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Old 11-07-2013, 05:50 AM   #1
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My new-to-me 1999 American Coach came with a Wix 33242 fuel filter which is the model with the clear plastic bowl screwed on the bottom of the disposable filter can. Thinking this would be an easy spin-off / spin-on exercise, I placed a bucket under the filter and opened the water purge valve at he bottom of the plastic bowl to drain the filter. A quart later, it was evident that the low position of the filter on the chassis meant that fuel was siphoning from the tank. I could not see a shut-off valve. What had appeared a simple task now looked like something I was willing to pay a pro to do.

A couple of nights later, the Check Engine light started flashing and I felt a few loss-of-power jolts. If I dropped below 55 MPH, the flashing stopped. In Googling this problem, it seemed the least expensive possible cause was a clogged fuel filter.

Called the nearest truck service facility and they quoted me half an hour labor and could get me in in a few hours. Done.

The mechanic walked over and introduced himself. I handed him the new filter, pointed to the old filter and he went to work. Simple.

Since the vehicle was in the parking lot instead of an 'EmployeesOnly' bay, I walked back there a few minutes later to check on progress and maybe learn something. Being mindful of the old adage that the charge to fix a flat is $10, if the customer watches $20, and if the customer helps $50, I asked how it was going. I could see that at least a gallon of diesel was on the ground. He asked if I knew where the fuel shut-off valve was. I said, "Sorry, I've only owned this coach for four days". He went off to get a bigger bucket.

At the end of the job, I estimated three gallons in the bucket and another two to three gallons on the ground. The diesel hits the towing hitch first, making it splash everywhere.

Cost: $60 labor + $24 filter + $25 lost diesel
Value of the fact that it was not me responsible for this spill and covered in diesel: Priceless!

Did the manufacturer really skimp on a $10 shut-off valve? As someone else posted, it is probably not a good idea to crimp a 15 year old hose.

Any ideas for a less noteworthy experience next time would be appreciated.

Yes, the filter change did resolve the Check Engine light issue.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:34 PM   #2
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I learned something from your experience. Next fuel filter change, I'll install a shutoff at the filter head in the line from the tank at the same time. Thanks for the alert.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG 11B5MX,Infantry retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA." My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:37 AM   #3
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In hindsight, both the mechanic and I should have thought of this:
Start by unscrewing the supply line and screwing in a valve. This would have meant losing a pint of diesel at most. Because the filter is so low, might have to add valves to both in and out ports. That would definitely make for more dignified filter changes in the future.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #4
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I was told that the plastic spin on part can be a problem and is hard to find, I was given a new filter that had the same micron rating but had a solid bottom with water drain.
I kept the plastic part and one filter that fits it just in case.

PS I have the same filter and a similar location but I have never had fuel siphon out. Lucky I guess.
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:55 PM   #5
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Does anyone have a wire harness connected to the water sensor on the bottom of the filter? The mechanic said he did not see one and I have not been under there to look.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:51 AM   #6
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Never found the 33242 that difficult to change, yes it does dribble but I always have the new filter in hand and ready to install and pre-filled with fresh Diesel - Usually a 5 min job. I have 3 fuel filters on my 8.3 and I pre-fill them then install- I change all 3 inside 30 mi. Engine fires right up never a burp.
Sorry you had issues.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
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I can remove both my filters without shutting off the fuel...nothing drips or leaks.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:00 PM   #8
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I took a tie wrap and kinked the fuel line. Then let the fuel drain into the bucket till it stops. They make these plastic clip plier thingys to squeeze fuel or oil lines for this purpose. I just bought two of them, but haven't used them yet. I found some algae in my fuel, so I keep extras of each type on the coach.

About the wire harness, the cummins parts guy said there should be one tied up to the main harness. He was correct, if found it, but never bothered to connect it. I guess should. Look under the bed, since it's above the starter motor.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:06 PM   #9
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If you can plan ahead for your next filter change, maybe try running the fuel tank down to about 1/4 full, and find a spot to park the coach that puts the front lower than the back.

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