More follow up - Petrol Toyota Landcruiser 200 fuel contamination and blockage - MORE problems

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 21:26

Mike & Amanda

Hi all,

Well it has happened again!

Quick synopsis – Alice Springs in July, tanks removed and pump cleaned, all OK.

On return I investigated options. The filter cannot be easily fabricated, no pre-filters can be fitted. They pointed me at Repco who provide a Chinese copy of the LC200 fuel pump for $100. It comes with removable lateral filter that looks quite good. Even though I bought one, at this point I’m not courageous enough to trust Chinese copies so into the spares’ drawer it goes and I also purchased a genuine Toyota pump for $600 trade.

The filtration engineers also suggested we start using a product called Fuel Set – available from This helps break down water and sediment.

The car was booked into TLC O’Connor who would do a pre-remote trip service and attempt to replace the pump through the access hatch behind the driver’s seat. Well this wasn’t to be. The hatch is too small to undo the cover on the actual fuel tank. Its primary purpose is to inspect pump electrical wiring and hose connections. To replace a fuel pump in the Landcruiser 200 you need to drop all tanks. There goes my idea for fixing it on the road.

The following week we headed up north to collect some photos and material for 4WD and camper trailer stories. The Cruiser started playing up on dirt roads south and east of Carnarvon. After Gnaraloo and when heading to cross the Kennedy Ranges we lost all power over 3000RPM – identical symptoms to Cape York/Derby and Alice Springs. This is now the third time.

The choices were grim – leave it at Carnarvon Toyota and fly or bus home, truck it home. With optimism and a desire to get home, we pointed her towards Perth, drove non-stop for 18 hours with much stress and pain, no power over 3000RPM, chugging up hills at 45kph. The P0175 lean fuel bank 2 alarm appeared once and disabled 4WD and ESC. I cleared it using the IPad OBD App and kept going. It is possible that this would have damaged the new cats and O2 sensors again, however none of these alarms appeared (last time there was a window of 3 months).

It took three days of attempting to communicate with Melville Toyota to explain our concerns and issues. We wanted to speak to the Workshop Manager and Service Manager to pass on the previous history and learnings so they had some background. The Dealership proved to be very poor communicators with many ignored emails and with promised call-backs not made. Eventually this was resolved and the car booked in. We also instructed them after diagnostics to install the new pump. Strangely, this met with some resistance at first. We also contacted Toyota Experience in Melbourne with a complaint and lodged a Case (not related to Melville Toyota, just the damn LC200). This resulted in a flurry of confusing phone calls with no one really seeming to know what was happening. Finally we told them to keep it forever as long as the root cause was diagnosed.

They had it for two days. The WA top diagnostic technician was available to work on it. We were called two days later to pick it up. The diagnostics revealed that there was no problem. The Service Invoice Sheet did not properly describe the testing so we met with Ryan Oliver the Workshop Manager and Waqas Aslam the top diagnostic technician of the year in WA. These guys were helpful, cooperative and very professional. Ryan later sent me an email further describing their testing.

It reads –

Before replacing the fuel pump as per your request, we carried out tests and checked data on our scan tool. The fuel pressure was tested as per our conversation and was 2.9kgf/cm2 at the time of testing. The vehicle was also not faulting at the time of test. We carried out an active test on the Oxygen sensors using our Diagnostic scan tool, they performed as they should. The fuel trim was -4.0%, well within tolerance of +-20%. The fuel trim data is what the Engine ECU looks at for the P0171 and P0174 System lean codes. We were unable to fault the vehicle on road test before the fuel pump replacement, but it did seem to have a flat spot once in the workshop when parking into a bay which we were unable to re-create. Upon removal of the fuel pump Waqas noticed it came out of the housing very easily and felt it wasn’t pushed all the way in to the seal correctly, if the pump wasn’t all the way in it certainly would cause a low fuel pressure situation and could throw a system lean code. The fuel pump was last removed on July 2014 for cleaning the strainer, in September 2014 you had a system lean code for both banks. After the fuel pump was replaced I road tested the vehicle for approx 30 minutes on Wed 8th Oct and 25 minutes on 9th Oct and was unable to fault the vehicle. Without the vehicle faulting in Perth and not having any saved freeze frame data to go by we can only assume the new fuel pump supplied by you and fitted correctly will rectify your concern. We were unable to see any cracks in the fuel lines, when the fuel pump was removed inside the main fuel tank was clean, in good condition and no contamination was found, the fuel strainer had signs of wear but would not consider this to have been an issue (the new fuel pump was supplied with a new strainer). The fuel filter was not replaced as the fuel tank was clean and the filter was only replaced in July. I didn’t feel there was any need to do any testing on the Engine ECU as if the vehicle is operating correctly the ECU wont test faulty. We did not check the fuel pump resistance, you said you wanted to carry out further testing of the fuel pump your self.

We were a little disappointed with the testing. The fuel pump resistance should have been tested prior to replacement to determine damage and faulting. This is a Toyota mandated test in their Manual. The seating of the pump should not be the problem as the codes would have come up regularly not just once fleetingly. The loss of power itself was not consistent and occurred over time and three months after returning down the Great Central Road from Alice – therefore logic would seem to indicate that the symptoms are not linked to pump seating.

So there you have it – although this has happened 3 times now there is no problem.

In all fairness an explanation could be (my thinking). The original issue (Cape York) was severe contamination. Running with this over many kilometres caused damage to the pump - back pressure and maybe particles. The cleaning of the filter with brake cleaner could have also compromised the filter material. Subsequently residual dirt in the tank partially blocked the pump strainer again, the pump also not functioning 100% caused the failure in Alice. This would also fit with the issue getting worse at higher ambient temperatures. The pump itself is tightly toleranced and requires to be submerged to keep cool. This would indicate a sensitivity to temperature especially if damaged and running hot. After the clean in Alice the flow was restored, however the pump could have suffered further damage. The long run up north under load, towing a fully loaded trailer eventually put it under further strain, starting to fail as the ambient temperatures increased and the vehicle has been running for many hours. Returning the vehicle to Toyota cold and with no load may explain why no issues could be detected.

I hope this may be the answer. We’ll only know if it doesn’t occur again now that a new pump is installed. I still think there is a design problem with this fuel system – it can’t hack remote and rough Australian conditions where there will always be dust and fuel station tank contamination.

We’ll keep you informed…..

p.s. Notwithstanding the above – a very big than you to Melville Toyota and Ryan Oliver and Waqas Aslam. These guys tried their best and were very helpful and professional.
If I could offer an opportunity for improvement it would be aimed at the administrative staff and the service advisors. They are poor communicators and did not return calls or emails. There was a vague air of antagonism as if we were out to ‘screw someone’. All we want guys - is to fix this problem please!

Lastly the purpose of publishing this information is to assist any other poor bugger with an LC200 that may experience these issues…..

Mike & Amanda
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