2018 Kubota L3560 800 hrs, water in fuel $10,000 to repair

kgrubb

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Kubota L3560
Aug 5, 2022
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New Market, MD
Purchased new in 2018 we've had multiple issues with water in fuel emptied fuel separator several times (it is an outside tractor) Threw several fuel codes so we changed fuel filter and water separator as 1/4" from bottom of bowl. Codes cleared and tractor ran for several days then stopped. Kubota dealer picked up Thursday and today Friday they called to say thee was water in fuel and the entire fuel rail and high pressure pump needed to be replaced at a cost of $10,000. Anyone have the same issues??? Once we had water in fuel the first time we covered the fill cap with coffee can when sitting. Just doesn't seem normal to have that much water in system with a fuel separator that wasn't close to being full.
 
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Fordtech86

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L3200
Aug 7, 2018
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Not uncommon on a common rail diesel…

the water can also come in the fuel you get at the station. The damage happens that first time it gets water in it, no amount of cleaning/flushing will take care of it, once that hp pump gets water in it it’s done.
 
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Flintknapper

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L2350DT
May 3, 2022
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Water in the fuel can certainly be a problem especially for Common Rail Diesels.

Typically small amounts of water are present in diesel fuel anyway (as water in 'solution) but it isn't normally enough to be a problem. However 'Free Water' (water not in solution or phase separated) can damage the pump and injector tips pretty quickly if it gets through the filter or separator.

Sometimes you'll get bad diesel fuel right the source (gas station pump). Other times water can form in the fuel tank as a matter of condensation if the tank isn't kept nearly full.

There is always moisture in the atmosphere and temperature swings from daytime highs to cooler temps at night will cause this. Same reason you see 'dew' on the grass is you live in an area with high humidity and large temp swings.

Whatever the cause....I expect they are telling you right. Sometimes the 'fix' can involve replacing the fuel rail, pump and all the injectors as well.

Edit: I see @Fordtech beat me to it. (y)
 
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RBsingl

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Kubota F 2690 72" rear discharge deck, Deere 955
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Are you using a storage tank to feed the tractor? If so, that might be where water is building up. Otherwise you do want to top the tank off after each use to reduce the amount of air and resulting condensation in the fuel tank.

Using an emulsifier type water treatment is something many of us don't like to do with common rail diesel engines and GM prohibits the use in their diesel pickup engines. Emulsifier treatments are generally alcohol based and allow the water to combine and go through the water separator and into the high pressure system. Demulsifiers are designed to separate the water allowing the filter/water separator to do its job. With the issues you have experienced, I would use a good demulsifier additive after the tractor is repaired to help avoid future issues.

High pressure common rail systems generate a lot of heat along with high pressure differential at several points (within the high pressure pump and at the injector nozzles) and water in the fuel will flash boil when its pressure is suddenly reduced causing damage. The water will also further reduce the lubricity of the already impaired ULSD fuel which will damage the system.

Insurance companies will sometimes cover the cost of fuel system repair on diesel pickups and cars from water in fuel but I have no idea if KTAC or other policies provide any help with this issue. High pressure common rail systems get very expensive to repair and if the high pressure pump goes out it will usually contaminate the rail and damage the injectors so any problems with the fuel system generally mean replacing all of the high pressure side. And it is critical that the entire system is thoroughly flushed if the pump or other parts "grenaded".

Rodger
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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curious.. in 4 years +- you've has several 'water in fuel' issues. Do other machines run on the same source of diesel ? Did you ever TOTALLY drain the tank, then CLEAN it thoroughly ??
I'd be paranoid to FIND where the water was/is coming from, especially knowing the $$$$ cost to fix the tractor.
 
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The Evil Twin

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L2501
Jul 19, 2022
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Agreed, GreensvilleJay. I've found a droplet of water ONCE in my trucks separator. That was after 3500 miles or so. That made me double the fuel treatment (to the "clean up" dose) for the next tank. If I found it repeatedly in any machine then I would be tracking the source.
 

whitetiger

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Kubota tech..BX2370, RCK60, B7100HST, RTV900 w plow, Ford 1100 FWA
Nov 20, 2011
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Kansas City, KS
Purchased new in 2018 we've had multiple issues with water in fuel emptied fuel separator several times (it is an outside tractor) Threw several fuel codes so we changed fuel filter and water separator as 1/4" from bottom of bowl. Codes cleared and tractor ran for several days then stopped. Kubota dealer picked up Thursday and today Friday they called to say thee was water in fuel and the entire fuel rail and high pressure pump needed to be replaced at a cost of $10,000. Anyone have the same issues??? Once we had water in fuel the first time we covered the fill cap with coffee can when sitting. Just doesn't seem normal to have that much water in system with a fuel separator that wasn't close to being full.
What part number of fuel filter did you install & what were the codes?
 

kgrubb

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Kubota L3560
Aug 5, 2022
3
0
1
New Market, MD
curious.. in 4 years +- you've has several 'water in fuel' issues. Do other machines run on the same source of diesel ? Did you ever TOTALLY drain the tank, then CLEAN it thoroughly ??
I'd be paranoid to FIND where the water was/is coming from, especially knowing the $$$$ cost to fix the tractor.
We use same gas station the dealership uses and our cans are always left inside and are new.
 

kgrubb

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Kubota L3560
Aug 5, 2022
3
0
1
New Market, MD
Are you using a storage tank to feed the tractor? If so, that might be where water is building up. Otherwise you do want to top the tank off after each use to reduce the amount of air and resulting condensation in the fuel tank.

Using an emulsifier type water treatment is something many of us don't like to do with common rail diesel engines and GM prohibits the use in their diesel pickup engines. Emulsifier treatments are generally alcohol based and allow the water to combine and go through the water separator and into the high pressure system. Demulsifiers are designed to separate the water allowing the filter/water separator to do its job. With the issues you have experienced, I would use a good demulsifier additive after the tractor is repaired to help avoid future issues.

High pressure common rail systems generate a lot of heat along with high pressure differential at several points (within the high pressure pump and at the injector nozzles) and water in the fuel will flash boil when its pressure is suddenly reduced causing damage. The water will also further reduce the lubricity of the already impaired ULSD fuel which will damage the system.

Insurance companies will sometimes cover the cost of fuel system repair on diesel pickups and cars from water in fuel but I have no idea if KTAC or other policies provide any help with this issue. High pressure common rail systems get very expensive to repair and if the high pressure pump goes out it will usually contaminate the rail and damage the injectors so any problems with the fuel system generally mean replacing all of the high pressure side. And it is critical that the entire system is thoroughly flushed if the pump or other parts "grenaded".

Rodger
Our fuel tanks are always left inside and we use the same service station the dealerships uses and they haven't had a problem. 4 year old tractor have $10,000 in repairs is beyond frustrating
 
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RBsingl

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Kubota F 2690 72" rear discharge deck, Deere 955
Jul 1, 2022
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Our fuel tanks are always left inside and we use the same service station the dealerships uses and they haven't had a problem. 4 year old tractor have $10,000 in repairs is beyond frustrating
I would be beyond frustrated too with that repair expense. Fuel system repairs on current diesel engines with high pressure common rail systems make the old mechanical injection systems now seem really cheap by comparison for repair work. I should keep up with it better since I have a diesel pickup but I recall reading a few years ago that insurance companies were starting to avoid covering water damage to the fuel system because it is so expensive with these vehicles.

The huge question remains is how so much water is getting into the fuel. I have been using diesel powered tractors and pickup trucks since 1995 and have on rare occasion seen a tiny amount of water when changing filters but that was an extremely rare event. Until you figure out how so much water is getting into the fuel, I wouldn't get it repaired and back into service because if you get this level of water again it is going to quickly take out the replacement parts.

Any chances you have an enemy sabotaging your tractor/fuel tank? Are you the only one using this tractor? A few small fleet trucking owners have run into problems with employees mistakenly adding DEF to the fuel tank thinking that is where it belongs.

If you can't figure out a clear reason how so much water is getting into the fuel, I would seriously look at plumbing in a good first stage water separator filter (like the first stage of Cat's 2 stage water and fuel filter system) in the feedline to the high pressure pump.

Rodger
 
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lugbolt

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ZG127S-54
Oct 15, 2015
3,906
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Mid, South, USA
common rail.
common issue.

mechanical diesels often will run (although poorly) with moisture in the fuel system. They are real sensitive to air in the system though. Common rail is kind of opposite. Air isn't "as" big of a deal as water is. Water destroys them. And they're real expensive, as you're finding out. It is unfortunate.

If you store your fuel on site like a lot of folks do, you'd be wise to run it through a separator before going into the tractor. And even then, you gotta keep an eye on it. Sometimes it's unavoidable due to things outside your control, but how much can you control? And therein lies a set of issues--what can YOU do, to prevent it from happening again?

Lastly, it was mentioned about insurance. You might try that route and see if they'll help you. If not, you've already prepared yourself for an expensive repair. If insurance can help, your bill may become considerably less.

I was going to talk about emissions warranty but that's really out of the question knowing the root cause being water. They won't help with that. I've heard of dealers doing things that were not "right", and that's all I'm going to say about it. Risky.
 
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mattwithcats

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Jun 17, 2017
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Virginia
I would put a bowl style fuel filter in just after the fuel tank…

 

Dieseldonato

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B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
708
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Not a damn thing! I’ve replaced many fuel systems due to various reasons, only for the owner to do the same thing again 🤣 at least they are saving the environment 🤣🤣🤣
Common rail is arguably the best injection system since the manual pump went the way of the dodo bird. Excellent atomization of the fuel for a better flame front, multiple injection events per power stroke, very precise timing control. It's even a very simple system, a high pressure pump, some lines and injectors. Really it just wants clean fuel. Just like every other injection system wants clean fuel.

What we really should be asking is why or how did the water get into the fuel, and how did it get past the water fuel separator? Typically the filters do a very good job of blocking out the water and only allowing fuel to pass through.
 
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Fordtech86

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L3200
Aug 7, 2018
3,276
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What we really should be asking is why or how did the water get into the fuel, and how did it get past the water fuel separator? Typically the filters do a very good job of blocking out the water and only allowing fuel to pass through.

i agree! But I get paid to fix em not design them 🤷‍♂️
 
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RBsingl

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Kubota F 2690 72" rear discharge deck, Deere 955
Jul 1, 2022
203
173
43
Central IL
Common rail is arguably the best injection system since the manual pump went the way of the dodo bird. Excellent atomization of the fuel for a better flame front, multiple injection events per power stroke, very precise timing control. It's even a very simple system, a high pressure pump, some lines and injectors. Really it just wants clean fuel. Just like every other injection system wants clean fuel.

What we really should be asking is why or how did the water get into the fuel, and how did it get past the water fuel separator? Typically the filters do a very good job of blocking out the water and only allowing fuel to pass through.
Some of the filters don't seem to work as well when they see too much water and there is probably an issue with some owners still using an emulsifier type water treatment which bonds with water and allows it to pass through the separator membrane.

There have been a few reports of people finding the inner water separator membrane torn on the filter used on the L5P generation of GM Duramax diesel pickups. As soon as my 2018 GMC Denali is out of the 5 year warranty, I am replacing the stock filter with a Cat two stage setup.

Rodger
 
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kubotafreak

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GRAND l6060, L3560, B6100, gr2100, tg 1860, g1800, g1900, g2160
Sep 20, 2018
750
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Arkansas, US
I read most of the thread. The best preventative I have found is to keep the machine tank FULL after use. It cannot condensate as much as one left half empty. Water separators on the storage tanks is a must, if not using plastic cans. The fuel sediment bowl needs to be checked every time you get on the machine. I know it seems petty, but its clear for a reason. I just had a wrathing conversation with a buddy, because his strainer was so dirty when I serviced his machine, the metal mesh was rotted from water. Oddly enough his machine is fine. Any time the sediment filter gets water past the lower portion of the filter, I change the spin on filter too. You cannot tell how much it ingressed, and it is too expensive to leave to chance.

Your engine diagnosis does seem a little hyper sensitive of water, based on the way you described. You sure someone didn't accidentally put gas or other foreign liquids in the fuel tank? Kids? Possibly a rodent chewed a vent line leaving the system exposed to moisture? I would hate for you to fix the machine and the same problem happen again...
 

Dieseldonato

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B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
708
407
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Some of the filters don't seem to work as well when they see too much water and there is probably an issue with some owners still using an emulsifier type water treatment which bonds with water and allows it to pass through the separator membrane.

There have been a few reports of people finding the inner water separator membrane torn on the filter used on the L5P generation of GM Duramax diesel pickups. As soon as my 2018 GMC Denali is out of the 5 year warranty, I am replacing the stock filter with a Cat two stage setup.

Rodger
Yeah on my cummins I ditched the factory filter set up in favor of a better fleetguard set up, from there it goes to the air dog. Change filters once a year and good as gold.
 
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lugbolt

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ZG127S-54
Oct 15, 2015
3,906
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water can sometimes disperse in diesel, and it is invisible. Ran into that a time or two. No water separator will catch it all. Sometimes it just happens. Boat engines are notorious for this stuff. Water will often go right through a filter. If you let a diesel/water mix set long enough it'll eventually precipitate to the bottom but it can take a while. I had a sample I used to keep in a jar at work that had a little water in a quart of diesel. Shake it up good and the water disappeared. Day or so later, it's sitting back on the bottom.
 
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