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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I waited to change my fuel filters until 30k per the book. I bought them on time but got busy. Hit ~32k miles and truck started running poorly and shifting rough.....mileage dropped off by about 35% as well. Changed my filters now everything is great immediately ...must of been all the dirt and sludge in the frame filter! Going to order another set not for the shelf and do them ~300 hours.
Pleased that the fuel frame filter shares the same large socket as the oil filter...

I have heard the other fluid service intervals should be shortened....it’s all the same fluids I grew up with, and same machinery just more computers/sensors....not sure why they think technology would extended the life of consumables
 

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Great reminder! My rule with diesels is simple- keep a spare ready to go. I did mine at 15,000 miles and can report they are not easy. The lower filter made me nervous as it took a lot of muscle to remove the plastic housing but it went well. Some spillage of course. The upper one is way back near the firewall and the clips take a minute to figure out. Again a little spillage.
 
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@FUGAZI - the big fuel filter mounted on the frame rail back by the fuel tank is an open/exposed style, while the small one on the engine firewall is a closed steel cannister style:
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  1. How did the large one mounted on the frame rail look? Clean or dirty?
  2. Did you take any pics? (You seem to like to take pics...)
  3. Did you find any water in the water separator? (Could have been a bad batch of fuel)
I'm on a 15K change interval for fuel filters also...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@jmperlik yes I do like my pics. Lolz

filter was dirty!
Draining fuel, the original 50-60% was very clean, then it started to get very dark and dirty. I drained into a clear container. No water or separation noted. I will pay closer attention next time
2230
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Dunrollin good idea. I should start TL carry one in my truck. Already carry a quart of motorcraft 5w30, might as well throw the filters in as well.
 

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Holy crap! Now that is black! Where are you located? FL? No way that is from a single batch of bad diesel fuel but something accumulating over time. Using any fuel treatments?

Use same gas station for your fuel? If so, I'd be looking for another gas station as that filter color and the fact that you said it was murky in the tank is indicative of bad/dirty fuel supply.

Based on above and what's in the tank, may want to replace again on a much shorter interval (like 1000 miles) or get your tank pumped out, as something's definitely not good in your tank.

I'll be getting mine changed soon in about 2500 miles for my 30K service and I'll ask to see the old filter to give us an idea what 15K service interval + Stanadyne fuel treatment looks like = hoping for a little better looking than above!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@jmperlik there is a solid DIY video online. Their filter looked the same so I didn’t think much of it.
I am going to change based on hours instead of miles....I currently have 1100 hours. Will do it at 1300 and see how it looks.
 

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@FUGAZI - I've seen the YouTube video you refer to: 2018 F-150 3.0 Diesel Fuel Filter Replacement and was somewhat concerned how dirty the filter at only 18K, which was further confirmation to me to go with a 15K interval.

At 2:27 of the above video, he does a side-by-side comparison of a new filter vs his used filter at 18K. I did a little photo-editing grabbing a screen capture and added your used filter at 32K to the right:
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While I would call his filter "dirty" with the white paper in the filter turning a "golden" color and any large particles filtered out of the fuel, the filter is doing its job and still has some life left. The key here is that you can differentiate the fuel contaminates from the filter paper = if you can see the golden color of the paper, then the filter paper can still do its job. The filter in the middle could still go several thousand more miles if necessary...

Contrast this with your used filter at 32K and I see a bigger problem in that the filter paper is completely black without any golden-colored areas that I can discern. The only area that isn't black is the area I have circled in blue, which I am pretty sure is the glue line/seam on the filter where nothing sticks. I contend that the filter on the right isn't "dirty" but is really plugged = your engine and truck performance before vs after your changing your fuel filters confirm this.

If Ford's recommended scheduled service is 30K for fuel filters, I am going to assume that they built some safety factor into the filter design for those owners not keeping to that recommendation. I would hope the safety factor would be more than 2K or roughly 6%, but I cannot confirm or deny this -- maybe @Kval (or resident Ford diesel tech) can if he's still active. Given that your filters were plugged (I think we can agree on that?) at 32K, I'd be surprised they were designed to stop working with only a 6% safety factor, which is why I contend your fuel supply is dirtier than you might think/want.

I stand by my assertion you have a fuel quality issue and might want to have someone inspect/diagnose what's in your tank. If you don't agree, then I think changing the fuel filters again after 200 hours would be prudent, as it is clear to me that your previous filter was plugged (not doing its job) if the fuel you drained was dirty/murky.

As these are internet forums with owners offering opinions, you can accept or reject my assertions above = your truck/your decision. As a member and an owner, I'll continue to offer my opinions and everyone can make their decision based on the information discussed, as that is what these forums are about: sharing information

Based on all of the above, I'm glad I decided to override Ford's recommendation to go with a 15K interval, first recommended by my Service Manager, who sees these used filters at a much higher frequency that any individual owner ever would, well maybe not F150 Diesels (mine is the only one being serviced) but plenty of PowerStroke SuperDutys...

Caveat emptor
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@jmperlik great post. I might just change them again in 50>100 hours....that’s what is done on diesel powered boats
perhaps I need to shock the tank. I bought the truck second hand with 12k miles....it could of been abused in its original life...

.I really want to change the rear diff....she “clicks” a lot says to wait ~100k miles or sooner if it was “submerged”
 

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@FUGAZI - you do bring up another good point that maybe your tank contains "organic debris" that continues to grow/contaminate any fuel you add.

Specific to “organic debris”, many times people mistakenly refer to microbial contamination as diesel fuel algae, when in fact, it has more to do with petroleum gums, varnishes and lacquers than it has to do with “algae”. Algae doesn’t grow in storage tanks (because it needs light to grow). But other kinds of microbes – bacteria/molds/fungus - they very much do grow and cause problems in stored fuel.
Since you bought used, you are correct in that you have no idea how diligent or careless the original owner was...

Given you deal with diesel marine engines, you're probably more versed in the "shock" or other techniques available for addressing "organic debris" in your tank. Personally I would run a diesel fuel additive that contains a detergent for a few (3-4) tank-fulls and then change the filters again. I run Stanadyne Performance and Lubricity Formulas every tankful, which both contain a Detergent to combat this:
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I'd be very interested in pics of what the filters look like after the short "cleaning" interval and then again after your revised change interval. I would expect the next change to look pretty dirty (cleaning things up) even with low mileage, and the change after that will tell you if you resolve your fuel quality issue.

I will get pics of my next/second filter change at 30K (which may be a couple months) and post back to this thread. I encourage other DIYers (@Dunrollin I'm looking to you!) to post their change interval and pics of what their filters look like at that interval, along with if they are using any diesel fuel additives. I think by doing this we can crowd-source visual definitions/references of what "dirty" and "plugged" filters look like.
 

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I believe the black that you see is from asphaltenes. They are created by the super high pressures created by the high pressure fuel pumps. For example Bosch CP4's run at 29,000 psi! Fuel gets "scorched" for lack of a better word. I filter all of my fuel through a 2 micron filter on my bulk tank, so the diesel going in my truck is pristine. The fuel pump actually makes the asphaltenes. Just gave my brother ****, he has never changed the fuel filter in his 60,000 mile F250 PS. Has the same fuel pump as my Ecodiesel. I have also gone 30,000miles between filter changes, probably 15-20,000 miles would be better.
 

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@hydrex - interesting information on asphaltenes, as I was unaware that the High Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) could be the cause of creating and introducing asphaltenes into your fuel system.

Given the HPFP is at the very end of the fuel delivery system, the only way I can see asphaltenes being introduced to the fuel system and showing up in the large frame rail fuel filter back by the fuel tank is via the Fuel system "return" lines.

Looking at the 3.0L Ford F-150 Diesel Coffee Table Book (which continues to be an invaluable resource) it looks like the Fuel return lines (on Page 32) dump excess high pressure fuel back into the Fuel Conditioning Module (according to the comments)
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Looking at the Fuel Pump Control Conditioning Module (FPCCM) on Page 27, this the combination assembly that the large open-style Fuel filter screws into the bottom of:
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confirmed by the identical figure repeated for the Fuel Filter/Water Separator assembly on Page 25:
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Am I correct in interpreting how asphaltenes are generated and introduced into the fuel system?
 
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@FUGAZI - Reading up on all of the components in the Fuel Charging and Controls section, check out the comments for the Low Pressure Fuel Pressure/temperature Sensor on Page 35:
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I think this provides a definitive explanation for your 35% drop in Fuel Economy, as the Low Fuel pressure sensor did kick in and de-rated your engine power by 30%.

Guessing that PCM threw a P0087 OBD code and you got a CEL/"Fuel Pressure Low" or Limp mode message in your IPC. Are you FORScan enabled or have a scan tool to verify?
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I think I've seen enough to confirm that the control systems kicked in to prevent anything bad from happening...

When I first looked at the 3.0L FordF-150 Diesel Coffee Table Book, I thought it was cute and provided some nice pictures of the individual components, but after referencing and quoting it for more than a half dozens posts, it does contain very valuable information, like the 30% engine de-rating comment highlighted above.
 
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That is my understanding. I believe the way to control, is to change your fuel filter, probably a bit more often . The Bosch CP 4 pumps are squeezing the diesel at 29,000 psi, and I believe the GM's 3L Durmax's fuel pumps even develop more pressure, like 34-35,000 psi! Has to generate a lot of heat. IMHO, all of the 3L diesels have a weak spot somewhere. Wish my Ecodiesel had the old CP3 pump like the new Cummins has switched to. I have deleted EGR cooler and the DEF injection, but will stay with the stock DPF/CAT for now. So, anyway, the HPFP is creating the asphaltenes, and returning back to tank. Don't think they are a big deal, unless you are like my brother and never changer the filter, haha. So, when I cut out the old 2 micron filter on my bulk tank, it is not black, only had fine rust particles imbedded, yet my truck's filters are always black.
 

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That is my understanding. I believe the way to control, is to change your fuel filter, probably a bit more often . The Bosch CP 4 pumps are squeezing the diesel at 29,000 psi, and I believe the GM's 3L Durmax's fuel pumps even develop more pressure, like 34-35,000 psi! Has to generate a lot of heat...
So, anyway, the HPFP is creating the asphaltenes, and returning back to tank. Don't think they are a big deal, unless you are like my brother and never changer the filter, haha. So, when I cut out the old 2 micron filter on my bulk tank, it is not black, only had fine rust particles imbedded, yet my truck's filters are always black.
This is all starting to make sense! This would also explain why I've never seen the "blackness" on any of the fuel filters for my little 15/17HP 3-cyl diesel Bolens Iseki tractors that I collect = rust and other large stuff in "golden" colored filters, but never this blackish tar-like substance see in the pics above. These tractors are 1980s vintage, so not anything near the High Pressure Fuel Rail systems being found in today's 3.0L 1/2-ton pickups = no fuel "scorching" on these older little guys...

I did find this URL that correlates asphaltene & plugged fuel filters: Asphaltenes & Fuel Filter Plugging

Asphaltenes in diesel fuels are becoming a much larger problem since the introduction of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuels.

There are actually several problems that have come together to cause the filter plugging black slime we so often see today.

Asphaltenes are highly polarized long chain components in crude and the heavier refined oils. Under certain circumstances these compounds associate themselves to form complex colloidal structures. In Low Sulfur Diesel (LSD – S-500), High Sulfur Diesel (HSD – S-5000) and heating and bunker fuels the higher aromatic content of the fuel tends to discourage the formation of the complex colloidal structures limiting the problem. However the EPA mandated reduction in aromatic content in ULSD has allowed this problem to happen sooner, more often, and in cooler temperatures than had been seen previously.

Asphaltenes agglomerate into an oily sludge. This problem is made worse when water is added to mix.

Petroleum and bio-derived fuels all hold water suspended in them, ULSD unfortunately holds approximately twice as much as the LSD and HSD fuels we had seen prior to June of 2006. Biodiesel (B100) can hold ten (10) times as much water as LSD and HSD, so even small amounts of biodiesel blended with diesel fuels dramatically increases the amount of dissolved water present.

Blending of fuels refined from different crude stocks further exacerbates this problem. Also, warmer temperatures in storage or due to the recirculation of fuel by the engine fuel system speeds the process and thickens the sludge.

Fuel that looks perfect going into a clean tank can develop tiny asphaltene droplets in a matter of hours when recirculation temperatures exceed 140°F (note: some newer engine fuel temperature as it exits the head exceeds 210°F). These pin-prick sized droplets can plug a 10 micron fuel filter in 3ooo to 4000 miles or less 50 hours of operation.

Many people mistakenly see this as a biological (bacteria and fungi) problem, however in the majority of cases the accelerated biological growth is the result of near perfect growing conditions that allows this rapid growth after the filter plugging asphaltene material has blocked the filter(s).

Keeping the water out helps, but the real solution is a stability additive together with a water dispersant.
So looks like asphaltene is a by-product of High Pressure Fuel Pumps and ULSD (which contains a higher water content) and the closing sentence indicates the only way to combat this is via diesel fuel additives with a water dispersant, along with IMHO shorter fuel filter change intervals.

Let this thread by a warning to all forum members to adhere to the recommended fuel filter change intervals, and challenging your decision to running without a diesel fuel additive.

No comment on your said brother...
 

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From your Asphalitnes and Fuel Filter Plug article: However the EPA mandated reduction in aromatic content in ULSD has allowed this problem to happen sooner, more often, and in cooler temperatures than had been seen previously.

I am shocked these wonderful people have found even another way to make our lives better. Oh well, fresh filters every 15,000 miles it is. Thanks to all for bringing this to our attention. I had no idea...
 

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jmperlik, I also use the same fuel in my Arctic Cat 700 Diesel ATV. It has a Lombardini/Kohler 2 cylinder diesel that I turbocharged and intercooled. Bosch mechanical fuel injectors run off the camshaft (low pressure). Take apart fuel filter, and still white pleats...... BTW, I'm trying an additive called "Fuel Ox" in my 275 gallon bulk tank on next fill up, curious if it reduces the asphaltenes as advertised. My brother never listens to me, haha.
 

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I thought I would share my recent experiences on this topic. I purchased my pickup used this spring with about 32,000 miles on it. At around 34k miles, I noticed the fuel economy dropped off from averaging around 22-24 mpg combined to 18-19 mpg combined. I also noticed that when I would accelerate hard to pass someone, I would notice a slight surging feeling. I decided to change the fuel filters (and the oil and filter since it was on the hoist and I wasn’t sure what oil the dealership put in it). The big filter on the frame was very black. I replaced both filters with the proper motorcraft ones and used Rotella T6 5w-40 motor oil.
Now after changing the fuel filters, my mileage is back to the way it was before and the surging I felt has went away. I plan to do 5k mile oil changes and plan to change the fuel filters every other oil change.
 

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I thought I would share my recent experiences on this topic. I purchased my pickup used this spring with about 32,000 miles on it. At around 34k miles, I noticed the fuel economy dropped off from averaging around 22-24 mpg combined to 18-19 mpg combined. I also noticed that when I would accelerate hard to pass someone, I would notice a slight surging feeling.

I decided to change the fuel filters (and the oil and filter since it was on the hoist and I wasn’t sure what oil the dealership put in it). The big filter on the frame was very black. I replaced both filters with the proper Motorcraft ones and used Rotella T6 5w-40 motor oil.

Now after changing the fuel filters, my mileage is back to the way it was before and the surging I felt has went away. I plan to do 5k mile oil changes and plan to change the fuel filters every other oil change.
2nd owner on this thread with poor fuel economy and verified jet-black asphaltene fuel filter between 32K and 34K miles on original filters...

Coming up on my 30K service where I will get my fuel filters changed, but I also had them changed at 15K (when I had my Titan XXL tank installed) and I run Stanadyne fuel additive every tankful = I'm very interested in what my filters will look like and will get pictures to post back on this thread. I am hoping the fuel additive combats the asphaltene creation.

@mcarlo - thanks for sharing your experiences related to this topic!
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update: So after my drivability improvements following changing the fuel filter a few thousand miles ago, things got really bad in last few weeks and 500-1000 miles. Shifting 4-5, 10-8 and even neutral to reverse was all really indicating major transmission issues....I never got under the truck to check the dipstick. Shame on me, but the temp has been showing the same since purchase. the gauge has a wide range of scale, and I come from the pilot mindset of always trusting your instruments.... showing 35,400 miles at my last fillup I tried one last ditch effort before taking to the dealer before warranty expiration. I bough a quart of the grey Kleen +Cetane. Dumped 16oz in a fresh tank of diesel and drove a mile home, without noticing any improvement. Got up this morning and drove 20 miles. OMG holy [email protected]!! It’s like a new truck....I was obviously having issues with engine timing and how it was interacting with the transmission....amazed. Even feels smoother idling and driving around at speed with foot off pedal....whatever Cetane does, it’s the real deal snake oil.
Thank you @jmperlik for your previous posts and sharing knowledge.
 
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