diesel fuel contamination in common-rail system

Submitted: Friday, May 25, 2007 at 19:37
ThreadID: 45887 Views:17774 Replies:14 FollowUps:6
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Our 2005 Turbo Diesel Hi Lux, which has a common rail injector system, has been contaminated with dirty diesel fuel. It has already cost us $800 to have the whole system flushed and now they are telling us that it could cost up to $10,ooo to have all the injectors replaced and a new fuel pump, plus not have the use of the car for about 2 weeks while it all goes to Melbourne from Far North Queensland. Apparently all new diesel cars in Australia will have the common-rail system because it complies with new pollution controls but the quality of diesel fuel in Australia is messing badly with these highly sensitive injectors. Has any body else had or having this problem? Our local Toyota dealer reckons this is going to be a huge problem from now on. But the car manufactures wont take responsibility and the petrol stations wont take responsibility, seems like no-one wants to know. Older diesel engines seem to be able to cope with contamination so up till now it hasn't been an issue. But with the new common-rail systems in all diesels it is certainly going to become a big issue. And after spending all this money on a brand new car, there is NO GUARANTEE THAT IT WONT HAPPEN AGAIN THE NEXT TIME YOU FUEL UP. Gives you a lot of confidence hey? Please contact me if this is happening to you because it needs to be addressed in a legal fashion, not sure how, but something needs to be done. thanks for listening, Cheers
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Reply By: nowimnumberone - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 19:45

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 19:45
so wouldnt you think its time filter makers made a filter able to keep the fuel system clean.
and did toyota explain why there filters didnt stop the rubish getting in.
not a good thing mate
AnswerID: 242375

Reply By: Jutho - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:02

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:02
No, they did'nt, thanks for that. they also didn't explain why there is a light, that is supposed to come on if there is something wrong with the fuel system, didn't come on. We will address those issues when we go back next week. thanks mate, cheers
AnswerID: 242382

Reply By: Peter 2 - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:25

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:25
That would be my first point to bring up with Toyota.
If THEIR injectors and fuel sytem is so sensitive to fuel contamination why doesn't THEIR fuel filtration as designed and fitted by THEM not filter to the required specifications that THEIR fuel system requires.
You would probably find too that if you fitted additional filtration that either the engine wouldn't run due to excessive restriction and/or Toyota would cite that as a reason to refuse any warranty claims.
Another reason I will be keeping my old tech vehicle that I can fix.
AnswerID: 242392

Reply By: Jutho - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:35

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:35
Hi Peter, thanks, according to Toyota its only Australian Diesel that is causing these problems. Apparently European and American Diesel is much cleaner than ours and it is the fault of the Oz government and they need to clean up the fuel. But I will certainly raise the question of filters with Toyota when I see them next week. thanks again mate for your input. cheers.
AnswerID: 242395

Reply By: Stu050 - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:53

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 20:53
I would be taking it up with the fuel supplier.

Where did the fuel come from? Just so that I don't get fuel from there.

AnswerID: 242399

Follow Up By: Jutho - Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 11:30

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 11:30
Hi Stu, all over Far North Queensland, Toyota Country!!
FollowupID: 503455

Reply By: sdr00y - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 21:15

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 21:15

As you have pointed out it is a Government (federal) problem. The cars that are imported to Aus all comply with Euro 4 (I think) emissions and fuel specs. The problem is that the Fed Government has allowed the fuel companies to cry poor and claim that they can not possibly fund the changes required to comply with the Euro specs. The fuel companies have had something like 5 years notice to comply and have done nothing to change their ways. They make millions and millions of dollars profit year in, year out and still cry to the weak fed government about how they will lose profit if they are made to comply with the new fuel specs.

I'm sorry this does not help you out in the least Jutho with your problem, BUT you are right, something needs to be done. I wish you best of luck with your investigation and any legal stance you take.

Yet another reason why my vote wont be for the present fed government.

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AnswerID: 242408

Follow Up By: Blaze - Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 02:26

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 02:26
I was sitting down last night with one of the top mechanics for Catapillar in Aust and he informed after a trip last year through the UK and Europe for his work that on the whole Australian diesel is far cleaner than in these places. He did add that most vehicles over there have better filter/water trap systems installed, be that ex factory or aftermarket.

I have just had a mate go through the same scenerio with his Nissan Patrol. I have also been informed that a certain Servo in Port Augusta on the left when heading north (truck stop) if you use the slow flow filler be aware of 7 deisel vehicles that filled there a few weeks back all had water in their fuel on the way to Adelaide.
FollowupID: 503427

Reply By: Olcoolone (SA) - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 21:48

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 21:48
Everyone in this post is saying that it is the fault of the filter, the fuel filter on Hilux common rail filters down to 2 microns.

These filters are great at doing what they are ment to do, filter particals.

There are other contminants in fuel that does more damage like



Non soluable wax

All of the above three items will do big damage, this is why you should not run late model diesels on biodiesel.

This is a repost of what I said on another post..........................

The reason Toyota does not reconmend biodiesel is the damage it can cause to injection systems.

We are Denso service dealers and at a recent conferance we discused biodiesel.

Denso have done tests on injectors and found after 1000k with a 2-5% mix there was signs of injector damage.

This is highlited even more in common rail systems were tolarances are even greater.

They showed us photos under a microscope and the spray patterns to back up the claim.

The injectors in the D4d engine has a piston to bore clearance of 2 microns.

It seems it is traced to the solvents and other chemicals used in biodiesel.

NOW BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HERE AND SAYS THAT I AM TALKING SH** consider Denso is not affiliated with or has to be with any oil companys and they are the number one maker of diesel fuel injection systems and components.

If someone is going to knock me down on this, show the proof technicaly I will agree with you.

Denso stated to us it is in there best interests to suport renewable fuel source and that they were following the hydrocarbon to liquid outcome with interest.

And to jdpatrol biodiesel is still greenhouse warming, the main claim to fame is it is renewable energy and there is a strong belief that biodiesel may be worse for the enviroment with a higher GWP the standard diesel.

It has been said that to make biodiesel economical it has to be under 80 cents a Lt.

I would be asking the biodiesel sellers if the will warrant the product that it will not cause any damage in the short or long term to your engine/injection system........... they all say it is safe so get them to put it into writing.

So at the end of the day if something in your injection system goes haywire and its under warranty with Toyota and biodiesel has been used..... even a tank full and the part has to go back to Denso for evaluation (they take the quality issues very very very seriously) the chances of your claim getting accepted is zero!

I am not for or against biodiesel, but when the facts get stacked up it make you wonder....save 20c per lt. now may cost you big later.

Perhaps I should say use it and here is my business card, if you have any problems I would love to make some money from you.

regards Richard

So how many are giong to say I am WRONG!

Regards Richard
AnswerID: 242425

Follow Up By: warthog - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 22:19

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 22:19
I have no information to discount what you are saying, sounds feasible enough. How is biodiesel on indirect injection old tech diesels?
FollowupID: 503389

Reply By: Stu-k - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 22:06

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 22:06
I always buy my diesel from shell(account) and have never had a prob in about the 5 years I have been doing so. Hope it stays that way.........
AnswerID: 242430

Follow Up By: Peter 2 - Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 17:42

Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 17:42
I too always fill at the same Shell on account.
That is why when I filled up just after the tanker had been and copped a tank full of dirt, water and crap Shell paid for the repairs to the injection pump, new injectors and the hire of a replacement vehicle for the fortnight ours was off the road. Just under $8k on a 1HZ Tojo.
FollowupID: 503710

Reply By: Member - Axle - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 22:28

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 22:28
Hi Jutho, Just out of interest, what did the vehilcle do? stop, run, rough, how long did you run it with the contaminated fuel? , Have friends who had the same prob, but they drove for 50ks, with it running on about 2 cyls!!!. Talk about money to get it fixed!!. If the filter clogged up and the motor stopped , then i would say the filter did its job, and the rest of the system may well be ok, Its hard to find a honest stealer.

Hope all goes ok

AnswerID: 242437

Follow Up By: Jutho - Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 11:47

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 11:47
Hi Axle, thanks for your interest and comments. We noticed a problem with start-up straight after its 10,000 klms service and took it back in the next day saying something was wrong, the engine seems to be missing. They acknowledged that it did'nt seem to be running right but the computer said all was OK. We had the car back to them maybe 3 or 4 times and then the next full service and still the computer said it was ok. So we thought that we had bought a lemon and this was it. A couple of months later a guy who we were buying something from happened to hear the engine and asked us what was wrong with our car, so back again to Toyota and this time they found the dirty fuel, a year after we had told them about the problem. Then it was $800 to have it all fixed, ha ha ha, so we thought. But even after having all new filters put in and the tank and lines flushed and cleaned the engine still missed on start up. Now they tell us that the dirty fuel has damaged the injectors and it could cost up to $10,000 to have them fixed. And according to Toyota dirty fuel contamination is not covered by warranty. The nightmare continues.........................
FollowupID: 503461

Reply By: Olcoolone (SA) - Friday, May 25, 2007 at 23:57

Friday, May 25, 2007 at 23:57
With common rail there are very few repairers who can do the work, have the training and the test equipment to do the work.

Injectors for the Toyota D4D series of engines are either new or Denso change over units from Japan.

There are no repairers with a clean room to meet the standards as yet.

Injector pumps are new only at this stage and if rebuilt ones are avaliable it will be from Denso through there service dealer network.

Common rail systems are still quite new and there has not been a need to offer rebuilt pumps or injectors.

At the present time there are no diesel specialists who can rebuild then, Denso are in the process of training at the moment.....8 times to Melbourne this year.

The bore clearance in the injector is 0.002 mm or 2 micron and the pressure at the nozzle generated is the same as 16 adult elephants standing on a credit card.

Welcome to the age of the unknown.

Regards Richard

AnswerID: 242454

Reply By: PeteS - Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 08:10

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 08:10

Now I've got another bloody thing to worry about. If is not this, its that....

I wil now try and use the same pumps the truckies fill up from (not use the diesel pumps alongside the petrol pumps). The higher turnover of Diesel in these tanks MAY decrease my risk.

MAY also have to consider changing fuel filters @ 5,000km not the 10,000km, however I feel once the contaminated fuel is in the tank then it too late?

The percentage of having a problem will hopefully be reduced by a combo of the above together with a BIT of luck....... I hope.


AnswerID: 242470

Follow Up By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 08:52

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 08:52
Hate to worry you but all last year I worked in a truck /tractor repair workshop in Kununurra and maybe 60% of truck repairs/breakdowns were due to stuffed injector pumps and injectors through dirty fuel.(some as low as 10000kms)
I do believe that the pumps on D4D are not rebuildable, throw away jobs but we did fit one to a ?????, same pump as a hilux and it was $1500 brand new.Not to bad I think.
And yes if I had a CRD vehicle I would be worried about bad fuel, the tolerances are so tight that a tiny amount of contaminants will stuff it.
Saying that, our 105 series cruiser with old tech system failed due to dirty fuel (long story)and after many long and heated phone calls with toyota I ended up having to pay half,this on a vehicle with 60000kms and still under factory warrenty.And I tried the "but why didnt the filters catch it" and was told that no factory filter setup can.Very poor.
Toyota recommend changing the filters at 40000kms?? and have been told this is due to more contaminants being disturbed/added into the fuel system while the filter is being changed.???
FollowupID: 503439

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 08:46

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 08:46
After reading about Diesel problems (and having my NP DiD off the road for 3 weeks to have the Injector Pump replaced under warranty) I've decided to do this.

Get 3 clear jars with labels taped on top.

At the servo I put the first fuel into the jar and check that it is clear and contaminant-free.

I write the date and the servo and pump number on the label.

When it is time to refuel I empty the oldest jar into the tank to be ready for the next sample.

I always use the same servo, so there is no doubt who to blame if I have a fuel problem - although you can't do this when travelling.

AnswerID: 242479

Reply By: montana - Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 09:46

Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 09:46
the fuel light on the dash only comes on when water collects in the filter/water trap reaches a height for the float to contact a switch inside. pays to drain regularly and check.
AnswerID: 242484

Reply By: Member-Granpa Joe - Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 23:33

Sunday, May 27, 2007 at 23:33
Unfortunately this appears to be happening a lot now as a lot of people are confident that if they get their truck serviced, that everything is fine and dandy, regardless of what they are pumping into the tank. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get the tell tale signs of fuel contamination before the damage is done and sometimes we are not. e.g. :

Site Link

Yet we still blame the maker of the vehicle, especially if it's a nissan.
AnswerID: 242807

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