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Old 11-20-2010, 08:53 AM   #1
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Symtoms of Having a Bad Tank of Diesel Fuel

I wanted to share an experience that I had encountered while traveling from Alaska back to the lower 48 this past fall.

While on the Alaskan Highway just East of Watson Lake, Yukon, I stopped at Contact Creek to fuel up based on a recommendation from the owner of the Watson Lake RV Park. It wasnít until less than 100 miles down the road when I noticed my ATC light blink on briefly, however the road conditions were dry and the ATC should have not been activated. Then much later it would come on briefly again, more often now than before and the engine was hesitating ever so slightly. Over the next 2000 miles through BC, Canada, Washington, Oregon and into California, There would be days that would be OK and others like the very last day before figuring out what the ACTUAL problem was, it was the worst driving day I ever had. During those many miles, I was convinced that I had an ATC control module that was acting up. There were so many times where the engine was jerking really bad that it made driving very difficult. A lot of the times, it would only occur on the uphill grades and then the very next morning, it would not rear its head until later in the morning. The whole thing was really confusing and hard to diagnose.

So, that evening after the worst driving day in California where even the rolling hill roads were causing the engine to hesitate and the ATC light would be flickering on and off, I got on the Internet and Google searched for similar symptoms. Voila, I came across another Monaco owner with the exact same symptoms they had experienced a year earlier. It was on another RV forum, and one poster stated to change out the engine fuel filters, and that would fix the problem. As with the other person, I too, had thought that there was a problem with the ATC system.

The very next morning, I filled up with diesel and went into town, Paso Robles, CA and had a truck shop replace the two engine fuel filters, and oh, by the way, that morning, my Aqua-Hot system shut down and wouldnít start so I had them change out that fuel filter also. The only fuel filter that hasnít been changed and for whatever reason it hasnít affected it as yet in my Onan generator fuel filter. However, it will be changed before leaving on my next long trip just to be safe.

Bottom-line, everything is back to normal and after all that time, well over 2000 miles or more, it was a bad tank of fuel that was pumped into my tank at that specific fuel stop in the Yukon. It had nothing to do with the ATC system at all. That was just a false victim of the real cause.

When you get bad fuel, stop and change out all of your fuel filters. I am now carrying a complete set of extra fuel filters, two for the engine, and one for the Aqua-Hot. Just in case this happens again, I will NOT wait until I can get to a truck shop to change them out. I will do it myself. Especially if I am hundreds of miles away from any type of engine service center no matter where I happen to be at the time.


Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:24 PM   #2
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Just a thought to add -- the reason your generator has not had the same problem is that it draws from a higher level in the fuel tank, and the water and sediment is at the bottom. (This is so you can't run your tank dry with the genny, and then be stranded.) I would have thought the same for the Aqua-Hot, but who knows?
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Old 11-24-2010, 04:15 PM   #3
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Dr, 'bad' as in water?
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:55 AM   #4
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Nope, no water, I would imagine since I took on almost 225 liters of fuel and it was a small single pump station in the middle of the boonies that it was most likely getting towards the bottom of the tank and I got a lot of "crud" pumped into the tank.

What it did was clog my filter sand it took quite a while before it really acted up. The Aqua-Hot filter didn't get totally clogged until the very last day I determined that the filters needed changing and that's when my Aqua-Hot shut down and wouldn't start. Obviously, there was a lot more fuel going through the engine filters versus the Aqua-Hot filter.

One thing I forgot to mention was that the very last day of driving with these clogged filters, I was able to eliminate the engine jerking by dropping down to 2nd gear and run at 30 mph at about 2000 rpm. What I was doing was forcing the fuel through the clogged filters. Of course I didn't travel very long that way, it was only part of my trouble-shooting evaluation.

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Old 11-26-2010, 07:01 AM   #5
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sure sounds like a load of bad juice, we have been buying diesel since about '99 all over the Eastern US coast inland to the Midwest and in the Canadian Maritimes, never-ever had a problem, it can happen but thankfully getting contaminated fuel is a rare event.

Did it ever happen to you before?
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:17 AM   #6
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I have always carried a spare set of fuel filters, but have never needed them in over 109,000 miles of driving. If I feel a jerking problem or loss of power I will stop in a safe place beside the road and change the filters. No need to have an unpleasant trip.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rough road View Post
Did it ever happen to you before?
Nope, however, in the past seven years of ownership, I have never driven more than a few hundred miles on a local trip around Southern California. This was our first really big trip and we purchased over 1300 gallons of diesel. I didn't have a lot of engine performance experience until now.

That's why under the circumstances, I originally thought i was having an ATC control module problem just as the person did over a year ago when I read their post. I didn't even consider a fuel problem. Never ran through my mind that it could be a tank of bad fuel. This thread was my attempt to warn people that may come across the same symptoms that I experienced.

As stated earlier, I will always carry a spare set of fuel filters and change them myself if this occurs again. I travel all over the NA continent and you just never know when or where it will happen again.

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