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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have a rather uncommon problem with my 2001 Mondeo TD 115 (60k miles). I was driving back from a long journey of about 120 miles and it started hesitating at around 60mph and spewing out white smoke, I almost made it home (about five miles) before it became un-drivable. I went back next day and was going to sit in the car and wait for the recovery guy but it started and drove fine.

I happily drove it around for the next couple of days when it started doing the same thing after about seven or eight miles on the way to work. It eventually conked out there was a shed load of white smoke this time. I was stuck on the M1 and a recovery guy towed me home saying it looked like an oil problem but then thought it might be a turbo seal. We checked the oil and water (as I had done the previous time it happened) as there was still no loss or apparent mixing of either. I drove it to a local independent garage a few days later (about three miles) and once again it drove fine. They had it for a few days and said they could see the fault after a test drive but couldn’t diagnose the fault - They wanted to take it to a Diesel specialist which sounds expensive to me, so I have just taken the car back for now as I can use my wife’s Clio long term.

The thing is, prior to that first journey, I had filled up with diesel (definitely diesel, I checked the receipt) when I had a quarter of a tank left, and the problem started to occur when there was about three quarters left. So am convinced it is something to do with a dodgy fuel load â€" This car has always run sweet. I am going to drain the tank tonight anyway and put some new stuff in from a jerry can â€" Just to put my mind at rest and eliminate it.

In summary then â€" Drives as normal but with a bit of white smoke from cold, when it warms up, it starts hesitating and eventually gives up whilst outputting clouds of white smoke. No loss of water of oil.

Any one got any ideas, is changing the fuel a good idea, will I need to change the fuel filter? Being a layman if the white smoke (water?) isn’t coming from the coolant it must be coming from the fuel supply in some way.
 

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If you can easily drop the fuel do so. you should not need to change the filter but do so if you wish. If the car runs better with different fuel (obviously purchased from a different source!) then you are half way there.

Save the fuel you take out of the tank and put about two thirds of a pint in a tall straight beer glass - good excuse to go to the pub!

Leave the fuel in the beer glass for a couple of days to settle fully (not outside as it will be too cold) and then look for 'layers' in the fuel. If you can see a distinct clearer layer it is possible you have water contamination in the diesel. If this is the case then complain to the garage you got it from!

Good luck! :L
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks PeteP. I will try the pint glass experiment.

I was visiting relatives near Clacton when I bought that potentially dodgy Diesel from an Esso down there, so definitely won't be going there again. I have 10 litres of 'Ultimate Diesel' from BP standing by in my jerry can to put in.

I guess the fuel filter will be okay because it does run okay for a little while.

I’ll report back with the results!
 

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Couch Potato
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2,944 Posts
If there's water in the tank then there will be water in the filter. Before you drain the tank, take the filter off and drain it into the glass to check for water. If there is water then renew the filter and drain the tank, if there's no water in the filter then it's unlikeley that there will be any in the tank, but you may want to check the tank, for peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am afraid I was unable to remove the fuel filter (don't know enough about cars, even less about Diesel ones) or drain the tank (wouldn't syphon). So I had to tow it to a Ford Garage.

The problem was that the fuel pump needed replacing resolving problem.
 
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