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Thread: Diesel fuel system

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Nanaimo BC Canada
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    Has anyone any thoughts about adding a very small quantity (about and ounce per full tank) of Automatic transmission fluid to the diesel.

    It seems the thing to do here. Any truck driver I talk to about owning a diesel says - 'you should put some ATF in the fuel'

    I am not sure if this is Canadian folk lore or what - I hear it from so many sources that I am inclined to concider doing it.

    The last exponent of this "witch's brew" said it helps with lubrication of the fuel system.

    Ideas??

    Mike
    '82 Diesel

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  3. #12
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Raleigh, NC USA
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    It doesn't qualify as "folk lore"; it's more a perpetuation of an old wives' tale. Because it will burn (ATF is basically thin oil) in a diesel (which burns a thin oil), they think it's supposed to. Hooey.

    Diesel fuel is carefully blended for the locale and weather conditions it's sold in. It ALREADY HAS any additives that might be needed. The "lubricity" scare got it's big boost when they reduced the sulfer level of diesel a few years ago. Sulfer does NOT provide lubricity. Sulfer hardened seals and deposit build-ups in poorly maintained vehicles started breaking loose and some had leaks and smoking.

    Adding ATF will probably do more harm than good. ATF has a huge amount of special additives for A/T trannies. None of which, I'm sure, were designed to be burned or injected through critically small orifices at high pressures in a diesel injector. Common sense!

    In the oil & fuel octane topics elsewhere on the site, you'll see I (and VW) are not big fans of fuel additives. Diesel is one exception but NOT for the reason given for using ATF and other weird concoctions.

    Diesel is capable of supporting a bacteria or fungus that becomes a slime and can clog lines & filters. There are anti-fungal agents, such as Penray Fuel Prep 1000 and Biobor's Diesel Dr. to kill that fungus. Recommended occassionally; I add it to the tank BEFORE a fuel filter change in hopes of breaking free and capturing it. Penray Fuel Prep 1000 has the advantage of also being a stabilizer to prevent deterioration of fuel in long-term storage (similar to Stabil)

    Another characteristic of diesel is gelling in cold temperatures. Diesel is blended or "winterized" for the locale so in the middle of winter, the diesel you buy in N. Dakota is going to be blended for anti-gel properties. However, if you live in my neck of the woods and are traveling north, you need to do something. There are both straight anti-gels and blended additives that include anti-gel. I use Penray's Winter Pow-R Plus. It's an anti-gel with some cleaners, so I use it year around. When you run long periods on a tank (The Cummins goes well over 500 miles), you aren't sure if it will be needed and our weather is unpredictable (60's Saturday, 22°F Sunday). It's not effective to add AFTER the tank is full, or to a partial tank.

    Thus I have pre-measured bottles ready for typical tank fills. Penray (own topic in SUPPLIERS) produces for the big rigs, thus is concentrated for their 120 gallon tanks. Mine, and more so a Westy tank, will use small amounts. 3.6 oz for my typical 28-gallon fill; <2 oz. for a Westy tank. Thus it becomes quite economical at a little over $3 per pint treating nearly 5 tanks -- 2,500 miles in my truck.

    A final 'diesel' additive I will use -- but also do so on my gas cars -- is the tank before a service I will add a concentrated FI system cleaner. In a diesel, it is possible to fill the new fuel filter with the additive for a concentrated initial purge upon restarting. Two satisfactory products are given in the Penray and Lubri-Molly topics under SUPPLIERS.

    Caution: a diesel can not use the same additive as cars for this process. Their base may be too volitile for the compression of a diesel.

  4. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    I have an '82 Diesel Westy. This was purchased new in Germany (to US specs) by a friend who finally sold it to me last year (replacing my beloved '59 van which I can no longer drive). When he had a rebuilt engine installed the installer reused the old fuel line from the filter to the injector pump. This has shrunk with age and now contacts the accelerator linkage.
    My local VW dealer tells me the part (diesel fuel line) is no longer available, and can not or will not provide the specs for the material or the size. I have not been able to locate this part over the internet - but maybe I'm not looking in the right places.
    I have located a (relatively) local distributor of diesel fuel lines. But I need the size of the line to tell them what I need. I hate to cut it off to take it over only to find they don't carry that size.
    Does anyone have the spec for this line (and a source for the clamps if they are also "not available" at VW - that seems to be their favorite response to part requests)?
    Any tips about possible pitfalls I may encounter in the replacement would be greatly appreciated. I'm talking about the type of thing the manual doesn't mention and which seems to pop up on "simple" jobs.
    Thank you.

  5. #14
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    The diesel fuel injection system on the Westy is pretty much like all others -- and the place to look for substitute parts would be with the truck shops. What happens over time is that the demand for a special production piece like the fixed fuel lines drops to the point the manufacturer no longer sells enough to carry them. Thus you are left with two alternatives -- custom order or substitute.

    I would, for curiosity if nothing else, ask the dealer to do a parts search of national & Canadian dealer stock to see if there is one laying around, and if not, to then see if they will check Germany for existing stock. Many dealers want to stop at the NLA designation on the computer parts list, but that's just US distribution.

    The fuel lines to feed the injection pump are nothing exotic. They connect to the filter & pump via a "banjo bolt", which is a hollow bolt with holes in end & side. In VW's case, they are a generic 12mm size. You can get banjo style hose ends most anywhere. I suspect it's the same bolt as the late-model Vanagon hydraulic clutch fittings. Since Bosch is the international leader in diesel injection, most truck dealers should be able to get them for you. They are also going to be your best source or reference for custom fabriation of metal fuel lines. Those banjo bolts are also used extensively in other European makes such as MBenz and Porsche. There is one on the return lines from the injectors to the pump of the VW.

    You decision will be to have a solid metal pipe made or to change to flexible hose. The hose is nothing exotic, apparently 7mm. You have to get one resistent to diesel additives and capable of the higher pressure of a diesel system. Probably still in use on the TDI diesels. The clamps are generic -- see the topic on hoses & clamps this forum.

    You could just cut the banjo fitting off the end, but then I'd recommend a roll bead or double flare to add to the grip of the hose & clamp. Otherwise buy new ones that have a bead or barbs already.

    If substituting flexible line, you can go any degree of sophistication you want -- flexible metal cover, braided, or plain. I'd go braided OEM style; it has much greater resistance to outside drying and abrasion.

    Routing a flexible line calls for a little common sense. No chafing, no long unsupported sections, grommet any pass-throughs. ALWAYS replace ALL of copper sealing washers on both sides of each banjo bolt EVERY time you remove or install one.

  6. #15
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    Vehicles built 2007 and later are required to use the new ultra-low sulpher fuels, <15 ppm. Most of the pumps you'll see right now are low-sulpher, <500 ppm and have warnings about new engines. Don't be alarmed. The ultra-low is required on new vehicles because they will be equipped with catalytic converters and other EPA requirements. The good news, this will not effect the older engines, they can burn the new fuel without any modifications.

    You may hear some wive's tales about loss of lubricity. Sulpher does NOT provide lubricity, however the process to remove the sulpher may reduce lubricity. As a result, to meet this problem, the US has adopted lubricity standard ASTM D-975 for all fuels, which should ensure complete compatibility.

  7. #16

    Default Diesel stalls in city driving, not on the highway

    Hey everyone, I'm new to the site but I've been doing a lot of reading- thanks for all the helpful info! Question to echo the post from 2002 quoted below - we just bought an 82 Diesel westy, 48hp rabbit engine, 125,000 miles, new Bosch fuel pump, and it started acting up about 3 weeks after purchasing. Here are the symptoms, numbered to allow anyone to address them easier:

    1) Runs fine on cold start, smokes grey but my mechanic says that's oil burning off from a slight overfill when I first changed the oil
    2) After it warms up, almost every time I let off the gas to coast to a stop sign, it tries to cough and die. If I pump the accelerator pedal, it often will prevent the engine from stalling.
    3) It idles fine, once it has successfully reached idle speed. It also cruises fine, as in highway driving. It's in the RPM slowdown that it gets into trouble.
    4) Having stalled during the coast into a stop sign, it then starts back up, usually immediately, occasionally requiring 3-4 pumps of the accelerator pedal.
    4) It has a Racor filter installed aftermarket that is first in line from the fuel tank, fuel then routes to the stock fuel filter, from there to the engine.

    Here are possible solutions, some tried, some only proposed:
    1) My mechanic, with 30 years' experience working on VW's and diesels, has just cleaned out the Racor filter and replaced its paper element, and replaced the stock filter, both of which he said were totally caked up. He expected that to solve the problem, but it clearly has not.
    2) Per Capt. Mike's reply to the posting below, I re-checked our Racor filter for additional sediment or water after the cleaning job, and neither problem substance exists. Regarding his suggestion for air in the lines, the main fuel line running from the stock filter to the fuel pump seems to have no bubbles in it, and i think it's a see-through line, but I don't have any basis for comparison.
    3) My mechanic thinks this is not a timing issue, because pulling out the Cold Start knob doesn't make a difference in the performance of the engine, and he says the purpose of that knob is to advance the timing approx. 7 degrees, so fiddling with that knob should change the engine's performance if timing is the problem.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks, Perry
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 08-28-2008 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Remove redundant quote

  8. #17
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    You are, of course, at the mileage your cam & FI pump drive belt should have been replaced. 90 or 120K are the two most often heard figures -- I lean towards the 90K on a fabric belt.

    Regardless of what the cold-start cable does then, it should be off when warmed up and therefore injection pump timing is a possible issue. The advancing during cold could be covering up when warm & off.

    Check your fuel cut-off solenoid. It's supposed to shut off fuel at engine turn off, but if it's dirty, could be allowing less than ideal fuel through when running.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 08-29-2008 at 09:12 AM.

  9. #18

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    Done with the day job and taking a harder look at it - just found an air bubble about 6 inches long in the clear fuel supply line that runs from the stock filter to the fuel pump. Thanks Mike for the advice on the belt and solenoid, I'll add those to my list of things to check tonight.

  10. #19

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    OK, I found the problem and thought someone else might learn from my experience:

    After finding it was sucking air, I came across this thread: http://www.vwdieselparts.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6697 which also described a similar situation. Long story short, there was a ton of debris in the bottom of my fuel tank, mostly sand and grit. The system was sucking air because the vacuum caused by the clogged screen inside the tank led air to get in somewhere where it wouldn't normally. Just for good measure, I inspected the ends of the hoses where hose clamps hold flexible hoses onto fittings (4 in all), and cut about 1" off the end of two that looked frayed or cracked. After repairing the hoses I observed very few, very small bubbles in the line which previously looked like a hottub jet.

    The correct way to fix the tank problem is to pull the tank, but to band-aid the problem for now, I used our kitchen turkey baster to force air & fuel back into the fuel tank, stir the buildup of silt, and suck it out. It was kind of like plunging a toilet. I ended up with 2+1/4 gallons of diesel that looks more like your favorite porter or stout. By the way, I'm in charge of kitchen items so my wife didn't protest. Since there's still some junk in the bottom of the tank, I figure we have several filter changes ahead of us in the next thousand miles or so.

  11. #20
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    Pulling, cleaning and relining the tank is not the huge job you might think, but that is the subject of another forum. I'm doing one now on an antique truck and have done a VW Bug already.

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