Fuel filter issue... again

Submitted: Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:18
ThreadID: 101998 Views:2623 Replies:6 FollowUps:14
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So I had the fuel filter light come on not many months ago & the filter had to be replaced. I always planned to get another filter installed before the next trip, but it happened again this week, with a full tank of fuel, so the car is booked in for the in line filter once it's back from the dealer.

Does anyone other than me feel that, because this issue is happening with the common rail diesels, it is perhaps a design shortcoming and the vehicles are not designed to handle the variety in locally available fuel?

I don't know what the frequency of incidents is, but the local dealer (Toyota) did say they were getting a few.
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:35

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:35
You are having a bad run with your fuel, are you in a bad area or flood prone or dodgy old servos?

You could blame the vehicle manufacturers but on the other hand it is the fuel companies that are not supplying fuel to the required standards, paying for diesel and getting water is there fault not the car makers.
I have fitted a second filter with an alarm as a precaution myself too
AnswerID: 510270

Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:53

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:53
Thanks AlbyNSW. I will be interested to see what others think. I would have said dodgy servos in my area but I am sure that is not unusual. Curiously I run another diesel & have never had a problem, nor with the previous 76 series or diesel Patrol.

Since I seem to have a bit of company with this problem, I wonder why the 76's are designed with a filter that needs to be replaced (and quickly) instead of serviced / cleaned or a second in line filter like many seem to be doing after market.
FollowupID: 788355

Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 16:38

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 16:38
Fuel companies are providing the fuel to the required standard and of high quality. Where our system fall well short of the mark is in the storage tanks at the majority of servos. IMHO they should be forced to scrub the fuel of water at the bowser. I've had a couple of bad fills of diesel. Shell paid to remove my tank etc and do a proper clean up ....and refill the tank but BP simply wouldn't come to the party and I had to foot the $900 bill for that myself.
FollowupID: 788474

Reply By: dieseltojo - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:46

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:46
Hi VickiW,
It can happen alright, Some folk have had to change their fuel filter every 200 kays when getting bad fuel in the outback towns. Pays to carry a couple of spares and learn how to install them.
I reckon it's pretty hard for a manufacturer to do any thing else but build in a filter. There are some well built funnels on the market that can be used prior to pouring into the vehicle as well.
AnswerID: 510272

Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:49

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 20:49
Hi Vicki. The number of owners I have heard about over the last couple of years that have had serious engine problems from dirty fuel has had me concerned for some time. The last was a friend who had to have his Pajero towed to the dealers after filling up. It ended up costing $18000,(yes,thousand) and although the fuel company paid for it it was still really taumatic and time consuming for him. I saw these Fuel Filter Kits at the Sydney Caravan show last week and think it may be worth my while. The filer is fitted AFTER the original so that all the warning system is still active but any debri is trapped before it enters the fuel pump. They quoted around $390.00 for my Prado kit. Cheers,Bob.
AnswerID: 510273

Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 21:02

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 21:02
I think I saw the same one & that's what my local arb dealer is putting in.

The thought of having it go wrong a long way from help is pretty worrying.

I tend to think the manufacturer should be building in tolerance for known problems, i.e. an in line filter. After all they do supply a spare tyre as standard :) and speedo's that read about 10% above actual speed.
FollowupID: 788357

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 21:56

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 21:56
I think you could buy a new crate engine with turbo and pump fitted for 18000? Someone is certainly screwing someone! Michael
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FollowupID: 788358

Follow Up By: Ross M - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:14

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:14
The filter should be BEFORE the original filter so it uses the original as the warning both for water and sediment/algae.

If it restricts the aux filter then the system will tell you, If the water builds up and blocks the aux filter or if water gets through it the OE filter will tell you it is restricting, and since algae is very fine it will usually block the aux filter and the original will tell you.

As soon as a human touches the down stream side of the OE filter it is likely they won't be very clean ie small micron clean, and so if fitting hoses, clamps and fittings and an aux filter as well, there is many opportunities for crud, small as it may be, to go straight to the High Pressure pump.
No way on earth would I let someone who sells filter kits to place/fit one down stream of the OE filter.

Ross M
FollowupID: 788360

Follow Up By: 08crd - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:25

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:25
I allways put an inline filter with water trap and alarm before the main filter on my diesels.

FollowupID: 788361

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 16:23

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 16:23
That was my reasoning also Ross M. The supplier guy on the stand said NO, definately after the original. After now reading their installation instructions there are two ways to fit their filter,Primary or Secondary which both use the same filter and mounting bracket. A bit more clarification may be required. I will email them. Cheers,Bob.
FollowupID: 788393

Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 17:44

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 17:44
Hi Toyocruiser,

I also want the new filter (and an alarm) before the factory one. I don't see the sense in needing to have to completely replace the factory one at (from memory) $75 a time. It seems to make more sense to have the one with the removable bowl beforehand.

I will need to call my arb dealer back again too!
FollowupID: 788399

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 21:25

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 21:25
Hi Vicki. My car is a 2012 Prado so the information the supplier at the show gave me was for my vehicle. The Prado does have a small primary filter up under the rear of the vehicle just after the fuel comes out of the tank/s. The 200 series does not but I don't know about your model. What he explained was that there are two sensors which alert the vehicle electronics. If they get the message first then they will do their job. If any contaminate passes beyond them then the aftermarket filter will then collect it before it gets to the fuel pump. If the aftermarket filter was first and allowed contaminates into the factory filter then it is possible for it to reach the pump before the warnings were attended to.
If your original filter is the same as the 200 series then it is replaceable with an equivelant aftermarket filter for around $30 and about 30mins to change it. Regardless of what Ross says about downstream contamination, this could still happen when replacing the original filter if the operator was not meticulous with cleanliness as the whole cannister needs to be removed.
It does sound feasable to have the aftermarket filter last hence I will email them for confirmation. Cheers,Bob.
FollowupID: 788415

Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 16:49

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 16:49
Bob - just make sure you check with a diesel mechanic whom you trust before allowing anyone to install an aftermarket filter downstream of the OEM filter. I'm not saying that the guy giving you the information is wrong just that I've never heard or nor seen any auxilary filter system being installed in such a fashion. I've had a Water Watch system installed in my D40 and it has a very loud audible alarm. When this goes off I drain off the water and get on my way again. Had to do this a few times and thus far none of the crap has gotten through to my main filter.
FollowupID: 788476

Reply By: Ross M - Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:41

Friday, May 03, 2013 at 22:41
You didn't say what caused the filter light to come on. So replies are not focussed on the issue. Water or particulate contamination? Whoever changed the filter should be able to tell you.
If it is as a result of particulate matter then it may block and the restriction sensor will turn on a light and warn you.

If it is water, that too will turn on a light and warn you but it is for a different reason.

You also didn't mention how many km the vehicle has done in those months and so it may be only a few liters passed through or many hundreds or even thousands of litres.
Filters have a contamination level life, and or should be changed at least every 24 months before the filter medium begins to break down and it hen becomes the problem.

Only you know this and it has a direct bearing on when a filter might be reasonably expected to be near the end of it's service interval/life. One of your diesels might be filtering 10 times the amount the other had filtered. we comment on what is considered normal.

Common rail diesels have filters around 11 microns or smaller usually about 5 microns whereas the previous non CRD engines had OE filters about 30 microns and so didn't block as readily, and lots of stuff went through if there.

Because of finer tolerances in the CRD injection systems so are the filters. Therefore the same stuff will block it more frequent;ly, just a fact of diesel life.

Poor storage and supply and living in hotter humid climate will usually accelerate the production of nasties.
You might leave that vehicle, empty after a run and so it will have many times the colder night moisture condensate developing in the tank, this builds up and the filter tells you it is there. Filled before night time might reduce the water condensate by 99%.

Fuel outlets can be suspect as everyone knows but we can do our bit too.

When your last filter was changed because of the warning light, did you actually see the filter being changed or was it just drained and you think it was changed? Big difference there.
Many dealer serviced Toyota's don't have the filter changed until it gives a warning, just great when out in the desert and the filter decides to not play ball.

Ross M
AnswerID: 510280

Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 00:11

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 00:11
It was changed last time due to particulates. Don't yet know this time as I haven't gone to pick up the car.

About 800 - 1000 ltrs would have gone through since the last problem so definitely a problem and not filter life. They did say it could happen again as they didn't drain the fuel tank last time.

I am just glad (relatively) it happened on my way to work & not on a trip.
FollowupID: 788369

Follow Up By: Ross M - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 01:43

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 01:43
I would try parking/jacking up the vehicle with with one corner of the tank as the lowest point.
With some high pressure nylon tube, like airline tubing, I would use an electric pump to suck from that low point where the crap will have gathered.

Filter it as it comes out and return fuel to tank and do it again.
This should get rid of almost all of the contaminants and only leave slight residue which wouldn't worry any filter in the future.

I use the fuel pump off/from a dead crummydoor for this. In unpressured flow it shifts fuel reasonably quickly.
A lot less trouble than removing the tank as some people seem to want to do.
PS only sucking out through the normal delivery pipe still uses the same stainer which isn't at the bottom. No good there.

Ross M
FollowupID: 788371

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 14:45

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 14:45
hi Vicki
one thing that cant be guaranteed after replacing the filter is the fact that you could then be unlucky enough buy another contaminated tank of fuel in a weeks time or a month or two
even if you went to a different fuel outlets
we all face the same dilema on a daily basis just because you have read on a post in this forum about others getting dirty fuel is irrelevant as not everyone would tell you and/or comes on here

we know the service intervals are quoted in the vehicle schedules for filters but that based on clean fuel
just because you replace the filter there isn't any set number of km's that the new filter will do because it's all subject to what goes into your fuel tank and it is totally dependant on how clean the ensuring tanks of fuel are from any outlets
that's why you should carry spare filters and learn how to change them
its not rocket science and could save you a lot of inconvenience
FollowupID: 788388

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 07:04

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 07:04

I have a 200 with the same engine, and the fuel light has gone on twice in 110,000km, Both times were about 30km after filling up, and once I filled up and was pretty sure it would light up due to the sus servo, which it did.

In my case it was water in one case and build up in the other.

It is a very easy procedure to change the filter and reset the light. Water in the fuel is no good for any diesel. Carry a spare filter and go to LCOOL.org for the instructions. Both times I had the light, I changed the filter and was back on the road in 15 mins.

Give me a warning light over a damaged engine any day. Yes CRD is more sensitive, but so is the warning light to protect it.
AnswerID: 510285

Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 17:46

Saturday, May 04, 2013 at 17:46
Thanks Boobook, a great, common sense recommendation, I carry a spare but do need to find out how to replace it.
FollowupID: 788400

Reply By: tonysmc - Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 13:11

Sunday, May 05, 2013 at 13:11
I have just been through the second filter quandary and what I have been led to believe is that if you fit an aftermarket filter after(downstream of) the original filter it will void any vehicle manufacturer warranty. Fitting before the original filter is ok.
If your vehicle is a little older and out of any warranty then it doesn’t really matter. It also became apparent that all manufacturers always blamed dirty fuel so claimed it was not their responsibility and you would have to chase the fuel company, which was not always successful.
If you fit downstream of original, normally a 2 micron filter is fitted. If upstream 30 micron is normally fitted or you can order a 10 micron, however the flow direction through the filter of the 10 should be in the opposite direction than the 30.
Many people will claim that a second filter will restrict fuel flow but this is a fallacy.
The kit mentioned above does not come with a water alarm and I would strongly suggest buying the water alarm attachment as nobody is going to stop and check the water bowl 5, 10, 15 km’s after filling up, as this is when most damage seems to happen. The water alarm for these units are only a light, so you need wire in a loud piezo buzzer.
I would be inclined to email, not phone, questions to supplier’s or installers as if something goes wrong they will certainly say “I would have never said that!” An email you will have it in writing.
I’m happy to let you know more about my installation and why I decided on it if you like.

Cheers tony
AnswerID: 510364

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