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Old 10-07-2020, 01:20 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 17
Prepping a Diesel to Sit

Converted an early 2000s Ford E450 Powerstroke Diesel 7.3 - 117k miles, seems it was well maintained until it sat for a year or so. I have it parked off-road and jacked up in the woods on the property where I live. My intention is not to drive it, as I have no plan to move, but perhaps one day I will move or want to sell it. That could be one year from now or 10 or never. I'd like to maintain the mechanics of the bus to be able to do that. I am not wanting to put a bunch of money into it to stay in peak condition, just need it to run. I know a bus is a bit silly for not planning to move, but I got the bus dirt cheap! My whole project is cheaper than a tiny house trailer would have cost alone...



Its not possible for me to move the bus to drive it and get it hot on occasion because of how it's jacked up and off road - it took 4 days to get it jacked up, don't ask! I have read multiple threads and seen mixed things, but nobody who is in my exact situation and I am looking for advice.


One more note - when I was moving it around, the "water in fuel" light came on -- probably condensation in the fuel tank? A mechanic working on something else said the fuel was nasty when he looked at it.



My current plan is to drain the fuel, drain the water separator (any insight into how to do that? Seen videos of similar process but none for this bus model...), replace fuel filters, top off all fluids including fuel, add fuel stabilizer and biocide, and then let it sit.



One consideration -- since there was water in the fuel, should I run the bus one more time and, while in neutral, push the pedal and rev the engine for 30 min to cycle fuel thru the system and "burn off" any potential nasties in there? Will it get hot enough just revving the engine in neutral? Should I do that sort of thing once a month, or just leave it sitting?


Another consideration -- filling a ~50 gal fuel tank just for it to sit unused and go rotten after a year sounds expensive and wasteful. Could I just put a few gallons in there and drain it every month, give away the fuel to somebody, and fill it back up with fresh fuel? I know that would allow condensation but if it's drained monthly would that be enough water build up to cause rust or engine issues if fuel isn't moving thru the system? I'm willing to pay for the fuel to fill the tank if that's whats best.


Anything else I'm not thinking of?


Thanks!!!
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Old 10-07-2020, 04:26 PM   #2
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As far as fuel, I would drain the separator down, fill the tank as close to full as possible to keep condensation from forming (water in fuel is death for a diesel), and top it off with 2-3 cans of Diesel 911. You can drain the fuel tank completely and refill with fresh fuel (not a bad idea), but this makes the next step much harder, as air in the system can prevent starting. However, that may be best if the fuel is really that nasty.

Whichever you decide to do.... Afterward, start the engine, run it for a couple hours or drive the bus about 50-75 miles to get the Diesel 911 flowing well through the injection system, then top it off with more Diesel 911. That should keep the fuel from going bad. It just depends on how long of a hiatus we're talking about.

Once you pull it back out of hiatus, change the filters, purge any air out of the system and change the oil before starting back up.
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Old 10-07-2020, 05:03 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
As far as fuel, I would drain the separator down, fill the tank as close to full as possible to keep condensation from forming (water in fuel is death for a diesel), and top it off with 2-3 cans of Diesel 911. You can drain the fuel tank completely and refill with fresh fuel (not a bad idea), but this makes the next step much harder, as air in the system can prevent starting. However, that may be best if the fuel is really that nasty.

Whichever you decide to do.... Afterward, start the engine, run it for a couple hours or drive the bus about 50-75 miles to get the Diesel 911 flowing well through the injection system, then top it off with more Diesel 911. That should keep the fuel from going bad. It just depends on how long of a hiatus we're talking about.

Once you pull it back out of hiatus, change the filters, purge any air out of the system and change the oil before starting back up.
Thanks so much for the input! That all sounds wise.
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Old 10-07-2020, 08:01 PM   #4
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You may want to think about the battery as well. a maintenance charger on it would be a good idea, or if not in good shape just remove it till it is time to drive the bus again, and at that point get a new one. Old discharged batteries can freeze, and leak ,that makes a real mess of the battery compartment... rust as well as corroded battery cables.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:00 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ForestGarden View Post
........





Another consideration -- filling a ~50 gal fuel tank just for it to sit unused and go rotten after a year sounds expensive and wasteful.
Could I just put a few gallons in there and drain it every month, give away the fuel to somebody, and fill it back up with fresh fuel? I know that would allow condensation but if it's drained monthly would that be enough water build up to cause rust or engine issues if fuel isn't moving thru the system? I'm willing to pay for the fuel to fill the tank if that's whats best.


Anything else I'm not thinking of?


Thanks!!!
Diesel fuel does NOT go bad. Gasoline is a mixture of many ,many chemicals. Diesel has very few ingredients. a part filled tank or empty tanks will gather condensation as temps change daily. because the air goes in the vent and out and back in, and......
A FULL tank can gather VERY little water. Because the air can't get in. MY RV sits for 10 months every year. It sits with full tanks.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:01 PM   #6
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Taken from my DT466 manual
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Old 10-08-2020, 12:27 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
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Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
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There's a yellow plastic lever on the back of the fuel filter canister that lets you drain any water in the canister. The fuel canister is mounted on the top of the engine near the water pump. I assume your bus is a cutaway van so getting to the fuel drain can be an adventure.

You should have an electric fuel pump in that year so purging air out of the fuel lines and filter is as easy as turning the ignition key to ON without starting the engine. The fuel pump is mounted down under the driver's seat and you'll hear it buzz when the key is on. The pump will run for about 30 seconds before timing out so repeat several times and any air should be sent back to the fuel tank. Don't run the engine until you've cycled the fuel pump a few times as air can be drawn into the fuel rails and that air takes time to be pushed through the system.


Revving the engine will not remove water from the fuel canister. The water separator keeps water in the bottom of the canister and fuel enters the fuel rails from the top of the canister. You can remove water by opening the drain, by removing the filter/water separator and sucking the old fuel out with a turkey baster, or by running some diesel fuel treatment through the system for a while.

If there are squirrels in the area be aware that they just love to make nests in the engine compartment and spend long, lazy afternoons chewing away at your wiring. Mothballs in the engine valley are reported to keep the buggers away.
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