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2003 ford superduty 7.3 diesel fuel filter houseing question

first off, its a van body, and what a royal pain in the ass it was to remove. iv been smelling fuel lately so i decided to take the doghouse off and see if i could see anything leaking, and sure enough i found a small drip coming from (what i assumed at the time) the return line back to the tank while the engine was running. long story short, i removed the entire houseing, and its coming from the drain line. HERES THE QUESTION: the drain cock on the filter houseing has a cable hooked to it, and at the time of this post, i dont know where it goes. Is it manualy operated or is there a servo or something that opens and closes the drain line, maybe when u shut the motor off? asking cause the cock assembly seems stiff to operate, and wondering if i can just not hook the cable back up if its not something thats needed for normal operation. back in augest i had to remove and rebuild the trans so im guessing that perhaps we bumped the cable, or something that caused it to slightly open the drain cock causing it to drip fuel when running. a new filter housing is close to 500 dollars and i just dont have it thx to this virus killing my income this year. On a side note, what a stupid place to mount a part that needs regular maintenance access when the motor is in a van body, way to go, ford…

It sounds like the O-rings on the drain valve are leaking.

I’ve never seen a cable connected to the drain valve lever.

Tester

yeah, there are no orings on this connection, its just a simple rubber hose slid over a smooth post. and that little hole you see in that pic at the end of the yellowish/whiteish plastic lever has the cable in it. the cable would pull on that plastic lever and open the drain, which would run thru the rubber hose. i can put a hose clamp on it but it would be unneccesary if the drain cock stays in the closed position. i physically seen it leaking from that connection, where the hose meets the metal body of the filter housing, definatly not leaking from anywhere else, and only a drip every second or so while the engine is running

right where that rubber hose ends is where it was dripping from. u are probably thinking the valve body itself is leaking, it isnt. it was leaking cause for whatever purpouse that cable serves, it had pulled the drain cock open slightly and when the engine runs and the filter housing is pressurized, that connection wasnt designed to hold pressure so it started dripping from the connection itself since the drain cock wasnt all the way closed. my only question is what purpous does that cable serve? is it a aftermarket manual cable operated drain that isnt needed, (it used to be a mini schoolbus) or is it a factory thing that MUST be reconnected at all times. I want to put it back in without the cable if i can, thats the goal here.

Wild guess here, but perhaps the cable was put there to aid in reaching the drain lever (the yellow thing.) Although, I’m not sure why the drain there at all, unless it is a fuel/water separator, and that is to drain off the water. Wherever this van lived before may have had lots of issues with water contamination in the fuel supply.