How Long Does It Take Diesel To Gel?

  • Gelling: It’s unusual to have a situation where the fuel practically turns to jelly. Gelling happens when the paraffin wax in diesel solidifies due to a drop in temperature, and the fuel’s temperature must be kept below minus 10 degrees F for extended periods of time, such as 48 to 72 hours. When diesel is cold soaked, the paraffin wax in the fuel hardens, giving it a hazy look. At temperatures as high as 32 degrees F, the fuel will begin to cloud, but it will continue to flow. Before the fuel can gel, it must be kept at a very low temperature for an extended period of time. It’s common to hear drivers complain about their fuel gelling up, but this is almost certainly not the issue they’re having. Ice or solidified paraffin wax in the fuel filter is more likely to be the issue. There’s more on that later.
  • Cloud Point: To determine the cloud point of a sample of diesel fuel, which is the temperature at which the naturally present paraffin wax in #2 diesel fuel begins to crystalize, there are prescribed methods. The fuel has a hazy look due to the microscopic particles of suspended hardened wax. Cloud point temperatures for diesel fuel typically vary from -18°F to +20°F, but can reach +40°F depending on a variety of factors connected to the base stock and refining operations. The cloud point of so-called winter diesel fuel (#1 diesel or kerosene) is substantially lower since it contains relatively little paraffin. Fuel distributors will test the product and, if requested, may include the results in tenders and delivery receipts.
  • The temperature at which a liquid loses its flow properties is known as the pour point. The pour point of diesel fuel changes according on the wax content in the fuel, which varies depending on the source of the base stock, the refining process, and the type and quantity of additives added to the fuel during refining or distribution. The difference between the cloud point and the pour point is always there, with the latter often being 2° to 20°F lower than the former. To establish the pour point of a fuel sample, certain tests must be performed. Bulk providers, as previously stated, can supply this information.
  • When diesel fuel is cooled, the cold filter plugging point is a measurement based on a standardized test that indicates the rate at which it will flow through a standardized filtration equipment in a given amount of time. The CFPP is the point at which the sample fails to pass through the filter in the time allotted.

At what temp will diesel gel?

This phrase is self-explanatory, as fuel gelling occurs when the petrol in your tank thickens to the point where it resembles gel. This only happens when the outdoor temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, though it’s most likely to happen when the temperature is around 15 degrees or below. This is due to the presence of paraffin wax in diesel fuel. When you need to improve the lubrication and viscosity of the gasoline, that’s a terrific ingredient to have…but it’s not so great when the wax thickens as it gets colder.

As a result, the thicker fuel clogs the filters and eventually stops flowing completely, preventing you from starting your vehicle. So, how can you tell if your car is experiencing fuel gelling? If it’s below freezing outside and your diesel-fueled vehicle won’t start, it’s most likely due to fuel gelling. Fortunately, this common diesel fuel winter issue can be avoided. To be more specific, there are two basic strategies to avoid this problem.

How long does it take to Ungel diesel?

In diesel fuel, a similar process occurs when the fuel crystallizes during cold weather. Gelling begins to occur when the temperature approaches 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit*, which can block the fuel system (*depending on the supply and quality of fuel, gelling can occur as high as 20 degrees Fahrenheit).

How To Tell When Diesel Fuel Begins To Gel

When diesel fuel begins to gel, Berg says there are a few telling indications, the most obvious of which is a loss of power and compression when fuel fails to reach the combustion chamber. If you could see the gasoline, it would have a hazy appearance, indicating that it had already gelled. Other indicators to look for include white smoke coming from the exhaust when trying to accelerate or the engine stopping running when you are sitting idle trying to throttle. Also, if the vehicle starts but does not run continuously, this could indicate that your fuel has gelled. Gelled diesel fuel is almost always the problem, whether it’s a lack of RPMs when an engine is running or a cold winter morning when the truck won’t start at all.

How to Fix Gelled Diesel Fuel?

Many people make the mistake of grabbing a can of ether to start the combustion process when their diesel vehicle won’t start at all. However, there are certain risks with this solution, as there may not be enough fuel to ignite. Spraying too much ether and having ether spray that isn’t contained causes even more issues. The uncontained spray might ignite other hot components, causing engine damage, or too much ether in the fuel line could simply ignite air in the lines rather than gasoline, causing the diesel engine to suffer severe damage. Fortunately, there are alternatives to spraying ether that are far safer. Here are a few preventative measures to consider:

  • Heat is the most effective line of defense. Avoiding frigid conditions by storing your vehicle in a climate-controlled garage or warm area. Other strategies include installing a series of heat-emitting light bulbs under the vehicle, enclosing the vehicle in a tarp with a heater blowing heat, and installing a modern-day block heater on the engine to keep the vehicle sheltered from the freezing temperatures. While building up the electric costs, the utility providers will adore you as well.
  • Kerosene: With the issue of staying warm when it’s 20 degrees below zero, people might experiment with different fuel mixtures. Pouring kerosene into the fuel tank to lower the freezing point is the most typical method. To take advantage of kerosene’s lower freezing point, many people mix #1 diesel, which is a combination of kerosene and #2 diesel fuel. This mix is frequently accessible in the northern parts of the country, but in the southern parts of the country, where temperatures are normally warmer, the #1 diesel may not be available. In either instance, kerosene has drawbacks, the most notable of which being reduced fuel mileage and efficiency. If, on the other hand, the truck stops running and kerosene is chosen, it is strongly recommended to leave the engine run long enough to combine the fuels and provide a continuous flow of the mixture. Consider the time it takes for the kerosene to defrost the tank in a semi-truck when operating with hundreds of gallons of fuel in a tank. The kerosene must next melt the frozen fuel lines and clogged fuel filter. The entire line from the gasoline tank to the filter to the injectors may take an hour of idle time to defrost.
  • Fuel Additives: There are now fuel additives that can provide a simple, low-cost, and no-hassle method to prevent gelling that any car owner can do themselves. “When considering an addition, Berg advises, “do your homework and analyze all of the products and promises.” “Investing a bit more time and effort to discover the greatest product is occasionally worthwhile. Additives are a means to offer an extra layer of protection to prevent the wax in diesel fuel from becoming thick, similar to wearing layers of clothing in the cold.” Many products contain alcohol, according to Berg, so look for one that provides not just proper temperature coverage but also protection for the entire system, including lubricity, cetane, water dispersion, and a success guarantee. Many preventive options are available, including some top picks being Diesel Winter Anti-Gel, which promotes coverage down to -40°F.

How to Prevent Diesel Fuel Gelling?

So, what’s the big deal about taking the effort to prevent diesel fuel from gelling? “If you contact a tow truck, you may still be stuck with a vehicle that won’t start after paying the tow cost,” Berg explains. You can save yourself the $80 and the headache in the case of a personal or light-duty car, or the $500 tow bill and missed time on the interstate in the case of a truck. Instead, taking use of the finest scientific additives could safeguard you from getting stuck in the cold for only a few dollars in preventative and an easy pour into the tank.

Emergency additions are also available for people who have failed to heed the warning, there has been no prevention, and gelling is still a possibility, or has already occurred! Diesel Winter Rescue, for example, is a formulated substance that requries gelled fuel and de-ices frozen fuel filters to restore diesel fuel flow to the engine, allowing the vehicle to resume normal operation. Diesel Winter Rescue, for example, is a good alternative to keep in your vehicle during the winter months just in case.

Gelled Fuel in The Fuel Tank:

If the fuel in the tank has gelled, add the entire contents of Diesel Winter Rescue (32 ounces) to every 40 gallons of fuel in the tank (s). Remove the fuel filters and fill them with a 50/50 mixture of Diesel Winter Rescue and diesel fuel. Start your engine after reinstalling the fuel filters. Allow your engine to idle for a few minutes to warm up the fuel system and clear any gelled masses.

Gelled Fuel in Fuel Lines or Fuel Filters:

Remove the engine’s fuel filters and fill with the same 1:1 combination of Diesel Winter Rescue and conventional diesel fuel if your fuel is liquid in the fuel tank(s) but your engine won’t start. Reinstall the fuel filters, start the engine, and let it warm up completely.

How Do Hot Shot’s Diesel Winter Products Work?

Hot Shot’s Diesel Winter Rescue is a fully developed emergency product that contains a military-grade de-icer as well as a lubricity additive for diesel fuel. It’s designed to re-liquefy gelled fuel and de-ice frozen fuel filters, restoring diesel fuel flow to the engine and allowing the vehicle to resume normal operation. Having products like Diesel Winter Rescue in your vehicle during the winter months, when gelling is most likely, is a good idea.

Product Details

In cold temperatures, use to liquefy frozen or gelled diesel gasoline caused by wax production or ice crystals. Quick-Thaw will completely thaw the whole fuel system in roughly 20 minutes if applied according to the guidelines. Excellent for diesel cars operating in colder locations, where wax crystals found in low- and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuels can cause filter blockage.

A bottle of Quick-Thaw should be kept on hand in every diesel truck for emergency cold weather rescue treatment.

Can diesel gel while driving?

Modern diesel engines do not return as much fuel to the tank as older diesel engines did, therefore the fuel does not stay warm while the engine is running. While driving, the fuel tanks can literally gel. When the temperature of diesel fuel drops, the paraffin that is normally contained in it begins to harden.

How cold is too cold for a diesel engine?

At 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9.5 degrees Celsius), the diesel fuel in your fuel tank will gel and you will have problems starting your engine. Your diesel vehicle will have troubles if the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit / -9.5 degrees Celsius. The diesel won’t be frozen solid, but it won’t be liquid either.

When should I put anti-gel in diesel?

During the winter, use your diesel fuel anti-gel every time you fill up. Before pumping the fuel, remember to add the anti-gel. This will ensure that the anti-gel is evenly distributed throughout the gasoline. This could indicate that your fuel is starting to gel.

Can you add gasoline to diesel?

The long answer is that the gasoline will either not combust or will combust at the incorrect stages in the diesel engine’s combustion process due to the differences in composition between gasoline and diesel (gasoline being generally more volatile and explosive). While a diesel engine is designed to resist the force of combustion, improper combustion can cause catastrophic damage to nearly every component of the engine, particularly the pistons and connecting rods.

Diesel is a lubricant as well, although gasoline is not. If gasoline gets into a diesel engine, it can cause problems with the fuel pumps and injectors. As a result, gasoline will clog the pipes in a variety of ways, all of which can be costly to fix.

Diesel engines may run on a variety of fuels, including biodiesel and used cooking oil, but they cannot run on gasoline. Mixing a small amount of gasoline with diesel is not a good idea, but it is unlikely to be disastrous. A diesel engine can be severely damaged by a huge amount of gasoline.

The good news is that misfueling a modern diesel engine is relatively difficult. Manufacturers began installing mis-fuel protection systems in diesel vehicles around 2009. These protective mechanisms will only accept diesel fuel in vehicles equipped with them (or fuel from diesel pumps). However, if a diesel is older than that, it is still susceptible to misfueling.

If you’re wondering how diesel affects a gasoline engine, the answer is that it affects it significantly less. Because there isn’t enough pressure in the engine, gas engines can’t burn diesel fuel. If you put diesel in a gas engine, it will continue until it runs out of gas, at which point it will stop. However, before the engine can operate again, the diesel must be cleaned out of the fuel tank and the engine itself. Getting all of the diesel out might be a challenging task. The engine may need to be entirely dismantled, cleaned, and then reassembled on occasion.

Can gelled diesel damage injectors?

The gelling, on the other hand, might not be enough to damage an injector. In other words, it gelled, and you didn’t try to run it again until it ungelled. However, if the fuel leading to the injectors has gelled up and the FICM is driving them, the injectors will be starving for fuel. It’s the same as if you were in a low (or no) pressure situation.