What You Need to Know About Diesel Fuel Systems

The fuel system is a necessary part of any vehicle. Diesel fuel systems work slightly differently than their gasoline counterparts. Knowing how your fuel system works can help you better take care of that diesel truck.


Air pressure or gravity helps the fuel get to the injection pump from the tank. Fuel transfer pumps are the most common in today’s vehicles. The system works automatically when the engine is running to move the fuel to the injection system of the engine. The fuel pump control module regulates this process. You can bleed the system through a hand primer lever.


The diesel vehicle you operate may have one or two tanks to store the fuel. These solid tanks don’t allow air or water in to contaminate the fuel. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes specific to the vehicle they are on. Each tank has a place to drain, fill and discharge the fuel. The vehicle determines the size of the tank based on how many miles the vehicle can reasonably travel per gallon of diesel.


There is more than one type of fuel injection system that could be in your diesel vehicle. Industrial and off-road vehicles tend to use distributor or in-line systems, while the common rail system has become a popular option for everyday vehicles. These systems have one or more pumps to transfer the fuel to the injectors. Each injector may have its own pump for one or more cylinders. Without the injectors, the vehicle cannot have the evenly pressurized fuel that affects the operation of the vehicle. The combination used affects fuel economy, engine noise level and engine power.


Depending on the amount of pressure applied, there are three different types of fuel lines for diesel vehicles. The fuel lines may be lightweight, medium weight or heavyweight depending on the vehicle. They have to withstand the pressure of the injection system placed on the fuel to keep the system operational.

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