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How to "Spec" Premium Diesel Fuel Additives - Part 2


Part 2, The Value of Detergent


One of the most cost effective parts and the most important item of any premium diesel fuel additive package is the detergent component.  Because the fuel injection system is the heart of the power production system, it must be kept as clean as possible for as long as possible in order to insure maximum life of the engine horsepower production system.  So, if the fuel additive buyer truly desires to purchase a good performing premium diesel fuel additive, he must specify a good detergent component.

The premium diesel fuel additive detergency content determines the extent to which a dirty fuel system (with deposit build-up) is cleaned up and the entire system is kept clean and free of deposits over an extended time-period.  Diesel fuel detergents effect the cleanliness of the fuel storage tanks (stationary ground and vehicle tanks), the complete fuel delivery system (supply pump and injection components), and the combustion and post-combustion chamber areas (piston top, cylinder heads, valves, rings, sleeves, and exhaust ports).  
 Diesel fuel injectors can become clogged from deposit buildup and dirty fuel (left photo).  A clean diesel fuel injector (right photo) provides proper diesel fuel atomization.

The inherent buildup of fuel system and related deposits (both pre-combustion and post-combustion sections) negatively effect an engine?s performance and drastically diminish the fuel?s complete ?BTU to energy conversion process?.  Because this energy conversion process is incomplete, the engine will experience less than expected power production.  The vehicle driver (or operator) will readily notice this situation and ?feel? the need to push the accelerator peddle harder to the floor and downshift the transmission.  This increases the engine RPM which results in significantly increased fuel consumption reducing engine fuel economy (lower vehicle MPG - miles per gallon of fuel).

As carbonaceous deposits form in the injector bodies, the heat of combustion will cause them to become hard and ?varnish-like?.  Ultimately, these deposits will cause sticking of the injector plunger and other moving parts in the injector assembly.  This results in erratic or distorted injector spray patterns in the combustion chamber and more smoke emissions from the unburned fuel.  These deposits can also cause improver sealing of tips and injector leaks which increases the amount of fuel dilution in the engine crankcase.  The end result of these conditions will be higher engine operating temperatures with excessive engine wear and the potential for a complete failure of the engine lubrication system.

The presence of fuel system (injector and pump) deposits is compounded during cold weather operations.  Because the paraffin content in the fuel changes to a solid waxy material at low temperatures, any deposits in the fuel injection system will impede the flow of fuel through the system.  This impediment contributes to fuel line (system) plugging and negatively effects the overall efficiency of the entire combustion process.
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