Archives >> 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain (11/01-7/03)

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Herd_Bull
Member
Member # 20423
Reged: 03/15/02
Posts: 92
Loc: Northeast WI
Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel.
#1028472 - 01/23/03 01:29 PM

Ok guys, I need some help. I thought a guy was supposed to run #2 fuel to get the best performance and mileage. Now in the winter I thought is was #2 blended with #1 or a #2 with additives. I had a guy at a local station tell me you should run #1 with additives in the winter. I also see another station with premium diesel, which must be #2.

I don't want to have to mix #1 & #2. I just want ot buy something I can run out of the pump. I already use a fuel supplement w/cetane boost for the winter. I just want to know which is better and which will give me better MPG's and just plain ol run better.

I can get a winterized #2 from Kwik Trip, not really my choice to fill up with due to what I've heard. I can also get winter blend 80% #2 and 20% #1. But now the guy I talked to yesterday says he runs #1 with an additive and they supply a local business (300 trucks) with all of their fuel.

I'm not near an interstate or a truck stop that gets any semi traffic, and it was near 10-12 below this morning. Plus this is a commuter vehicle and I'd like to get as much MPG's as possible, as do all of us. I'm thinking once it warms up I'll try the new station with the premium diesel it's basically the same price/gallon. I did notice that #1 is $.10/gallon more. Just wondering what the +'s and -'s are to most of these scenarios. Plus I'm a little baffled. Yeah I know it's my first real winter with one of these. Sorry to bore all you longtimers with a long topic.

Herd Bull



Gooch
Member
Member # 463
Reged: 04/06/99
Posts: 2053
Loc: Alaska
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1028564 - 01/23/03 02:28 PM

You can do a "search" to find all kinds of good stuff on winter fuel.

#2 diesel will give you better performance and economy than #1. This is because it naturally has a higher heating value than #1. The heating value (not cetane) is what produces power.

But as temperatures drop (around 20 to 25F) #2 diesel begins to gel and can not flow through your engine's fuel system. On the other hand #1 will flow well below zero. Your -10 to-15F temps are no problem for a winter #1 fuel.

So it is a trade-off. You can't have both a true cold weather fuel and a best performing fuel.

But there are a couple of best options, depending on what your fuel suppliers do. Some fuel suppliers add an anti-gelling additive to #2 fuel to maximize performance and cold-weather abilities. Other suppliers blend #2 and #1 fuels based on expected ambient temperatures. Usually these two types of winter fuel are found where climates are moderately cold. In extreme cold climates you will find straight #1 or possibly a straight #1 with further anti-gel additives (arctic fuel). IMO running straight #1 in your area is a bit extreme and unnecessary and adding futher anti-gels to that is rediculous.

Since blending #2 and #1 fuel results in a drop of heating value (power), many prefer to run #2 with an anti-gel additive. But this can be taking a chance if temps drop further than the additive was calculated for.

The best advice is to talk to your fuel supplier, not the gas station attendents. Optimally you want the highest heating value with the best anti-gel capabilities. At -10 to -20F I would suggest a good winter blended fuel. Carry a bottle of anti-gel behind the seat to add if the temps dip below -30 or -40F.

FYI, "premium" fuels can mean anything from increased cetane, to a special formulation of additives and detergents. It doesn't always mean more power or better gelling characteristics. And all fuel, either #1 or #2 meet the minimum cetane and sulfer regulations.

Be wise. Watch the truckers. Fill at a reputable station. Call your area supplier. Expect poorer performance from winter fuel. I'm sure there are pumps in your area that you can simply fill from without mixing, or worry.



Georgecls
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Member # 24862
Reged: 09/28/02
Posts: 46
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1028590 - 01/23/03 02:42 PM

With the extreme cold conditions we are currently experiencing in the northeast, I would highly recommend not only using the winter 'blend' but also additizing the fuel with some form of reputable diesel fuel additive that will provide additional "insurance" for extremecold weather operations. Primrose 409 or FPPF Polar Power are two excellent products that will lower the pour point and also provide water, corrosion, lubricity and cetane bost, all in one...
George Morrison, STLE CLS

SmokeyWrenModerator
Administrator
Member # 957
Reged: 04/26/99
Posts: 16386
Loc: Midland County,TX, USA
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1028779 - 01/23/03 04:37 PM

Gooch did a good job responding to your question, so I'll just echo him.

The stuff to carry behind the seat or in the toolbox is Stanadyne Winter 1000. Then, just in case your fuel supplier missed the guess on how cold it would be next week, that bottle of Winter 1000 is insurance that you can add it if the temps drop a lot more than anyone guessed they might.

You can buy it here: http://www.dieselpage.com/add5.htm

Herd_Bull
Member
Member # 20423
Reged: 03/15/02
Posts: 92
Loc: Northeast WI
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1029962 - 01/24/03 08:24 AM

Pretty much what I figured from the information I've already obtained and.... I mean, after doing some gazoontas from the S%@t off of the Diesel Stop I was on the right track. I'll stick with the blended #2 and wait till it warms up to try the "premium diesel" one of the stations is carrying.

I live in a town with 6 gas stations. 3 of these carry deisel fuel. Only one blends or has a winter blended fuel. I drive by a Kwik trip that has a winter blend that has a few rigs go through it but not very many. There isn't a true truck stop for 35 miles from my house or work so I'm kind of screwed when it comes to getting to a place that goes through a lot of fuel.

Thanks again guys. It's nice to get some feed back from guys with experience. Now I just wish it would warm up a little so I could get my 16+ MPG back during the winter. I was doing good up until this last cold snap. I get around 19 in the summer and I was getting around 16.5 until it got really cold. That may be what brought all this up now that I think about it. Still I guess I ain't doing too bad. I'm getting around 14.5-15 and we ain't seen double digit highs in 3-4 days.

Herd Bull

shamuex2000
Member
Member # 9002
Reged: 10/23/00
Posts: 810
Loc: Chicagoland
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1029977 - 01/24/03 08:40 AM

Herd Bull, if it helps you to decide, look for a newer station if you can't buy from a truck stop. The newer stations are more likely to have the newest tanks, water sensing equipment, etc. I agree to use an additive since you never really know what you're getting. I'd suggest regularly using an additive that gives anti-jell protection and added libricity. I don't think raising the cetane is necessary. I'd be comfortable using #2 from the pump (which is probably winterized, but you don't really know) along with an additive. You shouldn't just pour the additive in when the temperature drops, it has to be in there and circulated so that it will protect the fuel lines and filter. To improve your mileage, you may want to install a switch so that you can turn off your exhaust backpressure valve once the temp gage reads normal. Dale

AQHArider
member
Member # 18949
Reged: 01/10/02
Posts: 513
Loc: north Alabama
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1029990 - 01/24/03 08:52 AM

Yesterday morning it was 6 degrees F. here. My truck started right up without even being plugged in and it hadn't been started in three days. It did lope a bit for about 5 seconds until it smoothed out. We don't have winter blend fuel in the south (around my home anyway) so it is straight #2. I do carry some Power Service but I haven't put any in since it got cold this winter. Good Truck.

Dave Whitmer
Member
Member # 224
Reged: 04/02/99
Posts: 1903
Loc: Central Indiana, U.S.A.
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1031051 - 01/24/03 07:51 PM

Gooch covered the basics pretty well. The best winter blend I ever came across was in Nebraska. 66% Kerosene/34% No.2. good to go in 25 below great Plains winters.

My rule of thumb is that if it doesn't smell like jet fuel, it isn't real winter blend, and I add kerosene.

96powerstroke
Member
Member # 26014
Reged: 10/29/02
Posts: 78
Loc: North Dakota
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1031825 - 01/25/03 09:18 AM

Typically what we experience during extremely cold weather operation with diesel fuel is "waxing" of the fuel filters, and not necessarily "gelling". #2 Diesel ("summer") has a cloud point (the temperature when you can actually see wax crystals forming in the fuel) of around 20 degrees F. Pour point ("gelling") is several degrees lower. We like "wax" in the fuel for various reasons; power, lubricity, fuel economy etc. but it is a double edged sword as more wax, more chance of fuel filter "plugging".

I have conducted numerous tests over the years on this topic, most are real world, backed up with controlled lab data. I have been reading many theories and ideas in these forums, here is the straight scoop.

1) Some of you are installing a popular filter device prior to the fuel pump (a great idea) but thinking they are 2 filtration systems. The reality is they are really 20 micron, as the 2 micron rating is "nominal" (50% efficient), 20 micron absolute (98+%). It's a good thing really, because an actual 2 micron (absoute) would restrict these little fuel systems and plug prematurely.
Another consideration is filter capacity. I don't understand why some guys are installing an auxiliary system with less filter capacity than stock. I believe the stock filter has a capacity rating of 20 grams, why would you install a system with 11 gram filter capacity? Do you really want a restrictive and potentially maintenance intense addition to your fuel system??
If you want a system that really works, don't have to worry about all the fuel ratings, additives, etc. etc., check out beddins site on the 94-97 forum. Make life simple, end of discussion. I have a VorMax on my '96 with coolant heat. I use coolant heat as there is not enough return fuel temp (stock) and 12v electric heat will not work period. The stock system marginally works only because of location in the warm engine valley, the reality is as soon as fuel begins to flow, the electric systems cannot keep up in extreme cold environments. I use straight #2 (SUMMER blend that I horded and store for testing purposes) with no problems during below 0 temps. I don't use ANY additives, tried that for awhile and what an expensive hassle. I'm not saying additives are a bad thing, there certainly are applications for this, and depending on fuel quality they can make a difference - especially with these small diesels.
Case in point, I have the VorMax on my '96 but am driving my '99 for a few hundred miles today. Filled last night and drove to the #2 pump at Flying J, BUT with predicted temps in the -20 range, and no VorMax on the '99, I elected to fill with the "Arctic" blend on the car island. BUMMER.
This may be a long winded, but the time has come to get out of the lab and get to what works. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Gooch
Member
Member # 463
Reged: 04/06/99
Posts: 2053
Loc: Alaska
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1032466 - 01/25/03 06:33 PM

96, are you saying because of your VorMax with coolant heat you can use #2 in extreme cold?

Maybe I'm missing something, but at -20F straight #2 diesel doesn't flow. It's more than wax, it's Jello with carrots and nuts. And if the truck's been sitting for a few days the coolant is also at -20F. How and the heck is it going to start and stay running? IMO, all the coolant heaters and high flow filtration systems in the world aren't going to get fuel to the injectors. Now I understand that once the coolant is hot it heats the fuel, and with heat any #2 diesel will flow at -20F. But how do you get that heat if you can't start her up?

Why not just use a fuel that does flow at -20F and save any worry about additives or heated filtration systems? The power loss isn't that much with a winter blended fuel....and who races on icy, snowy roads anyway? Here in Alaska the stock fuel system works very well....at least my truck thinks so.

teamnum9
Member
Member # 24462
Reged: 09/13/02
Posts: 294
Loc: NJ/PA
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1032815 - 01/25/03 10:03 PM

The following is off the DIS website
THE PREMIUM ALL-SEASON, ALL PURPOSE DIESEL ADDITIVE. NO OTHER FUEL CONDITIONER PROVIDES ALL THESE BENEFITS.

Year-round application - improves performance in summer and in winter. Reduces No. 2 fuel pour point by up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

ok now tell me does this reduce the gell point to -20*F and Gooch
well it my area and some others the people at the pump know there is such a thing a #1 and #2 diesel the big truck comes and fills the tank with fuel now I have been filling up and starting with no issues at my fuel stop which gets a lot of semi traffic the temps hover at 6*F but I did notice a 2mph drop when I stopped using Stanadyne and I didn't start using it till the temps got into the 20*F
I thought the increase in mpg was a load of crap stopped using till it got to 10*F then start to use it again stopped and then the 2mpg dropped (I will post it) and a side note a a fuel supplier yes a fuel supplier thats get a lot of traffic but does not sell #1 told me that they just but additive's in and no needed to worry well the other day went to fill up the CO truck and guess what the filter were frozen and the Jello coming from the pump was what so add a some stuff to the tank

96powerstroke
Member
Member # 26014
Reged: 10/29/02
Posts: 78
Loc: North Dakota
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1033021 - 01/25/03 11:44 PM

Gooch - The CLOUD point I was referring to is 20 degrees F, not -20 degrees F. You are absolutely correct about the gelling around -20 F. I am not advocating the use of straight #2 in extreme conditions, matter of fact, the reality is straight #2 is not available after about October in most cold regions, for obvious reasons. I do notice a reduction in performance when I use the arctic blends, and I'm not racing my truck in winter either! Cost is another issue, as price varies considerably between the arctic fuel blends. My testing is in worst possible conditions - if it works with straight #2 fuel, I have absolutely no concern with ANY of the arctic fuels available, even arctic #2 in subzero temps. Also, water separation and debris removal is much more efficient when fuel is warmed. The system I have installed is coolant heated.
The truck starts fine, runs until the coolant thermostat opens, coolant then enters the VorMax and the fuel is instantly heated. The engine run time before coolant flow is nominal, and fuel filters accumulate wax at a relatively slow rate (a function of fuel flow rate of course) until completely plugged. However, once the warmed fuel begins to flow through the filter (and this is a big filter), this accumulated wax "melts" away. Keep in mind all the fuel that's already past the filter during cold engine startup - there is no issue with cold or cloud point fuel as far as the engine is concerned, only at the fuel filter. IF the fuel has reached it's pour point (jello) then it's toast unless you have an in-tank heater. The #2 fuel I have been using has a cloud point of about 0, still pours at -15 (looks like opaque honey). Most straight #2 fuel compares - it's a mystery what comes out of the underground storage tanks sometimes. (real world again).
The Ford (IH) guys have to design around a wide range of operating environments, and I agree with you that using the arctic blends will work just fine with a stock system. However, installing a filter system prior to the fuel pump just makes good sense. I was surprised at the amount of water and "junk" I have drained out of the VorMax already - crud that would have gone directly to the fuel pump - and believe it or not, I'm picky about the fuel sources I use.

AK_Diesel
Member
Member # 23372
Reged: 07/31/02
Posts: 104
Loc: Alaska
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1033268 - 01/26/03 02:50 AM

Why screw around with #2 in sub-zero environments? Just run #1. If your temps run between +20 and 0, use a #1/#2 blend with Stanadyne added for good measure. No need for fuel heaters up here in AK. We use #1 and have confidence our rigs will start when it is really cold. Even with the #1 I use 8 oz of Stanadyne per tank for extra lubricity and peace of mind.

96powerstroke
Member
Member # 26014
Reged: 10/29/02
Posts: 78
Loc: North Dakota
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1033880 - 01/26/03 02:57 PM

AK Diesel - You're right, it doesn't make sense to run straight #2 in extreme conditions, in fact it can be life threatening if the engine quits. Again, I'm not recommending it. My only point is that BECAUSE the system works under such adverse conditions, I can use ANY arctic blend (preferably arctic #2) without any concern, plus my fuel is now filtered/separated before the pump. I know about using #1 and with a stock system you won't have any problems, there's nothing wrong with keeping things simple and using what works.
I won't use #1, check out what this stuff will do to injectors and pumps over time. I also know about using additives to "make up" for the lack of lubricity etc. Why hassle with it?? The issue is cloud point, not pour point.


Gooch
Member
Member # 463
Reged: 04/06/99
Posts: 2053
Loc: Alaska
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1033961 - 01/26/03 04:04 PM

"The issue is cloud point, not pour point."

Diesel fuel becomes critical to injectors, pumps, etc at the cloud point, or the point when waxing particles begin to form (the "pour point" is a critical stage of complete flow). The VorMax filter system isn't going to "filter" these wax particles out of the fuel between the filter and engine upon cold starting. That fuel already exists in the line, and since the engine is cold and the fuel is already past the heated filer, the Vormax can't heat that fuel. And that fuel is what the engine will be using to start with. Also the Vormax can not heat the fuel provided to it from the tank. That fuel may not flow either.

I understand what you are saying about the Vormax's large capacity and warm up time. You believe it can compensate for any waxing present. This may be true once the engine is warm and the Vormax is warm. But it doesn't do much good starting.

"The #2 fuel I have been using has a cloud point of about 0, still pours at -15"

Ahh. This is not straight #2. #2 diesel begins to cloud at about +20F, with some lighter grades of #2 diesels clouding down to +15F. Perhaps you have a biodiesel or #2 with additives?

"I won't use #1, check out what this stuff will do to injectors and pumps over time. I also know about using additives to "make up" for the lack of lubricity etc. Why hassle with it??"

You have a misconception here. It is a myth that the low sulfur diesel fuels of today lack lubricity. Reducing the sulfur content does remove lubricity, but today fuel engineers have found ways to put lubricity back in diesels when it is manufactured. All #1 and all #2 automotive diesels mush meet the same federal ASTM lubricity requirements. In fact you may find some #1 fuels to have more lubricity than #2. It all depends on the supplier and how much lubricity they added. They all (#1 or #2) meet the minimum specs. No hassle necessary. Fill with confidence. Our government at work!

I agree you'll see a small power loss with blended fuels. And I'll agree that filtration before the pump is a good idea. But I will not agree that the VorMax will allow you to run a #2 in extreme colds. There are winter fuels that can do that.

96powerstroke
Member
Member # 26014
Reged: 10/29/02
Posts: 78
Loc: North Dakota
Re: Can somebody set me straight on winter diesel fuel. new
#1034063 - 01/26/03 05:05 PM

Gooch - I'll say it one more time, I'm not advocating the use of straight #2 fuel for extreme cold. I also stated that #2 fuel has a cloud point of 20F, so I think we are in agreement there. I also stated the #2 fuel I'm using has a cloud point of about 0. I don't think this is a light grade #2, is straight from the pump in August, but I don't have a load spec on this fuel, if I controlled the temp segments I could tell you exactly when it clouds, but I don't really care, as long as cloud point has been reached, and I'm not conducting a controlled test with the truck - goal was to encounter filter waxing.
Filled up with this fuel, parked outside in -10 degree temps for 10 hours to cold soak (engine plugged in). Fuel had clouded (opaque). Started the truck, let it warm up and 60 miles of interstate driving. An in-line coolant shut off valve was installed on the VorMax, with valve closed within a few miles the filter restriction reaches excessive levels (filter waxing) - above 15" vac, open valve, restriction disappears shortly to about 3" vac (normal). A similar test at -15, although the -15 was difficult to control for more than 4 hours.
So, with unsubstantiated data, I can only comment on what actually happened, and I'm not claiming this setup will allow use of #2 fuel forever. I use blends all the time, just not #1 - I don't have to now.


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