Dirt and dust can reduce engine life by 50% if they get into your fuel system. Even tiny amounts can grow into damaging and potentially costly obstructions. In fact, such contaminants account for more than 85% of all fuel system failures. And newer engines’ high pressure fuel injectors are even more susceptible. The tiniest of particles can grow into damaging and potentially costly obstructions. Here are some tips on what to look for and how to maintain your fuel system.
Areas in which there are quick, sliding movements are particularly vulnerable to dirt and dust, which interfere with motion. Prime places for such obstructions are inner and outer valves, nozzle needs and seats, and pistons, but they’re nothing compared to the harm that can be done to injector barrels and plungers and control valves.
These areas should be inspected and cleaned regularly:
2.5 microns is the amount of fluid needed to maintain the smooth and continuous operation of an injector barrel and plunger. Dust or dirt in this area can seriously interfere with the machine’s mobility.
Contaminants can wear away control valve seals, greatly reducing fuel pressure and engine power, straining the machine and wasting fuel.
Always replace the nozzle back into the pump when you refuel. Letting it touch the ground will dirty the head, contaminating your machine.
Construction can be dusty work. Keep vent tube and fuel caps tightly sealed to prevent dust from entering the fuel system.
You don’t want your engine exposed to too much dust, so be diligent about maintenance – filter changes, refueling and engine repairs – and complete them indoors, if possible. If not, only open service hatches when necessary and close them when the job is complete. This approach will greatly reduce risk of fuel system contamination.
Change filters regularly. Manufacturers have suggested intervals and filter types that should be followed. If a filter is clogged, it can’t stop any more dirt from entering into your engine. Always follow the operator manual’s instructions when changing all filters, both main and prefuel. Be sure to look for possible leaks that may let particles through.
Avoid introducing dust into the system by not filling the filter element with fuel when changing the main filter. Use the priming pump to fill the new filter. Also, check to make sure O-rings fit properly, as a poor seal can lead to fuel system contamination.
New prefuel filters should be inspected before installation. Be sure to check that the cap is attached to the new filter before pouring fuel into the cartridge. (Do not use the center hole.) Once the cartridge is full, remove the cap and discard it. Next, apply a thin layer of engine oil to the cartridge’s packing surface before installing the prefuel filter carriage into the proper filter holder. Insert until the cartridge’s packing surface contacts the sealing surface of the filter holder, then turn to tighten the filter cartridge.
Condensation often forms on machines at night, when the temperature drops; water may enter the fuel tank. You can stop this condensation from forming by filling the tank up at the end of the day. Then, the next morning, before you begin operation, drain water and sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the tank. Similar procedures for draining should also be completed about ten minutes after each refuel.