Our RV Life Journey

Ford F-350 Diesel Drain Water Separator

So if there are any of you out there who have never owned a diesel truck or maybe you have plans to buy one because you’re in the process of becoming RV’ers, there’s something you should know about the Drain Water Separator.

Now I can’t speak for Dodge or GM, as we drive a F-350 6.4L Diesel so this post is specific to Ford.

Recently (and for the 1st time) in the 2+ years of owning our truck, aptly named “Optimus” an error message popped up on the dash that read “drain water separator”. “Oh crap” I initially thought because our truck is a 2010 model with 98,000 miles and I assumed we’d start seeing a flood of issues as we neared 100k miles. I had no idea what this error meant. So once I got home, I did a quick Google search and was immediately relieved.

Diesel motors are built with a reservoir tank to capture and filter out water that is sometimes mixed in with diesel fuel at some gas stations. Apparently it’s common to encounter this and this was our first encounter. I also called our friends at a nearby auto shop just to confirm what I read online was accurate.

Fortunately for me (because I’m not a mechanic at all) it was easy to resolve. Underneath the floor board of the drivers side there’s a yellow switch with a drain line that’s very easy to get to. This is where you drain the water separator. Here’s the steps:

1. Put the key in to prime the motor, but don’t crank it.
2. Open the gas cap for ventilation before opening the drain line.
3. Put a bucket under the drain line.
4. Open yellow switch
5. Done

Super easy. I wanted to share in case there were other diesel novices like ourselves out there that didn’t know about this particular function.

Did you know about the drain water separator?

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