Help Diagnosing Fuel System Problem, Please. - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
Power Strokes 1994-1997 General Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the Power Stroke engine in 1994 through 1997 models.

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Help Diagnosing Fuel System Problem, Please.

RE: 1995 F350 7.3L PS; 145K miles
Was about 10 degrees out (Colorado). Truck started fine, but after driving two blocks, I started losing power, couldn't go any faster than about 20. Pulled off on a side street and as soon as I let off the gas, it died. Was able to get it to start once more and run for about 30 seconds before a repeat of the first episode, where it started running rough and then died.

The "fuel filter" light had started coming on about 1 day before, and I was down to 1/4 in both tanks, so I figured it was one or both. I left it that night, went back when it was about 30 degrees out, changed the fuel filter, drained it a bit, and added 4 gallons to the front tank. I jumped it to make sure I was getting enough power.

It cranked, and the glow plugs appearred to be cycling properly, but it wouldn't catch. It wasn't just a dry crank, it would "try," but nothing sustained.

I'm about 2 blks from home, so will either get someone to pull me home or get it towed.. but need to know where to start looking next. We've got 5 drivers and down to two cars (also working on a glow plug issue w/ my 94 7.3l IDI).

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 04:26 PM
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Look to see how full the fuel bowl is. Try switching tanks if haven't already done that. Measure the fuel pressure when cranking if you can. You might need to connect the pump directly to a container of fuel. If it runs that way without stalling, you may have blockage in the lines from the tank pickups to the pump. If that doesn't show anything, you may need a new fuel pump. Cheers!

97 F250 SC 4x4 (CA model), E4OD, 4.10 LS,
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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One thing I did do when I went back to try and start was to pull the filter and have my son crank it while I watched to see if the fuel level climbed.

I only had him crank it a short time, but I didn't see any rise in the fuel level of the chamber.. but the chamber was "full" to the top when I dropped the filter back in, even though I had drained it a bit previously.

I didn't know whether the pump is before or after the chamber; and thought maybe it filled the chamber by vacuum downstream.

If I understand your comment correctly, you're saying the fuel level in the chamber should have risen w/ cranking, and that not doing so may indicate a bad pump. Is that correct?.. and if so, can you tell me what that pump is called and maybe where it's located; I'm assuming it's down under by the tanks.

Thanks for your help.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 05:15 PM
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Filter canister should fill on cranking. Pump is called a lift pump and is located between the canister and turbo. It's a mechanical one that works off of the cam shaft. One pump, 2 tanks. There is a schrader (tire pressure) valve on the side of the filter housing that you can use a tire gauge to measure fuel pressure. I think it should be around 50 lbs or so.
10 is cold enough to have a potential fuel gelling problem, but I'd think that any place you bought fuel local would be treated/blended.
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97 F250 4 door shortbed, E4OD
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your comments. They bring up a couple more questions:

Can I check fuel pressure at the schrader valve just while cranking, or does the engine have to be running?

Is there any way to rule the lift pump in or out as the problem, as opposed to gelled fuel or some other cause?

Thank you.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 10:02 PM
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I think you can check it either way. Should build pressure as it cranks. A gelled filter would look gelled. Not sure how to describe it, but you'd know if it was. Guess you could dump some 911 in the housing and spin a new filter in. Low or no pressure is pretty much the pump. Especially if it does it on both tanks. Might not hurt to get about 5 gallons in each tank. The fuel pickups have been known to break off and when you hit 1/4 tank, they suck air. Lift pump is only around $125 depending on where you get one. That and a couple hours work. There are some good right ups here on how to do it. Also might be a good time to explore going with an electric setup.
AaronSEIA

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97 F250 4 door shortbed, E4OD
DIY intake
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-29-2014, 10:58 PM
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This is the EXACT problem I am having right now. I ordered a pump and plan to replace all the hoses from the tanks forward as well as drop the tanks to make sure everything is clean inside. I'll report back what I find this weekend if you haven't found a solution yet.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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I got lucky.

A friend towed me home and I put it on the charger last night. Went out this morning, and, though it took a lot of cranking to get the fuel up, I got it started. I put some dieselklean in the front tank it's running on and have it idling. Will go fill up both tanks today and load up on some more injector and fuel line cleaner. Any suggestions on a good product would be appreciated.

Makes me wonder though if I'm losing pressure at the lift pump.. w/ how long it took to get fuel to the engine. I know the fuel chamber was close to full with the filter dropped in, and it probably took a total of 45 to 60 seconds of cranking (at about 20 second intervals) to get it to start.. it started the third try.

I hate to admit it, but the fuel filter was in pretty bad shape when I pulled it; had to be putting up a lot of resistance to the pump. I'll get a pressure gauge on it this weekend. Does anyone know the minimum acceptable pressure?

Thanks for everyone's help.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 10:26 AM
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This is what gelled fuel looks like in a filter. This is on one of my tractors in case someone feels the need to comment that this isn't a PSD filter.
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'97 F250 Supercab shortbed
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 12:05 PM
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I believe about 50 psi required. Mine started as well...then wouldn't start. I had a really crappy fuel filter as well before this one which makes me think water/crud in the tanks. I haven't been able to get it started since and it shows 0 psi on the fuel gauge. Good luck...
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