Fuel cleanliness is extremely important to the performance and longevity of your machines. Many owners and operators assume the diesel fuel they put in their equipment is high quality and meets required specifications. However, even the smallest amount of contamination in high pressure systems can cause big problems. For that reason, your equipment requires very tight filtration.
What Types of Fuel Contamination to Watch out for
The primary types of contamination that you need to protect your fuel systems from are micro-organisms, asphaltenes, dirt, dust, sediment, and rust. The system components most susceptible to fuel contamination are your pumps and injectors, but the entire system is vulnerable.
Particulates will clog fuel filters, increase wear on injectors, and cause valves to not open properly, clogging injector spray nozzles. Equipment fuel contamination can hinder performance, cause ineffective combustion, and premature piston wear.
Additional Problems Caused by Diesel Fuel Contamination
The amount of fluid required to keep the operation smooth and continuous between the injector barrel and plunger is just 2.5 microns. The introduction of dirt or dust into this area could cause significant interference with this movement. Furthermore, a decrease in engine power occurs when the control valves, which maintain fuel pressure, begin leaking. Such leaks are caused when contaminants wear away seals.
How to Remove Particulates from Fuel
The best way to prevent engine contamination is to determine the size and amount of particles in your diesel fuel supply and filter out contaminants before adding to your equipment. Identify the contaminant size and concentration through an ISO Particle Count test on samples of your fuel supply. The test will give you an ISO Cleanliness Code based on the level of fuel contamination at the 4, 6, and 14 micron levels.
Once you determine the size and concentration of particulates, you can find the correct filter to remove them before they enter your engine and start causing damage. Many manufacturers are now recommending filtering diesel fuel that does not meet an ISO Cleanliness Code or 18/16/13 before adding it to your fuel tank.