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Cold Weather Diesel Fuel Tips

12/04/2014 12:00:00

Cold Weather Diesel Fuel TipsSave yourself downtime and headaches by taking these simple preventive measures. The easiest way to help minimize cold weather issues is to make sure your fuel system is as dry as possible.

All diesel fuel contains water. Water that is dissolved in the diesel fuel will not cause cold weather issues. Free water in a storage tank, vehicle tank or filter will cause problems long before the diesel begins to “gel”.

Here are a few things you should do in preparation for before it gets cold.

The most common cause of cold weather issues is filter icing. Consider using a fuel that contains water dispersant year round to help keep your fuel system as dry as possible.

Additives & Performance

Your fuel supplier can provide additives for year-round solutions to conditions encountered in the Midwest. For example, an additive that contains water dispersant provides excellent protection against gelling.

Ask your supplier if they’re routinely testing their diesel from various sources for best cold weather performance. Fuel they sell to you should be tested with and without additives to measure additive performance. Fuels from different sources react to additives differently. Your supplier should have the data.

Cold Filter Plug Points (CFPP)

CFPP is the coldest temperatures that fuel molecules will pass through a filter and it is measured. Some fuels will improve CFPP by 20-25 degrees and others will improve very little. Again, this is something your supplier can provide.

Most fuel suppliers begin winterizing with additive October 1st, so it’s likely your equipment contains winterized diesel before the first cold snap.

Changes in equipment have been made. This means that Caterpillar and other manufacturers have been installing higher micron retention filters on all equipment in order to have cleaner fuel to injector systems. Injector systems have higher pressures in order to reduce stack emissions. These systems do not tolerate water in fuel or gelled fuel. Fuel filters on equipment in the '80s might have been 25 microns. Fuel filters on new equipment can filter to as few as 2 microns.