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Just has a test i am having problems on cold start 2.0 hdi 136bhp,was thinking of taking the fuel filter out to see if it makes any difference is it safe to try this.Cheers.
 

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I would just fit a new filter if you are taking the old one out they are quite cheap from ECP or similar and no risk of crud getting into HP pump/injector lines
 
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As said above, just put a new filter in!

Just an FYI, there are a few of us (including me) with the long crank/white smoke/cold start issue, mine also throws passenger airbag faults when it does this

You'll probably never find the culprit but in 4 years i've had my car its never caused any issues

Up to you, i personally dont think its an issue worth chasing or spending $$ on, just make sure your battery is healthy when it comes to cold season!
 

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The lack of fuel filter would mean having to put more fuel in the housing to compensate, which would make diagnosing even more difficult.
 
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