UPDATE: Since this video was recorded I have discovered Archoil AR6200 Fuel Modification Complex and AR9100 Friction Modifier. Both of these supersede all other fuel additives and oil additives that I have recommended in the past.
Lately we have seen trucks in the shop with fuel related problems; more in the last 6 months than I have seen in the last fifteen years. A lot of the fuel sellers are allowing their tank levels to drop all the way down to the bottom. The tanks start to condense water into the fuel supply which ends up in your fuel tank. When this fuel ends up in your fuel filter, it clogs but some can pass and grenade your injectors. As long as the fuel system is maintained correctly, you can deal with it. This lecture is primarily going to focus on the 6.0L because that is where we see most of the problems. In the 7.3L the fuel system, by its very nature, is much more capable of dealing with poor fuel.
We are going to investigate the horizontal fuel conditioning module (HFCM) on this 2004 F350.
The horizontal fuel conditioning module is located on the inside of the frame rail directly under the driver’s seat. This is where the lower fuel filter is located. Those of you doing your own maintenance know what a pain it is to get to this from underneath; if you have four-wheel drive, the drive shaft sits right on the fuel conditioning module.
Your lower fuel filter should be a Ford factory filter with a membrane on it. This membrane is extremely important because it filters the water out of the fuel as it passes through the fuel conditioning module. The water ends up in the bottom of the fuel conditioning module. The water is released by opening this plug. What we see is this reservoir filled with all kinds of stuff that looks like glue or some sort of paraffin. When this plug is removed when you are servicing the fuel filter, you let the fuel drain out. Then, take some brake cleaner and spray it inside and try to loosen up any debris that may be in there. If you notice a lot of extra debris coming out of the fuel conditioning module, then it is probably time to remove it and disassemble it to clean it out.
It is easier for us to get to the fuel condition module with the cab off, but if you are doing it from underneath, it will help to take the driveshaft loose and slide it over on the cross member so that you have more room to work. It is a relatively simple process to remove the fuel conditioning module. There are a couple of plugs: one for your fuel pump, one for your water and fuel light, and two fuel lines. There are also a couple of bolts on the outside. If you have never worked on a Ford before, you are going to need one of the old school Ford fuel filter tools to get the fuel lines off.
Now that we have the fuel conditioning module removed from the truck, we can take a good look at it. Look at all the mess in there. The fuel pump is located inside the lower fuel filter and this is the plug for the water and fuel light. The water and fuel light plug was eliminated from the unit on the 2005 models. If I call Ford and order this fuel pump today, the water and fuel light plug is eliminated which means that the plug isn’t even plugged in. Unfortunately, Ford’s answer to the water and fuel light was simply to unplug this plug and let you go down the road. This is a huge disservice to the customer, because how are you going to know that you have this type of stuff floating around in your fuel system. This is why this customer’s injectors are dead. Look at the difference between the customer’s filter and a new one.
If this stuff travels through the fuel conditioning module and gets to your upper fuel filter or your injectors, it will raise hell on your fuel injection system. To do this job, you are going to need new fuel filters and this gasket that is readily available from Ford dealerships. We are going to take this and clean it with brake cleaner and get rid of all this nasty stuff so that we don’t contaminate the new injectors.
If you have 150,000 miles on your truck and you get 15 miles to the gallon. That means that 10,000 gallons of fuel has passed through the fuel conditioning module. Even if you have 75,000 miles on your truck, it means 5,000 gallons of fuel has passed through your fuel conditioning module. If you have a truck that is a few years old, it’s a good idea to remove the fuel conditioning module and clean it out with brake cleaner. It is just cheap insurance to make sure that you are doing everything to protect your fuel injectors.
The last thing you can do to ensure that your fuel injectors are protected is a fuel additive. There are lots of products out there on the market. My personal favorite is Archoil AR6200 Fuel Modification Complex. Stanadyne Performance Formula, Lucas and Diesel Clean are all good products. Any of that stuff is better than not having it. What the additives do is help keep the water out of your fuel, condition the fuel and add lubricant for the fuel injectors to make sure that the injectors last as long as they possibly can. We have to do everything we possibly can to keep our equipment on the road running as effectively possible and not just throw away money needlessly. Simple maintenance to keep the fuel conditioning module clean, new fuel filters, and fuel additive will go a long way to keeping your fuel injectors healthy and running right, keep it starting right, ensuring the correct amount of power, and running smoothly.
The fuel supply that we have today is just simply not as good as it use to be. I see evidence of it every day. People are spending lots of money that they could have avoided had they taken care of some very basic maintenance items like this. ~Bill Hewitt