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Power Service Diesel Fuel Additives for Winter and Summer Use


Megatron
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What's up people of the 4WD Mechanix Magazine Tech and Travel forums?? Well if you live in the upper 48 your freezing right now lol.

 

 Okay today I wanted to start a discussion about diesel fuel additives. Now I am no expert and I know there are a few topics relating to this already, but I wanted to start a conversation to get others input on what they use and how well it works for them.

 

  I am relatively new to the diesel owners group (3 years roughly) and I have seen a lot of products on the market for fuel additives. At first I didn't understand the need for them in a diesel. I was under the assumption that diesel itself was doing a great job lubricating all of the moving parts in the fuel system. I mean have you ever gotten diesel on your hands?? Its nasty and this side of oily.. And good luck getting that off your clothes or the smell off of anything.

 

 Well after doing a lot of inter web research I have come to the understanding that diesel is really not that great at lubricating parts. So what you ask?? Same thing I said, its not like I'm using it in place of the oil. Well the first thing to ask yourself is would you use diesel fuel to lubricate any moving parts on your vehicle like the wheel bearings or the crankshaft?? Probably not right?? So why would you depend on it solely to lubricate your fuel system?

 

  So for starters lets talk about the fuel system itself and take a look at what parts need protection. Well the more I learned about the modern fuel delivery system in the Common rail engine and the older VP and P style trucks, the more I learned there are a lot of moving parts in the fuel system.

 

    Starting with the lift pump. This pump, in a stock configuration (on my 2006 Ram), is located in the tank and its electric. Its used to get your fuel from the tank to the high pressure pump. The lift pump is submerged in fuel so it runs cool and is a more like a standard electric pump if you will, like those found in gas vehicles. The moving parts in it are more like an old school mechanical pump but driven by an electric motor (diaphragms and do dads). The demand for volume is up but by all rights its low pressure. Somewhere in the 15-20 psi range give or take. Given its design lubrication isn't a major factor in its function, but is still needed. Different vehicles may or may not have a lift pump, and they may or may not be in the same place as mine. As always your application may vary.

 

 Now I have since removed this pump and gone with an external frame mounted AirDog II 165. This, to me, is a hybrid. It has an electric motor that drives a Gerotor pump to move the fuel. To me, this has more need for lubrication over the factory style in tank electric pump. This style of pump is more like a modern oil pump. Its a great pump and has worked well, but that review is for another topic.

 

The high pressure pumps, CP3's, P style, VP/VE style etc.. These pumps all work and deliver fuel differently but achieve similar goals. Taking lower fuel pressure in and stepping them up to high pressure via mechanical components and then deliver that to the injector. Its a bit much to discuss here but the point is moving metal parts that require lubrication. Keep it simple right??

 

 My truck has the CP3 pump. It works like a 3 piston engine. It has a cam in the middle that rotates around on 3 different plungers taking in fuel and pumping them to a higher pressure (way more complex but you get the concept, lots of moving parts). The pressures in a CP3 system can go above 25,000 psi (that's not a misprint) from the pump to the rail and on to the injectors. The older P style variations I think are between 3-5,000 psi when delivering fuel. These means the metal to metal contact has some very high friction. Same for the other pump styles when it comes to friction. For those of you interested in a cool CP3 video check this one out http://youtu.be/H-CNXDs9208

 

 Now the injector. While its not as complex as the CP3 it still has moving parts. Plunger, valve balls, Pintels etc. These parts are very tight tolerance and need lubrication to protect them from wear. Not to mention they need clean fuel. Filtration will be another topic for later. For the record the new style injectors are around 500$ each and if one has had enough abuse to go bad, so have the others. So add another 3500$ to your fuel system that needs replaced when it goes bad.

 

  Back to the fuel, so do you believe that there is enough lubrication in diesel fuel to properly lubricate all these moving parts mile after mile?? I don't. So bring on the fuel additives, that is if you want your 1-2000$ fuel pump to last. For the record I have an after market lift pump and 2 Bosch CP3 high pressure pumps. So that's about 4-4500$ in fuel pumps and like 7+k in my fuel system I want to protect.. I could take a nice trip to Disneyworld for that kind of scratch... These engines are designed to run for 100's of thousands of miles. Its imperative that you protect all the parts on it. The fuel system is no different than the oiling system. It really needs additional protection. The modern fuel system is designed to work at much higher pressures to meet higher emission standards. These new systems are costly to repair and replace. My advice is protect them from the get go all year round..

 

 This is where I want to see what everyone uses in their vehicle and what their experience is. My experience is with Power Service diesel fuel additives. I know there are all different kinds of additives and even some theories about using gasoline to mix in with your diesel (Not sure of the research on that last one). I have read all kinds of things but choose to go with a commercially available product instead.

 

 I believe you should be adding some type of additive at every fill up and in all seasons. Most people that own diesels only worry about additives when the temp drops below 30 deg, or their truck wont start on a -10 degree day. Why is that?? Maybe they are misinformed about the need for lubrication and anti-gel? Maybe they just don't like their vehicle and want to replace those fuel pumps more often.. If you have extra money to burn send it my way, I would love to add a second turbo to my truck..

 

 Lets start with summer. I run this post-33-0-45059700-1423065048_thumb.jpg post-33-0-92100100-1423065048_thumb.jpg

 

 Its Power Service Diesel Kleen +Cetane Boost. (What's Cetane?? Good question, in short click here---> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetane_number ) Now, I had no specific reason for using this product over another when I started using additives. It is widely available in my region of the US and at every place that sells diesel here. I guess that's a factor though lol. Plus they have both summer and winter formulas so I don't have to switch between brands. The summer blend doesn't have any Anti-gel properties but provides the lubrication protection needed. for the most part, summer time in the Midwest is longer than the winter but not by much. I do put more miles on in the summer due to being out and about more so it makes since to protect my investment during this time frame also. This product also helps keep the fuel system clean of buildups and prevents injector sticking. That's a big plus because diesel is dirty and burns dirty. However, changing fuel filters on a regular basis is the most important thing for keeping your fuel system clean. But that's another topic.

 

 It also contains a product called Slickdiesel. This is the lubrication factor of the additive. Its what helps to protect your moving parts. I tried researching the magical ingredients but kept coming up with unicorn tears and gummy bears so I have no idea what to tell you. it says "Lubricator meets the new ASTM HFRR 520 Lubricity Specifications for the United States and the more stringent European Specification of 460" if that helps any. Maybe someone here can shed some light on this more??

 

Now the winter formula. post-33-0-13941300-1423065048_thumb.jpg post-33-0-39516700-1423065047_thumb.jpg post-33-0-79575600-1423065047_thumb.jpg

 

As you can see there are two different bottles in the picture. That's because they are 2 totally different products. *** This is a common mistake I see people make all the time because they don't read the fine print, well no more excuses because you can see it now.*** The white bottle is the additive you use at each fill up to prevent gelling of the fuel when temps are 30 and lower. The red bottle, clearly marked 911, is for use if you have a fuel system that is already gelled up. Choose the proper product for the application.

 

 So not only in the winter do you need lubrication for your fuel system, if you have a diesel then you need to protect the fuel itself from gelling up. For those of you wanting to know what gelling is.

 

Gel point is the temperature at which diesel or biodiesel fuel freezes solid and can no longer flow by gravity or be pumped through fuel lines. This phenomenon happens when a fuel reaches a low enough temperature whereby enough wax crystals have formed to prevent any movement in the fuel. For #2 diesel this is usually around 17.5 °F (−8.1 °C).

For the fuel to become pumpable again, it needs to be brought above the gel point temperature to the un-gel point, which is typically near its pour point. However, most of the waxes will still remain in solid form and the fuel has to be warmed up further until its Remix temperature in order to completely remelt and redissolve the waxes. (thanks wiki)

 

Want to see it?? post-33-0-91738100-1423066178_thumb.jpg

 

So imagine your fuel pump trying to pump peanut butter through it, not going to work out that well... Well this additive says it has your back all the way down to -40. If you are out when its really -40 you should seriously rethink your situation ha-ha.. Sorry I love the heat and hate the cold lol.

 

  Now if your fuel should match that of the filter picture, then you would use the red bottle. It says right on it that it does NOT prevent gelling, its designed to re-liquefy gelled fuels. Put some in the filter (personally I would just replace the filter when I added this) and then it gives an equation for the mix ratio to re-liquefy fuel by the gallons. After that it is still recommended to add the white bottle for prevention. I'm not a chemist but I think the additives in the red bottle focus on the gel (wax stuff). Perhaps once it has gelled it requires different chemicals to break it back down?? Dunno..

 

 Now my understanding is that #1 diesel (AKA Off-road or farm diesel) does not contain the wax that #2 has therefore it does not gel up like #2 does. I am also to believe that in some areas the two are mixed at a specific ratio to create a "Winter Blend". My region of the country does not reflect this at the pump, but maybe they do it when I'm not looking?? This blend supposedly is a good anti-gel, but I don't know to what temps or anything like that. Maybe someone can add?? As for running straight #1, I believe it is taxed different so its considered tax evasion if you use it on the streets and since it is #1 it has a lower energy rating and will not perform as good in your vehicle. Basically not a great idea to run it in your street truck for mpg's or performance or if you don't like prison. Around here it is dyed a red color so the DOT can put a test strip in your tank to confirm if you are breaking the law.. Also, a Winter Blend is still lacking the additional lubrication additives so why mess with it, just mix your own at the pump with a proper additive and get the full package.

 

 For me its the Power Service stuff for now. I am not knocking or taking away from any other diesel fuel supplement out there, I just have no experience to share about them.

 

 For small reference, I recently had my injector nozzles replaced for larger ones. This required my to have my injectors partially disassembled, reassembled and then tested. They all tested within factory spec (not counting more flow) and for 80K miles this a good sign. No leaks or sticking/hang-up issues. So while I cant directly prove these additives help, you also cant say they hurt..

 

  So hey if any of you have some input chime in. I would love to know what you other diesel owners are using and if you have had any good or bad experiences with any of them. Im always up to learn something new or be corrected on something I thought I already knew lol.

 

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  • 7 years later...

Hi, a good read about diesel fuel lubrication is in Bob the Oil Guy site, refer to Diesel fuel additive “Lubrication Study”

Appreciate your knowledge and the site administrator, been some very good observations from some very experienced diesel truck owners. 
 

Keep up the great work!!!

Scott

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