Diesel fuel will begin gelling when it gets cold is because the paraffin wax parts of the diesel fuel begin to condense out of the fuel and stick together. This causes the fuel to thicken (gel).
Symptoms of Fuel Gelling
- The engine will not start. Because the fuel has gelled, the fuel lines and fuel filter have become plugged and fuel cannot pass through.
- There are differences in the fuel rail pressure. If anti-gel treatment is not put into the fuel a driver may find that their truck is quite sluggish and will not accelerate properly. If the driver checks their gauges, they may see a big difference between the desired fuel rail pressure and the actual rail pressure when accelerating. When the driver presses the accelerator, the desired fuel pressure can spike, but the actual rail pressure will stay lower.
Preventing Fuel Gelling
- Adding Kerosene. A common practice for truckers is to mix #1 diesel with diesel #2. The kerosene in #1 diesel will help to lower the plug point temperature of the fuel and reduces viscosity. This makes diesel less likely to gel even during low temperatures.
- Additives and fuel treatments. These reduce the formation of paraffin crystals.
Fixing Gelled Diesel Fuel
The easiest way for a driver to fix gelled diesel fuel is to take it to a shop. At the shop they will let it thaw by heating it. However, for drivers who would rather do it themselves and save the money, it is advised to put a propane torpedo heater under the tank and put bales of hay around the truck to retain heat. A driver could also put a tarp of the engine during this process.
Using Fuel Additives to Fix Gelled Diesel Fuel
Here at Werner Service and Trucking Inc we use Howes Diesel Treatment. If the temperature is above 0°F a driver should use 1 ounce to 5 gallons or 1 bottle to 320 gallons. If the temperature is below 0°F 1 ounce to 2.5 gallons or 1 bottle to 160 gallons should be used.
We hope that drivers do not have the issue of their fuel gelling. However, it is a common occurrence here during Nebraska winters. Stop by Werner Service and Trucking Inc to get 15% off your purchase of Howes Diesel Treatment through the month of December.