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Old 03-18-2018, 03:47 PM   #1
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Fuel/water separator issue?

okay not sure what problem I have on my hands here. I decided to do some excessive maintenance and replace my fuel filters way before they should be replaced... and here is where I'm at.

This is a Fleetwood discovery 2007 with a cat C7, that has the alliance brand fuel/water separator. I removed my old one, and there were barely a couple drops of anything in the clear bowl... which to me seems normal, as it never had anything in there since I've owned the RV (2 years)

no big deal, I follow the instructions on the filter itself, and replace it with a new one. fire up the engine... go to the back and notice the bowl quickly filling up. I shut off the engine and go to google, trying to figure out if this is normal? maybe my old filter was clogged or not working correctly... I don't know. there are really no clear answers on google, youtube etc... some make it seem like it is totally normal for the bowl to be filled?

So I fire it back up... idles good, seems normal? 2 minutes in it starts sounding funny a quick check engine light turns out so I kill the motor.

so my question.... are the bowls of these filters supposed to be full of fuel? and do they fill that quick (1 minute)?

was my old filter working correctly and this new filter is defective?

I need some help here... we just got back from a 3-400 mile round tip a week ago everything running as it should with a fresh oil change. considering putting the old filter back on to see if it cures the problem, and maybe I was just the lucky guy that got a brand new defective filter? and I have not replaced the CAT brand 2 micron filter yet, so that could not be part of the problem.
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Old 03-18-2018, 03:52 PM   #2
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The bowl should be full of fuel, if water in fuel, water will settle to bottom of bowl so you can see the water and drain it out.
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Old 03-18-2018, 04:01 PM   #3
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Well,
I use the WIX version filter on ours. Our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT came with only ONE fuel filter. It's the one like yours, on the back. And, it's always had fuel in it when it came time for a change. I don't know just how quickly it actually fills, never paid attention to that. If I can remember, I'll check the fill rate of it the next time I change it.
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Old 03-18-2018, 09:35 PM   #4
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Pretty dang sure I have air in the fuel lines.

I went ahead and replaced the secondary CAT filter that is on the motor and it was only about 1/4 full of fuel when I pulled it off. I prefilled the new one and installed it.

Dropped the water/fuel separator and prefilled that as well. (Didn’t prefill at first per the instructions)

Motor just keeps cranking with no start. It’s a C7 with no hand primer pump. No electric fuel pump... so not sure how to prime this thing to get it to turn over.
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Old 03-18-2018, 10:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by EMPIRE231 View Post
Pretty dang sure I have air in the fuel lines.

I went ahead and replaced the secondary CAT filter that is on the motor and it was only about 1/4 full of fuel when I pulled it off. I prefilled the new one and installed it.

Dropped the water/fuel separator and prefilled that as well. (Didnít prefill at first per the instructions)

Motor just keeps cranking with no start. Itís a C7 with no hand primer pump. No electric fuel pump... so not sure how to prime this thing to get it to turn over.
Well Sir,
I sure as heck hope you don't have to go through what I went through in the same exact situation. The primary difference between your engine and ours is, you have TWO fuel filters. But, I did a thread a long time ago, approximately 4-5 years ago where, just like you did, I did not prefill my ONLY fuel filter, like you, following directions and, when the filter was installed, DRY, the engine did start but, it only ran for about 15 seconds and, FLAME OUT!!!!!!!!!

When that happened, it became a NO START scenario for over 24 hours of investigation. But, the long story made short is, what my wife and I had to do, based on recommendations from CAT, Freightliner and Brette Wolf (Reigning authority from multiple backgrounds), was actually pressurize the fuel tank WITH AIR from my home air compressor. That force fuel, that had migrated all the way, (approximately 30') from the tank, up to the fuel filter.

You see, if the conditions are just right, i.e. low angle from back of the coach to the front and, the tank level was less than half full so, when I broke the fuel filter loose, to change it, guess where all the fuel in the fuel line went? Yep, you guessed, all the way back to the tank. And, contrary to what some think, there is NO FUEL PUMP IN THE TANK, on these coaches.

So, pressurizing the fuel tank, was the only way for fuel to get to the fuel filter. Now, getting it to the filter was NOT ENOUGH. You see, it had also drained the line from the back of the HEUI pump also. On the back of the HEUI pump IS lift pump. That pump, has enough power, to pull fuel from th tank, IF, THE LINE IS FULL. But, it does not have enough power, to FILL A LINE by sucking fuel all that way, AIN'T HAPPENING!!!

So, what I had to do was, loosen the line at the back of the lift pump and have the wife pressurize the tank AGAIN. That allowed for fuel to be pushed all the way to the loose fitting. Once it flowed out of that fitting, I cinched it up good and tight. After that, I cranked that engine for about 10-15 seconds and, it began to fire off. I kept cranking it to help it along and after about another 4-5 seconds, it was idling on it's own. YAHOOOOOOOO!!!

It ran perfect after that.

Now, the moral of the story is, FILL THE FILTER!! Absolutely NEVER follow instructions from any CAT book or any other set that will say to install a fuel filter dry.

One more thing. To make sure, d... sure, that this will NEVER HAPPEN TO ME AGAIN, I installed two fuel shut-off valves. One on each side of the filter. This way, I can shut those off, then remove the filter and, go to lunch, dinner etc. and NOTHING will drain back to the tank.

So, again, hopefully you won't have to do what we did, in order to start your C-7 CAT.
Scott
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Old 03-18-2018, 10:45 PM   #6
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"EMPIRE231"......Just a side note, my brother-in-law had the same Cat C-7 in his coach. There's a kit that includes a hand pump you can install. His was in an Itasca Meridian. The one fuel filter was hard to reach. When he did the kit, it also moved that filter to a more accessible spot.

Installing the kit may be worth your time so don't ever have this issue on the road.
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:06 PM   #7
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@ FIRE UP

thanks for the info... really hoping I don't have to go through all of that.

I tried the "having the wife pressurize the tank" as I loosened the filter... and nothing ever came out. gave up after 10-15 minutes.

@ Dutch star Don

stopped at my local cat dealer today and got the pump... hoping I have enough room to actually use it, and hoping this solved my problem.
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:58 PM   #8
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As I have always said, there are those that prefill their filters and those that wish they had.
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:02 PM   #9
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As I have always said, there are those that prefill their filters and those that wish they had.
definitely on the wishing end right now. That's what I get for following instructions lol
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:11 PM   #10
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Many of us have installed filters dry once. ONLY ONCE
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:16 PM   #11
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One thing if you have a to add air to the tank turn down the regulator to about 5lbs so you don't blow something up.
We had to do the same thing on my daughter Monaco C-7 with no hand pump. We prefilled the first filter then the second left them loose (not real tight) then added air when the fuel ran out of the first one tightened it then move to the second.
When you install that pump you will have to do a lot of pumping to move the fuel 30+ feet.
I would do what Scott has done to his fuel system, keep the fuel from running back to the tank. Mine has a fuel shut off valve next to the first filter and I always start mine first and warm it up before a change.
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Old 03-19-2018, 01:24 PM   #12
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Had same problem on my cat c7 last summer, didn't prefilled according to instructions and ran for 15 sec and that was it. Read thread from Fireup, pulled filters and prefilled, got a rag and wrapped the air nozzle and blew. Took several attempts and many minutes but finally got fuel to run out of the rear filter.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:30 PM   #13
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To those that have the primer pump... are these just supposed to be hand tight? or wrench tight... the new one I have in the box from CAT seems impossible to break loose with my hand.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:17 PM   #14
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Should be hand tight, but if you're trying to hold it in your hand (not installed) and turn it, you may not be able to. I know when using those pumps, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to pump it 50 times.

I would do everything I can to assist the fuel flow, including front jacks extended to keep fuel flowing.
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