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  #1  
Old 05-02-2007, 05:33 PM
Foose
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Heck
Posts: 14
Water in tank/fuel?

83 300SD. I am driving my daughters to school this morning and the car starts acting starved for fuel. I stop at a red light and the car shuts down and will not re-start. Fuel gauge shows just under 1/2 tank. I try to manually pump some fuel but the manual pump is a piece of crap and I am getting no fuel. I took off the fuel cap and there is condensation on the inside of the cap. I walked home, got another car and empty fuel can. Dumped in 5 gallons of diesel in the 300SD, pumped the piece of crap for a few minutes until I got fuel pumping through. The car then started but would stall out again. Repeated the process about four times and then the car is running fine again. Could I have water in the fuel? If so, how would the water get there.

Next problem. I guess that I really taxed the battery with all of the cranking and not starting. All of my working idiot lights are now on. This includes the light to indicate low fuel level. (At this point, I have about 3/4 tank). Did I drain the battery to the point that idiot lights are shining at the idiot? Will this self correct?

Anybody have any interest in buying an 83 SD? I am not a mechanic and I am losing interest. I need a get in and drive car. These MB's require more TLC than I can give. If interested, shoot me a message. I live in Lancaster County, PA.

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Old 05-02-2007, 06:40 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: West of Ft. Worth. TX
Posts: 4,186
In your first paragraph, you mentioned pumping the primer and not getting fuel. Is it leaking? If so, then you may need a new ($20) priming pump.

When were your fuel filters last changed? Have you noticed any black fungus in the in-line filter?
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2007, 07:12 PM
toomany MBZ's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fooss0le View Post
83 300SD. I am driving my daughters to school this morning and the car starts acting starved for fuel. I stop at a red light and the car shuts down and will not re-start. Fuel gauge shows just under 1/2 tank. I try to manually pump some fuel but the manual pump is a piece of crap and I am getting no fuel. I took off the fuel cap and there is condensation on the inside of the cap. I walked home, got another car and empty fuel can. Dumped in 5 gallons of diesel in the 300SD, pumped the piece of crap for a few minutes until I got fuel pumping through. The car then started but would stall out again. Could be an air leak somewhere, have you done any maintence? Primers are past there "prime"-sorry, replace. Repeated the process about four times and then the car is running fine again. Could I have water in the fuel? Enough water usually grenades an engine, as it will not compress If so, how would the water get there. Condensation. Check, replace all fuel filters. Do idiot lights stay on, all the time?

Next problem. I guess that I really taxed the battery with all of the cranking and not starting. All of my working idiot lights are now on. This includes the light to indicate low fuel level. (At this point, I have about 3/4 tank). Did I drain the battery to the point that idiot lights are shining at the idiot? Will this self correct?

Anybody have any interest in buying an 83 SD? I am not a mechanic and I am losing interest. I need a get in and drive car. These MB's require more TLC than I can give. If interested, shoot me a message. I live in Lancaster County, PA.
I have a SD.
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2007, 07:23 PM
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Location: Northeast Indiana
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Several possibilities, one of them being water, typically happens after being parked for an extended period with less than a full tank.

The filter should trap some water, if too much then the engine will get it. Start with clean filters.
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:52 PM
compress ignite's Avatar
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Posts: 5,554
Frustration

SD blue has the right idea.
1. If you have water in your fuel tank ...Algae WILL grow in the interface
between the water and the diesel fuel.
2. If enough Algae dies off (through natural attrition...or the addition of a
Biocide [to eliminate the growth]) the fuel filter(s) can become clogged
with the corpses of the little buggers.Algae when dead appears as black
goo whether in the fuel tank,fuel tank strainer,or either of the two fuel
filters.
2a.As the fuel level lowers or raises inside the tank the vent allows air entry
and exit.Upon entry (depending on ambient humidity)the "Fresh" air from
outside carries water vapor into the tank.With heating and cooling of the
tank (due to normal temperature fluctuations from day to night) the vapor
condensates out onto the tanks walls and runs down underneath the fuel.
2b.Infrequently used diesel supply tanks (where you may get your fuel)also
suffer the very same condensate effects.And as the fuel in the supply
tank gets low enough...The water is sucked up and transferred into your
tank.
3. The "Correct" fix would be: To empty the fuel tank.Remove the fuel strainer
in the bottom of the tank and clean it.Wash down the inside of the tank
with an agent to clean the tank (using the fuel sensor port in the top of
the tank).Change the fuel filters.Refill the tank with clean diesel.
4. Mercedes does not address the problem of water in the fuel ...except to
say that it is not good.(ruins injectors and injector pumps).
If a RACOR spin on water separator filter would fit the Mercedes filter head
none of us would have your problems...ever again!
Air planes (Piston engined) have fuel petcocks on the underside of the
fuel tanks to check for your same problem.(and using the petcocks can
easily remove any contaminating water)
I had an old diesel Golf that had a water separator underneath the chassis
,a light would illuminate on the dash to let you know when to drain off the
accumulated condensate.

I have a RACOR water separator fuel filter,that I'll install (just in case).If
the fuel flow rate and the lift pump are not taxed too much by the extra
resistance.(AND if the resistance is too much...bye,bye to the Mercedes
fuel filter head)

CAUTION information sources only!
Startron makes a biologically degradable Algaecide for diesel fuel.
The advantage is that the Algae will be killed with much less or even no
chance of clogging the fuel filters.
West Marine or any Ships Chandlery will stock it.

Unfortunately, your water is living on the bottom of your tank and it has
to go.

Last thought...What kind of maintenance is necessary for a 23 year old
domestic vehicle with hundreds of thousands of miles?


Last edited by compress ignite; 05-02-2007 at 08:01 PM.
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