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Experience:  30 yrs,experience shop owner,
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1989 Ford F250: will not start after changing the fuel filter...surge

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1989 Ford F250 diesel. will not start after changing the fuel filter. Truck had a slight surge , when this happened before I changed the filter and solved the problem. After I changed the filter it started and died. After continued cranking it surged and died. Still will not start. acts like no fuel. How to trouble shoot this problem. Thank Mac.
Welcome to just I'm here to help you and your 100% satisfaction is my goal. Always make sure you free fill your filters with fuel before installing them, most likely you just have a lot of air that needs to work its way through the fuel system. What is your vehicle identification number so I can tell exactly which system you have
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
What if filter is full ? How long should it take to purge air from the system? What is the schreader or the air valve on top of the filter housing for. Also their are two electeical connections on top of filter, one looks like a pressure sender, what is the other and what do they do? Thanks Mac
P.S. I will gladley compensate when we get if running,
This problem occurs due to air leaks in the fuel system. The slightest leak
anywhere in the system that allows air in will allow the fuel to drain back into
the fuel tank.One of the best ways to narrow down the location of a
fuel system air leak is to break the fuel system into sections, plug one end of
the section, and apply vacuum to the other end
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You did not really answer my second question. Let me repeat it . What is the scheader valve on top of the filter for? and what is the item on top of the filter with an electrical connection that has the appearance of a pressure switch? How long should it take to restart after the filter change? No fuel lines have been disturbed, just changed the filter.

Thanks again Mac and look to hear from you.
The Schrader valve is used for prying and to checked the operation of the fuel pump and the sensor is used to detect vacuum in the filter canister
Service and Repair



  1. Disconnect battery ground cables from both batteries.
NOTE: When the battery has been disconnected and reconnected on vehicles equipped with Electronic Engine Controls (EEC) , some abnormal drive symptoms may occur while the EEC processor relearns its adaptive strategy. The vehicle may need to be driven 10 miles or more to relearn the strategy.
  1. Place a container under vehicle and drain fuel from fuel filter.
  2. Remove water drain tube from bottom of filter assembly.
  3. Unscrew water separator drain bowl and remove.
  4. Unscrew fuel filter element and discard.


  1. Clean gasket surfaces of the fuel filter adapter to prevent contamination.
  2. Lightly coat filter sealing gaskets with clean diesel fuel.
NOTE:To avoid fuel contamination do not add fuel directly to new filter. Allow engine to draw fuel through filter.
  1. Screw new filter element onto filter base until seal contacts flange.
  2. Tighten filter another 180 to 300 degree turn.
  3. Screw on water separator drain bowl. Tighten another 180 to 300 degree turn.
  4. Install water drain tube.
  5. Clean up any spilled fuel from top of engine.
  6. Connect battery ground cables to both batteries.
  7. Run engine and check for fuel leaks.


Fuel Filter/Fuel Heater/Water Separator

A WATER IN FUEL indicator lamp is provided on the instrument panel to alert the operator. The lamp should glow when the ignition switch is in the ON position to indicate proper lamp and water sensor function. If the lamp glows continuously while the engine is running, the water must be drained from the fuel filter/fuel heater/water separator manual drain valve as soon as possible to prevent damage to the fuel injection system.
Drain water from the fuel filter/fuel heater/water separator manual drain valve whenever the warning lamp comes on or every 5,000 miles. The WATER IN FUEL lamp will glow when approximately 3.5 fluid ounces of water accumulates in the separator.
  1. Stop vehicle and shut off engine.
NOTE : To avoid engine stall-out caused by air entering the fuel system, do not drain fuel/water separator while engine is running.
  1. Place an appropriate container under the fuel filter/fuel heater/water separator drain tube to collect drain fluid. The drain tube is attached to the manual drain valve at base of water separator drain bowl.
  2. Manually open drain valve by unscrewing. Allow drain valve to remain open approximately 15 seconds or until clear (water-free) diesel fuel flows from drain tube. Close drain valve by threading into water separator drain bowl until liquid no longer drains from drain tube.
WARNING : Ensure that drain valve is fully and securely closed.
  1. Re-start the engine and check WATER IN FUEL lamp. The lamp should not glow. If it continues to glow, have fuel system checked and repaired.

Drain all traces of water from the fuel filter/fuel heater/water separator as outlined at (5,000 mile) intervals as specified in the maintenance schedule. Refer to MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE. At this service interval, if the warning lamp is not glowing, examine the draining fluid to determine when clear diesel fuel flows from the drain tube. Stop draining procedure as soon as clear diesel fuel appears.

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