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Kirk W

Fuel treatment products?

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I used to put Sta-Bil fuel treatment in the gasoline motorhome any time it was going to sit for a month or more, as I was advised by Ford tech rep. shortly after I bought it. Now I have a diesel truck that, thanks to covid19, now sits far more than it is driven and it is taking a long time to use up a tank of fuel. My question is, what fuel treatment do you use for diesel fuel, if any, and how long is fuel then good for?

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I have been using https://fppf.com/product/total-power/ in every tank of fuel for 14 years in the same 2006 GMC Duramax.  I don't know how long a tank will sit and still be good, but I have had one injector replaced in this time period and 211,000 miles.  Is this longevity due to the additive?  No clue, but it doesn't cost that much and I feel better using it.  It was recommended by a long time diesel user/mechanic when I bought my truck new.

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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

I used to put Sta-Bil fuel treatment in the gasoline motorhome any time it was going to sit for a month or more, as I was advised by Ford tech rep. shortly after I bought it. Now I have a diesel truck that, thanks to covid19, now sits far more than it is driven and it is taking a long time to use up a tank of fuel. My question is, what fuel treatment do you use for diesel fuel, if any, and how long is fuel then good for?

Hey Kirk, We have 2 Cummins diesel trucks. Most of the time we are in warmer climates, Texas winter, Northern states summer. Of our trucks, One is driven a lot and the other sits a lot. In my mind it isn't so much the diesel fuel going bad as it is the microbial problem growing in biodiesel. If i use a diesel fuel treatment it is Power Service Products which carries a Cummins Engine endorsement, usually listed on the container just to keep the microbes at bay.

The 2500 diesel truck that sits a lot ,I only keep the tank half full and when down to 1/4 put some in to bring it back up to 1/2. This in my mind keeps the diesel fuel fresher. I will use PService diesel clean additive at intervals but not all the time.  Our 1 Ton diesel, driven a lot, gets lots of fuel run through it and I'll use a PService diesel clean additive at intervals between tanks. About every time I add DEF, which equates to about every 3000-3500 miles.

Now if we travel up to northern states in the winter, the suppliers switch over to winterized diesel in October so I don't worry about gelling unless we get trapped in sub zero temps, then I would use an anti-gel, anti-microbial treatment.

Power Service Product white bottle - winter, PS product silver bottle for summer.

 

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3 hours ago, Kirk W said:

I used to put Sta-Bil fuel treatment in the gasoline motorhome any time it was going to sit for a month or more, as I was advised by Ford tech rep. shortly after I bought it.

Sta-Bil now makes a product for diesel, it that is your concern, however diesel has a longer "shelf life" than gasoline.

1 hour ago, Steven@146 said:

In my mind it isn't so much the diesel fuel going bad as it is the microbial problem growing in biodiesel. If i use a diesel fuel treatment it is Power Service Products which carries a Cummins Engine endorsement, usually listed on the container just to keep the microbes at bay.

Power Service Product white bottle - winter, PS product silver bottle for summer.

 

I too use the Diesel Kleen and I think it helps, especially the cetane boost when running biodiesel. However, and this is according to Power Service Product's website, the white and silver bottles do not provide any anti-microbial properties. They do make a product for that if it is needed. 

Quote
If microbial contamination is present

Treat with Bio Kleen Diesel Fuel Biocide to kill the microbes and Clear-Diesel Fuel & Tank Cleaner to remove the residual water and contaminants.

 

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As Randyretired said.  Lots of diesels around our place, no additives, no problems.  Well, unless you count leaving the fuel cap off and getting leaves in the tank.

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

what fuel treatment do you use for diesel fuel, if any, and how long is fuel then good for?

Most of the fuel in my diesel truck is more than 2 years old.  It has always started within 3 seconds.  IMO, diesel does not need a stabilizer, lubricant, cleaner or any other additive, except for the following.

I agree with Steven.  The main cause of diesel (not just bio-diesel) fuel problems, in warm climates, is the stuff that grows in it.  It can quickly clog your fuel filter. To retard that growth process, use a biocide:   https://www.amazon.com/s?k=diesel+biocide&i=automotive&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

It also helps to completely fill the tanks before it sits.  My diesel tanks are vented, which I think is the case for all semi-trucks, and may be true for your diesel truck too.  So the relative humidity of the air in your tank is about the same as the outside air.  If there's dew on the grass in the morning, there's probably been water added to you tank (condensation).  The smaller the air space, the smaller the problem.  Most of the microbes grow in the condensed water and digest the diesel at the fuel-water interface. Also, diesel fuel does oxidize over time, so minimizing the air in the tank retards this too. 

This probably doesn't apply to you, but if you were in an area/season where the temperature could drop to 20 degree F or lower, you'd also want to add an anti-gel solution.  Without it, the gelled fuel won't make it through your fuel system to the engine, until things warm up.

P.S. most commercial back-up generators (e.g. for a hospital, super market etc.) have a diesel engine.  They often sit for years between uses.  They use standard diesel fuel.  Also, the year after I bought my truck, I noticed lots of black stuff in the tanks which had about 75 gallons in them.   The cheapest fix was to have the fuel removed and replaced (ouch!).

Edited by DanZemke
clarity

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Kirk,

Lots of folks, like me at first, had their first diesel truck for their RV, or diesel engine in a MH. I heard all the 18 wheeler stories of algicides biocides and fuel contamination. Never needed or used biocides. I second the Power Service (PS) products Diesel Kleen for anti gel in winter the first year I had one, then used it occasionally for the cetane boost while towing in the mountains.

Firstly, I never bought a new Ram Cummins diesel. The best investment you can make on one is to replace the stock diesel lift pump on the 5.9 Cummins?Dodge with an after market lift pump. You can see which ones on the enthusiast websites for Cummins diesel trucks. I had my 2002 lift pump fail and take out the Injector pump. $2000 in 2005. Then since I had the newer direct rail injection I did not replace it as it had to be better and that lift pump, injector pump, and to be safe since the injector pump was destroyed, we replaced all the injectors. $5000.00 in 2018. The $3-400.00 cost of a better lift pump is well worth it. Worry about that. I don't use any additives in my new car. LOL!

I did use this PS Diesel Kleen in winter if we had several days of below freezing in Louisiana. https://www.zoro.com/power-service-products-diesel-supplement-and-cetane-booster-1080-06/i/G5573237/?recommended=true

I have never used a biocide as if you buy your fuel at truck stops or very busy diesel pumps like Costco or Sam's clubs you should rarely have a need for biocides. Here's the PS product: PS Biocide

I used Rotella T conventional 15W40 and never an issue. I tried Chevron Delo   synthetic just once while we were in Oregon at Sutherlin coop. and it doubled the noise of my then 1992 Cummins 5.9 12 valve 1 ton diesel dually. I thought they forgot to put the oil in and when I checked it was fine. I had it changed out back to Rotella T within a week and it went back to normal  https://rotella.shell.com/en_us/products/conventional-motor-oil/rotella-triple-protection.html

PS products are good solid products. The only problem I had with sitting up was after I got the new to me 2002 after we came off the road. I kept the dually and the main seal dried out and boy did it leak. My guy replaced it for $200 and it was fine. If you remember I sold it with an estimated 700k miles on it as the ofometer broke at somewhere over 500k miles midway through our 7 years of full timing. It is still in service with my mechanic at the time who bought it. It is still going strong as I saw it in 2019.

Just drive it for errands once a week so it gets up to full operating temperatures and you should be fine. So of my 1992 1 ton 5.9 12 valve, 2002 5.9 24 valve, 2006 5.9 24 valve, and my favorite the 2004.5 common rail injection quieter diesel, none ever had a drop of biocide in them. I drained water from the original see through separator on the 12 valve and changed the fuel filters at recommended intervals.

I've never owned one with Def exhaust additive required.

Another tip. Diesels do not come up to operating temp at idle. So never idle them past the indicator that the oil pressure is up and drive like an eggshell until it comes up to operating temp and settles down in winter. That keeps the engine from coking up from incomplete fuel combustion. At 6k miles my oil was clear and still amber not black like when I first get them. The mechanics all thought I was mixed up and must have just changed it! LOL That is all due to not letting it run at idle for A/C in summer and heat in winter. because diesels apparently are all idled for long periods as folks see refrigerator trucks doing it but miss the fact that they have throttle controls keeping them at operating temps.

In the south and RVing up north only in summer I never needed a block heater or anti gel additives either. I changed my oil at recommended intervals in the manual for heavy duty (Pulling a fiver or bumper pull trailer) and when less often per the manual when off the road like yours.

Hope that helps.

Most important, unless you have the later models with throttle control, don't idle it for more than it takes to get the oil pressure up, 30 seconds to a minute in the southern regions.

Edited by RV_

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Derek,

Kirk's question was "what fuel treatment do you use for diesel fuel, if any, and how long is fuel then good for?"
 
You seem to have dismissed "all the 18 wheeler stories of algicides biocides and fuel contamination."  How long was the fuel in your tank before you concluded that biocides are not necessary?

I agree,  that biocides are not necessary for most diesel pickup trucks.  IMO, if you let them sit for 6 months or more,  you're better off adding the biocide than the hassle of dealing with the crud in your tank.  Crud in my tank was an actual personal experience, not just a story.

 

Edited by DanZemke
clarity

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I always used a Power Service product in my diesel motorhome and diesel HDT. Never had any issues and both of those would sit parked frequently for 6 months and start up 1st turn of the key. My experience with the diesel on my liveaboard sailboat was different. I attributed it to the boat sitting in cool water with hot humid tropical air around it. crud & slime would build up quickly in the tank. Most marinas had someone setup to do what they called "fuel polishing". The would hookup in/out lines from my tank, to a pump and dual Racor filters and continuously pump my fuel through their system until it ran clear through their filters. This process was common in the marine industry, not sure if its used elsewhere.

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2 hours ago, DanZemke said:

Derek,

Kirk's question was "what fuel treatment do you use for diesel fuel, if any, and how long is fuel then good for?"
 
You seem to have dismissed "all the 18 wheeler stories of algicides biocides and fuel contamination."  How long was the fuel in your tank before you concluded that biocides are not necessary?

I agree,  that biocides are not necessary for most diesel pickup trucks.  IMO, if you let them sit for 6 months or more,  you're better off adding the biocide than the hassle of dealing with the crud in your tank.  Crud in my tank was an actual personal experience, not just a story.

 

I sure did not dismiss the 18 wheeler stories. I was speaking to pickups, light to medium duty. Could you show me where? I highlighted your comments I am asking you about.

KIrk asked "My question is, what fuel treatment do you use for diesel fuel, if any, and how long is fuel then good for?"

I answered because I know the truck Kirk has, and added some diesel pickup tips as well.

Dan you wrote: Crud in my tank was an actual personal experience, not just a story.

As you well know Dan pickups come in a lot of flavors and I made it clear I was speaking from personal experience of owning a '92 Ram 1 ton diesel and hauled a fiver all over North America for seven years from Mexico up to and including Alaska., a 2002, 2006, 2004.5 Ram Pickups, and which valve counts each had. I specified a 1 ton diesel Ram dually and forgot to mention the last three were 3/4 ton pickups, all Ram Cummins 5.9s.

And don't read this as angry. A bit bewildered as it seems some folks here go out of their way to read my posts as running around with my hair on fire and in the past did not obviously read/comprehend what they criticized.

I have not mentioned 18 wheelers. So how can you read in that I discounted them. Maybe I was not clear?? Ya got me. The only thing wrong with my truck from sitting up I explained was a dried main seal.

Show me which sentence was about anything but Ram Diesels.

 

Edited by RV_

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Today all diesel fuel contains some percentage of biodiesel.  Two percent is the minimum necessary to replace lost lubricity during the refining process that removes sulfur, and the most effective according to the industry.

Biodiesel begins to stratify/go bad in as little as 30 days.  Biodiesel also has a natural affinity to attract moisture.

A partially-filled tank leaves room for natural convection cooling and heating of the air in the tank. This condenses moisture in the air, which naturally settles to the tank bottom. During long term storage IMO it is best to use Biobor or another brand algaeside  as a preventative measure, this is much cheaper and less work than dealing with clogged fuel filters after the fact. It should be used in the proper proportion for maximum effectiveness according to the mfgr.

Until this year I never used any additive for diesel fuel, but since our MH has only been driven 600 miles this year the ounce of Biobor to treat 100G is cheap insurance against having an algae problem to fight when the MH is once again driven.

As to lubricity, this ISO lubricity additive study should be interesting reading.

Perhaps the single best thing to do for keeping a diesel engine running smoothly is change fuel filters per mfgrs schedule or annually whichever comes first; and of course when the WIF light illuminates. I changed by filters that only had 600 miles of fuel through them, again a preventative measure, after the fuel distributor module in the main pump failed in July.

 

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Derek,

It doesn't appear to me that we have a have a substantive disagreement here.  

Suggestion. Let's move on.

Best wishes to you.

Dan

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Diesel does not go bad I'm told by old farmers.  I bought a tractor with a half full tank of diesel, left in it while it sat for 15 years.  That is how long I had been trying to buy it, probably sat a lot longer.  Pulled it out of the barn, new batteries/oil, filters, etc but left the old fuel in it without adding anything.  It fired right up and is still running good on the 15yr old fuel.  I did dump some biocide in as I'm willing to bet it has a lot of algae floating around in it.  Many years I have parked my diesel trucks with full tanks and added nothing but anti-gel.  Never had a problem other than batteries after sitting for 3-4 months.  Unless your going to be driving below freezing alot, don't worry about it. 

Edited by NDBirdman

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10 hours ago, NDBirdman said:

I did dump some biocide in as I'm willing to bet it has a lot of algae floating around in it. 

Biocide was exactly what I was wondering about. If you use it and any brand preference, since I see that as an additive.

Edited by Kirk W

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Kirk, 

You opened a can of worms with this one.  There is no consensus on the forum with opinions indicating short stability of diesel fuel to virtually unlimited storage time.  Considering the importance for fuel storage, farm equipment that might be used only once a year or generators that can sit for years without use, and stored RVs, I expected to find solid data and recommendations with a Google search.  That was not the case and I spent quite a bit of time trying.  I found no primary citations or studies.  I found secondary references that Exxon claims a 6 month to 1 year stability and Chevron claimed 1 year or greater.

I found absolutely no data on the efficacy or need for fuel additives and stabilizers.  I only found ads and statements from those who use the products.  Others claim they are useless snake oil.

With a late model diesel there is an additional concern and that is the stability of DEF.  Quite a bit of data is available including stability data at different temperatures.  I did not think ahead and after my last trip at the end of 2018, I had a full DEF tank.  Ram did not include a drain plug so I recently siphoned out DEF and added a new jug.    

 

Edited by JimK

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20 minutes ago, JimK said:

I found absolutely no data on the efficacy or need for fuel additives and stabilizers.  I only found ads and statements from those who use the products.  Others claim they are useless snake oil.

That is exactly the reason that I made the post. Luckily for me, my truck is previous to the DEF requirement as most agree that it does age out. At this point, I do lean to using a biocide as the cost seems minimal when compared to what it may prevent. I can't prove that the Sta-Bil used in our gas motorhome did anything either, but it was recommended by Ford at the time we bought it and we regularly sat for 1 to 4 months and in 14 years, never had one fuel problem. Most do agree that the modern blended fuels are more problematic than fuel used to be. 

I'm thinking that it may be like my homeowner's insurance. I have spent far more on it over the years than I have ever gotten back in claims, but I buy it because a I sleep better.  😊

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I have used Sta-Bil as cheap insurance with the hope that it works.  I can see your point about biocides.  The situation is different.  Gasoline has a relatively short shelf life.  Diesel does not.  The issue with old stored diesel is potential microbial growth.  The information I found seems clear.  Microbial growth requires water in the fuel.  That alone is a major, major issue and can kill fuel injectors.  Cummins now has 2 fuel filter/separators.  Both of substantial size and cost.  The microbes will not grow in dry diesel.  

This whole topic has made me nervous about the condition of my fuel, the tank and the filters.  I went close to a full year with very low mileage before I ran through a tank of diesel and refueled.  At that point I took the truck in for an inspection, oil change and replacement of oil and fuel filters.  The charge was over $700, not including the inspection.  The fuel filter changes alone were about $350.  Now close to another year has gone by and I have driven about 1500 miles during the year.  Two weeks ago I went back for another inspection and skipped all the maintenance.  Now I am concerned what I need to do.  I decided to change the oil myself for about $60 and forego changing the filters.  The filters are about $110 but the real problem is the location and difficulty of changing the oil and front fuel filter.  I did buy the specialized tools needed.

This whole discussion has made me nervous and I started to reconsider the need to change filters before I set out on my next trip.  I can imagine the worst with plugged fuel filters and gunk growing everywhere in the fuel system.  I just went out to the truck, crawled underneath and drained some fuel from the first filter/separator.  There was no gunk, not a drop of water, just clean, clear diesel fuel.  I think I can rest easy.  

Edited by JimK

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Just like no one likely ever ruined an engine by putting it in months of storage with clean oil in it,  I haven't heard of anyone ruining a diesel fuel system by adding some approved by the engine manufactureererr algaecide in the fuel prior to storage. 

I personally have experienced the diesel fuel system cleaning process when you buy a vehicle that has algae and water in the fuel.  The bill was reasonable but likely would have covered about 29 winters' worth of algaecide treatment. 

edit - the injured vehicle was a 2006 Dodge, 5.9 Cummins common rail engine.  

On the old engines I am around (class 7 and 9 truck, old farm machines) we shine a very bright light in the tank and use the HE Mk1 clarity tester when they are taken out of hibernation. 

Edited by noteven

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I suspect this might be an issue for older diesel engines.  Again my Ram Cummins has two fuel filter water separators.   There are water detectors at the bottom of the fuel canister so even very small amounts of water would set off the detector.

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1 hour ago, JimK said:

 

This whole topic has made me nervous about the condition of my fuel, the tank and the filters.  I went close to a full year with very low mileage before I ran through a tank of diesel and refueled.  At that point I took the truck in for an inspection, oil change and replacement of oil and fuel filters.  The charge was over $700, not including the inspection.  The fuel filter changes alone were about $350.  Now close to another year has gone by and I have driven about 1500 miles during the year.  Two weeks ago I went back for another inspection and skipped all the maintenance.  Now I am concerned what I need to do.  I decided to change the oil myself for about $60 and forego changing the filters.  The filters are about $110 but the real problem is the location and difficulty of changing the oil and front fuel filter.  I did buy the specialized tools needed.

 

With us going fulltime its going to be a problem doing maint myself. For my Cummins I can get the 3 Mopar filter package for @ $100 off Amazon, 2 fuel filters and the oil filter, then 11 qts of Shell Rotella T6 at a lot of different places. But what to do with the used oil and old filter discards. You got to have a change pan and all the stuff that goes along with it. A lot of campgrounds do not want you working on your vehicles. Silly people discarding their old oil and fuel filters in the trash.

In our case the fuel filters last about 15,000 miles between changes about the same time as the oil needs changed. For me I only use Mopar filters, keep them changed when called for, try to always fill up at quality fuel stations, only use quality DEF or at stations with DEF at the pump, I don't worry too much about stuff growing in the fuel system, put in an additive when I think its called for and just drive it.

Ram service at dealerships have a huge markup on their parts, plus labor. yes i have run into dealerships wanting to charge me $700 for an oil change. Recently we just went over 30K miles on the truck and it was time for the AISIN transmission fluid change, they wanted $1000 for that. Of course the service writers job is to upsell and make a profit for the service department telling me that it requires Mopar specific fluid for the AISIN transmission, you can't use anything else. BS, there is a factory tag on the transmission  that says use Mobile 3309 fluid. Yes and they will use scare tactics on people to get them to buy into their repair quotes.

But now that we are fulltime, i'll have to bite the bullet or time our travels where we can be close to family or friends and still do the maintenance myself, or an independent shop that will do what I tell them and even supply the parts to them to get the regular maintenance done.

Edited by Steven@146

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I too have had experiences such as NDBirdman, with old diesel fuel still being viable.  That said, 20 years ago, diesel, and gasoline stayed viable a lot longer too.  Today's fuels are meant to be burned, not stored. 

Like it says on old Farmall fuel caps, "Buy clean fuel.  Keep it clean."  Dump in a few pennies of the appropriate additive if it makes you sleep better.  I won't hurt, and might help.

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4 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Biocide was exactly what I was wondering about. If you use it and any brand preference, since I see that as an additive.

I purchased Racor Diesel Biocide (Parker Hannifin) from Amazon, but they no longer carry it.  I think I chose it based on Amazon ratings at the time.  Dosage is one ounce  per 80 gallons to prevent growth (twice that concentration to "shock" existing growth).  I don't know whether it is better or worse than other biocides, but I have no growth in my tanks, and my truck starts easily with diesel that is more than two years old. 

"Amazon's Choice" is Biobor JF - Diesel Fuel Biocide, which has very good ratings.   Each of these brands  is priced at about $22 for 16 oz and recommends the same dosage.  16 oz is likely more than you will ever use, but an 8 oz bottle is only $3 less expensive.  Maybe you have a friend or neighbor that you could share the excess with.

Edited by DanZemke

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5 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Biocide was exactly what I was wondering about. If you use it and any brand preference, since I see that as an additive.

I don't have a brand preference.  I would not use any additives to your truck where you live, no need, won't gel.  The biocide will help/kill the growth but it also loosens the stuff inside the tank.  It can/will pass on through the fuel system into the fuel filters.  I carry an extra fuel filter in this tractor for when it does clog up.  Again, not needed in your truck unless you plan on letting that fuel sit for years.

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