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Old 01-24-2018, 04:52 PM   #1
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Diesel fuel gone bad?

I've let my bus sit for a few months while I work on the conversion. It's a International 3300 with a T444E engine. I start it up every Sunday to keep the batteries fresh, etc.

This weekend when it started it didn't run smoothly. It was doing a "chug chug chug" thing. Running it for a while did not help. I think maybe the fuel has degraded? Last time I put new fuel in it was maybe 6 months ago, and there had been a couple of gallons of ~6 month old fuel in it at the time which the new fuel mixed with.

Am I wrong in thinking that's the problem? Should I just add some stabilizer and see if it improves? Should I drive it until I burn up the fuel that's in it and add fresh fuel? Or add fresh fuel to what is there already? Or siphon it out and fill it with fresh fuel?
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:24 PM   #2
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I would start with seeing if there is water in the fuel water separator and adding an engine treatment/anti gel to it. Something like a HOWES brand.
But with the up and down weather the carolinas have been having and you not having a completely full tank I would say that you have water/moisture in the fuel.
Good luc
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:25 PM   #3
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Sounds like moisture in the fuel. Maybe add some winter grade diesel first and if it goes add some fuel conditioner. Follow directions on conditioner as too much is bad too. Burn that old fuel off and get new winter grade and fill it to avoid condensation in the tank.
How long do you run it on Sundays? Not sure if that is the best practice if not driving it and getting up to operating temp range. That warms your fuel up and helps disperse moisture in it as it circulates back to the tank and then back to the engine.
Short cold starts will do more harm than good to many parts of your engine, batteries, starter so hope you get it running and give it a good Sunday drive for at least an hour.

John
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CaseyJones View Post
I've let my bus sit for a few months while I work on the conversion. It's a International 3300 with a T444E engine. I start it up every Sunday to keep the batteries fresh, etc.

This weekend when it started it didn't run smoothly. It was doing a "chug chug chug" thing. Running it for a while did not help. I think maybe the fuel has degraded? Last time I put new fuel in it was maybe 6 months ago, and there had been a couple of gallons of ~6 month old fuel in it at the time which the new fuel mixed with.

Am I wrong in thinking that's the problem? Should I just add some stabilizer and see if it improves? Should I drive it until I burn up the fuel that's in it and add fresh fuel? Or add fresh fuel to what is there already? Or siphon it out and fill it with fresh fuel?
Diesel doesn't degrade...check your water separator...

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Old 01-24-2018, 05:47 PM   #5
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Sounds like moisture in the fuel. Maybe add some winter grade diesel first and if it goes add some fuel conditioner. Follow directions on conditioner as too much is bad too. Burn that old fuel off and get new winter grade and fill it to avoid condensation in the tank.
How long do you run it on Sundays? Not sure if that is the best practice if not driving it and getting up to operating temp range. That warms your fuel up and helps disperse moisture in it as it circulates back to the tank and then back to the engine.
Short cold starts will do more harm than good to many parts of your engine, batteries, starter so hope you get it running and give it a good Sunday drive for at least an hour.

John
Oh dear. I only run it for about 10 minutes each Sunday! I guess I need to start driving it around instead.

I'll give what you suggested a shot and see if it improves. Thanks!
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
I would start with seeing if there is water in the fuel water separator and adding an engine treatment/anti gel to it. Something like a HOWES brand.
But with the up and down weather the carolinas have been having and you not having a completely full tank I would say that you have water/moisture in the fuel.
Good luc
I'm having trouble finding info about the water separator online. Where on the engine would it be?

Looks something like an oil filter?
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Old 01-24-2018, 05:59 PM   #7
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Kind of?
You will have to trace your fuel line to the pump and or pump to motor to find it.
There are several different designs and I don't know what international or Amtran chose to fit in there design.
It should look like a form of a filter but have a drain plug on the bottom to blow the water fuel mix down towards the ground ,frame ,axle, down your arm to your armpit type drain.
Hope they made it fairly easy to get to?
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:45 PM   #8
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If the t444 has the same fuel bowl as the ford f350 with the 7.3, then the water separator is integrated into the fuel bowl on the top of the engine in the valley. There's a valve on the front of the bowl that you turn to the left, which will empty the bowl and any water in it. May be a good idea to check the fuel filter at the same time and change if needed.

- Pat

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Old 01-24-2018, 07:50 PM   #9
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My Cummins has it as part of the fuel filter system (2 units...a filter plus a "water/fuel separator"). Just a little twist drain on the bottom. It looks just like a radiator drain.
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Old 01-24-2018, 08:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyJones View Post
I'm having trouble finding info about the water separator online. Where on the engine would it be?

Looks something like an oil filter?

I assumed you knew somethings about your bus engine and operation.

This is why you have to be accurate in explaining because now you say you don't know where or what a fuel separator is.
Others know your engine better than I who thought you knew yours so good luck getting it going. I'm out.

John
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Old 01-24-2018, 08:16 PM   #11
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Not sure what is meant by "diesel doesn't degrade"...but it can certainly go bad. Algae being one of the main culprits. Even under controlled conditions, the fuel companies state that diesel fuel can only be store for about 12 months.
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Old 01-24-2018, 08:55 PM   #12
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Not sure what is meant by "diesel doesn't degrade"...but it can certainly go bad. Algae being one of the main culprits. Even under controlled conditions, the fuel companies state that diesel fuel can only be store for about 12 months.
Idk...we had diesel stand-bys and we had them on a auto "exercise" system...meaning they self-started once a week for a 20 minute run cycle

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Old 01-24-2018, 09:19 PM   #13
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Straight diesel doesn't go bad in and of itself. If you are going to keep the same fuel in your tanks for a prolonged period you you should add an algicide at fill-up. I hear that bio-diesel goes bad, and if your fuel contains it that might be a problem.

Regardless, everyone needs to know how to change their fuel filters the proper way, and how to bleed the fuel system if necessary. Injectors don't work with excessive air in their fuel supply lines. Your batteries and starter will be much happier. The typical newbie with a no-crank situation just cranks and cranks until the batteries are dead and/or the starter ruined.
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:33 PM   #14
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I was out of town for a few days and didn't get to work on it. But after I got back I tried again to locate the fuel/water separator.

I could not find it, but eventually found a post from someone with a different model International describing theirs - which turned out to be the same as mine. It's a blue fuel filter that sits on top of the engine, right in the middle. It is opaque, not clear like some. It's not a screw in filter.

But anyway, it's got a great stopcock type valve, so all it takes is a turn with one finger and it drains. I turned it and it made a gurgling sound but nothing came out of the drain pipe (which was also well hidden).

However, I started up the bus and it purred like a kitten!

I wasn't happy though, so I disconnected the drain pipe and tried to clear it with air pressure. That didn't work. So I got a copper wire and tried to clear it with that from both ends. There are 3 or 4 bends in the pipe and I couldn't tell if I was running into the next bend or if it was the clog stopping it. But it never cleared.

I took a clear vinyl hose and connected it to the valve instead, and opened the valve. The fuel drained out, but looked very clean. I drained it into a clear bottle but I was stupid and didn't dry out the bottle first. There were water droplets from rinsing it out, so I couldn't tell if the drops of water in the fuel were from the bottle or were already in the fuel!

But anyway, the bus runs great now. And I know how to drain the water from the fuel filter now, too. So I'm ahead of where I was a week ago

From reading about water/fuel separators in general, it sounds like this is a routine maintenance thing. So I'm going to do it regularly. For now, I'll have to hook up the hose every time, so I would really like to get the copper drain pipe cleared. Not sure how I'll do that. It's attached to the frame rail somehow (I can't get a good view of it, since it's in a very tight spot). It would be a lot easier to work on if I can get the whole pipe out.
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:48 PM   #15
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I can't get the images to post correctly, so here's the imgur album: https://imgur.com/a/Qy5ek
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:54 PM   #16
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On my Cat C7, both the fuel filter and the water separator are in plain sight.
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Old 02-03-2018, 06:11 PM   #17
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Take off that black cap and there sits your fuel filter. Should be hand tight. But if it's been on there for a while it might take a bit of effort. I would change it as soon as possible. No telling how long it's been on there, and diesels need regular fuel filter changes. The T444s only weakness is it's injectors, and regular fuel filter changes can give you plenty of life out of them.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:10 PM   #18
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Take off that black cap and there sits your fuel filter. Should be hand tight. But if it's been on there for a while it might take a bit of effort. I would change it as soon as possible. No telling how long it's been on there, and diesels need regular fuel filter changes. The T444s only weakness is it's injectors, and regular fuel filter changes can give you plenty of life out of them.
-Pat

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the lifters are a weak point too... keep your engine oil CLEAN.. your engine oil is used as hydraulic fluid to multiply the pressure in the fiel rail into high pressure.. so that oil needs to be clean too... I change the engine oil in my 444E every 6,000 miles and my oil filter every 3000.. overkill? perhaps. but I drive my bus quite a bit. (18k a year?)...
-Christopher
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:33 PM   #19
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Certainly the best way to preserve the driveline is preventative maintenance especially on the kinds of vehicles most of us own. people think that while converting they can put maintenance on the back burner not so or because they put low miles on their units all they have to do is maintenance by the book not so maintenance specs were written for vehicles that are being used sitting is hard on lubricants because of condensation forming in both fuel an lubes causing acids and oxidations and need to be changed once a year at least vehicles being used at least by schedule if not a little more often.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:23 PM   #20
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I change the engine oil in my 444E every 6,000 miles and my oil filter every 3000.. overkill? perhaps. but I drive my bus quite a bit. (18k a year?)...
-Christopher
So, one of those scheduled is just a filter change? I've not seen that done, unless those numbers are reversed?

Have you ever cut-open the old oil filter? Gives good idea of what's flying around in there. I've found chunks of RTV from overzealous mechanics, etc. Cut apart a Fram for a good joke.

What brand of filter do you like? I just stick with Fleetguard- still have most of that case of 12 for $30 I got on Amazon.
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