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Changed Fuel Filter, Now Have Air In System And Will Not Start


Best Answer pauljoanss, 20 May 2014 - 09:55 AM

Problem solved without trip to garage.
Spent some time looking thro forums etc last night and came up with a plan of action. These are the things I did.

1. car was up on wheel ramps at front. My drive slopes down so this meant the car was actually level but decided to take of ramps and therefore car now lower at front which possibly may help fuel flow.
2. Checked issue of orings misplaced in feed pipe to filter, was ok.
3. Disconnected pipe leading to high pressure pump at filter end and then unthreaded from other components (except for last bit near pump as too difficult). This allowed me to hold the pipe near vertical and fill properly using tube and funnel eg all air bubbles out.
4. Reconnected back to filter.
5. With feed pipe to filter off, filled up using syringe ( from children's medicine). Filled to very top and also allowed to bleed out of the small bleed screw on top. Replaced feed pipe.
6. Turned ignition on leave for 10 secs then off, did this about four times

On trying to start (according to manual 10 secs max then wait 30 secs!!) it fired 2nd time but then died and my heart sank. But about 4th time it fired ok and then ran ok. So removed pipe to pump again and rethreaded thro original route. Then tried to start and it did not fire after two attempts. Removed feed pipe to filter, filled again with syringe and it then started about 2nd time and ran ok. Note using 2nd car runing and linked with jump leads for all the starting action.

Now I cannot say which of these actions were useful or which were not, but together they appear to have worked. It is of course possible that only one of the actions played any role, but which one? From all the other comments here I would suggest that the first thing to try is filling the filter with a syringe. I thought my filter was full but it took quite a bit to top it up. Also important to be very careful fitting new seal and !Removed! top of filter back on correctly.

Many thanks for all your advice. Go to the full post


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#1 pauljoanss

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 05:34 PM

Changed fuel filter on a 2007 1.8 TDCI, which is on the low pressure side of the system.
Now engine will not start and I assume have air in somewhere?
Have tried lots of things, sucked up fuel thro filter so can see good fuel at exit from filter unit, also have tried pouring fuel down the exit pipe to the pump. This gives me a few seconds of running every time but then always dies.
Instructions in a Haynes Focus TDCI manual talks about a special Ford vacuum pump which I do not have.
Think I am bug***d and will have to find a friendly garage tomorrow, hope it is nothing more serious.
Any suggestions welcome.

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#2 pauljoanss

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 05:36 PM

Quick addition, note this is an S Max, I only refer to a Focus manual because thought it would be similar.

#3 stef123

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 05:36 PM

Have you got a small syringe you can fill with diesel? Injecting fuel into the filter until it will not take any more is usually sufficient.

Where are you located?

#4 pauljoanss

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 05:46 PM

Thanks for quick reply. I am located in Wantage Oxfordshire.
No I do not have any useful syringe, only those you get with children's medicine and they do not have any pointy thing.
Is this something I could get at a chemist? And if so where would I inject.

I really do feel the filter is full of fuel, I have used a tube with funnel attached and bleed out from the little bleed screw on the top. The problem is that I fill the filter and fill (as far as pos) the pipe to the pump, but during reassembly there is a period when the fuel leaks and air must get in. Just about fedup getting covered in diesel and now about to phone my son and tell him his car is out of action.

#5 stef123

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 07:10 PM

Is the o-seal fitted correctly? Can I ask, is it a genuine filter? I have no idea why but I have heard of people having major trouble with non genuine filters..

The syringe is just to force fuel into the part you have been using the funnel.

#6 jeebowhite

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 09:31 PM

Even a kids syringe will do the job, it should still allow you to squirt the fuel directly into the filter, it doesnt need a needle to complete.



#7 pauljoanss

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:18 PM

Note sure what you mean by genuine, but recognised make (Alco Filters) from local motorist shop and both old and new filter had same number marking.
One thing I failed to mention was that I believe when I first replaced the filter element, I did not screw the filter top back correctly. I believe this to be true because when I was trying to suck fuel from the exit port, it felt as if I was just sucking air. I then took the filter top off and screwed it back on again carefully and felt happier about the tightening action. Sucking then produce fuel and not a continual flow of air. Maybe trying to start the engine in this initial condition caused extra air intake and has created this problem.
Looking at the Focus manual I see when using the special ford pump connected on the infeed side of the filter, you disconnect the flow pipe at the end connected to the HIGH PRESSURE pump and use the special ford pump to develop good clean flow at this position.
Again I feel my problem is not filling the filter but filling the pipe between the filter and the high pressure pump. It seems this is also the area that the special ford pump works upon.

#8 pauljoanss

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:51 PM

Just thinking about options, so far I have not removed the filter to high pressure pump pipe at the pump end. It is not obvious how this connection is made, can anyone give any instructions for removing the pipe at this end, is it a quick coupling type ?

#9 Stoney871

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 12:55 AM

If you are a member of a recovery service with home cover give them a call.
Just say you noticed fuel leaking around the filter so loosened the housing to check.
They should carry priming pumps.
The Ford diesel system can be a swine.
I had a garage do an engine clean last year and even they took 40 minutes to start my car.
Why oh why don't Ford fit a priming bulb on their fuel systems like Peugeot and many other manufacturers?

#10 stef123

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 07:15 AM

If you are a member of a recovery service with home cover give them a call.
Just say you noticed fuel leaking around the filter so loosened the housing to check.
They should carry priming pumps.
The Ford diesel system can be a swine.
I had a garage do an engine clean last year and even they took 40 minutes to start my car.
Why oh why don't Ford fit a priming bulb on their fuel systems like Peugeot and many other manufacturers?


Because it would cost them a quid probably.. Typical ford

#11 pauljoanss

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 09:55 AM   Best Answer

Problem solved without trip to garage.
Spent some time looking thro forums etc last night and came up with a plan of action. These are the things I did.

1. car was up on wheel ramps at front. My drive slopes down so this meant the car was actually level but decided to take of ramps and therefore car now lower at front which possibly may help fuel flow.
2. Checked issue of orings misplaced in feed pipe to filter, was ok.
3. Disconnected pipe leading to high pressure pump at filter end and then unthreaded from other components (except for last bit near pump as too difficult). This allowed me to hold the pipe near vertical and fill properly using tube and funnel eg all air bubbles out.
4. Reconnected back to filter.
5. With feed pipe to filter off, filled up using syringe ( from children's medicine). Filled to very top and also allowed to bleed out of the small bleed screw on top. Replaced feed pipe.
6. Turned ignition on leave for 10 secs then off, did this about four times

On trying to start (according to manual 10 secs max then wait 30 secs!!) it fired 2nd time but then died and my heart sank. But about 4th time it fired ok and then ran ok. So removed pipe to pump again and rethreaded thro original route. Then tried to start and it did not fire after two attempts. Removed feed pipe to filter, filled again with syringe and it then started about 2nd time and ran ok. Note using 2nd car runing and linked with jump leads for all the starting action.

Now I cannot say which of these actions were useful or which were not, but together they appear to have worked. It is of course possible that only one of the actions played any role, but which one? From all the other comments here I would suggest that the first thing to try is filling the filter with a syringe. I thought my filter was full but it took quite a bit to top it up. Also important to be very careful fitting new seal and !Removed! top of filter back on correctly.

Many thanks for all your advice.

#12 pauljoanss

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 10:03 AM

One detail I missed, before rethreading the pipe back thro original route I plugged the end to prevent leakage.

#13 jeebowhite

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 11:09 AM

Result! took a few goes but there is little more satisfying than doing a job like this and getting the car back to full health!




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