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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is probably something that I should know, but I don't. When should the fuel bowl be drained for possible water contamination? I've drained my periodically, maybe once or twice a year, but have never seen any water in the collection tub.
 

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I typically try to drain mine once a month or every other month.
 

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I think it was "madvan" that did his frequently, and claims he never had any issues with the o-rings leaking. Its been over a year for me, & Im wondering if I start excersizing it, it might leak. I hate doing the fix!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys. I drained the bowl when I replaced the filter a few weeks ago and since then, it's been hard to start. While I was under it today, I noticed fuel in the clear drain hose that is attached to the drain outlet. There is no puddle under the vehicle, but like you bork, I'm beginning to wonder if the drain is seeping a little, causing the system to lose a little pressure. The van has 142k on it and is giving to fuel problems, so I guess that I just continue with once or twice, or maybe 3 times a year drain.
 

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If it is leaking, don't replace the drain valve (about $45). Get an o-ring kit instead. It is a bit of a pain to get the four screws out, but a cost of around $10 makes it worthwhile.

Your manual likely says to drain it monthly. If you refuel at the same places and have no history of water in the bowl, draining it less often may be okay. Just hope your caution light in the dash works properly.
 

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Thanks, guys. I drained the bowl when I replaced the filter a few weeks ago and since then, it's been hard to start. While I was under it today, I noticed fuel in the clear drain hose that is attached to the drain outlet. There is no puddle under the vehicle, but like you bork, I'm beginning to wonder if the drain is seeping a little, causing the system to lose a little pressure. The van has 142k on it and is giving to fuel problems, so I guess that I just continue with once or twice, or maybe 3 times a year drain.
Have you tried cycling your key once or twice , waiting close to where pump cycles off? Then does it start better?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yep, I've recycled it a few times. On original start, it will crank but won't start. Afterwards, it'll start after a few cranks.
 

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Hmmmmmm, Maybe a volume check of fuel pump would be a good idea. Not sure how accurate the water drain is for this, but I could do a timed key cycle & then let you know how many ounces or there should be some info somewhere on the net, I would think. Have you checked your air filters? I hate/embarrassed to say, I noted a pretty big improvement, in starting, after I changed mine. ( I let go way too long) Also oil level ok? (IIRC within an inch from from top) Is the HPOP reservoir draining down overnight? I've heard some have had some weird problems with oil level draining down in reservoir, and had to actually add some oil to get it to start. Come to think of it, Scratch the HPOP thing, because IIRC, it starts or it doesn't when low low, not a delayed start, unless maybe cranks for a real long time to refill using the low pressure oil. I 'll do some searches.
ON EDIT; here is fuel pressure bu I dont think we can easily access the port. I saw a mechanic with a fuel cap, tapped for a 90degree fitting & installed his guage on the hose from top of temporary cap.
Much stuff on youtube, might be IPR or the fuel reg? Start with the easiest things to check, first.
Have you tried plugging the block heater in for a couple of hours, to see if your first start changes? just for the heck of it, easy to do stuff.
 

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Im just speculating but considering you are warm weather climate, i think, maybe this is a glow plug issue and not a fuel issue? Could also be a fuel pump but bad fuel pumps that "seem" good can also have symptoms where they give good fuel pressure initially and then it tapers off/decreases/fluctuates/dies. My $.02
 

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Some good ideas from bad experiences!

In case anyone has a similar problem, for any hard start issues, first I would check BOTH batteries and connections. Next, I would plug it in for an hour before starting. If that makes a difference, then I would look into first testing GPR, then glow plugs after that. klhansen has a great link to diagnose hard starting issues included in his signature. It helped me determine I needed a new GPR. FWIW, I used the Western Snowplow Relay #56131K (Trombetta 684-11221-012) because it is 100% duty cycle (way better than stock) and only @ $30 including shipping. The Stancor is also excellent but it is MUCH bigger and $20 more for the same 100% duty cycle.



Not sure how accurate the water drain is for this,
bork,
Great minds think alike! When I was having silver flake tank delamination issues, I was trying to come up with alternate means of testing for different things, despite the lack of access to van fuel bowls. First I connected a 24" length of 3/8" black hose to the steel bowl drain hose. Next, I bought a cheap ($3) 3/8' clear fuel filter for gasoline and attached it to the loose end under the van. Let it hang over a catch container (clear Gatorade bottle) and go cycle the key to on (without starting) and back off. Open your bowl drain and let about a qt. run through the filter. Repeat several times and look closely at what is inside the clear fuel filter. I was blown away at all the sediment.
Doing this made me wonder if I could use my bowl drain to do sort of a semi-accurate pressure test. (Since then I have bought the correct bowl adapter and schrader valve from dieselOrings and they were pretty easy to install.) Testing for pressure from the drain hose, in a pinch, is not good if there's a-lot of play in the short hose connecting the bowl drain to the 3/8" metal drain hose. It will not be nearly as accurate as from the bowl, but it can be done. All I wanted to know at that time was if it was dropping below 40 psi under load because that's when injector damage happens.
It is sometimes frustrating working on diesel vans, but they really bring out the best MacGuyver in all of us! Van guys do it by feel, in the dark!
 

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I would like to get that schrader adapter also, but was afraid I wouldn't be able to install it without an all day affair in the dog house. Did you install from front or from cab side? how long did it take, & difficulty from 1-5, 1 being easiest.
Concerning flow check, I wish I would have remembered to write down my time & quantity. (maybe 2/3rds of a gator aid bottle for a 15 second key on then off cycle.) I didn't want to wait for end of cycle, because, others may have varied cycle off times, so I went with 15 seconds, for repeatable results. But now that you said this, it would be a good time now, to do it when all is running good, for reference. That goes for other perimeters also.
 

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Bork, I am going to reply with more detail than you probably need in case others may find it helpful. Because it's a van, I'm going to say it is a level 4 out of 5 to get the fuel pressure test port in the post filter position on the bowl and 3 out of 5 to put it in the pre-factory bowl filter port. I wanted mine in the post-filter port, which is towards passenger side of bowl, so I could read actual fuel pressure including drop if filters became clogged. Now, because you have a pre-pump filter like I do now too, you may just want to use the driver's side port. It is unlikely, that your factory filter will become restrictive at all. Level of difficulty on this also depends on your physical build. I am tall and wirey with a long reach which is a plus. My hands are big which is sometimes a minus except it helps to have long fingers while trying to maneuver the tools in there by feel alone. Working on my van, I find myself using an array of 1/4" ratchets (a tiny 3" long ratchet and a small wheel type hand ratchet are my favorites), extensions, swivel and wobble adapters, a 2 1/2" diameter extendable mirror, tiny wrenches (both ratcheting and stubby), etc. Working on the bowl is easiest for most from the front with the intake, and alternator removed, but putting the pressure adapter on the driver's side port can be done without removing the alt. I put mine there first when nobody could diagnose the tank delamination issues. Either way, dieselOrings has all the parts necessary for that and Guzzle's maintenance and modification pages attached to his website are extremely helpful to both new guys as well as listing fastener sizes/tools needed for those of us working by feel or with a mirror! After receiving some advice from other helpful van owners here, I have been surprised at how much of the engine I can reach from the dog house side. I managed to replace the bowl drain o-rings and access the other bowl port from back there. Here are a few tricks I would recommend to everyone who is going to work on their own van. Remove the stupid resonator and plug the intake hole with a 2" black plastic ABS pipe cap and hose clamp. Get a small work light with a magnetic base so you can stick it up where the resonator used to be on the top of the firewall. I found a cheap 12 volt LED magnetic light the size of a hockey puck with a 8' cord. I run it to the power port. It is a life saver! The volume measurements, I think would be possible but difficult due to the fact that results would differ from so many other variables, like differing return fuel pressure setting springs, different people's timing (start/stop differences messing with the drain cable), etc. Fuel pressure under a given load, is the best test which eliminates all other variables. One last thing, I recently wrapped my down pipe while installing wrapped up-pipes. I did that for two reasons unrelated to performance! First, the factory heat shields confirm that there is a ton of heat and noise real close to the dog house cover. I had already added lots of soundproofing to that and covered entire back of doghouse with flame proof foil tape. I was able to get one layer of wrap UNDER the heat shield welded to the down pipe and one layer over,, sprayed with the protective high heat silicone paint and all covered with tape. The best part of doing that is that I used to have to wait for all to cool for a while before reaching in there. After I complete a few planned turbo/wastegate related mods, I'm planning on trashing the POS tinny shield and using heat mat (normally used to protect a starter) to cover the exhaust side of the turbo. Then I will fabricate a smaller but stronger shield which will use the same mounting bolt on the turbo pedistal bracket. That way, I will only need to remove the dog house cover to test fuel pressure, change the fuel filter, check for leaks, etc.! As long as you have the separate (factory) fuel bowl cover and use the factory fuel filter elements, it is possible to change them from the back faster than disassembling the whole under hood deal. I would not recommend that anyone use the one piece cap and filters on the vans due to too much fighting with the wiring bracket and not really enough clearance for an easy change out.
 

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Bork, I am going to reply with more detail than you probably need in case others may find it helpful. Because it's a van, I'm going to say it is a level 4 out of 5 to get the fuel pressure test port in the post filter position on the bowl and 3 out of 5 to put it in the pre-factory bowl filter port. I wanted mine in the post-filter port, which is towards passenger side of bowl, so I could read actual fuel pressure including drop if filters became clogged. Now, because you have a pre-pump filter like I do now too, you may just want to use the driver's side port. It is unlikely, that your factory filter will become restrictive at all. Level of difficulty on this also depends on your physical build. I am tall and wirey with a long reach which is a plus. My hands are big which is sometimes a minus except it helps to have long fingers while trying to maneuver the tools in there by feel alone. Working on my van, I find myself using an array of 1/4" ratchets (a tiny 3" long ratchet and a small wheel type hand ratchet are my favorites), extensions, swivel and wobble adapters, a 2 1/2" diameter extendable mirror, tiny wrenches (both ratcheting and stubby), etc. Working on the bowl is easiest for most from the front with the intake, and alternator removed, but putting the pressure adapter on the driver's side port can be done without removing the alt. I put mine there first when nobody could diagnose the tank delamination issues. Either way, dieselOrings has all the parts necessary for that and Guzzle's maintenance and modification pages attached to his website are extremely helpful to both new guys as well as listing fastener sizes/tools needed for those of us working by feel or with a mirror! After receiving some advice from other helpful van owners here, I have been surprised at how much of the engine I can reach from the dog house side. I managed to replace the bowl drain o-rings and access the other bowl port from back there. Here are a few tricks I would recommend to everyone who is going to work on their own van. Remove the stupid resonator and plug the intake hole with a 2" black plastic ABS pipe cap and hose clamp. Get a small work light with a magnetic base so you can stick it up where the resonator used to be on the top of the firewall. I found a cheap 12 volt LED magnetic light the size of a hockey puck with a 8' cord. I run it to the power port. It is a life saver! The volume measurements, I think would be possible but difficult due to the fact that results would differ from so many other variables, like differing return fuel pressure setting springs, different people's timing (start/stop differences messing with the drain cable), etc. Fuel pressure under a given load, is the best test which eliminates all other variables. One last thing, I recently wrapped my down pipe while installing wrapped up-pipes. I did that for two reasons unrelated to performance! First, the factory heat shields confirm that there is a ton of heat and noise real close to the dog house cover. I had already added lots of soundproofing to that and covered entire back of doghouse with flame proof foil tape. I was able to get one layer of wrap UNDER the heat shield welded to the down pipe and one layer over,, sprayed with the protective high heat silicone paint and all covered with tape. The best part of doing that is that I used to have to wait for all to cool for a while before reaching in there. After I complete a few planned turbo/wastegate related mods, I'm planning on trashing the POS tinny shield and using heat mat (normally used to protect a starter) to cover the exhaust side of the turbo. Then I will fabricate a smaller but stronger shield which will use the same mounting bolt on the turbo pedistal bracket. That way, I will only need to remove the dog house cover to test fuel pressure, change the fuel filter, check for leaks, etc.! As long as you have the separate (factory) fuel bowl cover and use the factory fuel filter elements, it is possible to change them from the back faster than disassembling the whole under hood deal. I would not recommend that anyone use the one piece cap and filters on the vans due to too much fighting with the wiring bracket and not really enough clearance for an easy change out.

Awesome tips! Im actually tearing into my van this weekend to address an oil drip (i think its the ebpv rod in the pedestal as it is caked with oil) and possible boost leak (i think the intake boots are leaking). Hence I have to tear apart everything in the valley except for the hpop. Also going to rebuild the fuel bowl and install the hpx & frx. Thanks for the info as this is my first time tearing apart all this.
 

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Glad I could help, DJ! In your case, I would just go ahead and yank out the alt, etc. Here is one more must have tool, Craftsman p/n: 45047, lighted LED telescopic inspection mirror. Use the force, my friend! ImageUploadedByAG Free1459553560.916787.jpg
 
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