Regardless of how much care is imparted, fuel contamination such as dirt or water will always find its way into any fuel system. Unfortunately, because the latest diesel engines offer fuel injection pressures exceeding 2000 bar along with micron-level injector tolerances, even the tiniest amount of dirt or water is certain to create problems.
In high-pressure fuel injection systems, a fuel filter / water separator (FFWS) is the principal filtration element. It is typically located before the transfer pump on the low-pressure side. An FFWS ensures that clean, dry fuel is supplied to the high-pressure side prior to the fuel injection pump. For finer filtration, a secondary filter is usually positioned after the FFWS, with a final filter forming the last barrier of protection.
Modern business economics dictate that today’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) heavy-duty truck and bus manufacturers operate globally. For the benefit of customers, such organisations must rely on diesel fuel being supplied in accordance with acknowledged international standards. However, despite strict refinery controls regarding production and quality, there remain numerous opportunities for the onset of contamination along the entire fuel delivery and dispensing system.
Comprehensive laboratory and on-engine testing in accordance with the demanding standards of OEM customers is the only way to guarantee that an FFWS will meet engine requirements. So although OEMs receive the best FFWS technology that the industry can provide, it is vital that fleet proprietors, owner-operators and end users also fit industry-best filters and replacement elements.
It is well documented that dirt and similar particulates found within fuel can lead to the failure of injection systems or limit engine performance. Even minuscule particles can obstruct bores or cause the incorrect seating of injectors. What’s more, water in fuel can be equally disastrous. This can result in diminished lubrication properties, which subsequently lead to extensive wear and inferior engine performance. Water in fuel is also known to encourage microbiological growth.
And yet selecting a suitable FFWS requires careful consideration. For instance, an incorrectly sized FFWS is likely to result in cavitation, an effect that can nurture impaction, wear and loss of power. The unwanted outcome is usually costly repairs and warranty bills that must be paid by the OEM or end user. With this in mind, OEM truck and bus manufacturers would do well to demand a primary filtration system developed to stringent industry standards by companies such as Parker Racor, where vast experience and engineering know-how are integral to everyday operations.
Mobility is core to successful operations within the heavy-duty truck and bus sector. These vehicles often move over huge distances, so effective service and maintenance support is nothing short of essential. OEMs typically operate after-sales support networks and in recent years, an independent aftermarket network has propagated and flourished. While it is important that filter manufacturers like Parker Racor liaise closely with OEM clients, supplying original equipment spares (OES) to their after-sales support networks. It is also imperative that Parker Racor works with independent aftermarket distributors to ensure that the identical OE quality is available wherever they are the original first fit supplier.
With the Right to Repair (R2R) campaign gaining momentum the independent aftermarket must have a route to original fit quality products. This ensures performance, compatibility and reliability as the OEM intended, without any worries concerning warranty commitments. At the end of the day, using OEM quality fuel filters and replacement elements safeguards the end user’s engine, thus avoiding expensive and inopportune maintenance downtime.
This blog was contributed by a member of the Engine and Mobile Filtration Team, Parker Hannifin Racor Division.