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How to Prevent Diesel Fuel From Gelling

Preventing Diesel Fuel Gelling – Off Season Update

Take advantage of the off season pricing here in the Sioux Falls store!! Here’s one product you will need in winter. Save even more buying now. (Products: Diesel All in One and the Diesel Cold Flow)

We diesel burners get a little more uptight in the winter over what comes out of the green-handle pump at the fuel station. Diesel owners know that winter can mean diesel fuel gelling. That’s when diesel fuel freezes, rendering our trucks useless and, in some situations, costing us a boatload of money in repairs.

In this post, I’m going to explain why diesel fuel can gel or become frozen and what you can do to prevent it and keep your truck rolling all winter.

What causes diesel fuel gelling?

Diesel contains naturally occurring wax that solidifies in cold temperatures. Normally the wax is a liquid in fuel and is important, so we definitely want it in the fuel.

When temperatures drop, however, wax crystals form and cling to one another.

As temperatures continue to decrease, formation continues until it restricts the flow of fuel through fuel filters, eventually stalling the engine. Depending on the fuel, gelling can occur at temperatures barely below 32ºF (0ºC).

Check out the video to see what happens when diesel fuel gels.

 

 


#1 and #2 diesel fuel

The fuel refineries do a pretty good job of blending winter-rated diesel fuel that avoids gelling. To produce winter-blend diesel, they often mix some percentage of #1 diesel fuel with #2 diesel fuel.

Why, you ask? Because diesel #1 contains less wax and offers cloud and pour points of typically -20ºF (-29ºC) or colder, making it preferable in cold weather.

Cold-filter-plugging point (CFPP) & other terms

So, what do “cloud point” and “pour point” mean, anyway? They’re a couple important terms people use when talking about diesel cold-weather performance.

  • Cloud point – The temperature at which wax crystals begin to form in diesel fuel. This is normally around 32ºF (0ºC) for #2 diesel fuel, but can be as high as 40ºF (4ºC).
  • Cold-filter-plugging point (CFPP) – The point at which wax crystals allowed to form in untreated diesel fuel clog the fuel filter. Most diesel owners call this “gelling.”
  • Pour point – The lowest temperature at which fuel maintains its ability to flow.

The ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) at every pump must meet certain CFPP characteristics to protect drivers.

However, refiners typically base the fuel’s cold-weather performance on temperature projections that don’t leave room for sudden and violent temperature swings. Where I live in northern Minnesota, the temperature can drop from 40ºF (4ºC) at lunch time to zero by the time I head home after work.

It’s possible the fuel at the station where I plan to fill up the next morning doesn’t yet have fuel blended for such cold temperatures.

Or, how about the trucker who starts a run in Kansas City, where it’s 50ºF (10ºC) and he filled up with #2 diesel, but ends in Duluth, Minn., where it’s -10ºF (-23ºC)? Then what?

Use cold-flow improvers to prevent diesel fuel gelling

Let’s be proactive and turn the mirror on ourselves. There is chemistry available that ensures the wax in your fuel stays liquid so your fuel system can pump fuel to the engine. We call these additives “cold-flow improvers,” and AMSOIL Diesel All-In-One is loaded with them to ensure you don’t run into these issues.

In the fuel industry there is a test called the “Cold-Filter-Plugging-Point Test.” It measures the coldest temperature at which fuel will flow without plugging a filter.

In independent testing, AMSOIL Diesel All In One provides as much as 32ºF better protection against cold-temperature diesel fuel gelling than Howes Lubricator Diesel Treat*? You know – Howes, one of the largest diesel fuel additive companies in the U.S.

Howes diesel additive is substandard in cold flow protection.

 

Diesel All-in-One ensures the fuel remains flowing and your truck keeps rolling no matter how frigid the weather.

Some might say, “That doesn’t matter…Howe’s has a free-tow guarantee that’ll cover me if I’m ever stranded.” That’s no guarantee; that’s an insurance policy, and they hope not to use it. If you want a real guarantee, use AMSOIL Diesel Cold Flow to ensure you don’t have to call for a tow.

Plus, it doesn’t just give you optimum chemistry for cold weather. Oh, no sir/ma’am. It also delivers…

  • Optimum detergency to help keep the fuel injectors and combustion chamber clean
  • Lubricity to lubricate the fuel pump and injectors
  • A four-point cetane boost to provide extra help at startup and improve combustion efficiency for improved power and fuel economy

If it’s gelled, now what?

Clogged filters and frozen diesel are a huge hassle, especially for truckers or fleets that needs vehicles running to make money.

AMSOIL Diesel Recovery quickly dissolves gelled fuel to allow the operator to continue driving with minimal downtime. AMSOIL Diesel Recovery separates the molecular bonds of wax crystals that have agglomerated in diesel fuel. It thaws frozen fuel filters and reduces the need for a new filter, saving money and preventing an inconvenient trip to an auto parts store.

Buy Diesel Recovery

*Based on independent testing in July 2017 of AMSOIL Diesel All-in-One and Howes Lubricator Diesel Treat using diesel fuel representative of the U.S. marketplace and Howes’ recommended treat ratio for above 0°F.

Worldwide Reputation – AMSOIL President Column

From the President – AMSOIL HQ in Superior, WI

Last winter I was riding snowmobile with a group of friends in northern Wisconsin. We stopped for a break and another snowmobiler came in wearing a red AMSOIL Racing Jersey (G3537). I struck up a conversation with him and we talked about snowmobiles, riding and AMSOIL. I told him how AMSOIL sold that jersey for a while, but it had been unavailable for years. AMSOIL reintroduced the jersey after a popular contestant on China’s version of “America’s Got Talent” wore it on that show. Suddenly demand from China for that jersey skyrocketed. I never revealed who I was or how he basically had my name emblazoned on his chest. It was an interesting conversation and I was happy to hear an unfiltered opinion of my company and its products.

More Lucas and Sea Foam Comparison Testing

Reputation is important to me. It is earned, not given. It takes years to develop and almost nothing to destroy. Under the right circumstances, even untrue rumors can ruin solid reputations. Fortunately, AMSOIL has a rocksolid reputation, and we go above and beyond to keep it that way. For most customers, that starts with our products. AMSOIL products are the best in the world. I could not be more proud of that. We compete against the biggest companies in the world, and our products come out on top. Our products do what we say they’ll do. This month we’re introducing a new product, AMSOIL Upper Cylinder Lubricant. Once again, the competition isn’t up to par. In fact, Sea Foam,* one of the most recognized fuel-additive brands, and Lucas,* the leading seller of upper cylinder lubricant, are ineffective. They’re no good. And we’re going to show you the proof.

That’s no way to treat customers, and that’s no way to do business. It’s personal for me – it is my name on the bottle. I would not do anything to damage my reputation, and I respect your reputation. You represent AMSOIL in the field and it is your word that sells AMSOIL products. You can be confident that you are representing a company that has integrity. You can be proud to wear the AMSOIL logo every day. I know I am. Plus, you never know who will ask you about it or what type of business it could lead to. We introduced a completely new clothing line in the spring and we’ve got several new items coming out this fall, including the recently released snowmobile jacket.

Speaking of snowmobiling, if you haven’t visited your retail accounts that carry our snowmobile products, now is the time. If you live in the south or don’t have accounts that carry those products, the new Upper Cylinder Lubricant and the updated pricing information are also perfect reasons to pay your accounts a visit. We provided new printed price lists to every active commercial and retail account. A follow-up visit from you could be just what they need to spark that next order.

Steps To Maintain Your Snowblower – Things to Know

Never Overlook This When Maintaining Your Snowblower

Thanksgiving day, 2016. While my family was gathered in my dining room, imbibing spirits and making merry, I was in the shed disassembling the carburetor on my snowblower, reeking of petroleum as rivers of gasoline flowed under my jacket cuffs and saturated me to the elbows.

Here’s what happened, and here’s how to avoid it.

Snowblower maintenance can be distilled to this Golden Rule: Maintain your fuel system.

I’ll say it again: Maintain your fuel system.

A snowblower that won’t start is almost always due to a fuel problem. And nothing raises your blood pressure like a dead snowblower following the season’s first snowstorm. You know it! We always wait to the last minute on that first snow.

Preventing fuel-system problems starts in the spring prior to storage.

Leave the carburetor full of gas

This is where everything unraveled for me. One theory says that shutting off the fuel line and running the engine until the carburetor empties helps prevent varnish that plugs the jets and prevents starting.

Wrong, at least in my case. As I discovered, leaving the carburetor empty and exposed to air hastens oxidation and varnish. Fluctuating temperatures and humidity throughout the summer invite varnish, and it doesn’t take much to plug the tiny orifices in a carburetor. Then, it’s just a matter of time before you’re stinking of gasoline on Thanksgiving day while blasting carb cleaner on everything within reach.

Instead, add fuel stabilizer at the end of the season, run the engine for a few minutes to distribute the treated gas throughout the system, then shut down the engine. Now you can shut off the fuel line for the summer. The treated fuel in the carburetor bowl provides protection and helps keep components clean.

Some people claim you should run the carburetor empty since the gas will evaporate anyway. That may be true, but evaporation takes time, and the carburetor will at least be protected in the interim.

Stabilize the gas

As mentioned, treat gas with stabilizer prior to storage. Stabilized fuel protects against oxidation and varnish throughout the summer.

Use ethanol-free gas

When water infiltrates your gas tank in the form of melted snow, it can cause phase separation, a phenomenon that occurs when the bond between ethanol (present in most gasoline sold today) and gasoline breaks. When this ethanol/water mixture enters the combustion chamber, it creates a lean-burn situation that can damage your engine.

For best performance, use 91-octane, non-oxygenated (ethanol-free) gas. Many gas stations offer non-oxygenated gas and advertise it for powersports and off-road use. It’s a little more expensive, but spending a few extra dollars a winter to help your $1,000 dollar machine run strong isn’t a factor, in my opinion. At the very least, use ethanol-free gas during storage to help ward off phase separation.

Perhaps test your gas to see if it is really and truly ethanol free. I know many who say “I never use ethanol” and after testing the source gasoline it turned out to be laced with ethanol! Put your gas in a glass jar and see if you see it separate over time. Sometime you need to shake it up.

(Find out how to fight ethanol problems in small engines.)

If you use ethanol-blended gas, consider continuous use of a fuel additive, such as AMSOIL Quickshot, formulated to address ethanol-related performance issues.

Change The Oil in the Spring

Used oil contains acids that can slowly corrode metal components. Prior to storage, change the oil to remove acidic byproducts and ensure maximum protection throughout the summer. After changing oil, I like to run the engine for a couple minutes to distribute oil throughout the lower end of the engine.

Fog the engine

Use fogging oil to protect the upper end (cylinder, piston, valves) from corrosion during storage. Remove the spark plug, which provides the perfect time to inspect its condition, and spray a little oil into the cylinder. Slowly pull the starter cord a few times to distribute the oil, then replace the plug.

Check the gear housing – It can fail!

Clean any debris from around the filler port on the auger gear housing, remove the plug and ensure the gear lube level is up to the top. If not, add the correct lubricant (check your owner’s manual for viscosity).

Inspect belt condition and linkages

Stressing a worn belt after it’s sat idle for months is a recipe for a breakdown. When a belt does break, it’s often while clearing the first big snowfall of the year. Spring is the prime time to check the condition of drive belts and linkages. It’s much easier and far more comfortable to crawl around your snowblower on a mild, spring day than in the winter.

One final word of advice: Keep an eye on the weather at the start of winter. When the forecast calls for the first snowstorm of the season, start your snowblower a few days early to ensure it’s ready to go.

That gives you plenty of time if your snowblower won’t start – like about two hours on Thanksgiving day – to fix any problems.

What’s the Minimum I Should Drive My Car? And Other Winter Car Storage Tips

What’s the Minimum I Should Drive My Car? And Other Winter Car Storage Tips

The roads are home to all kinds of vehicles. Daily drivers that clock thousands of miles each year. Seasonal vehicles that only clock hundreds. And then there are some whose odometers move only when being loaded or unloaded from a trailer.

In any instance, winter vehicle storage is sometimes inevitable.

What to consider when storing your vehicle for winter

There are several things to consider when storing a vehicle. Read on for some tips to ensure your vehicle is ready to answer the call when you awaken it from its storage-time slumber.

1) Seek shelter

There are plenty of good locations for storing your vehicle. Here are a few.

  • Garage – If you own a garage, it’s the obvious first choice to protect your vehicle from the elements, pests or thieves during storage. Ensure that all entries are secure, including windows or side doors.
  • Storage facility – If you live in an urban area or you don’t have access to an enclosed space, consider renting space at an indoor storage facility. There are businesses geared toward storing vehicles. Depending on your region’s weather, some offer both indoor and outdoor options.
  • Friends or family – If the above options don’t work, call in a favor with a family member or good friend who has space in his or her garage, shed, barn or other secure building.

Outdoor storage isn’t ideal, but if it’s your only option, buy a quality weatherproof cover that will protect your vehicle from the elements. There are tons out there ranging from low quality to virtually impenetrable, so do your research to find the best one capable of properly covering your ride.

Covers are effective at protecting the body of the car, but consider the underside of the vehicle. Parking on a concrete slab will help avoid moisture from the ground collecting under the cover and causing rust damage from the bottom up.

2) Clean your vehicle before storage

When you let your car sit for long periods of time you want to make sure it’s thoroughly clean. Even small amounts of the following can damage the paint.

  • Water droplets
  • Salt from the road or the air
  • Sand and dirt
  • Bird droppings

Show your vehicle some love by washing it well, completely drying it with a shammy and giving it a proper coating of wax. If you’re really feeling fancy, use a clay bar to remove dirt trapped inside the paint.

Inside the vehicle, vacuum all dirt, debris and crumbs. Even small crumbs will attract insects and rodents.

3) Keep out the undesirables

Speaking of which, mice and other rodents love finding a good stationary vehicle to hole up inside for the winter. They’ll build a nest in an inconvenient place, chew through wires and wreak general havoc during their uninvited stay.

Keep them out by closing off any entry points such as the exhaust and air intakes. Dryer sheets are an effective deterrent, so try placing those in and around the vehicle to deter them from considering your vehicle as a winter home.

4) Check fluids & fill ‘er up

Perform an oil change prior to storing a vehicle. This will keep the engine from holding harmful contaminants for a lengthy period of time.

Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas from deteriorating, then fill up the gas tank to prevent moisture from accumulating. AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer is an excellent choice. It’ll inhibit the oxidation process in stored fuel, which will help prevent sludge and varnish from clogging injectors, fuel lines, carburetors and other components. Keep the fuel as fresh as possible since deteriorated fuel makes up the highest percentage of problems associated with vehicle storage.

5) Take it for an occasional spin

Start the vehicle every two weeks and take a short 10-minute drive if possible. A battery that is not used will soon lose its charge and lead to a headache later on.

If you’re looking at long-term vehicle storage, it’s not a bad idea to disconnect and remove the battery entirely. Or, purchase a battery tender and connect that instead. Doing so will deliver a regular charge to keep the battery from losing all power. Look for one with an automatic shut-off feature so it’s not overcharged.

Regular startups or a short drive will also keep the engine and all its components lubricated, which is another important area requiring regular TLC. Just be sure to remove any rodent-repelling measures you may have taken earlier, like the dryer sheets in the exhaust pipe.

If you aren’t in a position to conduct routine starts or short drives, you’ll need something to prevent surface rust from accumulating on engine components. A good coat of AMSOIL Engine Fogging Oil sprayed into the cylinders will do the trick.

6) Mind the Tires

This is another important area to consider, as they are what the vehicle rests on for the duration of the storage period. First, make sure the tires are properly inflated to the correct psi before storage. Sitting vehicles can create flat spots on tires that render them useless later on.

If you won’t be driving at all, roll the vehicle forward or backward a few inches from time to time.

You can do this when you conduct the occasional engine start to keep the battery alive and engine parts properly lubricated. For those who don’t mind a bit of extra work to ensure road-ready tires later on, you can also take them off entirely and replace them with jack stands.

Based on your environment you can pick a storage protocol and do the best you can. Just be aware that vehicles don’t like to sit for extended periods and need opportunities to “stretch their legs,” so to speak. They need to be started and moved at least once per year to keep seals from drying out and internals coated with oil. Follow our vehicle storage advice and your ride will be ready for the road when you are.

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter

Originally posted Nov. 11, 2016

With the worst of winter right around the corner, now is a good time to get your vehicle prepared for the worst. Being based in northern Wisconsin, we at AMSOIL talk a lot about how synthetic lubricants make life a little easier, as the cold air starts to pierce our engines and lungs.

Wherever you may be, nasty road conditions and winter driving can be dangerous, so it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Weather.com blogged about how bad-weather car accidents are more deadly in the U.S. than many of the worst storms.

Snow, rain, fog and wet pavement all pose a hazard during the season. To be ahead of the game, here are some preparedness tips:

Garage Time

  • Battery check – Cold temperatures are a battery killer. Be sure you’ve got the juice to keep going. Check the terminals for corrosion that needs cleaning and ensure the alternator and belts are in good shape.
  • Antifreeze and coolant – Look for any radiator and hose leaks and top off the reservoir, if necessary. If it’s been several years since you’ve changed the coolant, be sure to get some fresh fluid in there.
  • Windshield wipers and fluids – Make sure the wipers are working and the blades are not worn. Fill the washer reservoir with a good-quality fluid that doesn’t freeze.
  • Brake system– Being able to stop is crucial when roads are slick. Look to see that the floor mats aren’t blocking the pedal. If you notice braking issues, have the brake fluid, pads, rotors and lines checked.
  • Tire pressure and tread – Tires should be checked monthly for wear and proper inflation regardless of the season. Make sure you have a spare tire, and keep a pressure gauge in the vehicle with you.
  • Fuel and oil level – It’s a good idea to keep your fuel tank at least half-full in case you get stranded on the side of the road and need to stay warm. Motor oil should also be topped off.

Emergency Roadside Kit

  • Flashlight – I like to carry an LED flashlight in my truck since they last a long time. But a traditional flashlight works well and tends to be brighter.
  • Tool kit – It should have the basics, including screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench and a socket set. Work gloves, tape, fuses and a good pocket knife or multi-tool are all handy to have as well.
  • Blanket – Not only does it keep you warm in winter, but it can also block out wind and help treat shock victims.
  • Jumper cables – It’s best not to settle for chintzy. Good-quality, thick cables with multi-strand wire, heavy duty clips and extra length can save you from headaches. Invest in four-gauge, 20-foot cables that won’t break the bank and will last a long while.
  • Food and water – Keep a stash of high-energy foods such as granola bars and nuts in the car.
  • Fire extinguisher – Often overlooked, but good to have. A multipurpose A-B-C type is the way to go.
  • First-aid kit – Any kit should contain bandages, gauze and prep pads to stop bleeding and prevent infection.
  • Other items to consider – Maps, shovel, broom, ice scraper and flares.

Even if you don’t get any snow, it’s good to be ready for any emergency. Got any more tips to share? Let us know in the comments.