IN A FLASH

DON’T LET DIRTY FUEL KILL YOUR DIESEL DONK.

WORDS AND PHOTOS MARK ALLEN

HIGH-TECH common-rail diesel engines gracing the latest crop of 4x4s are brilliant, powerful and economical machines, but they need particular care with regards to cleanliness in a few key areas – one of which is the fuel filter.

Slurping a gutful of dirty diesel into your engine could see you up for a hefty repair bill of up to $20,000.

While you may intend to only fill up at reputable stations, that’s simply not a realistic or failsafe plan. The better option is to ensure only clean fuel finds its way into your high-pressure fuel pump by filtering everything – the clean and the not-so-clean. Enter the Flashlube diesel pre-filter. For a small outlay (compared to a huge repair bill) most home mechanics could fit one of these kits in an hour or two.

The pre-filter kit is placed before the original equipment filter. It’s more coarse (at 30 microns) compared to most standard filters (at five microns) and incorporates a water separator to prevent water travelling into the injectors and lines. The tap at the bottom of the glass viewing bowl allows easy draining of water, while the replaceable cartridges simply push on and off for fast replacement.

The idea of pre-filtering is to get rid larger-diameter foreign particles (fungus, rust, scale and dirt, as well as water) that would quickly clog the OE filter, rendering it useless. It potentially prevents dirty fuel from flowing into the injector lines and ultimately blocking or fouling the injectors.

The pre-filtering kit doesn’t impede the job of the OE filter, nor does it negatively affect OE sensors and OE dash-mounted warning lights. Should the pre-filter become blocked with contaminates, it can simply be replaced – a much cheaper option than replacing the more expensive OE unit. Ultimately, the OE filter will stay cleaner for longer but I’d be sticking with the manufacturer’s recommended change intervals just to be sure.

The kit we fitted to the Troopy came with a 12-volt water warning kit that features an LED warning light to immediately alert the driver should water be captured in the bowl. It also comes with a vehiclespecific bracket and hose kit (along with all necessary nuts, bolts and mounting hardware) to make the job simple.

This kit is so damn simple to fit and can potentially save you a fortune in repair bills. It should be one of the first accessories fitted to all 4x4s to ensure clean fuel is fed into an engine.

RATED

AVAILABLE FROM: www.fl ashlube.com RRP: Kit $190; replacement element $55; fi tting kit from $120; hand primer $80; water sensor $181.

WE SAY: A must-have.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

THIS “quick and easy” job ended up taking me two frustrating, swearfilled days to fire the mighty Troopy back into life. Not due to the new Flashlube filtering kit, but rather the inability of the OE primer to prime a huge amount of fuel into an empty system. Admittedly I made the job harder by changing the OE filter and emptying the whole cartridge canister at the same time as fitting the Flashlube kit.

Other than reverting back to the standard fuel lines and single OE filter, I was at a loss as to what to do. I called my local mechanic at M&H Mechanical in Laurieton for help. Matt immediately diagnosed the problem over the phone and offered the loan of a manual bulb pump they use in the marine industry (it sucks fuel from the tank to the outboard motor) to help fill the Troopy’s fuel system. The pump primed the complete and updated fuel system.

In hindsight, Flashlube offers an optional hand primer that attaches to its pre-filter kit, so that would have saved a huge amount of time and frustration. Plus I should have introduced the new filter kit prior to changing the OE filter and emptying the contents of the OE fuel canister, rather than doing both jobs at the same time.

I have since stopped at Camden Haven Marine and bought a handprimer bulb. At $11.30 it’s a good investment and will be staying in the Troopy’s toolbox, where it’ll also be used to help syphon fuel from jerry cans – that’s better than a mouthful of diesel.