Before cold weather strikes, take steps to ensure problem-free engine performance and protect your valuable diesel equipment. With proper tank maintenance and fuel handling, you can avoid most common cold-weather problems.
In cold northern winters, ice formation in fuels containing water creates severe fuel line and filter plugging problems. It’s important to regularly remove water from storage tanks, vehicle fuel tanks and filter bowls, and to follow these guidelines:
· Tilt tanks to direct water and debris away from the outlet
· Pressurize tanks to keep vapor and air inside
· Drain and remove all contaminants every three months
· Install proper filtration systems on bulk tanks
· Replace fuel filters according to manufacturer recommendations; if filters have a drain valve, periodically drain water that may accumulate from condensation
· Clean pump screens regularly
· Request periodic fuel sampling for quality assurance purposes
· Have tanks cleaned annually
Another major reason for winter problems is that tanks are not properly blended down. When blending down a tank, it’s imperative that you know how much fuel is left in the tank and calculate the treat rate accordingly. If you have 700 gallons of #2 diesel remaining in the tank, and need to create a 50-50 blend of #1 and #2, ordering 700 gallons of a 50-50 blend (a common mistake) would create flow problems – because it would result in a blend of 1,050 gallons (71 percent) of #2 and 350 gallons (29 percent) of #1.
Proper use of cold flow improvers can extend the operability of fuels without the use of #1 fuel. They serve two functions: 1) changing the wax structure of diesel fuel so it can pass through filters more readily, and 2) keeping wax crystals dispersed longer when fuels are stored below the “cloud point” (temperature at which paraffin in fuel begins to form cloudy wax crystals and reduce flow).
When blending fuels, biofuels and additives, the components must all be at least 10 degrees above their cloud point – otherwise the additives will not blend in and therefore may clog filters.
If you have questions about winter fuels, then the energy experts at Cooperative Energy Company would love to help you. Call 800-342-7360 and ask to talk to a certified energy specialist near you. Or in the meantime, click here and read up on Cenex® WinterMaster.
Want to attend an upcoming fuel and lubricant seminar with us? Save the date for meetings taking place NW Iowa and SW Minnesota, February 6, 7 and 8.
DISCLAIMER: The views of the author are not necessarily those of this station, its owners, officers, agents or employees.