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Installing a regulated return fixes the 99-03 Ford Powerstroke deadhead fuel rail problem

Ford produced some award-winning diesel truck designs between 1999 and 2003 that for the most part boasted general improvements to the Powerstrokes. However, in Ford’s attempt to reduce fuel tank emissions by preventing heated fuel in the fuel rails from returning to the fuel tank, they had created an entirely new problem. This is a common problem at Ford Powerstrokes, known as “dead run”, by diesel enthusiasts, which gets its name from the process of fueling at the head of the fuel rail.

Each injector gets its fuel from the fuel rail header, unfortunately this “rail” has no outlet and ultimately deprives the injectors of fuel. Lack of fuel in the injectors makes them run inefficiently and increases noise. Fuel trapped in the rail can also become hot because it no longer flows, causing additional injector noise and wear. Ford tried various solutions, but the problem persisted until the 6.0 Powerstroke diesel engine was introduced in 2004.

The 1999 to 2003 Ford Diesels were and still are wildly popular trucks. This means that there are many people who suffer from “headless” fuel system problems. These problems can cause poor mileage, loss of power, and noisy operation. Many of the affected trucks can also experience a noticeable bump while idling. Engines that have a knocking sound also often experience a loss of power combined with low fuel consumption. These symptoms are caused by air entering the fuel system and getting trapped there.

Trying to convert this type of motor to VO to resolve deadlock is not really a suitable solution. Because fuel is dead in the fuel rails, any fuel left on the rails must be consumed to make room for the incoming fuel to displace it. So if you are running on diesel and you want to switch the engine to VO, you must run the engine long enough to consume the fuel on the rails before any VO can be burned. This is actually a bigger problem when switching from VO to Diesel because the engine will need to run for 15 minutes or more on Diesel before it can be safely shut down.

Fuel rail crossover or regulated return is a much more suitable solution and was specifically made to address the ‘dead head’ fuel rail problem found in Powerstroke 99-03 engines. The Fuel Rail Crossover, (FRx), connects the two headers and allows air to return another way rather than forcing it through the injectors, preventing them from doing their job efficiently. This product was designed as a true bolt-on system that eliminates hacking fixes that require the need to cut the return line and use compression fittings. The FRx is also machined to provide 72 psi based on the type of spring used in the installation, which is perfect for stock parts or upgraded performance parts. This fuel rail crossover system completely eliminates air in the fuel system, which in turn provides a smoother ride, quieter idle, less clucking, better throttle response, and longer fuel injector life. It also comes at a fraction of the price compared to other regulated return systems that do the same, so it’s a no-brainer.

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