The necessity of treating diesel fuel.June 26, 2018
With giddy anticipation we are all anxious to get out in the field and begin planting. The seed meters are calibrated, soil testing has been done, the perfect hybrid is in the hopper, and the tractor has been completely serviced —- or has it? We thought of everything except the need to treat the diesel fuel. A misconception being fuel only needs to be treated in the winter.
A diesel engine operates on a unique principle of combustion. There are three stages:
- Delay: End of compression and after the start of injection. The fuel does not ignite immediately. This is called the delay period.
- Rapid combustion: A sudden rise in pressure (diesel knock). This is when the fuel is first burned.
- Controlled combustion: Once the first fuel is burned injection continues. The additional fuel is burned as it is mixed with air.
The chemical composition of the fuel impacts how combustion occurs.
Diesel fuel is a commodity and is traded like grain. The product has the minimum combustion and lubricity properties required by law.
The composition of the fuel will have an impact not only on how the engine runs but its fuel usage and future repair costs. The fuel the refinery produces for the most part is at odds with the requirements of the engine.
Unadditized diesel is base fuel and in most instances that is what you are buying. Even if you source a “premium” fuel you do not know its chemical composition. Lubricity is paramount with both mechanical injection and modern common rail systems.
Not treating diesel fuel would be like planting seed without any additional nutrients. The plant will grow but will not yield. The engine will run but not much more can be said.
The key is to use a high- quality additive that addresses all of the needs. Not all products do that. Think of it in terms of modes- of- action as you would herbicide. You want a year- round additive that can enhance lubricity, increase cetane, clean the injectors, improves combustion and removes deposits from the combustion chamber while controlling winter gelling.
I have found that FPPF Total Power is one of the best chemistries but there are others. It cost around five cents to treat a gallon of fuel when sourced in a five gallon pail (services 5,000 gallons).
It is easy to enjoy lower equipment costs and longer service life from your engines. Just treat all of the fuel year- round and give it no more thought. Have a safe and blessed planting season.