All diesel engines require a method to store and deliver fuel to the engine. Because
diesel engines rely on injectors which are precision components with extremely tight
tolerances and very small injection hole(s), the fuel delivered to the engine must be
extremely clean and free of contaminants.
The fuel system must, therefore, not only deliver the fuel but also ensure its cleanliness. This is
usually accomplished through a series of in-line filters. Commonly, the fuel will be filtered once outside the engine and then the fuel will pass through at least one more filter internal to the engine, usually located in the fuel line at each fuel injector. In a diesel engine, the fuel system
is much more complex than the fuel system on a simple gasoline engine because the fuel serves two purposes. One purpose is obviously to supply the fuel to run the engine; the other is to act as a coolant to the injectors. To meet this second purpose, diesel fuel is kept continuously flowing through the engine's fuel system at a flow rate much higher than required to simply run the engine, an example of a fuel flowpath is shown in Figure 13. The excess fuel is routed back to the fuel pump or the fuel storage tank depending on the application.