Why Use a High-Quality Fuel Additive?
With giddy anticipation, we are all anxious to get out in the field and begin planting. The seed meters are calibrated, soil testing has been done, the perfect hybrid is in the hopper, and the tractor has been completely serviced – or has it?
We thought of everything except the need to treat the diesel fuel. It’s a misconception fuel needs to be treated only in the winter. A diesel engine operates on a unique principle of combustion. The chemical composition of the fuel impacts how that occurs.
Diesel fuel is a commodity and is traded like grain. The product has the minimum combustion and lubricity properties required by law. The composition of the fuel will have an impact not only on how the engine runs but its consumption and future repair costs.
The diesel fuel that the refinery produces, for the most part, is at odds with the requirements of the engine. Unadditized diesel is base fuel, and in most instances, that is what you are buying. Even if you source a “premium” fuel, you do not know its chemical composition or what it has been exposed to on the way to your machine’s fuel tank.
Lubricity is paramount with both mechanical injection and modern common rail systems. Not treating diesel fuel would be like planting seeds without any additional nutrients. The plant will grow but will not yield. The engine will run, but not much more can be said.
The key is to use a high-quality additive that addresses all the needs. Not all products do that. Think of it in terms of modes-of-action as you would herbicide. You want a year-round additive that can enhance lubricity, increase cetane, clean the injectors, improves combustion, and removes deposits from the combustion chamber while controlling winter gelling.
It is easy to enjoy lower equipment costs and longer service life from your engines. Just treat all the fuel year-round and give it no more thought!
Have a safe and blessed planting season!
Reducing the Impact of Heat Soak
Everything on a farm works hard, and an engine is no exception. Regardless if it is gas or diesel, the conversion of chemical-to-mechanical energy produces heat. The harder the engine works, the more fuel it consumes.
Each gallon of fuel has a heating value measured in British thermal units (Btu). The engine’s thermal load is intrinsically linked to the rate of fuel consumption.
Under high load, the coolant temperature may not change much or at all. Still, the rest of the engine and especially the exhaust temperature goes up substantially. This raises the underhood temperature.
It needs to be recognized that elevated underhood temperature is the silent killer of engines and their components. The underhood temperature rises dramatically when the engine is shut down. This is due to the cooling system no longer functioning. It is known as heat soak.
Heat is the enemy of rubber hoses and belts, engine gaskets, wires, sensors, electronics, seals, alternator, battery, radiator, emission systems, and A/C components They all degraded during heat soak. Even the engine block, cylinder head along with the turbocharger are impacted.
It is quite easy to reduce this effect. Idle the engine for one minute before shutting it down and then open the hood. Letting the engine run for just one minute will allow the cooling system to work and limit the thermal spike. Since heat rises, opening the hood will allow it to travel into the atmosphere instead of being absorbed.
When you are done for the day or are stopping work for some reason, let the heat escape.
If you want any engine and its systems to last substantially longer and be more reliable, open the hood and let the heat out!
Agriculture runs on machinery… profits on reliability!