View Full Version : Lending a hand to a neighbor - diesel dead-cut

Loose rivets
17th Jul 2014, 17:32
Lovely bloke, back against the wall with a building project and after refueling on the motorway, his Ford Dura Torque DI - year 2000 - just quit. I'm not sure if it was a dead cut or if it failed after slight changes in noise/power, but it was a full recovery job.

He's an experienced mechanic from the heyday of Jaguar, but both of us know very little about diesel engines. This is the gist.

within 10 mins of a big top-up the thing stopped. Fuel taken from the filter canister looks and smells okay. Well, I assume it should be pale green. Anyway, no water.

The engine is a mechanical delivery into injectors via steel pipes.

The air intake was gungy but the diaphragm seems to work but I don't know if that should action until it has an electrical signal on it. It seems to move without electrical input.

Undoing the nut on the injectors produces a FLOW of fuel. I would have thought it should have been a mist at high pressure, but then the quantity is metered so I supposed there's not much total quantity. I really am working blind as I have never worked on diesels.

Undoing one injector nut causes the engine to rock while being cranked!!!!! Don't understand this at all since there's not a hint of exhaust smoke. Cranking with all nuts done up sees a fairly steady engine.

There is a sight-gauge on the filter along with a little primer pump. It feels normal, but I don't see any indication of fuel in that sight gauge. It has red and green bands on it.

I hate to leave folk in the lurch, and the local agent has told him 4 days to look at it! Not always nice being self employed. Any helpful ideas?

17th Jul 2014, 18:18
it will be the high pressure fuel pump that's gone.

Mate just had the same thing happen in his audi.

When I was looking at it, it had the same symptoms there was still fuel coming out at the injectors.

If you look at the service history and see if its been missed.

The audi one had a life span of 200km ish and should have been replaced in the 180km service but wasn't. New pump just over 1k.

For gawds sake watch your self with the injectors and don't put your hands anywhere near them while testing them.

17th Jul 2014, 18:25
How near to empty did he get before the "big top up" ? One thing you NEVER do is let diesels get to or near empty. On my first diesel cars (circa 1980's) there was a manual pump to pressurise the system if you ran the engine dry. Disconnect all injectors and pump like mad for 10 minutes. If no joy buy a can of "instant diesel start" and spray into the air intake, you will probably have to take the top of the air fliter box and spray in there while someone else turns the key.

Bad news I know but if there's been any problem with the fuel filter and dirt has gotten onto the pump you might be looking at a rebuild costing more than the 12-year-old car is worth.

The Flying Pram
17th Jul 2014, 18:30
Not a diesel expert either, but from the quick research I've just done it's a "common rail" unit and basically the same as the HDi family used by Peugot & Citroen. If that's the case the steel pipes will all be under VERY high pressure all the time the engine is running or cranking. They should meet up at a junction block, rather than individual outlets from a traditional inline or rotary pump. The injectors are electronically triggered by the ECU, and would have a wiring connection or harness, unlike old style mechanical injectors. And when you mention a "Flow" rather than the intermittent pulsing you would get from individual injection metering, it further confirms my suspicions.

Having said all that, the fact that it died shortly after being filled up is highly suspicious. Somehow, "green" sounds more like petrol to me, but I try and avoid derv... I believe (but may be wrong) that many modern diesel engines will detect petrol being used by mistake and shut down the injection to avoid damage. I think you and your friend really need to find out exactly what fuel, or mixture thereof, is being fed to the engine. Petrol and diesel mis-fueling is one of the most common reasons for RAC/AA breakdown call-outs!

By the way - "VERY" can be up to 1,000 bar or more on the newest engines - be extremely careful if you go undoing unions again....

17th Jul 2014, 18:33
"Somehow, "green" sounds more like petrol to me,"

I've never known Green Diesel before, anywhere and we had a diesel
in the UK. But I suppose things can change.

17th Jul 2014, 18:41
I've never known Green Diesel before

Available in a lot of countries, it contains a certain percentage of oil from organic (grown) sources. My Ford Mondeo 1.8TD 'eco' handbook says the car is NOT to be run on 'green' diesel fuel under any circs.

17th Jul 2014, 18:49
Thanks. Will have to see if we get it here.

17th Jul 2014, 19:31
There is also a diesel bug that I have seen - not in your case I believe but it makes the fuel "lumpy" and clogs the injectors.

Get a Prius :} (dont think so)

cockney steve
17th Jul 2014, 21:23
To confirm an individual injector is OK, you just need to "crack" the connection.......fuel will ooze out of the joint......If you consider that 50 MPG is nothing unusual, divide that by the number of cylinders...and the revs,,,,,,,what I'msaying is that each injection pulse is an absolutely miniscule amount of fuel Common Railis more difficult, it's highly risky to breakopenthe rail or disconnect the electriaclconnections......the "brains" are very precise and very pernickerty, they're also prone to sulking if maltreated.......a huge hit in the wallet is the usual result of incorrect "having a tinker"

It does , indeed, sound like high pressure pump.
If you're UK based, try "DIESEL BOB" at Preston website......he has a "good diesel/ bad diesel " page and doesn't pull punches....among others, anything with a Dephi pump appears to be doomed!
"green Diesel" highly suspicious....but, BY LAW ALL UK pump-diesel has to contain, (IIRC) 6% Bio.....tis came in after Particulate filters with after-burn were put in production.....consequently, diesels such as the Renault 1850 unit, also fitted to Maxda Volvo and others,accumulate bio in the sump,which does not evaporate or get burned (applies mainly to mis-sold short hop cars that don't get hot enough for the DPF to properly burn clean) the sump actually fills up with unburned fuel, thus diluting the oil......Volvo refused to answer a V40 owner who asked if it's OK to top-up his 18 a LITRE fully synthetic oil , with 1.40 a litre Diesel, as they'd already said the dilution was perfectly safe!

Working on the current, common rail, computer-controlled diesels,is a fraught business.

Seek out a specialist....invariably, this is NOT THE AGENT. Many still bung the diesel stuff to the Commercial Vehicle workshop and very few of them are au fait with the current stuff.

Loose rivets
17th Jul 2014, 23:05
Thanks for the info so far. I'll look at the link mentioned. Also, roger the dangers. I recall a skipper telling me about a luckless RAF technician who heard a hissing noise from his O2 and Nitrogen bottles. He put his hand into the stack on the trolly and came out sans fingers. Anecdotal? Training health and safety 60s style? Don't know, but I'll not be trying it myself.*

Just to be clear, I'm now in the UK and I'm fairly sure the fuel was purchased at a Shell station. The van was going 70-ish when it failed and probably ten miles from the refuel point.

I don't think this could be called a common rail system as there is no sign of wires going to injectors. Each of the four injectors has a large stainless cap with a hex top to undo it. It comes undone with ease.

The colour is without doubt a pale green in bright sunlight. I can't see the slightest hint of contamination, and we can't smell a hint of petrol.

The problem is that he's a builder and a delivery of wood was due on site - wood for floors that could not be left out. The project is some 50 miles away. Very stressful for him. As mentioned, his Ford place was talking four days to look at it. As one who did all repairs for half a century, I just can't get my head around this kind of 'service'.

Late this evening a relly came around when he'd finished work. He's a 30 year vehicle electrics man and read a couple of codes from the seemingly modest CPU. I overheard water in the fuel, but not enough to stop it. Mmmm . . . certainly it hadn't collected in the bottom of the substantial filter canister.

That unit puzzles me. The primer pump on top can be pressed to prime the fuel, but it never reaches the typical resistance of a built up pressure state.

There does not seem to be an electric pump for the primary supply circuit. No sound of anything when the engine switched on. Surely the high pressure pump needs a substantial input pressure. Any ideas on that? Our man has gathered that there is no inertia safely switch on this system but has still been through all the fuses and a couple of grounding points.

Also, there was opinion that if there were any petrol in the fuel - they relly couldn't smell it either - would shut the engine down, or it wouldn't run. Not sure which, but it wouldn't go. A pal of mine said it would race and run rough. Which is correct?

Sad to see this, the van is filled with tools of the trade - masses of stuff that one takes so for granted . . . until it isn't there.

*I think what I would do is to prime it while it's being cranked. Then try an injector contained in a jam jar to see just what is coming out of it. Mind you, there are wires going into the high pressure pump which cuts it off via the 'ignition' switch. If there was not the correct set of conditions, nothing one could try would bring it alive.

Quite takes me back to my trials with my Oldmobile van (people carrier) in Texas. At least that was petrol and the Americans are very good at getting spares to you for GM kit. I got a used CPU, programed for my VIN, all for $80. Here, there was mention of the pump even being tied to this van. Just how hard can they make it. That was a rhetorical question.

17th Jul 2014, 23:24
"Green" Diesel fuel doesn't mean "coloured green": it means "made from something that grew". It's a strange approach to making fuel given the shortages of food in this world, but that's a different debate.

I've known Diesel fuel to be coloured red, I've known it to be orange, and I've known it to be clear. I've not seen it green, but anything's possible.

Absolutely agree MJ's and others' advice not to mess with the injectors. The fuel comes out of there at very high pressure and has caused some nasty accidents in the past.

If it's common rail, there will be a single "fuel pipe" feeding all the injectors, and a wire to each injector. Those injectors will probably be piezo-electric, switched with high-frequency signals that allow microscopic metering of the amount of fuel injected - with potentially several tiny squirts for each firing stroke.

If fuel dribbles out of the injector, something is very wrong.

Loose rivets
17th Jul 2014, 23:59
At the time of leaving the guys at it, no injectors had been removed. The dribble is odd, but since there is such a small squirt per firing stroke, I guess the only way is to remove the injector. As mentioned, I'd put it in a (thick) jam jar.

It's easy with the electronic injectors, cos one can read the pulses. I drove around in Texas with headphones on just listening to the rising and falling tones. It's odd how slow a one-point sample seems, but with this solid piped system, there's no knowing what's being delivered without seeing the output.

The trouble is that dealers, some of them anyway, will just fit expensive parts, but won't take them back if it's not the answer. 'Yer pump's had it mate' Oh, and we replaced a fuse. So often changing a fuse or some other small thing first saves a thousand quid. Cynical, moi?

18th Jul 2014, 02:52
l can`t help. l can balance SU carbs by listening but Dr D has me flummoxed.

Seems a pointless post but l wanted to offer support.

18th Jul 2014, 03:19
Don`t take offence but is your mate sure that the battery is ok ?

After having to sell both the 911 and 944 l now have a 1.7cdti.

The battery is weak, l leave it running in supermarket car parks locked

by the other key.

The engine can turn over like a good `un but won`t start from cold


lt takes some grunt to turn a diesel engine over fast enough to ignite

the oil.

lt is worth checking.

ps Red diesel is dyed for "agricultural use, tax exempt".

Green diesel is essentially used cooking oil.

Try a different battery. Good luck.

18th Jul 2014, 07:59
Duratorq-TDCi 2.0L & 2.2L (Puma diesel) Caution: The fuel system on this vehicle is designed to prevent the fuel tank being run dry. When the fuel tank reaches a preset limit after the low fuel warning indicator has been illuminated, the engine will be made to run rough to indicate very low fuel level. Failure to refill the fuel system at this time, will result in severe damage to the fuel injection components if the fuel system is allowed to run dry. This process is "called limited operating strategy".

Ford Transit Forum ? View topic - Sticky? 2.0 Duratorq DI new Injection Pump (http://fordtransit.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=28369)

Ford Fiesta / Focus / Transit / Mondeo - Bosch VP44 Diesel Pump (http://www.ecutesting.com/ford_fiesta___focus___transit_.html)

Just some links for you mate

Loose rivets
18th Jul 2014, 09:04
He departed at the crack of sparrows in a truck that had nowt but rubble in it. hard to lay a floor with rubble.

His missus is coming over shortly, she'll give me the lowdown on progress, or lack thereof.

This is handy for me as I know so little about diesel and now I've probably come home for good it's something I'll need to get up to speed on. Will report back - but I do fear what I said earlier. Fit kit no matter what the cost with no real diagnosis. We'll see.

Windy Militant
18th Jul 2014, 22:25
My brothers Transit stopped for no reason Christmas before last. Thought it was the diesel waxing due to the cold weather. Turned out that some sort of bacterial growth had blocked the fuel filters. I seem to remember that they filled up at a different place to their usual garage where they have an account just before it happened.

19th Jul 2014, 12:40
From my days of boat ownership we used to add an anti-bacterial agent when we refuelled (640 litre tank!). We never suffered a bacterial problem but a friend did and his fuel was black and clogged filters every few hours of running. Much chemical treatment and many filters later the problem was resolved.

If your friend's vehicle was suffering from bacterial growth you would certainly see it.

This website (http://www.mydieseldoctor.com/FAQ.html) makes interesting reading.

izod tester
19th Jul 2014, 12:58
Since this is an aviation related website, I would have thought that most people would have been aware of the fungus Cladisporum Resinae which grows on the water fuel boundary in many fuel tanks. As well as blocking fuel filters, the organism also contributes to corrosion in aluminium alloys. In UK military aviation, fuel is treated with FSII (fuel system icing inhibitor) which has the beneficial secondary effect of killing cladisporum resinae. The fungus also occurs in diesel fuel tanks and central heating oil tanks where there is some water. As an engineer, I was principally concerned with the corrosion effects in integral fuel tanks and their prevention and rectification. The helpful stacker could probably add more about how the fuel is treated.

Boudreaux Bob
19th Jul 2014, 13:16
A weak battery or weak starter will cause the engine not to start. As this one just quit running a short while after refueling then I would think that is not the cause of the shutdown.

I would confirm it the fuel to be good, then clean the exiting filter and refit that. No sense putting a brand new one on if it is bad fuel.

If no luck there, I would follow the Injector bleeding procedure in the engine Manual.....to the letter.

If still no luck, do a load check on the Battery.....and ask about starting problems in the recent past which could point to either a weak battery or a failing starter that does not turn up enough Rev's.

If those are found to be in good order....then it could be a Supply Pump or Injector Pump.

Supply pumps are cheap.....Injector Pumps are not. Go with the cheap option first.

Diesels are generally pretty simple....even the complicated ones. Get fuel to the piston with enough Engine RPM and clean air.....and they will start and run.

Do not use Ether in trying to start them.....use WD-40 instead....far easier on the engine than the explosive Ether. Remove the air filter before squirting the WD-40 into the intake.

All lessons learned coaxing an old Perkins to percolate in my sailboat.

Loose rivets
19th Jul 2014, 13:35
Roger the contamination and indeed the WD40. I've just got back from across the road and was distressed at the diesel clattering while starting with brake cleaner and diesel start fluid.

However, with skilled introduction of the canned vapor by the electrical techie the engine runs well. Tying to bleed the injectors at their caps seemed inconclusive to me.

They had changed the filter, but not the entire casting that holds it from the top. That has a priming button in it and also the afore-mentioned sight gauge. No one knows what that gauge is supposed to show, and this is where I have to bow out as my way of thinking is I have to know the most minute details of a system or don't bother.

All evidence seems to say that the HP pump is the only pump. If find this hard to believe, or I did, but I have to accept four different folk confirming this. It leaves a new set of logic to follow.

Must know what that sight gauge - with its red and green bands - is supposed to be showing. (It also has a center pin of yellow plastic set in rubber at the end. Blow out? just don't know.)

Why doesn't the primer button ever go 'hard'?

The four pipes on the casting of the filter pop off very easily. I would suggest this is another confirmation of there being no significant pressure - just sucking from the HP pump under normal operation.

One forum states folk using tape to seal the filter - that really suggests an inward leaking of air, for all the tape in the world wouldn't stop fuel coming out.

They are beginning to think it's the HP pump. I'm not convinced its being fed with fuel, though cracking the nut on the injector does show fuel flowing from the edge of the pipe. It pulses and they say it seems to have good pressure, but flow and pressure may well be related but should never be confused. One would go a very different logic route but I still feel sorry for the bloke.

19th Jul 2014, 14:05
Diesels are generally pretty simple....even the complicated ones.

Not, repeat NOT. modern automotive ones. They are, together with their controlling computer(s) - mine has two - damned finicky bits of equipment requiring a good knowledge of systems and diagnosis equipment that the man-on-the-street can't afford.

Why doesn't the primer button ever go 'hard'?

Very suspicious, that. With all screws done up I've never known the primer pump not to go hard after sufficient pumping. But that was on 200D/220D engines from D-B.

Loose rivets
19th Jul 2014, 14:08
Oh dear. They're huddled around the laptop looking at replacement trucks. He'll be kissing starter, alternator, new clutch and a load of sign-writing goodby. I so hate to be beaten, but I didn't live in the real world. Going out on a limb as a builder is a tough life.

Boudreaux Bob
19th Jul 2014, 14:15
The Sight Gauge is an indicator of Filter Flow....it should be in the Green Band (normal operation) and in theory will slowly go from green to yellow to red as the filter clogs from debris or water.

I assume it is connected to the filter housing.

A leaking O-Ring on the filter housing will allow air to enter the system.

That would manifest itself at the Injectors generally.

Loose rivets
19th Jul 2014, 14:46
I have a gut feeling it's not much but as said, the pressures of the real world dictate having a Transit sized toolbox on site on Monday. Shame.

He said there was no O ring with the new filter. Just don't get it.:confused:

I assumed that gauge would be something like that. I'll hang about in the wings just in case there's something I can do.

Thanks, everyone.

19th Jul 2014, 15:39
If I recall correctly,the low pressure pump is in the fuel tank.

19th Jul 2014, 16:04
I so hate to be beaten, but I didn't live in the real world. Going out on a limb as a builder is a tough life.

Life's crepes are said to make one stronger, Rivets, tho I haven't found that to be obviously the case in my own long string (more like a tree, really, or a forest perhaps) of entrepreneurial, technical, scriptive and personal ad- and misad- ventures and follies.

By my lights, right now, you get a LOT of points for sharing here a fine vantage on your considered thoughts and recounting quite earnestly and with great candor while working through ample baggage from what was, even while helping others & thinking well about how to somehow help self.

Given the current low, this might be a ripe time to start thinking another book.. maybe one tethered close to personal and human realities that one can see from very modern shades of light, while still viewing through the lens of first-hand experience in earlier life. SO many stories can be told that will stretch and guide others for centuries forward -- gritty or fancy and various of the in-between ...carved out of the substance of life as you know it and best can tell it.

Means... opportunity... what's missing?

Good on'ya, anyway.

Loose rivets
19th Jul 2014, 23:48
Thanks for that, though until the other night I'd come to the conclusion that The Perfect Code had not only bombed but cratered. However, I've been perked up by a writer I, and I'm sure many of you, hold in high esteem being very complimentary about the writing. He hadn't waded through the 'stoged down' over-technical sci-fi part that really spoils the book, but at least spurred me on to pull the files and revive my thoughts about the sequel - and indeed cutting the first book down to 500 pages from its present 700.

My pal across the road is typical of folk that work on intuition while under stress. The logic is adversely affected by stress. Intuition is good in the lab but not in the production workplace. There, procedure, tried and trusted, has to be adhered to . . . with a bit of gut feeling thrown in when no one is looking.

I recall looking at my S-I-L's Oldsmobile Toronado, a gargantuan coupe that was more or less a two-seater with two vast doors. One door hadn't opened for two years following a tiny scuff on a telegraph pole. I just sat on a garden wall and looked, and thought. After many tries the dealer was going to cut the door off on Monday, so I didn't have long. I walked over to the car and pulled the recessed handle out of the cup it was housed in and bent the curved quarter-inch rod handle slightly straighter. When I let it in again, there was a satisfying click and the door worked faultlessly.

Some solutions are staring us in the face, but with a brain burdened with work problems, answers don't necessarily come easily. I wish I could make things right for him, but I only have 20% of just one of his ears.

Perhaps I'll persuade him to wrap the entire filter and it's top mechanism in shrink-wrap. If it's sucking air in, that will be drawn in to make a seal. Perhaps.

Other than that, it's probably the electronics/electrics in the black box on the HP pump. It will not turn on unless a coded key is in the 'ignition' so that circuit might be a bit picky, but it is supposed to throw out a code.

And so it goes on. I'll report on the sequel. :ooh:

20th Jul 2014, 04:30
An odd aside.

With good wishes. l have been driving those engines for, l would guess,

ten hour days a day, six days a week. Sometimes seven.

l can work legally for 13 days and then take one day off .

Which l have to, and my lower legs are getting fatter and fatter.

It`s the price of the mortgage.

l do know a tad about those engines.

cockney steve
20th Jul 2014, 21:32
@ Losse RivetsSometimes, you're just kicking 5h1t uphill trying to help some folk. He *could* have found a Diesel Specialist locally.
he *could* have found a good independent garage to look at it....he *could* have "undone" his fiddling with the filter! how much is a new one? did he bother to read the instructions for changing and priming? did he compare old with new?.....It's a bit like dumping a car because the ashtrays are full.

Sometimes, you just can't help folk. current 2000 "y" Volvo came as "keeps sticking at idle revs or a bit more" "tinkerer" had replaced random hoses, clips etc and removed ignition coils. Paid 200 for it.

Internet search,stripped throttle body, re-glued magnet, car is perfect cost more for a battery, alternator belt ,MOT and tax.

had offered to look at it, owner couldn't be arrrsed. his loss, my gain.
You've done your bit, lead a horse to water......

20th Jul 2014, 22:58
So true Steve, so true.

Loose rivets
20th Jul 2014, 23:23
All true, but such a likeable bloke and his angst makes me realize that I've been cushioned for much of my life by seizing just three opportunities with property. Trouble for me is that I expected such chances to happen indefinitely. Picture of pig flying by enters mind. :p

21st Jul 2014, 05:38
Diesel or petrol, check the crank position sensor.

Without a signal from this transducer, it'll never run.

They fail, and will always stop the motor dead.

21st Jul 2014, 07:47
You've done your bit, lead a horse to water......

How very true that is ! In my long(ish) life I've given advice more times than I can count - when asked for that is (advice not asked for was generally met quire correctly with the riposte "go and stuff it up your a*se") - but some advice might have been good, some might have been bad, but I can't believe the times it wasn't even considered. Doubly infuriating when the asker didn't even bother to look up the facts first (and was that ever more easier than now with the 'net ?)

21st Jul 2014, 12:11
Duratorq DI is not a common tail system, it uses a Bosch rotary pump, which can fail.

Duratorq TDCI is a common rail system, it uses Delphi gubbins and gives endless v expensive problems.

Sounds like your mate has the simpler system, if the pump has failed a visit to the scrappy is in order - then the replacement pump will needed to be coded to the vehicles brain - a simple enough job for a properly equipped workshop.

Make sure the part numbers are exactly the same on the two pumps if you do have to go this route.

21st Jul 2014, 12:30
that was my thoughts mini

Ford Transit Diesel Fuel Pumps (http://www.dieseljones.co.uk/diesel-fuel-pumps/ford-diesel-fuel-pumps/ford-transit-diesel-fuel-pumps/)

And 50 quid to get it coded.

if its go a few years left in the old girl and you want to keep it.

If not scrappy should get one for about 200-250 and 50 quid for coding. Then sell it.