Life is full of choices. And with those choices come consequences, both good and bad. If you make a good decision, you will be rewarded. But if you make a bad one, you can chalk that up as a life lesson.
A year or two ago, during the height of the pandemic, as you probably know, parts were extremely tough to get. As luck would have it, we were knee-deep in an engine swap and needed some fuel hose to finish up the installation. The problem was that no one had any name-brand fuel hoses in stock. So, thinking we needed this product now, we decided to place an order on Amazon. While this seemed like a solid idea, this choice had dire consequences.
A couple of weeks ago, I headed out to start the vehicle. I hit the ignition, and the cammed engine fired right up as usual. After that, however, something was different. The engine didn’t sound right, and I immediately smelt fuel. I shut the truck off, popped the hood, and scrambled to see where the issue originated. We haven’t messed with the vehicle for a while, and I didn’t suspect any hoses were loose. However, much to my surprise, fuel poured off the intake onto the headers, which were fortunately not hot yet.
We narrowed the fuel leak down to a hose that connects the fuel pressure regulator to the fuel rails. We removed the hose, built another, and replaced the failing unit. I thought to myself, this is surely a fluke, and the hose was rubbing somewhere. So we pressured up the system, and all was well. The new hose was holding firm. However, much to my dismay, we fired up the truck, and now another leak had developed. Fuel was now pouring down the back of the engine and transmission from a different hose.
At this point, we could see the writing on the wall. So, we removed all fuel lines to figure out what was happening. From there, we peeled back the first layer of the Amazon “braided fuel hose” to discover a tiny hole. When I posted my findings the other day on LSX Mag’s Facebook page, people quickly pointed out that “the hoses were assembled improperly!” However, I can assure you, after working for a nitrous company for years, I have built more fuel and nitrous lines than 95 percent of the population. But I digress. We found the problem, which was much worse than we initially thought.
The once flexible hose had become highly brittle. And when it was bent, the small hole opened up into a massive crack. In fact, it was so fragile that as we worked it back and forth a few more times, the rubber line broke in two. So we decided to try this same feat on another hose that wasn’t leaking. Unfortunately, we got the same result after a few bends—another broken hose.
So now we were faced with a real dilemma. After settling for a cheap, readily available hose, probably from overseas, had I contaminated the entire fuel system and injectors with decomposing rubber? There was only one way to find out, and the solution involved DeatschWerks.
DeatschWerks specializes in fuel system components like high-performance fuel pumps, regulators, and, you guessed it, fuel supply hoses. And since they were a relatively short drive (120 miles) from us, we seized the opportunity to take a road trip to Oklahoma City and visit the DW facility. While there, we had plans to talk with Krista Lamb, Director, Products & Customer Experience, and chat with Tim Stear about the company’s products.
DeatschWerks is in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City, and the facility is super cool with all the state-of-the-art goods that a fuel system manufacturer could ask for. And lucky for us, we intended to put some of their technology to work.
After taking a tour of the facility with Krista, she took us to the research and development department, where we met with the crew, one of them being Tim. We pulled our damaged goods out of the box, and the Deatschwerks crew quickly went to work. Dakota Bowman and Brandon McDaniel started measuring and tearing down the hoses. At the same time, Mason North began flow testing the injectors to ensure the factory LS injectors were not full of gunk in case the hose was degrading.
While all this was happening, Tim gave us the details on the Deatschworks hose, which looked almost identical to the Amazon hose we have. However, just because something looks like another doesn’t mean it is. Tim was kind enough to educate us on their products. He said, “DW Braided AN Fuel Lines are available in CPE and PTFE. Both options are available in stainless (silver) or nylon (black) braided coverings.”
After looking at the Amazon hose, the DW guys suggested it was probably not petroleum or ethanol friendly. And as more ethanol winds up in pump gas, it’s crucial to know what you purchase before installing a product on a vehicle. However, Tim assured us that DW’s hose would not be a problem as they’ve used it for thousands of hours of testing on its state-of-the-art flow bench with all types of fuels.
“The CPE rubber fuel lines are cord reinforced for high pressure and lined for compatibility with ethanol-based fuels up to e85.” Tom continues, “The PTFE fuel lines have increased fuel compatibility for methanol and e100. In addition, the PTFE lines allow tighter radius bends, lower weight, and zero fuel vapor permeability.” And even though the PTFE lines can bend in a tighter radius, DW offers swivel hose-end options for both CPE and PTFE in straight, 30-, 45-, 60-, 90-, 120-, and 180-degrees in both titanium and black finish.
By now, the guys were finishing up our lines and fittings, and the injectors were back from the flow bench. The good news was that the injectors were still clean while flowing at the correct volume. DW even provided a print-off of the test so that we could see what each injector flows. They also numbered the OEM injectors for identification purposes, which is a nice touch.
With our new hoses and clean injectors in a box, we thanked the crew for their time and the facility tour. We were very thankful because, in short, we had dodged a bullet. Deciding to purchase a non-name brand on Amazon could have ended in disaster. All it would have taken was a crack in the line running down the road, resulting in a fire taking out our project vehicle. Thankfully, that was not the case.
Fortunately, we found the problem, addressed it, and, more importantly, fixed the issue with Deatschwerk’s proven products. As a result, we’re happy to report that the vehicle is back on the road without a problem. And the best part is a peace of mind knowing that we will never have this issue again.