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 cold does it have to be for diesel to gel up?
- 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.
What temp does diesel Ungel?
Cold weather is tough for diesel engines, but as temperatures drop into the teens below zero, diesel owners must contend with fuel gelling issues. Untreated diesel gasoline begins to gel at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and is entirely gelled at 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Will diesel gel at 20 degrees?
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.
What temp does #1 diesel gel at?
When the temperature drops, the paraffin in diesel fuel begins to harden, resulting in diesel fuel gelling. 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.
Can you put too much anti-gel in diesel?
Is it possible to use too much anti-gel in diesel? You’ve probably added much too much high-quality diesel fuel additive. Overloading your engine can result in clogged filters, reduced engine performance, and potentially a whole new set of fuel and engine issues. If you’re losing your libido, don’t overdo it.
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.
How do I keep my diesel from gelling up?
One of the best methods to avoid fuel gelling is to keep the fuel from becoming too cold, which you can accomplish by not leaving your car outside in the cold. This technique should work in the winter if you have a heated garage or other form of climate-controlled storage facility for your vehicle. Because the fuel won’t gel while the engine is running, you can still drive the automobile in the cold. If you have to leave it outside for several hours or days at a time, you’ll need to find another technique to keep the fuel from gelling.
What temperature do you add anti gel?
You should apply an anti-gel fuel supplement to keep diesel gasoline from gelling (or crystallizing). Anti-gel additives are simple to work with. Simply pour them into your gas tank. Anti-gel additives lower diesel fuel’s freezing point, making it less prone to freeze in cold conditions. Because diesel fuel contains wax, it is necessary to add additive to it. The wax is the problem because it causes the fuel to gel, and gelled fuel can clog filters. If the temperature drops below a certain point, the engine will completely gel. Wax is present in the fuel because it contributes to its high cetane rating. In the winter, wax concentration is lower, but it is still present in diesel blends for cetane. The cetane number (cetane rating) is a measure of the speed at which diesel fuel burns and the amount of compression required for ignition. It serves the same purpose in diesel as octane does in gasoline.
It’s a good idea to start using anti-gel as soon as the temperature drops below freezing. As a general rule, the lower the temperature, the more gasoline additive is required. The best advice is to follow the directions on the anti-gel container.
If the weatherman predicts a cold front, you should prepare by increasing the anti-gel ingredient. The importance of preparation cannot be overstated. Your engine will not be harmed by anti-gel additives.
Whenever you fill up with diesel in the winter, use an anti-gel additive. Most additives can be put either before or after the fuel is added. However, if you add the ingredients ahead of time, you can ensure proper mixing.
As soon as feasible, add an anti-gel ingredient. Use an emergency additive that de-thaws the gasoline and de-ices the filters if your fuel has already gelled or your fuel lines are clogged. The emergency procedures re-liquify the fuel, allowing it to burn anew.
Anti-gel diesel fuel additive will not de-ice your gelled diesel fuel tank or assist you in starting your engine. The majority of diesel anti-gels can’t be added to the fuel tank once it’s gelled. To get the fuel flowing, you’ll need to use a de-icer additive in the tank. Anti-gel additives must be introduced to the tank no later than 10 degrees Fahrenheit before the fuel’s cloud point to ensure effective mixing. De-icers should be poured into the filters and tank to keep them from freezing. Then wait at least 30 minutes before beginning. Anti-gels must be stirred into the fuel rather than being put on top of it, otherwise they will not mix correctly. The best additive mixing conditions are warm gasoline.
What temp does #2 diesel fuel gel?
This is the problem that diesel users are referring to when they talk about gelling. 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.
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.