March 12, 2021 4 min read
When Good Fuel Goes Bad and it will go bad.
Let's face it, with as much as those tiny little cars and their gas-sipping motors are a significant advancement, we all know that diesel engines are still more powerful and more fuel-efficient than gas engines when it comes to getting the hard work done. So, what's the difference between diesel fuel systems and gas systems when it comes to maintenance? It's all in the filters.
What happens to diesel in your tank? A grain of sand is about 90 microns thick, where a grain of ragweed pollen is only 17-23 microns. Very fine silt is 4-8 microns along with dust, bacteria, yeast, mold, and viruses (commonly referred to as diesel bug) cause sludge and slime build-up. This slimy crud can double quickly (every 20 minutes) and continues to feed on your fuel leading to clogged filters and build-up in your tank. So, your fuel tank becomes a slime factory and gets a new culture every time you fill-up. How does water even get in the fuel, and how do we get rid of it? Well, sadly, there are a couple of ways. It may be in the fuel you put in your tank, or it may form just on its own. Diesel fuel is highly hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the air. Biodiesel absorbs 30% more than regular diesel. It doesn't matter how you store it, carry it or use it. Diesel fuel is a moisture magnet, and it will get water in it.
Fuel filters and what they do. Let's start by examining diesel fuel filters. Diesel fuel systems are fuel-injected, therefore high-pressure systems. Your fuel has to travel through a filter before entering the engine to collect solid particles that could get stuck or damage critical engine parts like injectors and keep precious lubrication from the engine's essential components. These filters are rated in microns or .000039 of an inch. A 2-micron rating has more filtration than a 10-micron rating because the filter holes are much smaller. Anything rated as "nominal micron rating" is just that, "nominal," basically means it will filter out anything large enough to fit through the hose, but not necessarily anything in the micron range. I don't think it's advisable to put anything "nominal" on a $70k truck.
Now let's look at fuel water separators. Diesel engines rely on the viscosity of the fuel to keep the engine running smoothly. Water in the fuel causes less viscosity, more heat, more wear, and eventually failure of costly components. This statement is especially true of the newer fuel rail systems. These systems are more prone to water damage, so many of these newer trucks have a separate fuel water separator and the standard fuel filter.
These fuel water separatorsare designed to remove both emulsified and entrained water. Emulsified water is water that has been separated naturally or chemically from the fuel. Entrained water is water trapped in the fuel due to the fuel's mixing and condensation in the tank or storage container. Either type of water can cause a loss of viscosity, heat, friction, and the carriage of particles into sensitive areas of your engine, which can cause expensive and extensive repairs.
Many diesel owners choose to go with an aftermarket fuel system such as the FASS Titanium Series or the AirDog II series Fuel Systems. Aftermarket fuel systems lift the fuel from the tank and pump it through the filters out to the engine, making it easier for the engine to receive clean fuel all the time.
But these systems, too, require filter changes and at regular intervals.
Our suggestion is always this ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS buy two sets of FUEL FILTERS! One under the hood and one behind the seat because you never know when you're going to get foul fuel. When you need to do a swap and drop, you don't want to be waiting for a set of filters. Let's face it, having that extra set of filters could save you $500 on towing your vehicle and whatever load you're carrying. Also, most manufacturers recommend changing your fuel filters every 10k-25k miles and the older your truck, the more often you should change them.
How KLM Can help? We have the high-quality filtration parts you need to maintain and extend the life of your workhorse. We also carry kits that bundle your filters by intervals, so you can just order two sets, of filters. Install one, and stash the other one behind the seat. Just call us when you open that second box, and we’ll be sure to have your next two sets shipped before you need them.
We carry only OEM name brand filtration products from Mopar and Cummins/Fleetguard. Cummins Fleetguard has the same or better filtration and quality than the original filters your vehicle comes with. When you buy a Cummins/Fleetguard product, you know that you have superior warranty protection from the point of purchase through the product's recommended lifespan. Unlike other competitor products, Cummins/Fleetguard warranty coverage is not pro-rated, which means you are completely protected throughout the product's suggested service life. These factors make the Cummins/Fleetguard Warranty one of the best in the industry. And these filters are still made here in the USA.
If you haven’t had bad fuel, you will. So, don’t risk your ride on a cheap filter or run the risk of not having one in a pinch. Always travel with confidence by keeping a well-maintained diesel engine, using quality filters from KLM Performance and keep your spare set on hand. We make it easy and affordable!