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Thread: Water in Diesel

  1. #1
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    Default Water in Diesel

    My first Kgalagadi trip ended in a bit of a disaster.
    Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT 4x4 Auto. Bought November 2016 Current KM 77k
    On Tuesday morning I filled 56l Diesel (Water) at Twee Rivieren. The Yellow Tractor that scrapes the road was on the other side filling from the same pump. I got as far as the Camping ablution block at the when the motor cut and warning light WATER IN DIESEL DRAIN FILTER light come on. The tractor went a little past the Camping entrance and died. Drained the filter and what come out did not even feel like diesel, pure water. They have 3 tanks. 2 of the tanks was filled the previous Thursday and they were pumping from the 3rd tank. On Tuesday morning they switched tanks, and me and the tractor were the unlucky ones the be first to fill from the new tank. After checking the tanks, the one tank had 10 cm of water and the other 15cm.

    They towed me to the parks board work shop and tried to drain the diesel but could not get to the bottom third the portion they drained was mostly water. I called Ford in Krugersdorp where I normally service and workshop manager advised to rather get to a dealer as it will have to get the tank removed and system properly flushed and checked as there could be damage to the diesel pump, rail and injectors. Called Ford In Upington and they said the same. Tuff Stuff arranged a flat deck breakdown for Wednesday morning to collect me at Twee Rivieren to take me to Ford Upington. Arrived at Upington just after 1pm.

    They removed, emptied and cleaned the tank. Blew out all the pipes and flushed with clean diesel. When they loosened the pipes to the injectors, water came from these pipes as well. So the water got to the Main pump Rail and Injectors. After bleeding the system they started it. It spattered for a few seconds and then ran smooth. They then also connected another machine to the fuel system that does a Injector Flush. Eventually left Upington Ford at 6pm.
    I must compliment Hakkies the workshop manager and his team for their friendly service and working after hours to finish the Job.

    Although the vehicle seems to be running fine at the moment they said that they can give no guarantee that I will not pick up problems in the near future as they cannot say what damage has been done to the fuel pump, rail and injectors. Ford recommendation is that pump rail and injectors be replaced. I think that is like a R100k job.

    Has anybody had a problem like this before and what did you do?
    advise will be appreciated.

    Photo below is a bit of what came out of the tank. Thin layer of diesel on top of the water

    Regards
    Hugo.
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    I wonder if those fuel additives that say they protect and dissolve waster in fuel would have helped to a degree to prevent premature pump failure.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubu View Post
    My first Kgalagadi trip ended in a bit of a disaster.
    Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT 4x4 Auto. Bought November 2016 Current KM 77k
    On Tuesday morning I filled 56l Diesel (Water) at Twee Rivieren. The Yellow Tractor that scrapes the road was on the other side filling from the same pump. I got as far as the Camping ablution block at the when the motor cut and warning light WATER IN DIESEL DRAIN FILTER light come on. The tractor went a little past the Camping entrance and died. Drained the filter and what come out did not even feel like diesel, pure water. They have 3 tanks. 2 of the tanks was filled the previous Thursday and they were pumping from the 3rd tank. On Tuesday morning they switched tanks, and me and the tractor were the unlucky ones the be first to fill from the new tank. After checking the tanks, the one tank had 10 cm of water and the other 15cm.

    They towed me to the parks board work shop and tried to drain the diesel but could not get to the bottom third the portion they drained was mostly water. I called Ford in Krugersdorp where I normally service and workshop manager advised to rather get to a dealer as it will have to get the tank removed and system properly flushed and checked as there could be damage to the diesel pump, rail and injectors. Called Ford In Upington and they said the same. Tuff Stuff arranged a flat deck breakdown for Wednesday morning to collect me at Twee Rivieren to take me to Ford Upington. Arrived at Upington just after 1pm.

    They removed, emptied and cleaned the tank. Blew out all the pipes and flushed with clean diesel. When they loosened the pipes to the injectors, water came from these pipes as well. So the water got to the Main pump Rail and Injectors. After bleeding the system they started it. It spattered for a few seconds and then ran smooth. They then also connected another machine to the fuel system that does a Injector Flush. Eventually left Upington Ford at 6pm.
    I must compliment Hakkies the workshop manager and his team for their friendly service and working after hours to finish the Job.

    Although the vehicle seems to be running fine at the moment they said that they can give no guarantee that I will not pick up problems in the near future as they cannot say what damage has been done to the fuel pump, rail and injectors. Ford recommendation is that pump rail and injectors be replaced. I think that is like a R100k job.

    Has anybody had a problem like this before and what did you do?
    advise will be appreciated.

    Photo below is a bit of what came out of the tank. Thin layer of diesel on top of the water

    Regards
    Hugo.
    Iíve posted about the before a few years ago. This happened to my wifeís Ecosport. Drained the tank, flushed the system and then put in a new diesel filter with clean diesel.

    Ford wanted R48 000 to change injectors and I said no - I wanted the system flushed first. This was in about 2017. They gave me no guarantee and to this day the car is still 100% fine 50 000km later.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubu View Post
    My first Kgalagadi trip ended in a bit of a disaster.
    Ford Ranger 3.2 XLT 4x4 Auto. Bought November 2016 Current KM 77k
    On Tuesday morning I filled 56l Diesel (Water) at Twee Rivieren. The Yellow Tractor that scrapes the road was on the other side filling from the same pump. I got as far as the Camping ablution block at the when the motor cut and warning light WATER IN DIESEL DRAIN FILTER light come on. The tractor went a little past the Camping entrance and died. Drained the filter and what come out did not even feel like diesel, pure water. They have 3 tanks. 2 of the tanks was filled the previous Thursday and they were pumping from the 3rd tank. On Tuesday morning they switched tanks, and me and the tractor were the unlucky ones the be first to fill from the new tank. After checking the tanks, the one tank had 10 cm of water and the other 15cm.

    They towed me to the parks board work shop and tried to drain the diesel but could not get to the bottom third the portion they drained was mostly water. I called Ford in Krugersdorp where I normally service and workshop manager advised to rather get to a dealer as it will have to get the tank removed and system properly flushed and checked as there could be damage to the diesel pump, rail and injectors. Called Ford In Upington and they said the same. Tuff Stuff arranged a flat deck breakdown for Wednesday morning to collect me at Twee Rivieren to take me to Ford Upington. Arrived at Upington just after 1pm.

    They removed, emptied and cleaned the tank. Blew out all the pipes and flushed with clean diesel. When they loosened the pipes to the injectors, water came from these pipes as well. So the water got to the Main pump Rail and Injectors. After bleeding the system they started it. It spattered for a few seconds and then ran smooth. They then also connected another machine to the fuel system that does a Injector Flush. Eventually left Upington Ford at 6pm.
    I must compliment Hakkies the workshop manager and his team for their friendly service and working after hours to finish the Job.

    Although the vehicle seems to be running fine at the moment they said that they can give no guarantee that I will not pick up problems in the near future as they cannot say what damage has been done to the fuel pump, rail and injectors. Ford recommendation is that pump rail and injectors be replaced. I think that is like a R100k job.

    Has anybody had a problem like this before and what did you do?
    advise will be appreciated.

    Photo below is a bit of what came out of the tank. Thin layer of diesel on top of the water

    Regards
    Hugo.
    Hugo this is a sad tail. As you have an idea of the cost I would contact Randburg Diesel and Turbo. If others have dealt with them they can give their input. AFAIK they have one of only a few machines that can overhaul every part of injectors to factory spec.

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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Sjoe, what a hassle and inconvenience !!

    I do not believe the short distance you drove would be enough to cause any permanent damage to any of the diesel injection system components.

    I back that up with an experience I had with a Jeep 2.7 CRD. It had a design flaw in that the fuel tank breather pipe sat above the rear LHS tyre outside of the wheel arch. After filling up with diesel at Garies, we drove back to Cape Town, about 450 km, all the way in light to heavy rain. Unbeknownst to me, the external breather pipe was drawing in a misty mix of water spray and air. After about 200 km I stopped and noticed the engine was idling very roughly. Nothing I could do so drove on, after another 200 km or so I pulled over again, this time the idling was much rougher. I checked out a few things and drove on. When I go back to Blouberg, I pulled into the drive way and the engine died. Tried to restart, but no go.
    Suspecting water in the diesel, I drained some form the tank and exactly like yours it looked like orange juice. Let it settle for a while and a clear layer of water formed at the bottom of the sample bottle.

    Phoned Garies fuel station and complained, they checked their tanks and assured me there was no water in their diesel tanks. I investigated further, and then discovered the fuel tank breather pipes intake outside of the wheel arch.
    The Jeep garage collected the vehicle, drained the tank, flushed the system and I collected the vehicle the next day. They acknowledged the design flaw and did not charge me anything for the works done. No parts were replaced, only the diesel filter.
    I drove the Jeep for many thousands of more kilometres after that and never had any issues whatsoever with any of the CRD injector components or pump.

    My point being, I drove about 450 km with an ever increasing contamination of water in my diesel and no apparent or long term damage was done.
    So I think your engine is going to be just fine.
    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/04/24 at 01:22 PM.

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  7. #6
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    JoJo, this is scary.

    We always fill up at 2R, going in or going out. The only way water enters a sealed diesel tank is from the bowser. The bowser driver is supposed to check for water levels in the mass tank before he fills. It is done with a dip stick that has a blue gooie paste put on the end. If the colour change he knows how much water is in that underground tank. This procedure is done every time we receive diesel stock.

    I believe one needs to take a small sample in a glass every time one fills at 2R from now on as this problem will not go away by itself.

    And SANParks will just plead innocence.
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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    I am in Twee Rivieren at the moment. Luckily we heard about the water in the diesel problem and filled up in Askam yesterday. A fuel bowzer arrived late yesterday afternoon and went up to Nossob to fill the tanks there. When we arrived back in camp around 12:30 today they were offloading fuel at the petrol station. Will go and have a look to see if the problem has been solved yet.

    Luckily I have an extra jerry can of diesel. Departing tomorrow for Nossob. Will have to fill up in Nossob because we are going north to Grootkolk and Garagab for a few days. Hope there is no problem in Nossob.
    Last edited by Viertrek; 2021/04/24 at 02:32 PM.
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Ok.Just returned from the fuel station at Twee Rivieren. According to the pump attendant, everything is now fine again.

    Aparently they have pumped the tank through a special filter which separated all the water out.

    Let us hope there is no water in the tanks any more an that it is safe to fill up with diesel again.
    Last edited by Viertrek; 2021/04/24 at 02:14 PM.
    Lourens Goosen

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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    And SANParks will just plead innocence.[/QUOTE]


    Hi Johan
    Sanparks have actually not pleaded Innocence.
    Christa Von Elling the tourism manager was there. She came to the pumps as soon as she heard of the problem. She saw the dips when they dipped the tanks with the water paste.
    The tractor was also full of water.
    Christa was very helpful and she immediately shut down the pumps and phoned Total and confirmed that they will cover the costs of towing and repairs.
    So far the bill is about 10K for the towing and the tank and system clean. The question is now the pump and injectors.
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubu View Post
    And SANParks will just plead innocence.

    Hi Johan
    Sanparks have actually not pleaded Innocence.
    Christa Von Elling the tourism manager was there. She came to the pumps as soon as she heard of the problem. She saw the dips when they dipped the tanks with the water paste.
    The tractor was also full of water.
    Christa was very helpful and she immediately shut down the pumps and phoned Total and confirmed that they will cover the costs of towing and repairs.
    So far the bill is about 10K for the towing and the tank and system clean. The question is now the pump and injectors.[/QUOTE]

    I think you stand a good chance of the injectors and pump being fine. Really.

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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    The only time Iíve seen a problem was when the water sat in the fuel system for a few days...

    On my days off one of the junior mechanics came to a Cummins no start and said that thereís fuel, but he didnít know why it wonít start (see picture)

    Unit towed back and sat two days until I came back... The water separator had at least 1.5 L of water (our off-road fuel is dyed red) and it was found in the common rail... Flushed everything with Power Service 911, in the end the pump was ok, but the water took out all six injectors costing $5,400 USD... Still running today...
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by JohanMaree View Post
    JoJo, this is scary.

    We always fill up at 2R, going in or going out. The only way water enters a sealed diesel tank is from the bowser. The bowser driver is supposed to check for water levels in the mass tank before he fills. It is done with a dip stick that has a blue gooie paste put on the end. If the colour change he knows how much water is in that underground tank. This procedure is done every time we receive diesel stock.

    I believe one needs to take a small sample in a glass every time one fills at 2R from now on as this problem will not go away by itself.

    And SANParks will just plead innocence.
    They donít use water stop filters on the fuel dispenser? We had a fuel truck that would stop pumping when the water hit the filters...

    David Vierra
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Thankyou for all the replies.
    @Ekkekan: Thanks I will get hold of Randburg Diesel and Turbo and have a chat to them.
    Regards.
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Had nearly the same issue. Filled a 2.4 puma with 60 ltr petrol. Client drove for 80km and stopped for a colddrink. Came out and landy wouldnt start. We drained and flushed out all fuel and start. Test drove it 300km. All is okey. Car drove from jhb to cape town next day.
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    A permanent solution is to not drive diesel vehicles.
    All these finicky/expensive parts in the fuel system never appealed to me.
    That, and the noxious carcinogenic fumes it releases into the atmosphere.

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  19. #16
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    As a station owner this issue is becoming all more too prevelant..In Bloem we had 4 stations in the same week that had water in petrol and diesel.
    So either its from the depo like this or the trucking companies employees are stealing fuel and replacing volumes with water or trucks are being washed and no checking of water in tanks etc etc..
    I had the issue 3 weeks back.As soon as we picked it up i closed the pumps.Strangely enough the truck meter was faulty and had only delivered 1000lt..So we climbed on the truck and dipped the truck itself and found loads more water in all the compartments
    4 vehicles had to be drained..
    A new hilux we had to replace the common rail (R18000) but injectors were tested by toyota and said to be fine.
    Needless to say my new routine involves breaking the seals on the truck and dipping it before every delivery now.

    I suggest you drive a month or so and then just have the injectors tested to see that they still in spec..The station should have insurance in place so if you do pick up issues they should assist with the repairs.If the water was delivered to him his supply company must take responsibility

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  21. #17
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    I agree. Electric is the best.
    Quote Originally Posted by JCARS View Post
    A permanent solution is to not drive diesel vehicles.
    All these finicky/expensive parts in the fuel system never appealed to me.
    That, and the noxious carcinogenic fumes it releases into the atmosphere.

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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by JCARS View Post
    A permanent solution is to not drive diesel vehicles.
    All these finicky/expensive parts in the fuel system never appealed to me.
    That, and the noxious carcinogenic fumes it releases into the atmosphere.
    Please show me a modern petrol engine with no finicky/experience parts ......
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  23. #19
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Diesel pump, filter, glowplugs and injectors are notorious for giving hassles unlike petrol vehicles's fuel supply lines. All expensive items.

  24. #20
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    Default Re: Water in Diesel

    Quote Originally Posted by JCARS View Post
    Diesel pump, filter, glowplugs and injectors are notorious for giving hassles unlike petrol vehicles's fuel supply lines. All expensive items.
    Some Modern Petrol vehicles also have injectors, sensors etc.
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