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Diesel Fuel Tips

Fuel is one of the highest, most consistent costs on any construction or demolition jobsite. There are ways you can ensure you are getting the most out of your fuel, however, and that your machines are running as efficiently as possible. Poor quality or inadequate filtration or storage can hurt performance, hinder starting, worsen fuel economy, and lead to serious engine damage.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your diesel fuel on every job.

Keep water out
Water is the primary source of issues when it comes to diesel fuel. With fuel injection pressures reaching 30,000 psi, even the smallest amount of H2O can cause an injector tip to blow, leading to major, costly engine repairs. Water can also contribute to the growth of algae, which can plug filters and result in fuel system failure.

  • Prevent condensation— One of the primary ways that water enters a fuel tank is through the condensation that builds up at night or during cool temperatures when the machine is not in operation. To avoid the formation of condensation, at the end of each day, the tank should be filled up. Before beginning to operate your equipment each day, drain the water and sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the tank.
  • Check your storage tanks— Water may also enter your diesel fuel while it is being stored. Your storage tanks should be regularly inspected by a qualified professional and tested to ensure they are not leaking or accumulating water. Zinc galvanized steel tanks should never be used for transporting or storing diesel, as the fuel will cause the zinc to dissolve, which can severely damage fuel injector nozzles.

Find the right fuel filter
Using the fuel filter recommended by the manufacturer for your specific piece of equipment is essential to removing particulates and water. Having the wrong filter can allow small pieces of dirt or dust to enter the engine and get stuck in the openings of injectors, causing decreased engine performance or damage. For the majority of modern machines, particulates even as small as the 1 to 2 micron range must be removed.

How often to replace diesel fuel filters
Heavy equipment fuel filters typically need to be changed every 500 hours. When applicable, the transparent fuel-water separator filter bowl should be checked daily and drained as necessary. To find exact information on the suggested change intervals for your particular piece of equipment, check your owner's manual.

Avoid dust during fueling and service
To prevent dirt and dust from entering your fuel system, we recommend changing filters, refueling, and completing repairs indoors whenever possible. When performing service outside, erect windbreakers as needed to protect the work area from airborne contaminants. After refueling, always return the nozzle to the pump, rather than letting it fall on the ground where it could gather dust.

Use additives wisely
Certain additives can be useful for preventing the growth of algae, stopping the buildup of asphaltenes, as well as mitigating the negative effects of water, stabilizing fuel during storage, and cleaning fuel injectors. Always check your owner's manual or consult the supplier to find the right additive and ensure it's compatible with your machine's engine and after treatment system.

Contact your local branch for more information on dealing with diesel fuel.

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