Monday 19 April 2010

Clogged tank strainer, hmm I must get around to fixing it.

The tank strainer ( a small tea strainer type thing fitted inside the main fuel tank), on my 300td has been partially blocked for a while now. The symptoms are that although it runs fine most of the time, when the fuel level gets low (about 1/4 tank) the car starts to loose power and occasionally I have to stop and let it idle for a while as the  negative pressure in the fuel lines evens out. Its quite common on old diesel cars and the veg certainly makes it more significant because its thicker. Its easy to ignore though, just keep the fuel level topped up.

I did the job on the 190d (quite awkward) and it would actually be far easier on the 300td apart from the fact the tow bar mountings run across under the strainer so that has to come off first.

I thought I would post about this because others may be in the same situation and not be aware there is a strainer that gets clogged. You can just take it out and scrap it clear or a new one is around £10 I think. Old mercs have 3 filters. The canister filter, the inline pre-filter, and the tank strainer.

If you imagine sucking on one end of a hose and partially blocking the other end. If you suck slowly (normal driving) its fine. If you suck hard for a while (accelerating or going up hill) it will allow it for a while but it will get harder and harder until eventually you just cant suck any more. (forced to pull over). If you now stop sucking and wait (leave the car idling) eventually the pressure will even out and its back to normal again.

This was my journey to work on friday. Its a short journey and because I knew the symptoms from before I knew just to pull in and wait 2 minutes each time. If you have similar symptoms, try filling the tank up with fuel. If it fixes it then the chances are its your tank strainer. I would advise not to ignore it.

Friday 9 April 2010

Waste vegetable oil near Enfield

I collected some waste oil from the take-away near Enfield that rang me over the weekend. It suited me to collect this time as I was short of fuel, but it is a bit out of my way, so I don't plan to visit them regularly.

If you are a registered waste collector and are interested in a regular supply of free vegetable oil in the Great Cambridge Roundabout (Enfield) area, let me know and I'll put you in touch.

I filtered some of the oil last night and it got me to work this morning.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Easter weekend in the Lake District

Steven here, just back from a long weekend in the Lake District.

The scenery was fantastic, especially when the sun came out while we were climbing up Heron Pike.

The round trip was a little under 600 miles by car, including a couple of excursions.
I started with a full tank (55l) and 2 bottles containing 10 litres each - all of the fuel was filtered waste vegetable oil from my local indian take-aways. Nearly all of the fuel was used up, and I arrived home with the reserve light on. The car behaved almost faultlessly (there was a tiny issue with the fuse for the electric windows, but I swapped it for a spare).

While I was away, I got a call from a restaurant in Enfield that has some waste oil to be collected. I'll pick it up in the next few days...