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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before I got into my 2nd mowing season with my 4520 I thought I'd see if there was any water in the bottom of the fuel filter holder. The manual is less than clear here, and it shows two types a filter: one you can't see through, the other you can. I have the one you can't see through.

So I turned the little "knob with a short tube" and some fuel came out. No water that I could see. I drained just a bit (about 1/4 of a cup) of fuel and figured that was good enough.

Now the manual talks about turning the bleed valve (plastic screw looking thing) a bit and pumping the pump. I did that, and all sorts of fuel sprayed out of the bleed value.

My Kubota B21 has a clear fuel filter case, sure wish the Deere had that...

So my question is, what's the right way to do all this? When you drain some fuel like this, does air get in or does more fuel just flow in from the tank so there is no need to purge since no air got in? Is that purge pump pretty much just for when you change the fuel filter? :unknown:

Speaking of which, the manual states that you should change the fuel filter yearly. I typically have gone 2-3 years between changes, any comments on that?

Pete
 

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Pete,
These days our diesel fuel has been treated with some sort of additive from the plant it was made in or from the fuel station selling it. Some fuel treatments are there to help water fall out of diesel and some are there to suspend the water in diesel. I say this, as most storage tanks use the stuff that suspends water in diesel as they do not want water sitting on the bottom of the tank and growing algae. So, in a climate that your in, I would assume that there will never be water in your filter unless you get some real bad fuel.

If it were me, I would not drain any fuel from the bottom of the fuel filter and I would change the filters annually. I have to assume you put on a couple hundred hours and even if its more than 75, I would go that route. That way you ensure your fuel is properly filtered and not growing anything inside.

If you feel your tractor is not running correct and you think its fuel, then I might drain a bit and see how it looks.
 

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If it were me, I would not drain any fuel from the bottom of the fuel filter and I would change the filters annually. I have to assume you put on a couple hundred hours and even if its more than 75, I would go that route. That way you ensure your fuel is properly filtered and not growing anything inside.
So you would reccomend Annual Fuel filter changes regardless of hours run?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I add the minimum amount of the OptiLube stuff mostly to be be sure things are well lubricated, and also anything with xylene and benzine should probably nuke anything that wants to grow in the fuel. That is a "separate out the water" treatment, and it's part of why I was curious as to if there was any water in the system.

The tractor is kept in an insulated but unheated garage. It never got below freezing this winter. The garage is foam insulated, so it takes a long time for moist air (or any air exchange with the outside) to happen. There wasn't any time this winter where I had the condensation on any metal surfaces because a warm moist air mass blew into our area. I kinda of use that observation as a way to gauge the probability that water has been condensing in the tank or fuel containers.

I also keep the tank full at all times. During the summer, I'll take it down near to empty once just to be sure the fuel gets cycled out.

OK on annual fuel filter change.

So when I drained some fuel out, did air bubble up in or did new fuel keep things full from the tank? Just curious... Hope the manual is clearer in the "changing the fuel filter"section. I'm sure this is like everything else in maintenance land, once you've done it makes sense. Guess that applies to life too... :laugh:

Pete

(In case you're wondering, the new avatar is the Aztec bar code for "Nothing runs like a Deere".)
 

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I suspect Pete can change the fuel filters every two years without a problem. This assumes low usage, and proper clean fueling techniques that I would bet money on that he follows. With clean fuel you could get by a long time (years).

The thing about dirty fuel is it can plug a filter in 30 minutes or less if get unlucky, so it is a good idea to keep some spares on hand.
 

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Steve is correct, Pete could probably do filter changes every two years, but he could probably also never drain water from his filter and be fine. He is draining the fuel and I suspect that he is following the manual to a tee.

The only time I have found water in the bottom of a filter bowl is when I have got bad fuel. Storing diesel in a container over the winter does not scare me. I keep my tractor above half full all winter in an unheated, uninsulated barn and I do not have any water issues. I use a bio diesel additive that is more sensitive to water. Our farm trucks stay full all winter, some even outside, and we never have issues even in our dump trucks that are only used during harvest.

I guess what I am saying is that your worrying to much about it and if you feel the need to drain your filter, you could just as easily change filters on the 4x20's. New filters don't hurt anything, old ones can. Bad fuel is the danger.

Try to buy your fuel from a truck stop that sells a lot of diesel and don't worry. But be educated about it in-case you get a bad batch of fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks to all for the advice. yeah, I had spare filters and a spare fan belt within a few days of having the tractor. About 8 years ago, for some reason, Kubota didn't have oil filters for the B21 for about 6 months. That taught me to be ahead of the game at all times.

Part of the "drain a little to check for water" was just figuring out how to do it. It also occurred to me to check it in case some water got in during the repairs to the tractor a year ago. I did some box blade-ing with the tractor today, it started right up. So when I cracked the drain to check for water, fuel must have come in from the fuel tank and no air got in. That let me see that there was no water in the fuel. Also seems like the purge screw is at the top of the filter, so when I did a little push on the pump and go fuel it was good to go. All fine stuff to play with before I have to because I was having some problem.

Whenever one of my fuel containers gets close to empty, I peak into it to make sure there's no water in the bottom. Between that and the clear fuel filter holder on the B21, I hope I can spot any bad fuel I get before things get out of hand. My 1st fuel filter change on the B21 was at 5 years (it looked ok....) and when I got it out while it looked OK it was clear that a 2 year schedule would be good. It's that old "cost of maintenance vs. cost of repairs" thing. Live and learn...

So I'll change the filter out this fall. Got a spare one in case something goes wrong.

And at the end of this year, I'll start up a "Change your antifreeze every two years?" thread... On the tractors and generator, I tend toward every 3 years but I need to figure out how to test the antifeeze to see how it's holding up. But, that's a problem for this fall.

All the winter maintenance is done! Next weekend will be the 1st mowing, Spring has Sprung!

Thanks again .:thumbup1gif:

Pete
 
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