every 3 or 4th try (complete priming cycles) to start it, the truck catches, runs for about 10 seconds, and then dies. Usually I get the wrench symbol and the truck throws aP2291 code which, I believe is a ICP pressure too low error.

5. I know about the Schrader valve on the fuel cooler and I've bleed this every time the truck fires and goes dead. There is always a bunch of hissing and popping of air then I get a good flow of fuel. When I say "good flow" I mean that it comes out in a steady stream that squirts about 1/2 inch from the outlet valve. Some people told me it would be under a lot of pressure but that's not the case. I bleed this when I have the key in the on position and the pump is priming.

6. Once I get the fuel flowing, I cycle it 6 times and try to start the truck all over again. I do clear the codes before I start again.

7. I've tried pressing the fuel stop override switch (this was mentioned in another forum) as I crank it but nothing happens there either.

After all the cycling, and trying to start it this afternoon, my batteries are faded. I've hooked up the charger and I'm letting both batteries charge overnight. I want to try again in the morning.

Many people have suggested that this is just an airlock and it's going to work itself out if I have patience and keep cycling, bleeding, etc. I keep finding air in the cooler valve (Schrader) so I believe them but I wanted any other opinions possible.

Possible that I have an air leak on or around the first filter (under truck)? I cleaned the cap and the threads of the housing and lubed the o-ring. It went together well and it's tight.

How many times do I need to do this to bleed the air?

Anyone have any ideas? I'm freaking out as I need my truck on Monday.

Thanks for any advice/opinions.

D
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would pull the lower filter apart again and make sure the filter is seated. I would also put the old o-ring back on the cap and reinstall. A small nick in the ring can cause tons of problems. Keep holding open the schrader valve until you get a good solid flow. Maybe get some clear hose that will fit somewhat tight on the schrader valve body and with a thin finishing nail pierce though the hose and hold down the valve pin and let the fuel flow for a while into a can or what ever. You do seem to have your bases covered, give it a try and see how it goes. Make dead sure to check your caps and o-rings. Even a small nick will suck air. Last food for thought... Are you sure the drain on the HFCM is closed? Did you crack the lower cap accidentally? Or dislodge one of the (horrible) quick disconnect fittings on the HFCM suction fuel lines? Once you get it figured out let us know. good luck
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Recheck filters for correct fit and the o-rings like rock doctor said.

Also when you cycle the key before cranking to get rid of the air, turn the key to on and let it stay there until you dont hear the low press pump any longer. Forget about time, listen for sound and when no more cycle the key and repeat.

Try 8 times vs 6 before cranking. I'd bet once you get it to start it will run rough and probably throw another code or two.

Don't worry about it, go on a drive and get the motor up to operating temps..about a 10 mile run to get all the air out.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:14 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks Gents.

Thanks fellas. I'm trickle charging the batteries back to life overnight and in the morning I'll take the filters apart and check the o-rings again.

I was reasonably careful when reassembling the filters and caps but now that I know how fussy this can be, I'll do it all over again in the morning.

I will DEFINITELY post again to let you know how the progress went.

Two Questions: On the lower frame rail filter, does it have to fit in any particular way? I noticed a small notch on the end that goes in first and I was thinking that maybe that has to go in a certain way? That said, when I put the filter back in, it seemed to go in all the way without too much trouble.

Also, there was a lot of GUNK inside the lower filter housing. I put my hand in there with a shop towel and fished around until I got 95% of it. It was like a dirty yellowish white jelly. It's gone now but I wanted to ask if that was normal...

D
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotiadallas View Post
Thanks fellas. I'm trickle charging the batteries back to life overnight and in the morning I'll take the filters apart and check the o-rings again.

I was reasonably careful when reassembling the filters and caps but now that I know how fussy this can be, I'll do it all over again in the morning.

I will DEFINITELY post again to let you know how the progress went.

Two Questions: On the lower frame rail filter, does it have to fit in any particular way? I noticed a small notch on the end that goes in first and I was thinking that maybe that has to go in a certain way? That said, when I put the filter back in, it seemed to go in all the way without too much trouble.

Also, there was a lot of GUNK inside the lower filter housing. I put my hand in there with a shop towel and fished around until I got 95% of it. It was like a dirty yellowish white jelly. It's gone now but I wanted to ask if that was normal...

D
that shows two things, one would be lack of maintance the other being some dirty fuel.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you have "jelly" gunk in the housing it is probably bacterial growth. You need to "shock" treat your fuel tank with a biocide like Power Service Bio-Kleen (don't confuse with Diesel Kleen) to kill off the bacteria. Check and replace the filters more frequently to ensure they don't clog up quickly with dead bacteria.

Do not try to start the truck after 6 key cycles. Put your head out the window and listen carefully as you cycle the key. Turn it on and listen for the HFCM fuel pump whirring sound. Listen for the burbling of air being pushed back to the fuel tank through the return line. When the fuel pump whirr stops, cycle the key off and back on again. Listen for the burbling. Keep doing this for at least three cycles after you no longer hear air burbling back to the tank before trying to start the engine. If you still hear air after perhaps a dozen cycles you have a leak somewhere allowing air to continue to get into the system.

After all you have apparently done so far, you may have pushed air further into the system and you may need to bleed air from the high pressure side of the system. This is not the Schrader valve procedure, it involves loosening one of the banjo bolt fittings at the fuel cooler.

http://wpnet.us/Fuel_System_Bleeding_HP.pdf

The procedure uses a special replacement bolt with a drain line, but if you have to you can just crack the bolt a bit loose and use rags to collect the fuel. The engine is cold and it's diesel, so there isn't much of a fire risk as long as you don't let it spill everywhere and collect on the engine.

I hope you have not damaged the HPFP, running it dry has a good chance of doing so.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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that shows two things, one would be lack of maintance the other being some dirty fuel.
I should have known.

When I first purchased the truck from a dealer (used), I was getting the WIF light for the first week. I brought it back and they told me that BOTH filters were changed but now, after doing them myself, I feel like the dealership only did the top filter, not the bottom one. The bottom one was much worse shape (maybe because it's the first filter?). Anyway, I have a feeling they didn't change both filters.

Anyway, this truck is new to me (6 months) and I want to maintain it properly so I've starting doing everything myself (what I'm capable of doing).
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by wp6529 View Post
If you have "jelly" gunk in the housing it is probably bacterial growth. You need to "shock" treat your fuel tank with a biocide like Power Service Bio-Kleen (don't confuse with Diesel Kleen) to kill off the bacteria. Check and replace the filters more frequently to ensure they don't clog up quickly with dead bacteria.

Do not try to start the truck after 6 key cycles. Put your head out the window and listen carefully as you cycle the key. Turn it on and listen for the HFCM fuel pump whirring sound. Listen for the burbling of air being pushed back to the fuel tank through the return line. When the fuel pump whirr stops, cycle the key off and back on again. Listen for the burbling. Keep doing this for at least three cycles after you no longer hear air burbling back to the tank before trying to start the engine. If you still hear air after perhaps a dozen cycles you have a leak somewhere allowing air to continue to get into the system.

After all you have apparently done so far, you may have pushed air further into the system and you may need to bleed air from the high pressure side of the system. This is not the Schrader valve procedure, it involves loosening one of the banjo bolt fittings at the fuel cooler.

http://wpnet.us/Fuel_System_Bleeding_HP.pdf

The procedure uses a special replacement bolt with a drain line, but if you have to you can just crack the bolt a bit loose and use rags to collect the fuel. The engine is cold and it's diesel, so there isn't much of a fire risk as long as you don't let it spill everywhere and collect on the engine.

I hope you have not damaged the HPFP, running it dry has a good chance of doing so.
Gotcha.

1. Will shock treat the fuel immediately.

2. I've been hearing the burbling sound clearly. I will cycle the pump until the burbling stops.

3. If I can't shake the burbling sound, I'll take the filters off again and see if I can reseat them, reseal them.

I feel like I'm very close to the answer - everyone's advice has been very helpful and I feel like I'll sort this out today - fingers crossed.

I'll update as I go...

D
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by scotiadallas View Post
I should have known.

When I first purchased the truck from a dealer (used), I was getting the WIF light for the first week. I brought it back and they told me that BOTH filters were changed but now, after doing them myself, I feel like the dealership only did the top filter, not the bottom one. The bottom one was much worse shape (maybe because it's the first filter?). Anyway, I have a feeling they didn't change both filters.

Anyway, this truck is new to me (6 months) and I want to maintain it properly so I've starting doing everything myself (what I'm capable of doing).
do you still have the old filters? Look at them if they have FF on them then they are factory originals. I'd be calling all over the place and get that documented should you have any ill effects from that.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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UPDATE

I went out and cycled the pump, listening as I went. I cleared the Schrader valve one more time and it hissed and bubbled a bit, then a solid stream of fuel came out.

As WP suggested, I bled the high pressure banjo bolt and it hissed and popped. Once steady fuel was coming out I closed it up again. I then cycled the key 2 or 3 more times and bled both Schrader and the HP banjo bolt again. The banjo had a very quick pop and fizz but then straight fuel. I closed it off. I cycled the key 2 more times, listening for burbling fluid but I heard nothing.

I turned the ignition and with only a moments hesitation, she fired up right away. I waited for it to shut down - AND IT DIDN'T! She continued to run! I ran the truck for 15 minutes and she purred like a kitten...

WP was right, all my jigging around forced air into the HP side of the system. I've read numerous threads on this problem but none with as much detail as what everyone here provided. I hope my experience will help others in the future if they get air into the system when changing out their own fuel filters.

What I learned:

1. Do your own basic maintenance. Nothing gives peace of mind than doing it yourself and seeing with your own eyes what's going on. The fact that I saw the GUNK that built up in the lower filter was priceless. Now I can address this before it becomes a $10,000 problem. These things are really not that complicated and if you read around the topic before you attempt it, you're already 1/2 way home. If you get into trouble, make sure you allow a day or two of grace and you can probably bail yourself out with help from friends on dieselstop.com.

2. DO the maintenance. It really pays to read around the basic maintenance topics on this site. Lots of guys, just like you, are doing it themselves - often making mistakes along the way. I just learned how to do my own fuel filters AND how to bail myself out when air gets into the system. Find out what needs to be done and then DO IT when the interval comes up.

3. GIVE BACK TO THIS SITE! I've read so many posts that never have a conclusion. I know that once you solve the problem it's easier to forget about it and move on, but how you solved your problem is important to others and they can learn from your mistakes. I do my best to follow up with my posts and offer closure, I hope this helps others. When you are dealing with a $35,000 truck, some of these things can be stressful, especially fuel system issues.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond, it was appreciated. The few minutes you took to share your experience and wisdom was well received. If you were here, I would treat you to a cold one and a few laughs.

Thanks again.

D
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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do you still have the old filters? Look at them if they have FF on them then they are factory originals. I'd be calling all over the place and get that documented should you have any ill effects from that.
Very interesting. I'm going to dig these out of the trash bag and check. Nice tip!
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:49 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Congrats on getting it to run..it still could run just a little rough for a few miles but do not be concerned.

Most likely it sounds like you got all the air out.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Unhappy Same issue

I just changed out both my filters today. Is the fuel supposed to stop flowing when you drain it from the water seperator? Mine never did, nor did it stop when I pulled the old filter, amidst much grumbling and adult language. Got everything cleaned up as much as possible, couldn't see much inside the filter housing due to the dripping and splashing fuel, but what I could see looked OK. Crawled out from under the truck, changed out the engine mounted filter, torqued both caps per the specs (20 lb/ft or 27 n/m). Cleaned up the tools and went in to take a shower before proceeding. Did the cycle on and off for 30 secs routine 6 times as per the manual. Turned the key and she fired right up--for about 10 secs. Repeated the process several more times with similar results as scotiadallas. The engineers that designed this system should be forced to change every owners fuel filters at least once! Very good information in this thread, I have a direction to go, thanks for the help!
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Old 06-16-2012, 07:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I just changed out both my filters today. Is the fuel supposed to stop flowing when you drain it from the water seperator? Mine never did, nor did it stop when I pulled the old filter, amidst much grumbling and adult language. Got everything cleaned up as much as possible, couldn't see much inside the filter housing due to the dripping and splashing fuel, but what I could see looked OK. Crawled out from under the truck, changed out the engine mounted filter, torqued both caps per the specs (20 lb/ft or 27 n/m). Cleaned up the tools and went in to take a shower before proceeding. Did the cycle on and off for 30 secs routine 6 times as per the manual. Turned the key and she fired right up--for about 10 secs. Repeated the process several more times with similar results as scotiadallas. The engineers that designed this system should be forced to change every owners fuel filters at least once! Very good information in this thread, I have a direction to go, thanks for the help!
I always crack open the drain, then the top filter to relieve the pressure and suction.

Then take the fuel bath.
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Air Lock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnAP View Post
I just changed out both my filters today. Is the fuel supposed to stop flowing when you drain it from the water seperator? Mine never did, nor did it stop when I pulled the old filter, amidst much grumbling and adult language. Got everything cleaned up as much as possible, couldn't see much inside the filter housing due to the dripping and splashing fuel, but what I could see looked OK. Crawled out from under the truck, changed out the engine mounted filter, torqued both caps per the specs (20 lb/ft or 27 n/m). Cleaned up the tools and went in to take a shower before proceeding. Did the cycle on and off for 30 secs routine 6 times as per the manual. Turned the key and she fired right up--for about 10 secs. Repeated the process several more times with similar results as scotiadallas. The engineers that designed this system should be forced to change every owners fuel filters at least once! Very good information in this thread, I have a direction to go, thanks for the help!
My fuel did stop flowing when I opened the drain. It took about 5 minutes but then it stopped. Once it did, I took off the lower filter cap (a struggle) and swapped the filter.

You have an airlock. I found success when I loosened the banjo bolt and then turned the key to force the air out of the back side of the system. It took me a few tries but the air did come out. It was stressful but I can assure you (like others assured me) that you will work the air out. I would put a trickle charger on the battery as that was the limiting factor for me - the batteries lost their charge and it was a 24 hour process while they re-energized.

Please let us know how you make out - I found that these posts are invaluable for others - and me when I need them.

D
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