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 symptoms, 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 confined 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 location. 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 protected 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 then 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 sometimes 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 -40F.
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 price,” 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.
What is the point at which diesel fuel starts to gel?
This phrase is self-explanatory, as fuel gelling occurs when the petrol in your tank thickens to the point that 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.
What is the temperature at which diesel sludge forms?
When the temperature of diesel fuel drops, the paraffin that is normally contained in it begins to harden. The wax in liquid form will solidify at 32 degrees, clouding the fuel tank. It will ultimately start to gel at 10-15 degrees and block the tank and fuel filters.
What is the temperature at which diesel gels?
Water isn’t the only item that freezes when the weather turns cold. In the winter, drivers should be mindful of the possibility of fuel gelling, particularly diesel fuel.
Because diesel fuel contains paraffin wax, which increases fuel viscosity and lubrication in cold conditions, it gels.
When the temperature drops, the paraffin wax thickens and becomes a hazy mixture. This is a symptom of a condition known as “diesel fuel gelling,” in which the paraffin wax clogs fuel filters and solidifies to the point where the fuel will no longer flow, thereby rendering your engine worthless.
When temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, diesel fuel gelling can occur, albeit the specific temperature at which it occurs varies from batch to batch.
What is the best way to keep your diesel fuel from gelling? In these low winter weather, it’s critical to ensure that your diesel engines continue to function properly.
Controlling the temperature of the facility where the engine is being stored is one of the most effective ways to prevent diesel fuel gelling. When the engine is running, the fuel is constantly moving and flowing, giving it no time to freeze. It’s enough to keep your vehicle or equipment in a heated garage or climate-controlled structure. This approach, however, may not be feasible for many people.
The plug point temperature, or the temperature at which paraffin wax crystals harden and begin to clog fuel filters, is reduced when kerosene is added to diesel fuel.
For user convenience, several cold environment fuel suppliers will supply diesel fuel that has already been pre-mixed with kerosene.
One of the simplest and most popular ways to avoid diesel fuel gelling is to use a winter diesel fuel additive. These additives can prevent paraffin wax from hardening and gelling together. Many fuel additives also aid improve cold engine starts and remove hazardous deposits from your vehicle’s fuel injectors, which are useful in the winter.
During the severe winter months, your vehicle, equipment, and diesel fuel will require extra attention. Failure to take the necessary safeguards, such as adding kerosene, keeping the diesel engine in a temperature-controlled environment, or using a fuel additive, might result in your diesel engine being out of commission.
How can you keep gelled diesel fuel at bay? Don’t overlook this important aspect of your diesel engine’s upkeep.
What is the temperature at which diesel clouds?
Cloud point temperatures are typically between -18F and 20F (-28C and -7C). They can reach 40F (4.4C) depending on the quality of the fuel. The cold-filter plug point is where the filter plugs and operations stop (CFPP).
Plug in your truck or vehicle
You can use an engine block heater to prevent a diesel vehicle from gelling. These can be installed at your local dealership if your truck doesn’t already have one.
Use winterized diesel.
Some gas stations will have fuel that has been winterized. It may not be available at every pump, so call ahead or inquire at the gasoline counter. They might have a blend that lowers the gelling temperature significantly.
Keep diesel tank as full as possible
Keep more than half a tank of gas in your car. If you’re traveling long distances in places like Wyoming, this could be difficult. With more fuel in the tank, the chance of water/condensation collecting and freezing is reduced. This, in turn, will aid in the prevention of diesel gelling.
Store the vehicle inside
Keep your car in the garage (heated is even better if you have one!) as much as possible. Keeping the vehicle inside, though, may provide just enough of a temperature differential to prevent gelling.
When it comes to diesel trucks, how cold is too cold?
If you’re experiencing trouble starting and all of the above checks out, it’s possible that your fuel has gelled.
When the temperature drops, diesel fuel can start to solidify and become gelled. At 10 to 15 degrees, the fuel begins to gel and clog. The tank and gasoline filters will become clogged as a result of this.
If the temperature drops below 32 degrees, the gasoline will begin to gel, so keep an eye on it. If you’re driving in these kinds of conditions, you’ll need a fuel additive. If you don’t take precautions, you’ll end up with a mess until the weather warms up.
Lucas Extreme Cold Weather Diesel Fuel Treatment is the fuel additive I suggest (Link to Amazon) Lucas Anti-Gel Extreme Cold Temperature Fuel Treatment was created to remove fuel gelling issues in all types of diesel fuels, including bio-diesel. It comprises all of the necessary ingredients for increased fuel mileage and performance in normal fuel treatment. For use in diesel fuel, it complies with federal low sulfur content regulations. If you’re in a really chilly climate, give it a try. Don’t put it off and end up with this.
When it becomes warm, does diesel fuel Ungel?
While gelled fuel sounds horrible, the good news is that if the temperature rises over the gel point, diesel fuel will revert to normal.
Typically, all that is required to resolve the gelling issue is to drive the vehicle into a garage and leave it there for a few hours.
If the temperature isn’t projected to rise soon or you don’t have access to a heated facility, there are some additional options.
Is it possible for diesel to gel while driving?
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. It is critical to always treat your fuel system with a reliable anti-gel additive to assist prevent this from happening.
What is the temperature at which #2 diesel gels?
The cloud point, named after the white haze or “cloud” that emerges as paraffin wax crystalizes, is the temperature at which gelling begins. The cloud point of No. 2 diesel fuel is 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Is anti-gel added to diesel fuel at petrol stations?
Using an anti-gel fuel supplement is one approach to keep diesel fuel from crystallizing (or gelling). Anti-gels for diesel fuel are simply added to the gasoline (just drop it in the fuel tank). Diesel fuel’s freezing point is lowered by anti-gels, making it less prone to freeze in cold temperatures. (**IMPORTANT: diesel fuel conditioner, diesel fuel supplement/additive, and anti-gel are not the same thing. A diesel fuel conditioner or a supplement such as CleanBoost Maxx WILL NOT keep diesel fuel from freezing).