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Buying a truck with biofuel

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by muddstopper, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    I have been looking for a class4 truck and yesterday I might of found the truck I wanted. Its a 99 ford F450 with the 7.3 PS. 15ft flatbed dump. The truck has 184000 miles. Has had a new rearend, new 6sp tranny, new injector pump, new brakes.

    1st problem. It was cold, around 45 degrees and the truck hadnt been cranked in at least 2 months. Of course it was hard to start. After a boost, she finally fired up.

    2nd problem. Once cranked, it wouldnt run above 1000 rpms.

    3rd problem, after warming up some, (just a couple of minutes), the rpms started to climb, but not significantly. Decided to drive it up the road. Went about a 1/4 mile and turned back, truck wouldnt pull itself enough to get up to speed.

    4th problem. Parked truck and seen something leaking out the bottom of engine. After quick check, it looked to be coming from the drain line on the fuel filter, but it didnt look like diesel fuel. A sniff test also said, this isnt diesel. I caught a little in a cup and it looked real oily like hydraulic oil, but it didnt look exactly like hyd oil. The whole time I was looking I let the truck run, it finally got to where it would rev up like a normal diesel should, but I didnt drive it anymore.

    I took the cup of oily substance up to the owners shop and asked what is this. His reply, bio diesel. He runs biofuel during the summer months and then changes back to a diesel/ biofuel mix for the winter.

    His claims are that the biofuel probably jelled because of the cold weather and was the reason for the hard start and no pulling power. He is going to suck out the bio diesel and replace with regular diesel sometime this week and I am going for another test drive.

    My 1st question is, does anyone here run biofuel in their diesel truck, and if so, does the above described sound like a problem you would expect in cold weather.
    2nd question, Will a simple tank drain (refilling with diesel),and filter swap be all that is needed to correct the problems described above.

    Might as well ask, is $12000, a decent price for this truck. Body looks good, interior clean, dump looks and works good. AC is cold. All I can really see is it needs a set of rear tires.
  2. sunriseturf

    sunriseturf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    Biofuel gels at a much higher temp. What he said is true. Also biofuel tends to clean out all the impurities in the tank and fuel lines causing the filters to clog up quickly. You may have to change them one more time after a few hundred miles. Biofuel runs much cleaner and is better for your engine but when it gets cold switch back at around 45 degree avg temp. Test drive the truck when your sure it's all diesel thru the system.
  3. Snyderserv5060

    Snyderserv5060 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    Correct... yes biodiesel will gel at colder temps which is why it needs to be "heated/warmed up" before it gets to the engine or not run well when cold out. Also as mentioned it will clean out the fuel system so that truck will need a new fuel filter. Id recommend you look and drive the truck after its driven around for a while on regular diesel and the system is cleaned through a bit.

    The idle will jump up to about or over a grand when cold, this is normal so the engine does not suffer from wet stacking.

    If its cold the truck may be a dog and really slow until it warms up. Its a bit annoying becuase it wont really warm up at idle so you have to drive it but its really slow... it should be fine by the time you get down a road or so.

    Biodiesel is actually great in many ways due to how well it lubricates the injectors and such... but as mentioned before when it gels your not going to have a great running engine hence why I would only run it when warm and consistently warm.

    Is this truck a 4X4? If well cared for that engine should have some good life left in it. Ive seen some similar prices locally on trucks with less miles but not a bunch of new parts. Id need to know more about it but I hope the above helps with your questions.
  4. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341


    I decided to purchase a new 4x4 F450, so I havent been back to look at this truck. The truck is a 2wd, 15ft flatbed lumberdump. Its located in Tellico Plains Tn. Heres the guys number if you are interested. 423 261 2620. Not sure if thats his home phone or the sawmills phone. Here is a link to his website, www.frerichssawmill.com. The truck is also listed at www.trucktraderonline.com, just do a search with 37385 as the zip code and you should be able to pull up a pic. Its been listed since Sept. so the price might be flexable.

    From a personal observation, the truck is in decent shape, needs rear tires, (recaps on it now). No big dings or dents. The hard start and no power while cold kind of pushed me away from the truck. Probably just the biofuel.
  5. lwcmattlifter

    lwcmattlifter LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 859

    Was it 100% bio or bio blend? If he was running the 80/20 or 90/10 blend that the fuel stations sell labeled as bio diesel that shouldn't cause a problem. If it was 100% it most likely pushed all the sediment from the tank and fuel lines to the filter. There has been a lot of confusion about biodiesel. It does not need to be preheated like waste veggie oil does. Because biodiesel goes through a chemical conversion process, it can be used the same way regular diesel is used.
  6. jimmyburg

    jimmyburg LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 701

    I run bio in my f250 7.3L, i change the fuel filter everytime i change the oil, and yes it will gel in colder weather. i 80/20 and when it warms up back to 100% and its also cheaper.

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