You wake up one morning to go to work and your vehicle will not start. Your fuel has gelled in the tank overnight. What do you do?
For truck drivers, the winter months are more than just that risky season when they have to be extra careful in driving. In fact, the cold months pose a lot more problems for them, one of which is diesel fuel gelling. Diesel fuel gelling happens when the paraffin usually present in diesel starts to solidify when the temperature drops. At 32 degrees, the wax in liquid form will crystallize and leave the fuel tank clouded. At 10-15 degrees, it will finally start to gel and clog the tank and fuel filters.
Gel Point and Pour Point in Diesel Fuel Gelling
Gel point is the temperature point at which the diesel finally turns solid and can no longer flow through the fuel lines. Pour point, on the other hand, is the factor which determines the temperature at which a fluid starts to solidify.
Symptoms of Diesel Fuel Gelling
The engine won’t start? CHECK.
This is the big one. The diesel fuel has gelled in the fuel lines and has plugged the fuel filter. If fuel can’t pass through the fuel filter, the engine isn’t going to crank.
Differences in Fuel Rail Pressure? LIKELY.
Some truck drivers tell of filling up with diesel fuel in wintertime and forgetting to put anti-gel treatment in the fuel. They get out on the road and find their truck is sluggish at best, and can’t even accelerate properly. Here, a difference between the desired fuel rail pressure and actual rail pressure is observed when accelerating. In these cases, the desired pressure usually spikes up while the actual pressure remains low because of the diesel fuel gelling, stopping the fuel from getting where it should go.
Ways to Prevent Diesel Fuel Gelling
It is a common practice for truckers to mix #1 diesel which has a blend of kerosene with diesel #2 which is used on road applications. Kerosene helps in lowering the plug point temperature of the fuel and reduces its viscosity, therefore making diesel less likely to gel even during low temperatures.
Additives and Fuel Treatments
Additives and fuel treatments are another common solution used to address diesel fuel gelling. Just like the earlier option mentioned, they also work to reduce the formation of paraffin crystals. They also lower the pour and gel point of the fuel as well. AFS products have ratably and economically protected New England and Mid-Atlantic diesel enthusiasts for nearly two decade through its unique patented cold weather technologies combined with its exhaustive fuel oversight programs.
A good example of a fuel treatment is our Winter Diesel 2010 Additive, which offers a combination of wax modifiers and wax anti-settling agents to improve low temperature operability. It also provides L10 injector detergency, fuel stabilization, and corrosion inhibition, while maintaining fuel economy and emission control.
Our technical team stands ready to discuss with you any concerns which you may have regarding winter operability. They can offer insight on best practices and prevent defenses that will prepare you and your customers for whatever winter has in store. For additional information contact Advanced Fuel Solutions at 978-258-8360.