Draining Water Separator: Official COMPLETE instructions, please! - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2018, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Draining Water Separator: Official COMPLETE instructions, please!

So, I HATE having to post threads because, eventually someone says, "If you'd done a proper search..." Or, "Please try the search before starting a new thread..." etc. This IS the simplest topic ever, I would think, but after multiple searches via google and expressly on this page, utilizing a NUMBER of varying word usages, I cannot find a simple set of instructions on how one should REALLY drain the water separator. I used all kinds of variations using words like these, "water, separator, drain, instructions" and got a lot of replies and threads that talk about changing the filter, or replacing the filter, or leaking at the filter, but I bought this truck (2 w/this engine) not too long ago, have NOT drained either water separator yet, and would like to REALLY know how to do so. So, can anyone point me to a thread that clarifies this? The truck I am wanting to do right now is a 1989 F350, 7.3 IDI, AT. The other is a 1986 S1654 International retired U-haul truck I bought. As I said, if the process is going to be different for the 2 trucks, the more urgent one is the 1989 F350. Thanks for any help!

J. M. Shaw, II, D.C.
1988 International Harvester S1654 Retired UHaul truck
(Converted to Flatbed Hauler-ish)
IDI 7.3 International Diesel, 5-Speed

1989 F-350 XLT Lariat, CC, DRW, 2WD
IDI 7.3, Auto, Charity Auction Find!

Last edited by jmshawii; 06-24-2018 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Misspelling
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2018, 08:09 PM
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Do you have the owner's manual for either truck? According to the '92 diesel supplement, you have to change the filter any time the WIF light comes on. It's broken out in 6 steps, and #6 has 8 bullet steps, but they're probably NOT the same for your older engines.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2018, 08:41 PM
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On the 89 that I owned, the only lpace to drain it was the thumb valve on the base of the fuel filter. I usually opened it with the engine running, so that the lift pump would push all of the water out, and the air would be purged.

1993 F-350 crew cab non-turbo 5 speed transmission
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2018, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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No, I don't have the manual(s). Sorry. If so, I probably wouldn't have to bother you guys, but neither came with one! Thanks!

J. M. Shaw, II, D.C.
1988 International Harvester S1654 Retired UHaul truck
(Converted to Flatbed Hauler-ish)
IDI 7.3 International Diesel, 5-Speed

1989 F-350 XLT Lariat, CC, DRW, 2WD
IDI 7.3, Auto, Charity Auction Find!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-24-2018, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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ORDodge-THANKS! That's ONE of the HUGE questions I had-engine running or not. Someone for a much later model said he turned the key to "run" but did this while the engine was actually OFF-so I wondered.

However, I still need some MORE information please. Sorry, but that is why I capitalized the hopes of finding COMPLETE instructions, and why I was hoping there was a link to those somewhere.

So, I do it with the engine running, I loosen the big, finger turnable "screw"/plate on the bottom. Do I monitor it? Walk away for 2 or 3 minutes and come back and check on things? Will I be able to tell if it is releasing fuel or water? Will it release fuel if left open? Will it ONLY release water? IF I leave it open too long will it kill the engine? And, thus, possibly allow air into the lines requiring a "purging/bleeding/priming" of the lines again? How long are we talking about leaving the valve open? Is this like a fraction of a second thing, few seconds, ten seconds, 2 minutes? Am I supposed to try to place something underneath there to catch whatever comes out? If so, WHAT fits down in there???

Thanks for any further information anyone can provide!

J. M. Shaw, II, D.C.
1988 International Harvester S1654 Retired UHaul truck
(Converted to Flatbed Hauler-ish)
IDI 7.3 International Diesel, 5-Speed

1989 F-350 XLT Lariat, CC, DRW, 2WD
IDI 7.3, Auto, Charity Auction Find!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 05:41 AM
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It's not rocket surgery and the instructions I gave you paraphrase almost word for word from BOTH the owner's manual and my Ford shop manual. Don't know how to make it more clear or concise. I'm about 600 miles short of having a 1/4 million miles on my truck so do the math, I've drained the filter at every 5000 mile oil change WITH THE ENGINE OFF as per both manuals. Although both manuals make no mention of it, If you find it to be a more thrill-packed experience to drain with the engine running, go for it.
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It's broken out in 6 steps, and #6 has 8 bullet steps, but they're probably NOT the same for your older engines.
Nothing like complicating a simple issue. As a guy once wisely said on here, "HE ASKED WHAT TIME IT IS, NOT HOW TO BUILD A CLOCK".

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'91 F-250 SC 4X4, 5spd. ATS Turbo, 3:55 diff.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 08:20 AM
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I think that the op has valid concerns if he has never done this before. Out of curiosity, I checked mine yesterday and found that it is not the most visible area to find that thumb screw. I used a hand mirror to locate it and used pliers to release it as it was too tight for these old hands. Just another opinion for what its worth.

1994 F250 HD, IDI Diesel, 3:55 gears, K&N filter, Hayden Tranny Cooler, Monroe HD SensaTrac shocks, dual pillar pod with temp & tranny guage, poly fuel tanks,aluminum racing radiator
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 08:55 AM
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Understood, but you only know 1/2 the story. 5 or 6 posts are missing. We all explained in Technicolor and great detail the procedure. The only difference of opinion is a few do it with the engine running.

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'91 F-250 SC 4X4, 5spd. ATS Turbo, 3:55 diff.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-29-2018, 10:41 PM
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Understood, but you only know 1/2 the story. 5 or 6 posts are missing. We all explained in Technicolor and great detail the procedure. The only difference of opinion is a few do it with the engine running.
And to be honest, none of the trucks I've owned ever had an owner's manual, so most of my stuff comes from former experience, with other manufacturers, and the stationary stuff I have worked on. As you said "It aint rocket science" The OP still wants to know if he should walk off and let it drain. I very clearly said in my last post to WATCH IT. If he can't follow simple directions, then I'm done with him. The last time I looked watch it didn't mean walk off and let it drain.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 08:15 AM
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Since I bought my pickup new, I've still got the packet with the owner's manual, tire warranty info plus the window sticker from the dealership. I keep it in the center console, or as a guy here more correctly called it, the garbage collector. Without going out to look, I think it retailed for $24,000 or $26,000. I guess the same loaded model now goes for a wonderful $65 or $70 thousand.

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'91 F-250 SC 4X4, 5spd. ATS Turbo, 3:55 diff.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 08:19 AM
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Anybody else having fits with this site?? Most of the time yesterday when I clicked on a post or go to TDS all I get is a blank white page. It's doing the same thing now and then today.

Heavy truck and diesel mechanic (thankfully retired after 30+ yrs)
'91 F-250 SC 4X4, 5spd. ATS Turbo, 3:55 diff.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by LMJD View Post
Anybody else having fits with this site?? Most of the time yesterday when I clicked on a post or go to TDS all I get is a blank white page. It's doing the same thing now and then today.

I was just wondering if anyone else was getting that white screen like I am.

It started happening when they went to the new security certificate with the https the other day.

96 F250 PS XLT 4X4 long box, 5sp,4.10, manual hubs,pyro+boost guages, Dark Toumaline, add a leaf, Dale's TYMAR, and HX hose, downpipe, coolant filter, Luk clutch
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 01:06 PM
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Yes, Bugman, it's been really bad today too. And if I switch to Google Chrome I get a window that says something like website not available.

Heavy truck and diesel mechanic (thankfully retired after 30+ yrs)
'91 F-250 SC 4X4, 5spd. ATS Turbo, 3:55 diff.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-30-2018, 03:25 PM
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It sometimes won't even let me on. Says that TDS can't handle the request.

To reply to you LMJD, The most I ever paid for one was about 5,000. They have always been mostly used up by the time I got them, hence the reason I have owned so many of them. The body falls apart, I pull the heart and lungs out of them, freshen up the engine, sell the stuff and buy another used up one wth the money. That last go-round didn't work out so well, because the engine broke a piston, probably from former owner(s) and ethter starts. 3,000 for the one I drive now. Former owner couldn't make it start cold, and had the fuel turned WAY up. 3 new glow plugs, turned the fuel down, it runs like it should.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 06:33 AM
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Yep, buying used, unfortunately you don't know how it was taken care of. My neighbor who is a horse trainer phoned me one day about changing a serpentine belt on his Dodge diesel. He'd had 3 horses in his trailer when the belt broke. He was far from being wealthy but about 2 weeks later he's driving a shiny new Dodge diesel. No doubt he overheated and barbequed the engine in the old truck and dumped it. I hunted all over the country for a used Ford diesel when I bought my '91 but back then everyone liked them so much used ones were nowhere to be found. About that time I found my credit union offered such low interest loans on a new one versus used that it wasn't too painful to spring for a new one.

Heavy truck and diesel mechanic (thankfully retired after 30+ yrs)
'91 F-250 SC 4X4, 5spd. ATS Turbo, 3:55 diff.
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