How Do I Stop Diesel Runaway?


Well-Known Member
  • #1
I own a 2008 Ford F250 Super Duty diesel and I was watching a few videos on diesel runaway last night on YouTube. I haven't thought about this sort of thing since I was a kid, but now it's back in my mind because I own a diesel engine. My father used to own a Volkswagen Rabbit pickup and I used to own a Rabbit hatchback. They were both diesels, so that's probably when I learned about it. I bet my father taught me.

Anyway, I'm wondering how prevalent runaway is in today's trucks and what I would need to do to stop it once it starts. It's an ordeal, I know, but I'd still like to know if there is anything I could do myself besides stand back and watch my truck be destroyed.


Well-Known Member
  • #2
Diesel runaway isn't as common today as it used to be because most new trucks have their fuel intake controlled by computer. If something goes wrong, the computer will cut off the fuel supply. Although, it could still happen if oil somehow gets into the cylinders. Runaway needs air and fuel in order to continue once it starts, so in order to stop it, you'll need to stop one of those things from getting into the engine. From what I know, it's most common to stop the air. I've also read that if this type of thing occurs while driving and you own a standard shift, you can shift into a high gear and apply the brakes until the transmission stops the engine. That's if you get lucky and know what you're doing.

To stop diesel runaway in your truck, make sure you've got a charged (full) CO2 fire extinguisher or towel with your vehicle at all times. Also, know where your air filter is and how to access it. Once runaway begins, quickly pop your hood and remove the air filter cover. Then, spray the entire filter with the fire extinguisher. This will coat the filter with all that white stuff and the CO2 will displace the oxygen the engine needs to remain operating. Basically, you'll smother the ignition and the engine will receive no air. It will shut down. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, you can still pull the air filter cover off, remove the air filter, and shove the towel or blanket into the large air hole that leads to the injector. This will do the same thing - smother the ignition.

Remember, you need to do all of this very quickly. Also, the engine will be screaming, so this isn't for the faint of heart. If you don't have the spine for this, stand far back and call the cops.

Here's a video of your air filter area.

Air Filter Replacement Ford Super Duty 2008-2010 6.4L Diesel