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.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

ok explain just how awkward the 190d is to clean the strainer- does the darn tank hve to be removed or can you get to it from underneath??

kenny said...

It is a little awkward. You can either remove the tank or get to it from underneath. Given that removing the tank isnt actually that hard I chose that way. Get under the car (with a container), disconnect joint where the runner fuel pipe meets the metal line and empty the fuel into the container. Once empty clamp the end of the fuel line with something or bung it. Do the same with the return line. I normally use a small vise grip. Then from the boot remove the plastics and then the 4 nuts holding the tank in. Han(or woman) handle the tank out of the boot taking care with the filler nozzle and thos clamps you put on the fuel lines. The will come up through a hole in the boot floor. Now the tank is out you can attack the strainer with plenty of space.

You can do it with the tank in place but its awkwardly positioned up above the dif. Awkward to get tools in there. There are plenty of details and help on the mercedes 190 forum link over on the right of this site.

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