TIP # 87 Diesel Pre-Filter System Saves $$$

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 16, 2006 at 22:36
ThreadID: 122494 Views:7951 Replies:7 FollowUps:18
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Alternative to expensive Ford fuel filters at (what?) nearly $100 each? I am installing a pre-filter, a Racor 500 FG on my F-250, just cause there is a little spot for one more toy.. Ha! Just kidding… This is a fuel water separator as well with a large glass bowl at the bottom for viewing water collection, and a “T” handle top that you unscrew to change out an internal filter. Case price of the filters under $20, like maybe $17.80 or less? Filters down to 10 micron, that is algae, fungus, that sort of diesel gunk, and separates out the condensate as well. Saves the engine filter for long term…

This one is an update on TIP # 17 2004-2005, and comes is for the Touring and the Extreme off road people. Diesel, diesel, diesel….. Just like 20 years on yachts, you soon learn that the further you go out, the more the risk of bad, old, fungus, algae, or water from condensation in your diesel…. When it strikes, you are out of commission…. If the filter is just plugged with algae or fungus, it is a simple fuel filter change. However, if your injection pump gets any water into it, you are up for big problems…

I have gotten diesel out of drums with hand pumps, out of storage tanks on stations by gravity flow. I have taken out my own extra diesel in jerry cans. I have gotten diesel in tiny little servo’s off the beaten track in such a poor little town the servo owner slept in the garage. I have gotten diesel in a little outpost from a blind man… And over the years I have found things like algae and condensation in them all, even my own jerry cans…

Now diesel is way more stable than petrol, and far easier and safer to store. But like all contained fuel tanks, as the temperature changes it is prone to collect condensation, and grow foreign hydrocarbon water fringe dwellers like algae/ fungus. Now here is something that could really save your bacon and a packet of money… Tip #17 in two parts, basic and then a goodie from the yachting industry:

Firstly, I want to travel with a half dozen filters… Now don’t dismiss this idea, particularly if the filters are cheap like the $20 ones for my Landcruiser and the $15 (x2) ones for my Mack.. If you get a bad tank of diesel with algae in it and it plugs the filter a hundred kms later… You can go screaming and yelling and dancing around your truck, but it won’t help much as they won’t hear you… The smart thing to do is reach in where you store your jack or somewhere and pull out a spare… I like six… I have 12 in my 4x4 Mack!!! Will you stop laughing a minute and pay attention!!! Realize that you could need four or five to get through a tank of really bad diesel…And my Mack tanks are Biiig. And the filters don’t weigh anything. What does it hurt? You need to change it out every time you change your oil anyway… “Money in the bank”.

Now for the Advanced that might get diesel out of drums and Stations in remote places: Part 2… My Ford 7.3 Diesel Filter cost big $$$!!! A little harder to cough up carrying around a half dozen.. Here is one better for those of you with all the gadgets and toys and electronics and bells and whistles, and stops the water separator from getting overloaded as well… You can buy an Independent, Par, or Jabsco Marine, or Trucking outfit, diesel filter and put it in line before your engine filter.. Anywhere on the vehicle. It has a clear bottom on it to examine the fuel at a glance for water collection, and big “T” handle on top to unscrew the top and drop in a new cartridge filter. It cleans the fuel, and de-waters it all in one go. And the cartridges are relatively cheap. It is also reassuring to look at the clear bowl on the bottom and see that no water is in there as the water sinks to the bottom… The good ones even have a little drain cock at the bottom to let the collected water out… I ordered the filter cartridges to match the requirements or slightly better, and may hardly ever change out the engine fuel filter on my Ford again… I had one in my Cruiser and old F-350 Ford and there is one by nature in my Mack.. This tip will even pay for itself.. You are welcome, buy me a beer…

Sooooo, this ones for all you guys that get together and talk about your Toy Collection, not that there is anything wrong with that, I have the biggest list in History on my Mack… Ha! He who dies with the most toys wins right? Anyway, jump in your rig and roar out to your local big Truck Supply Outfit, or Marine Outlet, and talk to them about that filter… Flat top, T handle on top, round filter body about the size of an oil filter, and clear round bottom with a tap on it.. I chose a Racor 500FG this time around, retails around $350…

Lookin’ for that beer,
Your Friend at Bushtracker

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Reply By: Turist - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 00:03

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 00:03
Steve and others with F trucks may care to try this site.
They have oil, fuel and air filters to suit those vehicles a heck of a lot cheaper the Ford genuine.


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Follow Up By: Turist - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 00:06

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 00:06
Forgot to mention, it is the Baldwin filter range the suits the F trucks.
I think that they also have them for Dodge and Chev.

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 03:01

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 03:01

There is no reason now to put the Racor 500FG on my truck, I just cancelled the Order... Western Filters in Sydney have the Ford Approved Baldwin filters at 1/3 the Ford cost, under $35-40... I can't say how much under but cheaper yet if you buy case lot like I just did. Cheap enough that I will chuck a half dozen behind the seat for the reasons in my Posting, and not bother with the Racor...

Good On Ya Bob...!

The Lone Ranger is modernizing.... Will just carry a heap of extra filters and not bother with my old dinasaur engineering of the Racor for now...

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Follow Up By: Turist - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 03:52

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 03:52
Another hint Steve.
Locate the fuel filter drain hose, on the 7.3 it's at the front right of the engine. You need to get under to find it.
Extend it with a length of clear plastic hose.
That way when you crack the filter drain, as you should do from time to time, you can divert the drained fuel into a clean glass bottle and see if there is any water/dirt in the system.

Another hint from the Pres.
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 04:05

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 04:05
You are a Champion Bob, love goodies like that... I will have to check out the sensor location "Water in Fuel" and proof that for safety.. It is one of my pet worries on Bush Diesel, and another reason to get the Racor was the clear glass bowl "glance for reassurance".

But with cheap fuel filters, if I proof the water sensor, you shot hell out of the Racor upgrade invention didn't you..

Scotch? Doing a comparo tonight on a Rival for GlenLivet (yellow box single malt my Standard) and Glen Moray (Blue box single malt I remember from a party as being pretty good... After a long day I am lookin forward to it...

My favourites are still some of the Single Malts like Dalwhinnie, but at $75-80 just feel guilty drinking it as standard... In my collection I have 19 now, from Dimple through a dozen SMs, and few oily saddle leather polished brass tasting heavy Peats like Lagavoulin.... Move up to God's country (Queensland) and we can have a Tasting Club once a month... Ha!

Regards from the Last Ranger...
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Follow Up By: Turist - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 04:14

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 04:14
Your invitation gratefully accepted.
Bet I can ID more by smell than you can.

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Reply By: Black Cobra - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 04:54

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 04:54
Can you guys tell me what the Baldwin Filters are like, are they like the normal fuel filters and do not have the glass bowl as the Racor have etc.

Like you Steve I agree with keeping fuel clean especially when being involved in yachts. I have the engine filter and a Raycor on my yacht and are in the process of getting another in line filter to make three because of the water and fungi problems that occur.

I was going to put an extra filter on the F truck and it was going to be a Rayco but now you have come up with the Baldwin, decisions, decisions.

Any info appreciated.

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Follow Up By: Noosa Fox - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:15

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:15
I have been using Baldwin filters that I obtained when in WA from F-Trucks WA and they are the same as the genuine Ford product, only a different colour. Their prices were $30 to $35 when I bought them.

Another place you can try on East coast is Ford Queensland F Series Spares, 350 Duffield Rd, Clontarf Qld 4019. 07 3283 5000 or on the web at www.fordqldfseries.com.au

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 19:01

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 19:01
Hello Both of you,

Brian, I sent a fax to the party you refer to, and found them surprisingly expensive.... They priced cheaper than Ford, but not enough to get excited about... May will try them again some time...

S & M Black Cobra, I hope you are more friendly than the Taipan our Black Cobra in Oz.. Ha!
Stewart, not sure I know you, but you are definitely in tune... For extreme 4x4 access to remote areas, fuel can be a worry, and the Racor is definitely the way to go for the reasons I have covered above.. The Baldwin, is just an O.E.M. approved for Warranty, replacement for the Stock filter that is on the Ford... It is roughly the same unit. The point is that if it is cheap enough, and it is, it can do the same job. There is a filter "water separator" drain point on the Ford, so the entire thing is workable... NOW ONE CAVEAT, is that you are relying on the Ford "water in fuel" electronic sensor to save your injection pump... THIS GOES AGAINST MY GRAIN...
However, I will await time to do more research to prove the water sensor, and if I satisfied that it is good enough, it sort of makes the Racor obsolete.

HOWEVER.... Mind you, Dinosaur Engineering does not break and is reliable for peace of mind in the "glance at the bowl" reassurance it gives...
I could end up back there yet. !! Give me a week or two to play with the system to see if I have confidence in the Ford sensor. If the Ford one was a float system, and it tests itself each time you turn on the ignition as the light comes on... Maybe...

Kind Regards to Brian and Taipan (snakes are protected in Australia, just not protected from me.. Ha!) From the Ranger
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Reply By: Freewheelers - Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 22:23

Friday, Feb 17, 2006 at 22:23
hi guys
we had raycor type glass bowl filters on our petrol powered boat extremely useful
easy to clean only clean when necessary as you can see water etc building up
cost around $180 plus fitting from memory so you dont need to save many filters to pay for it
Stephen & Deborah

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Reply By: Turist - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 01:07

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 01:07
Steve if you do go ahead and fit a Raycor (good filters, I have BIG ones on the boat) where would you locate it.

As the F250 7.3 has a common rail fuel injection system you will have a high pressure fuel line from the pump on the chassis rail to the factory filter.
Not sure what the line pressure is but maybe it is above the Raycor specs.

If that is the case then either the Raycor would need to be down near the fuel tank before the pump where you can't readily see the glass bowl or else a lot of additional pipework to put the Raycor in the engine bay.

Something to pondor over a scotch with Tonto. (If you can get by the anti alcohol rules about Injuns & firewater)

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 01:31

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 01:31

I have done this before with a number of vehicles.. I put the large Racor 500FG which is a bit of overkill at about 250 lt /hr. I put the Racor on my F-350 up in the engine bay standing upright alongside a battery... It is not a problem if you put it before the injection pump, after the lift pump. From memory the lift pump on my old F-350 7.3 had a check valve in it, and you could pump up the Racor with it. It stands up about 300mm and went well in that position. I have not picked a place for the new Ford yet, on first glance it might fit along the battery on it as well... It is a really good bit of dinosaur engineering for bad diesel out west....

The only problem with mine in that position is you could not get light through the bowl, and had to check it with a torch... But other than that it was a beaut. A dozen filters would fit in a shoebox and weigh nothing just jammed under a seat.. Each filter came with a little "O" ring for the "T" handle on top of the filter housing, and a large "O" ring for the lid you lifted to change the filter. It was a simple change out and caught all the black gunk. Once it was installed, I do not remember ever changing the engine fuel filter again...

Best Regards, and Glenlivet won the taste test, but my old standby of Chivas Regal is a close runner up... Just not as classy... I am only about 1/64th or something like that unrecognizable, Great Grandfather was Sioux, but it might explain my passion for guns, whiskey, and horses.. ... Ha!

Regards from the Ranger....
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Follow Up By: Turist - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 02:04

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 02:04
Gotcha! Not often I get to beat The Ranger.

The 7.3 diesel uses a common rail fuel injection system, a totally different set-up to your old F350 that had a lift pump delivering fuel at low pressure, 4 to 6 psi, to a high pressure pump that in turn delivered very high pressure fuel to the injectors in firing sequence order. (Like a distributor)

With the common rail system a high pressure fuel pump is located on the LH chassis rail.
This delivers fuel a reasonably high pressure, 352 kpa, to a fuel rail on the engine.
The injectors are fed from the fuel rail.
The signals from the on board computer tell the injectors when to open, in modern systems more than once in a single firing sequence, and the quantity of fuel to be delivered..
The high pressures required to vaporise the fuel come from an engine driven oil pump that uses high pressure engine oil to crack the injector.

The F250 7.3 has a fuel pump pressure of 352 kpa +- 28 kpa, or 51 psi +- 4 psi.
And that is the pressure from the fuel pump on the chassis to the engine.

just checked the specs for Raycor 500 FG. Max pressure is 103 kpa or15 psi

And that brethren, endeth the lesson.
(Ch. 17, p 23a sub sect 2, The Knowledge Of The Turist)


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Reply By: Turist - Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 02:24

Saturday, Feb 18, 2006 at 02:24
Just another hint on fuel supplies in the bush.
If you are getting fuel from drums, as is common in remote areas, make certain that the drums have been stored correctly.

The correct way to store fuel drums is to lie them on their side or, if standing, on an acute angle.

The reason is that with the great variations of day and night temperatures in the outback the drums will “make water” if not stored correctly. If left this way for long periods then rust develops in the bottom of the drum.

During the day the drum expands and vapour is forced out through the bung threads.
At night moisture condenses on the top of the drum in surprisingly large quantities, sometimes over the top of the bung.

At night the drum cools, sucks in air and condensed moisture. Or rainwater if it rains.

If the drum has been left standing upright then tilt it so that the pump stem is at the “high side of the bottom” and wait a while until you draw fuel.

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:38

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:38
Got me what Bob?
A bottle of Glenlivet.... ?


You do not ever, I MEAN NEVER, put a filter like that on a high pressure line.. All joking around those kinds of filters are only "O"ring sealed more for suction than pressure... I REPEAT, SAFETY ISSUE HERE, O-RING SEALED MORE FOR A SUCTION LINE THAN PRESSURE !! You put those BEFORE THE LIFT PUMP of an engine.. You suck diesel through them, not push diesel at high pressure..

Now I have no looked at my new 7.3 litre monster. I have been busy blowing every HOON in a rice grinder that wants to race me, off the road..(It is amazing, seems like there a half dozen a day that to prove their itchybitchy yackagoochy rice grinder can beat the Ford, they drive stupid!) I have de-tuned the Ford to avoid temptation... Anyway, back to it..... Ha!

CLARIFICATION: You never put a filter like this on a high pressure line, a blowout of an O-ring could mean a high pressure spray onto a hot exhaust and WHOOF !!! On my last Ford, I think it was after the mechanical diaphram lift pump, which is low pressure just delivery to the engine injection pump... But it could have just as easily been before the lift pump.. I remember using the lift pump to bleed the filter housing, but I cannot remember if it was on the suction side or not, been years. You have to have a way to get the air out of the filter (although not much when you change a filter, a quarter cup of diesel poured it will do...) But anyway, I have not looked at the new Ford. If it does not have an engine block lift pump, you either pull the diesel through the line cranking the engine, or better yet pour it in the top of the filter to bleed it. I will have a look at it. There has to be a way to draw diesel all the way up, a suction line to the main injection pressure pump. I just do not know how that is accomplished yet.

Worst case, a small in line 12 volt fuel pump for diesel. Turn in on just to bleed the line (or if you ran a tank out of fuel and had to bleed the whole delivery line it saves cranking the engine).. Get one that will allow suction through it. There is either a lift pump on the engine, or built into the main injection pressure pump... There has to be a lift pump on the engine somewhere, to suck the diesel up from the tanks, and between tanks and that pump is the place for this filter... OK?

I will have a look this afternoon, and report by Monday or so if anyone is interested.. I just discovered a big RACOR in my junk pile... I think it is a 900 FG, way OVERKILL ! But my junk pile is an amazing thing to behold. I even found a case of filters, about the size of a coffee cup... Probably would do about 900 litres an hour ... Ha! (But I already own it) The problem besides OVERKILL is it must be all of 400 mm high. Possible to big, would have to put it up in the bed of the truck.. For anyone interested, I will have another couple of beers and get on the Creeper to roll under and have a look over the weekend...

God Speed to all,
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Follow Up By: Turist - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:51

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:51
No need to bleed the fuel system on the 7.3 Steve.
Hop into the truck in the morning, after it has been standing overnight, turn on the ignition. Do not start the motor.
You should hear a soft buzzing sound.
That is the electric fuel pump on the chassis building pressure.
There is no mechanical lift pump.

When you drain the filter bowl and fit a new cartridge the electric pump will pressure fill the bowl.
Any air is self bled, I think via a port in the rail.

All getting too easy these days.

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:58

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 01:58
That is good Bob,
Then they have incorporated the old 12v bleeder pump we used to put on boats and 4x4s into the system... If the pressure on that pump is not too high, and I would think not, then anywhere in line to the injection pump will do... I will check it out... It is likely to be a low pressure affair suited to fuel delivery..

Thank you for you advice.. Too bad your'e getting a Chevy.. You will have to start learning the vehicle secrets all over again... Ha!

Oh well, it is a chev, you will have twice as much to do... Ha! LOL..

Regards from the Ranger, signing off for now...
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Follow Up By: Turist - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 02:14

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 02:14
No Steve, it's not a bleeder pump.
It is the high pressure pump delivering fuel to the engine.
Have a close read of the fuel system description in my earlier post, follow up id 1698

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 05:55

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 05:55
Thanks Bob,
I have located it, looks innocent enough, but I will take your word for it..
These new ones are rocket science... I hate to admit this, but without going to the bloody Shop Manual which I have hardly cracked yet... I can't even find the bloody fuel filter...

I guess I am just a Dinosaur... I went looking for a spin on or cartridge or cannister filter, nope... It is buried in the injection pump or somewhere. They do not want you to be able to work on these very easily!!! I will have to give up on this one.... You are right, you gotcha me....

If that innocent little pump delivers high pressure??? Then there is no way to crack the system easily. I may have to go build myself a Brand New 1988 one or something like that I can still work on without a computer... Ha!

Back to the drawing board on my new Effie, six days old, 600 kms, and don't even know til Monday where the bloody fuel filter is..?
I am a Dinosaur I guess... I will have to crack the book on Monday... All you friends out there with the late 2000 Effies better not crack the fuel system until I do some brain surgery...

Thank you Bob, you are a Champion.... I am going to go hide my red face in a scotch now thank you...! Got off my Creeper and said, NO WAY! WHERE'S THE BLOODY FUEL FILTER... Alright, you got me Bob..

If I could spend the same money and get a non computer one, maybe about 1988 or even up to 94? Maybe I will just have to have one built...

The Ranger don't know these computer driven horses... Give me one I can feed and work on... Ha!
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 06:22

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 06:22
Alright Bob,
I concede, I quit, you done Gotcha Me....! It is 7:30 at night, I broke down and traced the whole fuel lines out... Found the filter housing and water separator drain... We are back to abandoning the Racor invention... Back to a case of Baldwin Filters which I will order on Monday... You are right, can't see a way to do it easily on the new Effies...

Cheers, I Toast you Bob, YOU ARE A CHAMPION...!
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Follow Up By: Black Cobra - Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 07:57

Sunday, Feb 19, 2006 at 07:57
All that great info and its back to square one, looks like I won't be putting a Raycor on also, unless, when I get a long range fuel tank maybe can put it in just after the tank somewhere but like you said it would be hard to inspect at a glance.

You think thats hard over here in out armoured Chevy vehicles they put a fuel filter inside the fuel tank so that they dont get destroyed by the naughty things they try and do to out vehicles and when you have to change this filter because of water you have to drop the tank..

This would not be a bad thing if the diesel was of good quality but the locals water it down to make more money from us and we can't do a thing about it as we can't go to the local servo to fill up

By the way we pay black market prices for diesel and gas around 0.50c a litre and the locals pay about 0.02c a litre, wouldn't that be nice in Oz!

We are getting to technical for our own good, what ever happened to the KISS life.

Great info gents, thanks

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Reply By: The Boondockers - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006 at 00:45

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006 at 00:45
Just another little add-on. I found this newly released product from Mercury Marine.
May be worth the $29.95. At lease you should be able to keep the tank free of impurities.

The Boondockers

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006 at 01:13

Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006 at 01:13
Hello Rosco,

There has been a box around for years, with a screen mesh so small it would not allow impurities to go though, and captured the water in a reservior. The water is heavier than the diesel, and sinks into the reservoir with the diesel on top to run down through the screen... This may be an easy way to go... It appears to be the same system.

I have even thought of a re-circulating system and or, an inline system you pumped through... This may be the K.I.S.S. Alternative. The fine mesh appears to be elevated so the water collects, if you filled slow enough, this could be the answer. However, that is the caveat I am guessing, is that you would have to fill way sssllllooooow.... So you did not stir up the water and such.. But, good idea. I have never tried it for diesel, but heard of one of he variations on it years ago. I could be an inexpensive alternative..

Regards from the Ranger...
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Reply By: Maximus - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 03:13

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 03:13
As a matter of interest I just purchased a couple of fuel filters for my F250 and the cost was $45.45ea. Also an air filter @ $ 45.45 and oil filters @ $18.18 ea. From a Ford dealer here in Perth. I thought that the prices were pretty reasonable. I said it was for my farm business and he said " I will look after you"
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 18:30

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 18:30
Thanks for that Barrie, and that is a GOOD DEAL coming from Ford....

Mind you, the Baldwin filters coming from the www.westernfilters.com.au will get them to you substantially less, like more than 25% less...

I am trying to source OEM Surpentine belts and F-250 hoses and such, for a spares kit as well... Ford wants over $100 for that belt? I think everyone should carry the basics... If I am not successful, I will re-establish my account in the U.S. and have the aftermarket goodies sent over by airmail. I did that with the last F-350 at about 50% savings with a Visa Card... (hint). If I was not on a 6 year warranty plan, I would be getting a set of injectors and glow plugs that way...

Boy oh Boy, driving the Effie is nice... Not quite as much respect on the round-a-bouts as the dual cab Mack.... But close.. Ha!

Best regards, da Ranger...
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