Petrol Toyota Landcruiser 200 fuel contamination and blockage problems

Friday, Jul 25, 2014 at 19:12

Mike & Amanda

Just a note for any petrol Landcruiser 200 owners out there.

If you are doing a lot of dirt road and track work be very careful with your fuel hygiene.
We've experienced blockages twice – the symptoms starting as a loss of power over 3000 rpm eventually leading to all alarms and stoppage.

The fuel pump is submersible and fitted into the main tank under the rear seat behind the driver. There is an access hatch under the carpet. The pump is built with an included inlet strainer that looks to be some sort of paper/gauze filter.

After the pump and under the driver’s seat is a secondary filter.

During our Cape York sojourn 18 months ago this blockage thing happened, finally resulting in ALL STOP in the bush between Derby and Cape Leveque. No Toyota dealer until Broome could fathom the issue. Broome diagnosed it immediately, changed the secondary filter – no luck, dropped the tank and found severe contamination and a blocked pump. No pumps were available and the pump filter is not available separately. They cleaned it with brake cleaner and away we went. The only downside was the short period running lean (attempting to get to Broome and overriding the alarms), caused catalytic converter burnout – an expensive exercise if one went genuine at 4 x $1,500.

As a preventative measure we had ORE Myaree install a new Longranger tank so eliminating the need for jerries, the need for much Opal fuel and reducing contamination/ hygiene issues.
All was well until last week. At Ruby Gap the same symptoms happened - meaning a potential risky return across the Great Victoria Desert.

A couple of businesses in Alice Springs went overboard to help - and this was during busy tourist season.
Brendan from Country Diesel Maintenance (recommended by Peter Kittle Toyota) dropped everything to help. I now carry and spare secondary filter – this was used and changed with only marginal improvement. They dropped the new LongRanger and the main Toyota tank to find some dust and sediment and what appeared to be flakes or lumps (solids). The pump filter did not appear to be fully blocked, however another clean, reinstall and all was back to full performance. They were unsuccessful at obtaining an aftermarket replacement paper filter. It appeared to me that the brake cleaner clean done by Broome Toyota may have softened the filter fabric and reduced the micron size making it a finer filter and more susceptible to blockage.

There does not appear to be a solution except for more informed and better fuel hygiene. Brendan suggested always washing the filler cap with water and removing all dust prior to every fill. A partial full tank tends to create a vacuum that one can hear when loosening the cap. This will suck in any dust. Also in the Territory fuel bowser nozzles are known to carry mud and dust and transfer into your vehicle when filling up. Toyota are not helpful and do not know of any problem or solution. A ‘fuel filter sock’ will not fit in the narrow unleaded filler pipe. I’d even consider a stocking wrapped around the bowser nozzle however this will probably trigger the bowser non-return valve stop.

There you have it – a Landcruiser not designed for Australian outback travel with no solution in sight! I’m currently investigating getting replacement fuel pump filters made as spares. TLC in O’Connor will fit the new pump and filter through the rear seat access hatch (after I cut up the carpet), taking notes and photos to enable me to learn how to do it. I’ll carry the old pump as a spare. In a pinch, and should it happen again in a remote location I’ll be able to get us going again.

Many thanks to Brendan from Country Diesel Maintenance for his incredible responsive customer service, something that seems to be lacking in today’s busy world. Thanks to Central Car Rentals for making a car available at the last minute and dropping Amanda off and not last or least, thanks to MacDonnell Range Holiday Park for finding a home for our Australian Off Road Odyssey camper trailer during a busy time.

Full Trip Blog and pics to follow…….
Mike & Amanda
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