Because of the area we live in we all need to be aware of some problems that occur due to the changing seasons. Many problems occur year around, while others are seasonal. Here are a couple of hints to help you.
1. Gasoline that was purchased after Oct. 1st that is going to be stored until spring or remains in a vehicle until spring may not run well in the warmer weather. Gasoline is made differently for winter and has butane added to help starting in the cold. This however can cause vapor lock and poor performance during warmer weather. Buy only the gasoline you will need to get you through the season you will be using it in.
2. Gasoline tanks should never be run with less than 1/4 tank of fuel regardless of the time of year. The pumps are usually located inside of the tank and are very sensitive and expensive to replace. The fuel in the tank is used to cool and help lubricate the pumps but without the proper level of fuel the tank is literally hung out to dry. Running out of fuel can be fatal to a pump and will usually result in a substantial reduction in the fuel pumps life span.
3. Microbial problems have been springing up everywhere in gas and diesel and with the warm weather it has a tendency to grow very rapidly. Vehicles that are most susceptible are those that are used only during parts of the year such as farm machinery, buses and those that fuel at multiple locations. You should periodically monitor for this problem by cutting open a fuel filter and looking for a green, brown or black slime. See our Filter Cutter in our Fuel Tools section for the best and easiest way to open your filters. Gasoline filters may contain a clear jelly type substance. You can also smell your fuel tank for a very strong rancid odor that may occur with severe contamination. Keep in mind that gasoline has recently had algae problems also. As always, if you suspect any problems feel free to call us, 888-PFS-PROS OR SEND US AN E-Mail.
Proper Mixing of Winter Fuels:
4. In many cases a person may want to keep straight #2 in there storage tank right until a cold snap occurs. This is done to allow you the benefits of the #2 throughout much of the winter, but problems can and do occur from this. When blending your fuel
for use during winter operation you should always add the #1 first if you fill your storage tank from the top. The #2 fuel is heavier and will want to settle down through the #1 allowing for a much more rapid mixture. If however you are wanting to run the #2 until you absolutely have to blend then this can be a problem. If you put the #1 on top of #2 that is where it wants to stay, barring that you do not have a circulation system. If you have #2 in the tank and want to add #1, if possible configure your tank so that you can fill your bulk tank from the bottom this way the lighter #1 fuel is under the heavier #2. No matter what your tank configuration is, always make sure the lighter fuel ends up on the bottom. You can check the blend of your fuel either before you dumped in your tank our even after using our Thermo-Hydrometer. It’s quick and simple to use.
Warm fuel and cold fuel also will have a tendency to stay separated as well. This is more of a problem than you might think and for those who have bulk fuel storage these steps are even more critical than with just filling your truck. Bulk storage has little agitation and it could be weeks before you get a proper mixture. To avoid this problem you can purchase a fuel that has already been blended but you always take the chance that the mix ratios are not what they are said to be. It is easy to knock 2 cents off a gallon of fuel if you are selling a 30% #1 blend but advertising it as a 50\50, especially if your competition is right across the street or, if you are putting your fuel out on bid to the lowest price. This is a problem we have seen in the past.
5. When fueling a diesel tank in the extreme cold you may not want to fill the tank completely during the fill. For instance. If you have 50 gallons of warm diesel in your tank that is already warm due to fuel heaters or fuel return, you don’t want to pour 150 gallons of cold fuel on top of it. There are many cases when this is done that a diesel rig will gel up while still sitting at the pump. A better option would be to add 50 gallons of fuel and head down the road and get 50 gallons again later following the same procedure until the cold is no longer a factor. If you are using an antigel always add it to the warm fuel before you fill to keep the antigel additive from gelling as they do with very cold fuel. The whole purpose of this is to keep you going in the cold. These thing are not always convenient but neither is winter.
6. Change your fuel filter right before winter. Whenever fuel problems occur during cold weather, it is automatically assumed to be gel. Although this may be true, in many cases it is simply the result of a viscosity problem. When your fuel gets cold it becomes thick and you may not be able to pull it from the tank through your fuel lines and to the filter. The longer the distance between your tank and your filter the harder the pump has to work to move the fuel. Even if you can pull it to the filter, you now have to pull it through the filter. If your using a 10 micron filter the fuel flows through it much easier than if your using a 5 micron or smaller. These super filters are so tight that they can be almost impossible to pull cold fuel through without a fuel preheater. A filter that is partially dirty, will also restrict the fuels ability to flow through it properly. Some of the new diesel injection systems come with as small as a 3 micron fuel filter due to the sensitivity of these new systems. We can only trust that the designers of these tight tolerance fuel systems have taken into account the viscosity problems that occur with these tight filters. For ease of filter inspection, try our easy to use Filter Cutter.
7. A diesel vehicles fuel tank may have two different pickup tubes. One that has a filtered sock and one without. The one without is for cold weather usage when you diesel fuel becomes thick and hard to pump. When the fuel can no longer be sucked through the filtered pickup tube it will bypass to the non filtered tube. The fuel will still be filtered through the main fuel filter but not the pickup. The problem lies in that the secondary unfiltered pickup is not located on the bottom of the tank but will only reach to the 1/4 tank level. This is done to avoid picking up any large amount of sediment or water that may be settled on the tank bottom. Because of this your fuel tank should never drop below 1/2 during the winter months or you may be running out of fuel without knowing it.
8. When encountering a vehicle that is gelled but will still idle we have a safe and effective way to help. 1. Change the primary and secondary filters filling them with #1 fuel before installation. 2. Take 5 Gallons of warm #1 diesel fuel and add to it enough Arctic Xtreme antigel to treat the fuel that is in the gelled tank plus the five gallons of warm fuel. (1 oz. Per five gallons of fuel). Then pour the warm treated #1 diesel into the vehicle tank and start the vehicle and run it at a high idle. Nine out of ten times this will work but it is most effective if the vehicle was still capable of idling before attempting to ungell it.