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Diesel engines depend on fuel pressure to run. Because of that, they need high-pressure fuel pumps and injectors to deliver the fuel at the desired time and pressure.
Such systems require clean fuel though as even the slightest contamination can lead to failure. Manufacturers have addressed this by adding a fuel filter; however, on some occasions, the factory system may not be adequate.
In today’s article, we will discuss how fuel can get contaminated and how a secondary fuel filter can save your engine.
How Does Fuel Get Contaminated?
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Imagine you are tackling a multi-day expedition during the winter – the trail offers plenty of mud and deep water crossings. As you tackle obstacle after obstacle because of all the crossings and mud some water manages to get into your fuel tank and contaminate the diesel inside. You will keep on driving unaware of it until your fuel pump or injectors decide to give up.
The same can happen to jerry cans that are hanging at the back of your vehicle or by using old fuel that has been left sitting and is now contaminated due to humidity.
Remote fuel stations can also present issues as the fuel there is typically old and can go bad as it sits, thus making a secondary fuel filter a good idea.
You may think that the existing fuel filter will be there to separate the water from the fuel, but you will be wrong. Factory fuel filters are not designed to do that, and this is where the aftermarket units can be useful.
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Types of Aftermarket Fuel Filters
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There are two types of fuel filters available, the first one is for people who do not want to open their bonnet and check whether the filter has picked up water or not. This filtration system is slightly more expensive but as soon as water contamination is detected you will be notified from inside the cabin to open the hood and let the water out of the filter.
The second and slightly cheaper option is a filter that will not notify you of water contamination. Instead, you will have to open the bonnet and check occasionally.
Both systems offer equal filtration abilities; however, the electronic one is more convenient.
Do You Need a Secondary Fuel Filter?
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It all depends on the type of driving you are doing. For example, people who tend to drive around town, fill up at the same petrol station and only head out for a trip per month do not need a secondary fuel filter.
If you travel across the country regularly, fill up from multiple petrol stations, carry extra fuel and drive through rivers and wet trails then you will probably benefit from one of these systems.
We hope that the above article has helped you understand the importance of a secondary filter for overland travel as it may be the difference between getting stranded or making it back home. What do you think? Will you be installing one of these systems?