Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

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Stocker Steve
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Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:31 pm

Bought a diesel project tractor. Cleaned a bunch of dirt out of the tank and then pulled the primary fuel filter. The filter gaskets had swelled greatly, and It had a gummy dark brown varnish like material in it. Smelled a little like turpentine. Does this sounds like something diesel can do? Any tips on cleaning up the fuel system?
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Bright Raven
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby Bright Raven » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:59 am

I had fuel tank problems with my dozer. It would stop up the fuel/water separator filter in about 6 hours. I pumped the tank, put a treatment in the tank, etc. Etc. I finally had to haul it to Whayne Supply (A Cat Dealer) in Lexington to have the tank removed, steam cleaned, and treated. It was expensive but necessary. Diesel fuel can break down into some nasty compounds if left idle.
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby jltrent » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:17 am

As BR says clean the tank good, new filter, cross your fingers the pump is ok. The smell sounds like gas...
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:09 am

jltrent wrote:The smell sounds like gas...


That concerned me too. I have seen old gas set up like that, but I have never seen it with diesel.
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:11 am

Bright Raven wrote:Diesel fuel can break down into some nasty compounds if left idle.


Cleaned up the gummy residue with carb cleaner.
My primary filter was very heavy - - felt like it was filled with solids.
What did the nasty stuff from your tank look like?
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby dieselbeef » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:37 am

they put gas in it and when it quit they just parked it..betcha
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby Bright Raven » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:33 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:Diesel fuel can break down into some nasty compounds if left idle.


Cleaned up the gummy residue with carb cleaner.
My primary filter was very heavy - - felt like it was filled with solids.
What did the nasty stuff from your tank look like?


It was a dark tar-like soup in the bottom. Guy said it must have set idle for a while. Algae grows in it then decays. What is interesting is that there was some kind of brown pigment. Like a greasy rust. We thought someone must have used pigmented fuel.

My filter did the same thing. When the fuel sloshed around and the debris became suspended, it would clog the filter and choke the engine.

Don't get discouraged. It ran perfect after they cleaned the tank and my tank was still in good shape.
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby greybeard » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:33 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:Bought a diesel project tractor. Cleaned a bunch of dirt out of the tank and then pulled the primary fuel filter. The filter gaskets had swelled greatly, and It had a gummy dark brown varnish like material in it. Smelled a little like turpentine. Does this sounds like something diesel can do? Any tips on cleaning up the fuel system?


Some diesel fuel stabilizers/additives will have a turpentine smell after a while.

Symptoms of a diesel engine that has had some gasoline inadvertently added to the tank is that it will start cold and idle rough, but given throttle, it falls on it's face and dies. Once warmed up at idle, it won't start at all. I saw a mech at the dealership pull his hair out over this for 2 days, had already bled the injectors, changed the filters had run the valves, pulled and tested each injector and was about to pull the front cover off to check the cam timing when I and another mech noticed the oily rags around had a faint smell of gasoline and fuel drained from the water separator spread way too fast to be pure diesel.
Drained the tank and filters, bled the injectors again and put good diesel in and it ran like it was supposed to. The owner's son we found out, had accidentally put about a gallon of 87 oct gasoline in the tank when he borrowed the tractor one day, trying to make sure his dad got the tractor back with a full tank of fuel..

Old stale gasoline has an unmistakable smell that's hard to even get off your hands and clothes.
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:55 pm

I drained the tank and then filled it.
I have gotten it so that it starts (with spray) and runs.
Not sure what made the fuel filter gaskets swell so much and create the gummy residue - - but stabilizer gone bad is possible.
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby ALACOWMAN » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:13 pm

dieselbeef wrote:they put gas in it and when it quit they just parked it..betcha




Either that, are added some gas to the diesel, to keep it from gellin...
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Re: Tractor Fuel Filter Problems ?

Postby Caustic Burno » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:11 pm

If it is a high olefinic Diesel made from cracking gas oils it will form gums over time.
Olefinic Diesel if not died will be yellowish in color, paraffinic will be green.


https://ntrl.ntis.gov/NTRL/dashboard/se ... 4256.xhtml
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