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Fuel Filter Problems in Cold Weather

The Filter Guys

Encountering poor quality or unconditioned fuel is inevitable, so some precautions should be made when operating in cold weather. Depending on the severity of winter operating conditions, many operators may choose to protect their equipment through the use of fuel additives, fuel heaters, and fuel water separators.

I use a good cold flow improver, so why do I continue to have so many problems in the winter?

Cold flow improvers, by design, stop small diesel fuel crystals from growing into large diesel fuel crystals (also known as gelling). This in turn lowers the temperature at which the diesel can still flow and be used in the fuel system. With today’s HPCR engines, filters are becoming more efficient, and the smaller diesel crystals that used to pass through filters now get trapped just as particulates do. This can cause premature plugging of the filter and decreased life. Most fuel related winter problems can be avoided using a #1 diesel or a winterized diesel blend.

Engine Power Loss

Diesel engine power loss during winter operation is a common occurrence. Unless there is a component failure within the engine, the problem can usually be traced back to paraffin crystal formation in the fuel which restricts the flow through fuel filters. Freezing temperatures can also cause emulsified water to form a fuel/ice slush, further restricting filters. Often, fuel filters are blamed for the problem when, in fact, the problem is caused by the effect of cold weather on grade #2 diesel fuel.

Cloud Point

The Cloud Point is the temperature at which paraffin or wax, which is naturally present in diesel fuel, begin to form cloudy wax crystals. When the fuel temperature reaches the cloud point, wax crystals flowing with the fuel coat the filter and quickly reduce the fuel flow, starving the engine. Typical cloud point temperatures range from -18°F (-28°C) to +20°F (-7°C), but may occasionally be as high as +40°F (4.4°C). Grade #1 diesel fuel (or kerosene) contains very little paraffin, and therefore has a cloud point near -40°F (-40°C).

 

Filter Servicing Steps

The Filter Guys

Listed here are recommended practices from Donaldson for servicing and handling engine liquid filters. This servicing information is provided as a best practices guide. Donaldson recommends that where possible, follow the filter service instructions supplied by your original equipment manufacturer. It is not intended to replace or supersede the service instructions supplied by your equipment or vehicle manufacturer.

 

Where Contamination Comes From

The Filter Guys

New Fluids

Adding new fluid can be a source of contamination. Even though it’s fresh from the drum, new engine oil isn’t clean. (It may look clean, but, remember, the human eye can only see a particle the size of about 40 μm.) Also, diesel fuel cleanliness varies from pump to pump. Typical fuel cleanliness levels coming out of the pump are ISO rated at 22/21/18. (ISO cleanliness code of 22/21/18 translates to a particle count of 20,000 to 40,000 per millilitre for particles of 4 μm and greater; 10,000 to 20,000 per millilitre for particles of 6 μm and greater; and 1300 to 2500 per millilitre for particles of 14 μm and greater), and water content is typically 200 to 300 ppm. Never assume your fluids are clean until it has been filtered.

 

Built-In

Built-in contamination, also called primary contamination, is caused during the manufacture, assembly and testing of the engine and its components. Metal filings, small burrs, dirt or sand and other contaminants are routinely found in initial clean up filtration of newly manufactured engines.

 

Ingressed

Ingressed or external contamination comes from the environment surrounding the engine or vehicle. Dirt can enter the engine liquid supply through crank case breathers or fuel tank breathers and vents and the air intake system. Ingressed moisture, particularly, can cause longer term problems. As a hot system cools at night, cool moisture-laden air can be drawn into the engine or fuel tank; as the air condenses, water is released into the engine or fuel tank. Water in excess of 0.5% by volume in a hydrocarbon-based fluid accelerates the formation of acids, sludge and oxidation that can attack internal components, cause rust, and adversely affect lubrication properties. The severity of ingression and type of contaminant are dictated by the applications and environment.

 

Induced

Maintenance procedures can introduce contamination into the engine. Opening the engine allows airborne particles to enter. Removing air filters, opening oil caps, fuel tank caps and removal of oil and fuel filters are all possible sources for introducing contamination to an engine. Keep your system closed as much as possible and take care to be sure everything that goes into the engine is as clean as possible. One common example is very often funnels are used fill the engine with oil. The oily funnel will collect dirt between uses. The funnel should be properly cleaned before using it to fill the engine with oil.

 

In-Operation

The major sources of contamination in the engine are the combustion by-products (soot) and oxidation of the fluids in the engine due to the thermal stressing. Wear-generated contaminants are a hazard during engine operation.

 

 

 

The circuit actually generates additional particles as the fluid comes into contact with the precision machined surfaces of cylinder walls and pistons, injector needles and pistons and crankshaft bearings. Contaminant levels can keep doubling with every new particle generated. The result can be catastrophic if these contaminants are not properly filtered out of the system.

 

Rubber & Elastomers

Due to temperature, time, and high-velocity fluid streams, rubber compounds and elastomers degrade—thus releasing particulates into the fluid.

 

Biodiesel

Biodiesel can support biological growth and generate organic contamination and microbes.

 

Donaldson Filtration

We Offer Donaldson Engine and Hydraulic Aftermarket Filters to replace Baldwin Filters in the UK.

The Filter Guys

We Offer Donaldson Engine and Hydraulic Aftermarket Filters to replace Baldwin Filters in the UK.

At Sterling Filtration Ltd we offer over 3,000 Donaldson equivalent filters to replace your Baldwin filters. They cover a huge range of engine filters (main air, safety air, lubricating oil, fuel, fuel water separators) and hydraulic system filters.

Please check out our range by clicking on the Donaldson Brand Icon below.

If you have any requirements for Baldwin equivalent filters please give us a call today on 01902 491118. We are here to service your filter needs!

Filters for Trucks

The Filter Guys

Filters for Trucks.

The range of trucks in the haulage and transportation sector in the UK is vast and they all require engine and hydraulic filter elements. Our range of aftermarket filters covers a huge range of these applications including filters for: Dennis Eagle, ERF, Foden, Hino, Hyundai, Isuzu, Iveco, DAF, MAN, Mercedes, Scania, Volvo and many, many more.

Regular, scheduled maintenance of your engine and hydraulic circuit filters can avoid breakdowns and lengthy downtime of your machine. Holding a set of filters in stock can also reduce the amount of time that your machine is down when the lead time for replacement filters is more than a few days.

At Sterling Filtration we endeavour to hold as much stock for as many machines as possible. If you have an urgent filter requirement, a breakdown to repair or are just looking for competitively priced filters for stock please give us a call today.

Donaldson Filtration

Heavy Duty Applications

The Filter Guys

Our aftermarket filtration range covers a huge section of heavy duty applications.

The heavy duty aftermarket in the UK is made up of many hundreds of machines and static equipment that require regular filter servicing to maintain their optimum performance. We can identify and hold large stocks of filters for machines including: Atlast Copco, Barford, Benford, Bomag, Case Poclain, Caterpillar, Doosan Daewoo, Demag, Fiat Hitachi and Kobelco, Fuchs, Hanix, Hyundai, Iveco, John Deere, Kaeser, Komatsu, Kubota, Liebherr, Lombardini, Massey Ferguson, Matbro, Mitsubishi, New Holland, Samsung, Shaeff, Sennebogen, Takeuchi, Terex, Volvo, Yanmar and many, many more.

Regular, scheduled maintenance of your engine and hydraulic circuit filters can avoid breakdowns and lengthy downtime of your machine. Holding a set of filters in stock can also reduce the amount of time that your machine is down when the lead time for replacement filters is more than a few days.

At Sterling Filtration we endeavour to hold as much stock for as many machines as possible. If you have an urgent filter requirement, a breakdown to repair or are just looking for competitively priced filters for stock please give us a call today.

Donaldson Filtration

Diesel Fuel & the Cold Weather.

The Filter Guys

Diesel Fuel & the Cold Weather.

Diesel is the most commonly used fuel in heavy duty applications and requires filtering to ensure that any contaminants have been removed before they can cause stoppages, or serious damage resulting in complete failure, to the diesel system components. In-line fuel elements can stop the larger, damaging contaminants such as rust and sediment from the fuel tank entering the fuel system.

Diesel filters are important as they have to protect the fuel pump and injectors not only from abrasive particles but also from minute droplets of water often found in diesel fuel. Injectors and diesel pumps are precision machined components and are very costly to repair or replace. It is much more cost effective to change the filters at their regular service intervals rather than have to pay the cost of even one breakdown repair bill.

You also have to remember that at this time of year water in your fuel (or in any of your machines liquids) can freeze causing damage, blockages and downtime for your engine or machine so its important to maintain water separation from diesel to prevent avoidable issues when the weather is sub zero.

Sterling Filtration offers a range of replacement fuel filter elements and spin on canisters. We can also offer various fuel housings for particulate and water removal and fuel additive for maintenance of your fuel system.

Fuel Filter Maintenance – Know Your Basics.

Best practices for fuel maintenance intervals.

  • Drain water from your primary filter daily when refuelling.
  • Carry a spare set of fuel filters in case you receive a bad load of fuel.
  • Never switch to more open filters to get longer filter life – this will reduce fuel pump and injector life.
  • If using biodiesel, make certain your fuel supplier meets current fuel standards.
  • Ensure that your engine is compatible with the concentration (or percent) biodiesel you wish to use.
  • When using your own fuel tank, remember that removing contaminants before they reach the vehicle is the best. Therefore, it is best to use some type of bulk filtration or filtering funnel (also available from Sterling Filtration Ltd).

Pre-line Fuel Filtration Housing.

The Filter Guys

Today, diesel vehicles are fitted with the latest high performance fuel injection systems. As a result, fuel filtration must meet far more demanding requirements. Pre-Line is a universal and practical pre-filter system, based on the spin-on filter concept, which provides an ideal, cost-saving retrofit solution.

Features and advantages

  • Use with diesel fuel DIN ISO 590 (5% FAME), DIN 51 628 (7% FAME)
  • Up to 600 l/h volume flow rate
  • Use of multigrade high performance media
  • 93% water separation
  • Modular system with excellent flexibility
  • Easy to service
  • Integrated, effective and easy to handle hand pump with 45 degree position to drain off water and for priming during service
  • Integrated water collector
  • Parallel operation possible with a number of systems

These filter housings from Mann Filter are available from Sterling Filtration Ltd.

 

SCHUPP FILTERS NOW AVAILABLE

The Filter Guys

Schupp filters are now available from Sterling Filtration Ltd. Schupp are a worldwide brand offering 1000’s of aftermarket air, lube oil, fuel and hydraulic filters for many common on and off highway applications. We can offer competitively priced Schupp original filters, what ever your current Schupp original requirements may be.

If you require Schupp filter replacement elements please give us a call today.

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