How to Fix Diesel Fuel Disasters: From Refuelling Fiascos to Tank Storage Dilemmas

Mon, Mar 11, 2024

Keeping your diesel refuelling equipment and machinery running efficiently requires vigilance and proactive maintenance, as various issues can arise if fuel is left unchecked.

From clogged filters to malfunctioning pumps, understanding how to fix and prevent these common problems in diesel fuel can help you prevent costly repairs and downtime.

Diesel fuel gelling

Here are 6 fuel disasters to keep an eye out for, from water content to temperature issues, to ensure your operations run smoothly before, during and after refuelling.

How to keep diesel fuel from gelling

In very cold temperatures, the paraffin wax in diesel fuel can solidify, which leads to fuel gelling. Fuel gelling can cause engine stalling and reduced performance of equipment.

Fuel gelling happens when temperatures reach -12°C. To prevent this in the winter months, use a diesel fuel additive designed to lower the fuel’s gel point. If gelling has already occurred, put the equipment or fuel storage tank in a warm place to dissolve the gelled fuel.

Freezing temperatures can also lead to condensation and more water around and in the fuel as the temperatures fluctuates, which needs to be removed as soon as possible.

water in fuel

How to remove water in fuel

Diesel is hygroscopic and even when in storage, water vapour and condensation can be absorbed into the fuel tank, resulting in water contamination in the fuel.

There are 3 types of water contamination that can be found in fuel. Free water is where a visible layer of separated water settles at the bottom of the fuel tank. Suspended water (sometimes known as bound water) is where the water has bound to the fuel molecules and mixed with the fuel making it appear cloudy. Lastly, emulsified fuel is where the water in diesel fuel becomes completely emulsified turning the diesel into a milky opacity.

By removing water from diesel, you are preventing water contamination in fuel from happening. The fastest way to do this is with a fuel tank water absorber. Aquafighter is the only fuel tank water absorber on the market that removes all 3 types of water. This provides a complete cost-effective solution for water contamination, eliminating the problems that cause engine and equipment damage from contaminated fuel.

contaminated diesel fuel

How to clean contaminated diesel fuel

Contaminated diesel is where a microbial growth called ‘diesel bug’ grows in the fuel due to water content levels. It resembles a thick black or brown sludge that can clog filters and machinery, causing engine failure.

Fuel polishing will clean contaminated diesel fuel. This service is usually undertaken by a professional once a year and involves removing the fuel from the tank and passing it through highly efficient filters that remove contamination. After fuel polishing has been carried out, both the free and emulsified water content will be removed down to the required 200ppm which follows the EN590 quality standards of diesel fuel. The fuel can then be put back into a storage tank to be used for refuelling.

spill kit for fuel

How to clean up fuel spillage

A spill kit is needed on site wherever fuel is stored, to minimise the impact from a diesel spillage quickly, safely, and efficiently.

The EnviroSpill Spill Kit Bin has everything needed to quickly deal with a spill on a large scale. These spill kit bins include spill socks, spill pads and pillows for absorbing the fuel spillage, along with blue waste bags and ties for proper disposal of the used spill absorbents.

PPE may be required to be worn when dealing with fuel spillages dependant on the size and location.

Piusi SB325_X Automatic AdBlue Magnetic Nozzle

Can AdBlue damage a diesel engine?

AdBlue can corrode the pipework and components in the fuel system if added to the wrong fill point containing the diesel. Miss-filling can cost a lot of money to fix the damage, with the vehicle not being able to be used until a professional has drained the tank, flushed out the system and carried out all necessary repairs.

A special nozzle that only allows filling when connected to a magnetic AdBlue fill point is the answer.

The Piusi SB325 AdBlue nozzle has a magnetic miss-filling spout that can only release fluid into a fill point that has a partnering AdBlue magnetic tank adaptor inserted into it. With a magnetic collar fitted in the AdBlue fill point, the AdBlue magnetic nozzle will not dispense into the diesel tank as there is no magnet to open the spout.

CTS Multi-Channel Fuel Tank Alarm Box for low level alerts

How to avoid running out of fuel

Not being able to refuel your off-road vehicle or machinery when you need it due to lack of fuel can cause equipment downtime, having to pay higher retail prices at a petrol station, or waiting for a diesel fuel order to be delivered.

A low-level tank alarm like the CTS mains or battery multi-channel tank alarm visually and audibly alerts the user when the fuel level is running low, and when more diesel fuel should be ordered. The tank alarm probe is placed at the bottom of the tank, going off when the fuel level goes below it.

So, there you have it, there are 6 diesel fuel disasters and how to fix and avoid them. Having a regular fuel maintenance programme and checking for these issues means diesel fuel can be always kept at its best, for better engine performance and cutting machinery down time.

Need advice on how to fix your own fuel disaster?

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