Air Bleeding Made Easy
The screw and tool that totally change the air-bleed process for 6.6L Duramax diesels.
Sometimes it's the little things that make your life better. Although it is widely known that under-hood temperatures in diesel trucks can fatigue sensitive components like wiring, connectors, hoses, and more, it's important to note that time also plays a big role in the degradation of these parts. The longer trucks are in service, the greater the possibility of there being more failures.
On 2001-2016 6.6L Duramax diesel engines, one simple yet critical component that succumbs to the long-term environmental effects is the stock, plastic air-bleed screw on top of the fuel-filter housing, right next to the passenger-side exhaust manifold. Simply tightening and loosening the fastener ultimately leads to its demise. Yes, the screw eventually will fail, usually at the worst time.
Conventional thought suggests replacing the plastic screw with a piece that is more durable, yet lightweight. There are several options available, but we're impressed by PPE's Billet Aluminum Air Bleeder Screw for the Duramax powerplants: a direct replacement for stock piece that is available in black or yellow anodize and includes a nitrile O-ring.
One of the unique features of PPE's screw is this channel that runs through the length of the thread. The opening allows air to easily escape without requiring the screw to be completely removed (which causes a spilled-fuel mess). Replacements from other brands do not have this design.
PPE also offers a shiny, polished stainless steel water-in-filter (WIF) wrench, which is very helpful in removing and installing the water-level sensor at the bottom of the fuel filter. On the other end is a specially sized tool for the bleeder screw.
Easy upgrades like this one, as well as timely fuel filter changes, are great ways to make regular maintenance quicker and less costly in both frustration and your time.
Dirty fuel filters and low-quality diesel are primary contributors to injector failure. With injectors being expensive, as is the labor to replace them, a Duramax fuel filter should be changed every 15,000 miles or less (for 2001-2010 engines), and every 22,500 miles—or when the "Change Fuel Filter" message displays on the Vehicle Information Center screen—for 2011-2016 Chevrolets and GMCs.
We recommend that owners stay ahead of regular maintenance in order to preserve their older rigs. Although today's new trucks are marvels of technology and performance, they also are very expensive. Being proactive helps you keep your truck on the road. Organizations such as the Association of Diesel Specialists believe that with proper maintenance, the 6.6L Duramax is one of the most reliable diesel engines available today, capable of lasting as long as 500,000 miles.