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ULSD Diesel Engine Failures

I have a 2005 Dodge 2500 Cummins diesel with 57,000 miles on it. Just before Christmas I was driving to South Texas for the holiday at relatives when I had a significant engine problem right after a fill-up on I-37. When we pulled up to a red light the engine was idling very ruff but we managed to drive slow to a small Dodge dealer in a very small TX farming town where the engine just stopped and would not restart.

After the truck was gone over at the dealership I was told that the entire engine would need to be replaced. There had been a major failure in the fuel injection system that had bent the crankshaft and caused other significant damage. The Dodge factory rep authorized the replacement of a new engine since the truck was under warranty. Interestingly, within two weeks there were one other Dodge diesels in this same dealership that also were having new engines replaced by Dodge (or most likely Cummins). Also, the owner of this dealership owns the Ford dealership down the street and I was told that there was a Ford diesel with the same type of damage.

The dealer service manager told me that the new ULSD was the source of these problems but that there was nothing that Dodge or the other manufacturers could do other then 'suck it up' and replace the engines. He said that they can not fight the Federal Government and the real losers were guys that had engines that were out of warranty. (I believe that this was the case with the Ford truck at their Ford store.)

I discussed this with the Dodge rep and he basically said the same thing but in a much more politically correct manner. They both said that there is not a specific set of circumstances but that they were all of the sudden having a high rash of diesel engine failures that just happen to coincide with the availability of ULSD.

So when the oil companies, US Government and truck magazines tell you that there are absolutely no engine problems with ULSD -- don't believe it. Although the Feds and the oil companies have done everything they can to minimize the potential problems (new fuel lubricants, etc) there are no some problems.

I pick-up my truck this Saturday and am hoping that it runs as good as before.

Comments

  • goodcrdgoodcrd Posts: 253
    Your not being told the straight truth. The problem you incurred sounds like injector failure due to leftover deposits from the LSD coming loose. After switching to ULSD on older vehicles you must change the fuel filters. The ULSD most likely cleaned out your fuel system and fouled and damaged your injectors. The engine oil was most likely deluded with fuel causing bearing damage and engine failure. If you ever have a problem check your engine oil for diesel mixing with the oil. If so shut it down and have it towed to the shop. After the problem is fixed the engine oil must be changed to protect the engine. Good luck
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    I would agree with this. I have an 05 Cummins, just shy of 40,000 miles now, and have had no fuel related problems. And yes, all the major motor oil suppliers changed their formulas to the new CJ-4 standard, which was designed specifically for use with ULSD. I use the same high-turnover truck stop every week for fuel, and have not experienced any issues with ULSD in my Ram.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • Actually, both the federal government and the diesel PU manufacturers do not have any recommendation to change out filers, hoses, etc when switching to ULSD. Also, unless you fill-up at the same location where there is no commingling of ULSD and LSD this would never work since many stations have not refilled their tanks enough times to adequately flush out the older fuel, which will actually take 5 - 10 or more fills depending on how low they chose to run down there tanks.

    I have actually talked to two factory zone service representatives from Dodge and three separate dealerships that sell high levels of diesels and they all report problems. Moreover, as the parts manager at my primary dealership (one of the top 25 or so US Dodge diesel dealerships in diesel sales) stated that from a service and parts departments business standpoint they are loving it since they're getting significantly more warranty (and, unfortunately, in some cases after warranty) work.

    At that dealership in the first two months they have been installing 4 - 5 times the number of fuel system rebuild kits then in prior months. I asked both the Dodge factory representative and service manager if that could actually be coincidental to the available of ULSD and they both just laughed. kcram, I believe that I tried to say that diesel trucks affected is a low percentage is low. But if your truck is one that loses the draw the cost of the work typically running quite high.

    By the way, since I wrote the original post the smaller Dodge dealership I mentioned now has had 4 trucks put out of commission instead of four and their Ford dealership now has three. At the Dodge store three of the trucks had to have brand new engines and totally new injection system (not from Cummins).

    This is coming from multiple sources that have nothing to gain and actually have real problems with the whole mess since they might lose customers over the problems if they believe that the problems lay with the trucks and not the change in fuel.

    I am very open to the fact that I am not an expert in this topic but refuse to believe what is being published in the truck magazine rags, etc. That is way once my truck had the major failure, I instead talked to over a dozen manufacturer and dealership diesel professionals that are actually seeing these engines to get straight information rather then press release or government information. My advise after this is if you hear or sense any change in the way your diesel is running to get it to the dealer fast. That way, the owner can pursue the suggested solution of a change in filters, hoses, etc may catch potential problems before major failure occurs.

    My objective is not to slam the oil companies or the government but to give the readers of Edmonds a heads-up as to what is actually happening at diesel service departments that handle a large volume of diesel trucks.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Reporting the problem is one thing. Keeping it in perspective is another. Dodge has sold over 1 million Cummins trucks. Of those million trucks, how many have had an engine related failure due solely to the use of ULSD? Probably not a whole lot... even 1000 would only be 0.1%.
  • goodcrdgoodcrd Posts: 253
    Well with a switch over problems will always be had. I deal with a very large diesel fleet and we had switched over to USLD about 4 years ago at one of our maintenance facilities. After the switch fuel system problems increased then dropped off to a lower level. The EGR, Turbo and Soot trap failures almost disappeared. USLD and Biodiesel are good solvents and do break down trapped material in your fuel filters. This material damaged some fuel systems but after a period stopped. Biodiesel above 20% will shorten the life of a diesel engine (Acts like a solvent and breaks down your lubricating oil film). Above 5% in a common rail system can damage your injectors and stress your pressure pump. Well good luck with you truck and hope you have better luck.
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    I deal with a large fleet of diesels, heavy trucks and light fleet trucks and we have had no problems with ultra low sulphur fuels.
    We have had problems with biodiesel though.
    Which it sounds like you got biodiesel and not ultra low sulphur fuel.
    Biodiesel acts as a solvent and really cleans your engine well, but the problem is, just like engine flushes can push deposits where they don't belong.

    One thing you should remember when talking with "service manglers" they are NOT mechanics and their knowledge is a bit short.

    One thing you need to understand about ultra low sulphur fuels, the low sulphur fuel has been out for some time. The Ultra Low sulphur fuel, as far as lubrication goes, isn't a lot different than the low sulphur fuel. When you are talking parts per million, it would take quite a bit to cause a failure as you described.

    When they went from regular diesel to the low sulphur fuels, the only failures that we saw were injection pump failures.

    Then there is your comment..........
    There had been a major failure in the fuel injection system that had bent the crankshaft and caused other significant damage.

    Someone doesn't quite know how these systems work.
    It would take more than an injection pump failure to bend the crankshaft. In all my years, I have never seen a diesel bend a crankshaft, for any reason.
    I have seen Detroits throw rods out the side of the block, CAT engines spit bearings out, but never a crank shaft bend.

    Sorry, but the story doesn't add up. I think someone may not be knowledgeable enough to tell you the whole story.
    But then again, what do I know.
  • Sorry guys the engine did not have to be replacwed. I have been thru this several times. The fuel injection pump and the lift pump should have been replaced. With the continued use of a fuel additive with lubricity.The cause of failure was due to the diafram in the pump broke due to lack of sulfur in the fuel. Sulfur in diesel fuel is a buffering agent agaisnt wear. There are alot of people out there that claim alot of extended failure circumstances that just dont exist. But that is due to not knowing whats going on
  • How about this one. Here's the end result...story follows.

    At 102,000 miles, our 2005 dodge 3500 with Cummins Diesel needs to have a number of engine related repairs: piston, cylinder sleeve, push rod, fuel injector...to name a few.

    Here's where the story begins: My husband brought his 05 to a Dodge dealer with 89,000 miles on it (warranteed to 100,000) and asked them to put on their scope/computer to find out why it was running so rough. Engine would surge, gallup, etc.

    They checked it out and "found no codes" so sent him on his way.

    In talking with a friend, the friend recommended a different service place that "really knows diesel engines". Hubby took it there at 94,000 miles. Ran diagnostics, found no codes, but did find that 3 of the injectors were leaking so recommended replacing them, which we did.

    7,000 miles later, we were headed up north (300 miles from anything) and broke down.
    Hubby took the truck back to the diesel guy, thinking it was one of the injectors, only to find out a clip on top of valve push rod broke off, resulting in the push rod coming loose, ruined the piston, ruined the cylinder sleeve and busted the injector.

    The diesel guy recommended contacting Dodge since it clearly wasn't the injector and was something else-engine related.

    Hubby contacted Dodge, Dodge said it's up to your dealer to determine whether they will cover the repairs, regardless of the miles.

    Hubby took truck to dodge dealer service mgr in cambridge mn (with diesel guy) and service mgr said too bad so sad, it's over the mileage warranty.

    Does anyone have any suggestions about how or who we could plead our case?
  • We have a 2004 6.0 F550 Diesel Truck ... it will not start ...ran it low on gas for the first time ever ...put more in it & it only has @17,000 miles on it... anyone have any clue as to what ball park area to begin troubleshooting this one in? It is getting fuel however & appears not to be firing ...any help would be greatly appreciated.

    MK in Kentucky
    Thanks ...
  • We have a 2004 6.0 F550 Diesel Truck ... it will not start ...ran it low on gas for the first time ever ...put more in it & it only has 17,000 miles on it... anyone have any clue as to what ball park area to begin troubleshooting this one in? It is getting fuel however & appears not to be firing ...any help would be greatly appreciated.

    MK in Kentucky
    Thanks ..
  • You say the engine is getting fuel but not firing,Do you mean it's getting fuel out of the filter or the injector pump? It might be air bound between the pump and the injectors and needs to be bled by loosening the nuts at the injectors and have someone crank the engine until fuel starts to bubble from the lines,then tighten the nuts while still cranking,until that cyl.fires then close the rest while the engine is idiling. Hope this helps;BLF.
  • I had a friend who was a Navy wrench,and he swore by them.He said he had 3 cars,all with over 100k and never changed the oil.Just replace filter element an add a quart every 3000 miles.I know the dealers frown on this,because I asked.The oil never gets dirty,because it is filtered below 1 micron.
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