DEF in fuel system

Leon Owner/Technician Berryville, Arkansas Posted   Latest  
2017 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve 5.0L (B CEV8D1) 6-spd (RE6R01A)—1N6BA1F48HN561239
Crank / No Start

Hello all, DISCLAIMER: I am not looking for silver bullets, I am looking to see if anyone out there has run into this and what did y'all do about it?

The truck had 29,000 miles on it when this all started, it has 41,xxx on it now. 5 months and 12,000 miles ago customer's teenage son accidentally put DEF in the fuel tank.. obviously it stalled fairly soon, they had the truck towed over to us, we confirmed what happened, removed fuel tank, and cleaned it out, flushed fuel system, put two sets of fuel filters on it, and added some BG fuel conditioner, truck started and ran just fine.. (This happened in April.) Fast forward to August, customer takes the truck to Colorado for a camping trip approximately 1,100 miles. (pulls his 5th wheel camper) he parks his camper, sets up camp and the next morning the truck won't start.. He calls a local technician and he comes out and dumps 10 gallons of fuel in it and they prime the fuel system and the truck starts and runs great. 2 days later it does the same thing, this time he dumps 5 gallons in it and it starts and runs. He heads for home and the truck ran great all the way home. several days after he gets home it does it again so he takes it down to Nissan dealer and they give him the "contaminated fuel, needs whole new fuel system" (for $12,000) story. He says well if I have to pay for it anyway, Ill get my local guy to replace that stuff for me That's when we get the truck. We cannot get it started at all, roll it inside the shop. removed the secondary fuel filter confirmed that we (for sure) do have contaminated fuel. the secondary filter base has junk in the bottom of it. Looking at it it almost looks like fiberglass fibers, but they break almost like glass.. mixed with this stuff is some kind of brown stuff that looks almost like maple syrup, but its all hard. So we removed the fuel tank expecting to see the inside of the tank coming apart or something of that nature. the inside of the tank looks as clean as new, absolutely no dirt in there. Where is this dirt/debris coming from?? could the lift pump impellor be coming apart and that is what the debris is? How would you handle it? Tell him he needs a new fuel tank, lift pump, hi-pressure pump, injectors, and all fuel lines? any thoughts or suggestions will be read and considered..

Thanks in advance!!

Frank Service Manager
Las Vegas, Nevada
Frank Default

Those crystals are the DEF contamination, we have seen it too - and there is no fix i am aware of other than replaced all contaminated components We have had 2 vehicles totaled by the insurance companies under the comprehensive coverage when this happened

+3 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Albin Diagnostician
Leavenworth, Washington
Albin Default

There is no silver bullet on this one, the whole fuel injection system has been ruined by the DEF. It is going to need; the tank removed and cleaned, all the lines flushed, high pressure fuel pump, set of injectors, set of fuel rails & injection lines, in other words, a complete fuel system. If perchance you try to save your customer some money by only replacing half the parts, then get…

+8 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Instructor
Fresno, California
Mike Default

Well said, Albin!

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Nicholas Diagnostician
Brooklyn, New York
Nicholas Default

There is a TSB about it. NTB16-125A. It contaminates the entire system

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Paul Owner/Technician
West Collingswood, New Jersey
Paul Default

multi time been in this situation. Complete fuel system must be replace along with either cleaning the fuel tank or replace. Insurance company pays for every time either def or gasoline in the fuel system .we do at least 15 claim a year​.​if don't replace the complete system it will keep on coming back and bite you in the rear.

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Randy Curriculum Developer
Raleigh, North Carolina
Randy Default

Sad but true, there is no 80% or 90% fix for this. It's like HVAC, do it 100% now or do it 100% again on your warranty. OEs are looking for signs of DEF damage and rust damage (can't hide it) on all warranty parts.

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Robert Engineer
Durham, North Carolina
Robert Default

Hello Leon, This is a really bad situation for the vehicle. I see many have already chimed in below. This is not like putting gasoline into a diesel fuel tank, lots of experience with that. You are putting an extremely corrosive chemical in where it does not belong. The brown contamination is rust and any tight moving parts all get destroyed. You need to start from the tank and work forward…

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Instructor
Fresno, California
Mike Default

Entire fuel system replacement is required. Ford has a kit with one part number that is supposed to have ALL the necessary components--HOWEVER, the kit does not include the Fuel Cooler and Diesel Fuel Conditioning Module, which in my opinion also should be replaced, and if we are making this repair in my shop they DO get replaced. I don't let the customer dictate what we do on these. We do the…

+4 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default

Hi Leon: As a couple of people have alluded, suggest that the customer contact his insurance company to verify that it will be covered under their Comprehensive insurance. It's new enough that it shouldn't be totaled. HTH, Guido

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Instructor
Fresno, California
Mike Default

Hi Guido, Correct. I forgot to mention this in my reply so thanks for picking up my slack. My experience has been that most insurance companies will pay for this damage---one time.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Service Manager
Snohomish, Washington
Mike Default

Our fleet has seen this with Fords and the "silver bullet" is replace everything in the fuel system. That is the shortcut any other type of repair is going to result in an eventual comeback. An expensive mistake that isn't covered by insurance the fleet I work for by insurance as we are self insured.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Mike Technician
Salina, Kansas
Mike Default

Had it happen on one of semi trucks at work,and yes had to replace like others posted everything. Not sure if that truck has a number 7 injection too on a mack truck their is one replace it too If you call summit truck in Wichita kansas they have a list of what to do when truck,has def put into it and ran . Have a chat with customer is the truck worth the amount of money to fix or sell at…

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Richard Technician
Stony Brook, New York
Richard Default

There is a lot of great information on this. I don't work on a lot of diesels, but this is certainly interesting to know. I have heard of this happening and always wondered what would happen if you changed the filters only and cleaned out the tank and lines. But I guess you have proved that wont work and why. If you end up fixing it, try and get a picture of what the crystals look like. It…

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Leon Owner/Technician
Berryville, Arkansas
Leon Default

Hey y'all!! Thanks again for all the information! I was kind of leaning the way everybody is pushing anyway, but to get all the bullets in my gun that I possibly could making a call on it. We are in the process of getting parts together and will be replacing the complete fuel system for him. Expensive mistake!!

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded