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Thread: Diesel fuel filter heating - when is it needed?

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    Default Diesel fuel filter heating - when is it needed?

    As the title - is this only something needed if the cars are sold in some arctic country?

    Reason is, I'm planning to replace the plumbing on my V6 diesel to try and remove the air leak (s) into the system and the electrical connector to the fuel filter is for a filter heater (found it on a wiring diagram).

    The wiring to the heater is fairly thin, so the heater can only be low power and would not aid a cold start, as it would not have time to heat the filter to any significant amount whilst the glow plug light is on (only a few seconds, even in the depths of winter).

    Can it be dispensed of if I replace the fuel filter with a standard marine one (or something similar) that has proper connections and not the leak prone 'quick release' origninal ones?

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    Heater is used on cold mornings, Diesel starts Glooping at -9 C and freezes at approx -15 if i remember correctly. you can expect fuel heating to be engaged from anything below +5 C I think.

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    Maybe it is something the finer filters used for common rail systems are more likely to need - there's no such thing on my van (an 04 plate, non common rail) or boat engine - Perkins Phaser: reckons even starting aids are not needed until -15C, but that's progress for you!

    Other thing I guess is that common rails may be more sensitive to changes in fuel viscosity at low temperature...

    Just trying to improve on a basically rubbish desigh.....

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    Regular Member rich r's Avatar
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    It's only to prevent the fuel in the filter itself from going sluggish and stopping the pump being able to bring fresh fuel from the tank through - once the engine is running, the circulation of unused fuel from the fuel rail back to the tank will ensure it all warms up nicely.

    My 1991 Pajero is from northern Japan and so has several adaptations to allow it to start it's big old fashioned mechanical injection 2.5 litre diesel lump in temperatures down to about -40C: two big batteries in parallel (so well over 1300 CCA), bigger starter motor, heated fuel filter (20A fuse, so I'd guess a serious heater), 6V glowplugs which are overdriven at 12V for a few seconds initially then maintained for a few seconds once the engine has started to ensure it doesn't start and immediately stall. And a total lack of all this modern electronics, particle filters, catalysts and so on

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    Thanks for the replies.

    The heated marine filters are a bit pricey, so I'll see how winter goes without heating - can always do a bit of re-plumbing if need be :-)

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    I always thought that plug was for the blocked filter warning...

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    I originally thought it was for a 'water in fuel' sensor, but when I opened the filter housing, there isn't anything in the bottom of the filter housing to sense water. Looking on the wiring diagram in TIS2000 listed it as 'R26 filter heating'. Exciting stuff, those wiring diagrams...?

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    the saab 9-3 manual makes several references to a fuel heater - wondered what it was.

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    It could be that the actual heater is only fitted on cars sold in certain countries (eg Scandanavia), but the wiring is there on all diesel models.

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