How to Keep Diesel Engines Operating in All Weather Conditions

How to Keep Diesel Engines Operating in all Weather Conditions - Heavy-duty truck in snow - Parker HannifinFuel contamination, either in the form of dirt or water, will invariably find its way into your fuel system no matter how careful you are. With modern engines injecting fuel at pressures up to 30,000 PSI, and injector tolerance being measured in microns, even a small amount of dirt or water corrosion can have devastating effects. Water or particulates can cause microscopic surface damage that is then focused on by the high-pressure fuel flow, which causes wear that will eventually lead to reduced efficiency and complete breakdown. Weather conditions, in the form of cold temperatures, can also cause problems. With this in mind, managing fuel delivery and system cleanliness through proper filtration becomes an absolute imperative in off-road machinery and heavy-duty trucks.


Pre-filtration improves diesel fuel system performance

Depending on the application, diesel engine manufacturers may require installing a pre-filter to protect their on-engine filters. Pre-filters can double the life of an existing on-engine filter system and guard against damage caused by contaminated diesel fuel.

A fuel filter/water separator, such as the Parker Greenmax™, stops bulk and emulsified water as well as clogging and abrasive contaminants before they reach downstream filters. The Greenmax™ has a clear inspection bowl that serves as a window into fuel system health, visually alerting the presence of water and gross contamination.


Seasonal effects on diesel fuel

Maintenance requirements change when the weather and fuel supply turn cold. In winter, diesel suppliers typically add #1 diesel and flow improver additives to prevent diesel fuel from thickening into a gel-like substance, also known as gelling. Diesel fuel systems generally have no cold weather problems if they stay in the region for which the diesel fuel was formulated.

However, the no problem scenario doesn’t always play out. An early storm with a sudden dip in temperature or a relocation to a colder region can cause naturally occurring wax in diesel fuel to crystalize and thicken; plugging filters and causing engines to shut down. To avoid problems, heat must be applied to the fuel system.


Adding heat to stop diesel cold gelling

How to Keep Diesel Engines Operating in all Weather Conditions - GreenMAX fuel flow - Parker HannifinGreenmax™ fuel heating options consist of electric and hot engine return fuel blending. The electric option is a resistive heater located in the water collection bowl. The heater pre-heats the diesel fuel before it passes through the filter. This delays cold waxed fuel from clogging the filter and provides enough fuel flow to get the engine started. Under some circumstances, this may be enough to allow the fuel system to warm up and the engine to continue running. If weather conditions are more severe, additional fuel heating is necessary.

Diesel engines are often designed to flow much more fuel to the engine than the engine burns. The excess fuel flow lubricates and cools injectors, heating the fuel in the process. The heated fuel then flows back to the fuel tank. The Greenmax™ takes advantage of this feature by blending some of the returning hot fuel with incoming cold fuel from the tank; controlling the fuel temperature for optimum filtration and engine performance.

Blending hot return fuel with incoming cold fuel is the fastest, most efficient way to add heat to a diesel fuel system. To prevent wax build up on the filter, return fuel heated by the engine is blended at the Greenmax™ head with cold fuel coming from the tank. If the fuel in the tank is warm, a thermally controlled valve diverts the hot fuel back to the fuel tank. In conjunction with electric heat at startup, The Greenmax™ allows diesel engines to reliably start and continue to run smoothly in cold weather. In warm weather, the Greenmax™ fuel filter/water separator operates with minimal maintenance. Daily bowl inspection for collected water and scheduled filter replacement is all that is necessary.


How it works

How to Keep Diesel Engines Operating in all Weather Conditions - Racor GreenMAX - Parker HannifinThe GreenMax™ is a heavy-duty, cartridge-based fuel filter/water separator available with electric and return-fuel heat options for cold weather operation using diesel and biodiesel blends. An electric heater located in the water collection bowl helps with cold weather starting while the hot return fuel blender keeps diesel engines running. Adding heat to cold diesel fuel avoids fuel waxing, engine shut down, and helps increase engine economy and improve emissions in cold weather. The GreenMAX™ is designed with exceptional water-removing efficiencies for both bulk and emulsified water, very low restriction of fuel flow and high dirt-holding capacity. The heart of the system is progressive, dual-stage coalescing and filtration delivered by the patented Aquabloc® filter element.



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To learn more about the Greenmax™ fuel filter water separator and to find a distributor, please visit our website.


This post was contributed by the Engine Mobile Original Equipment team.


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Water - A Diesel Engine's Worst Enemy


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