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-   -   Filtering fuel - before and after going in the tank (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/4wd-overland-travel/filtering-fuel-before-after-going-20752)

roamingyak.org 3 Sep 2004 03:00

Filtering fuel - before and after going in the tank
All the reports I've recieved about driving in Russia, Mongolia and the 'stans say the diesel is high in sulphur, often poor quality and often containing rust and other exciting bits from the rotting & dirty tanks.

This I guess is common in other places too.

Wondering what the best way to filter the d is before it goes into the tank? From one jerry can to another before it goes into the tank, but via what?

After it's in the tank, I have a water sedimenter and one fuel filter. Any suggestions as to how this could be improved? I've heard you can get a dual fuel filter with a tap between them so if one is clogged you switch the tap and hopefully you can still drive on...

Suggestions welcomed (need to find the best fuel tank switcher as well, but that's another posting already started...)

Roman 3 Sep 2004 15:07


Firstly, I don't suppose Russian diesel can be much worse than that in Africa. If your engine is from the pre-electronic age, built by the proud people of Solihull who measure tolerances in milimeters rather than micrometers, you shouldn't worry too much.

Whether and how you pre-filter fuel before putting it into the tank is another matter (BTW, I don't suppose you will catch many locals doing it). I think the more popular setup would be to have two filters in line - one crude and cheap that can be easily and often replaced, another fine filter to catch what's passed through the first one. Use filters that will not restric flow rate (in the Landrover the lift pump should cope with a slight flow restriction, so you don't have to worry about fuel pressure at the injection pump input).

As for sulphur content, you can always use fuel additives.

Roman (UK)

[This message has been edited by Roman (edited 03 September 2004).]

Toby2 4 Sep 2004 00:45

Apparently you can get testing kits to check the fuel. We got completely taken out by bad fuel in Chad going into Sudan. It was so bad if couldn't get along to the fuel filter. It ended up writing off the fuel pump. A testing kit won't help with general quality but it will stop you using really bad diesel.

Roman 5 Sep 2004 03:02


Aren't these testing kits (such as Diesel-sure) designd to tell you if fuel meets the European Standard EN 590 for temperate climates? If they do just that, they will only tell you that fuel in Russia, Africa and many other places doesn't meet the standard, which is little surprise.

Addionally, the climate in Russia is not quite temperate, hence in cold areas the parafine content will be always higher to improve winter properties.

Do you know of any such testing kit that will actually warn you about REALLY bad fuel?

Roman (UK)

roamingyak.org 5 Sep 2004 03:18

I have a 2.5 normally aspirated so it's not very fussy compared to a TD5 etc.

And I must admit that the thought of some western wally insisting on pre filtering his 15 jerry jans worth of fuel did strike me as being likely to create a few annoyed locals as they wait in line for their turn at the filing station.

None the less, the fuel is pretty bad by all accounts.

Advice recieved from a bloke who reguraly drives through out Central Asia (installing power supplies for hospitals) has been:

1. Must filter all fuel but it is also easier to acquire jet fuel JP4 & 8.or power kerosine. Cause local engines don’t like it much, *western higher compression motors will run on it ok.

Get methylated spirit and keep a big bottle of it – helps mix water in with fuel without blocking filters so fast. Take lots of stockings for fuel filler neck.

2. Go the the boat suppliers and get a water filter and a rust filter ….sort so one is a strainer & one is a filter and then go to machine mart and get a 12v diesel pump and a bit of 25mm pvc hose and you are all there with a jerry can!

The jerry can is because in the country areas they use a big metal bucket with a funnel built into the top of it as a measure … this is highly unreliable and it is easier to pump from it to your jerry can as you can see how much rubbish is going up the pipe it being clear PVC *as a first filter then pump from the jerry can to the on board tankage

3. Be very careful of rust and water in the stuff they call diesel once past moscow you need exta filtering for both ( as above preferably using a 12 v pump and a jerry can in country districts to ensure the measure is good then suck it via a couple of marine filters into your normal tank)
otherwise much cleaning etc

Toby2 5 Sep 2004 18:10


I don't know of a specific kit that would tell you whether the fuel is usable or not. I wasn't thinking in terms of one that tells whether it meets european standards, I was thinking on a one that just tells you whether its usable or not. However I haven't seen a specific kit, I've only been told of them. If it exists and its cheap and practical to use then it might have avoided the problems we had in Chad / Sudan buying dodgy fuel out of barrels. However Darren, the advice you have been given sounds fairly comprehensive in trying to deal with generally poor fuel. I guess you get caught with the problem of even if you can identify poor fuel, you still need to get fuel to be able to go further so if you can filter it down to a usable form then that sounds more practical.

Runner 6 Sep 2004 18:03

I run a similar engine to you Darren and I use a throwaway transparent inline fuel filter in addition to the standard Rover one. I sourced a whole stack of them in Egypt and when Im using suspect fuel I change this filter every 2000 km or so. Dead easy to fit, just slots into the fuel line.

When you got your 110 did you get the standard LR mesh filter neck that slots into the fuel filler? If not youll be able to find one quite easily. That combined with the gauze filter on any decent jerry can nozzle should sort out any big particulates.

Roman 8 Sep 2004 05:29

Hello guys,

I made an enquiry about Diesel Sure and got this reply from United Diesel ( www.uniteddiesel.co.uk )

"Most African diesel is pretty heavy sour crude containing lots of sulphur so
it will pass the test easily. However, there may be certain exceptions.
For example, in SA, Mosgas produces some very light synthetic diesel from
offshore gas that passes the EN density spec for arctic diesel but not the
EN spec for temperate climates.

I argue that since most modern diesel engines are designed to run on
"temperate" diesel that it is the buyers prerogative to chose what type of
diesel to purchase.

Our EN kit is more sensitive than our blue capped SABS 394/EN arctic test
kit and therefore will detect the presence of paraffin at lower percentages.
I hope that this answers your question but if you would prefer I can supply
the SABS394/EN kits (African Kits) at the same price of £ 24.00"

It goes to show they have several kits to suit diferent regions and climatic zones. At this price it might be worth a try, I guess.

Roman (UK)

ctc 9 Sep 2004 19:47

On a light hearted note I tried to use coffee percolator filters when taking diesel from a fifty gallon drum in Tomboctou and it didn't work!.... Well unless youre prepared to wait all day whilst it drips through the filter paper!

The idea of pair of ladies tights or a fine mesh gauze on your funnel sounds like the easiest solution.

ekaphoto 10 Sep 2004 05:40

I have used a cotton sock with success. It filters out the large chunks only, but put one on a nozzel and it pours through easly and does an decant job of filtering. One note, do NOT store in a confined space, it can catch on fire from heat build up. Sore it where the fumes can evaporate until it dries.


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