1. When diagnosing an issue, or showing off your tractor or implement, it's important to add images so we all know what you're talking about. Especially when it comes to issues and repairs it's important to include as many images as possible to help our members diagnose your issue. To upload images, use the Upload a FIle button found towards the bottom right of the post response box or a new thread, If you ever have questions please feel free to contact me, My username is Austin.
    Dismiss Notice

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel a Concern in Cold Weather

Discussion in 'Petroleum, Oils, Lubricants, Additives, Chemicals' started by Live Oak, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. Live Oak

    Live Oak New Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    This recent rash of extremely cold weather has really driven home the importance of treating your diesel fuel with a good quality fuel additive to avoid diesel fuel gelling which will lead to plugged up fuel filters, cause potential damage to the fuel system in some cases, not to mention the royal pain in the butt it causes when our tractors, generators, or diesel trucks stall out at the worst possible moment.

    Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel a Concern in Cold Weather

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — Diesel vehicles in the region have been experiencing problems with fuel icing and gelling in the cold weather of recent weeks, according to a diesel fuel injection specialist based in Harrisburg.

    A major contributor to this problem is the new Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) with less than 15 parts per million (ppm) sulfur, according to Julie Miller of Miller Diesel, Inc.

    With ULSD, even the best fuel additives are only able to protect the fuel to approximately 0 to -15 degrees Fahrenheit in the region, Miller stated in an e-mail this week.

    The cold filter plug point (CFPP) — the point at which, during laboratory testing, fuel will no longer pass through a fuel filter due to temperature decrease which causes the fuel to thicken and “gel” — are starting in the +10 to +18 degree Fahrenheit range with untreated ULSD, making it a challenge to get the gelling temperatures well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit with fuel additives and/or kerosene.

    Prior to the introduction of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, a CFPP of -15 to -30 degree Fahrenheit was not a problem to achieve with the use of good fuel additives and/or kerosene, according to Miller. Many fuel retail stations and truck stops surprisingly do not pretreat their diesel fuel for winter operation, she said.

    Miller noted that using high quality fuel additives on a regular basis can help prevent icing and gelling and ensure trouble-free operation. However, troubles have occurred for operators that didn’t add the fuel additives until it was already too cold, she pointed out. Once the fuel reaches it cloud point, additives will not properly mix with the fuel until it warms up above the cloud point.

    This past October, the Bush administration required diesel users, including buses and trucks, to begin switching to ULSD. According to a Feb. 8 article in the Wall Street Journal Online, the problem comes during the refining process used to attain the ULSD ratio, affecting the naturally-occurring wax in diesel in such a way that it can cause the fuel to turn from liquid to gel more readily in cold temperatures. Gelled fuel clogs the fuel filters and starves the engine, causing it to stop.

    Regular low sulfur diesel users and offroad fuel users (including farm tractor operators) have also had troubles because of the low temperatures and water. However, ULSD is causing the most difficult situations, according to Miller.
    ULSD is not required for farm tractors at this point, according to Miller. She noted that some farmers may be receiving ULSD fuel and not realizing it.

    All 2007 on-road vehicles must use ULSD, or damage could occur to their engines. Miller said that good tank maintenance is a must. Operators must “take the situation into their owns hands” and not rely on the fuel supplier to protect them, she said. Good fuel additives year-round are “an absolute must.”

    Miller said that biodiesel has also proven troublesome during the recent cold temperatures. Factors contributing to this include some biodiesel being produced “off-spec” (not adhering to proper specifications) excessive water in the biofuels, poor fuel tank maintenance and lack of knowledge about properly using biodiesel.

    Miller Diesel, Inc. rebuilds fuel injection systems and is central Pennsylvania’s largest distributor of FPPF fuel additives.
  2. chrpmaster

    chrpmaster New Member

    May 5, 2004
    We had a similar problem locally with the Fort Wayne City Schools having to close because too many of their busses wouldn't start because the biodiesel gelled up. We had fairly cold temps for this area a couple weeks ago (below 0 at night) There wasn't any snow problems just they couldn't get the busses started. Needless to say they changed back to dino diesel for the next two months. Even the low sulpher stuff works better in cold weather than biodiesel.


  3. johndeere8420

    johndeere8420 New Member

    Apr 6, 2007
    Keep in Mind, ULSD is What your RED FUEL is TOO...

    Just a small note...

    Just because it's red fuel doesn't mean it's the 500ppm sulfur fuel.

    MANY MANY...(& I would even go out on a limb and go as far as to say 95% ) of the red fuel you get today is the ULSD fuel because when the fuel gets to the terminal, it's divided into the "clear rack" and the "died Rack"....and you guessed, the red dye is put directly into the ULSD Clear fuel.....So it's the SAME STUFF....

    THEY CLAIM that lubuicity is being added back into the fuels, BUT they aren't able to get it to speck for older engens...so find a good additive to add lubricity to you fuel guys, or your tractors will start disliking you....Texas Refinery makes an AWESOME additive called DZL-Pep w/AAT....it mixes at a ratio of 1 gal additive to 1000 gal fuel....It's AWESOME STUFF....even our old 3010 JD tractor runs like it used to on the 500ppm sulfur fuel...



    Feb 13, 2007
    welcome johndeere8420 to tractorforum these men will not let you down.:tractorsm
  5. johndeere8420

    johndeere8420 New Member

    Apr 6, 2007
    Thank you...

    thank you for the welcome...

    I was using toy tractor times as my source for info and ideas around the country on the farm... such as what products were good and bad, and what companies were doing etc....

    WELL...I ended up getting cross ways (and I MEAN CROSS WAYS) with the forum administrators because a younger guy posted a picture of his BRAND NEW ATV he just purchased to push cows and livestock around on his ranch, and they booted his posts off the forum....WELL...to make a longer story short, I tried to stand up to them and I ended up getting Axed....

    I will say however, this forum has MUCH MUCH more info on it, and MANY MANY more places to post topics in different categories...And I really like that. The people who set this up did a DAMN good job...

    Sorry for the semi-off-topic post in the area, but I thank you for the sincere welcome...

  6. Rprecison

    Rprecison New Member

    Nov 2, 2010
  7. rj'sbarn

    rj'sbarn New Member

    Jul 29, 2008
    What are the thoughts on using Lucas diesel additive to prevent gelling?
    I have noticed my injectors firing cleaner and my fuel mileage increasing when I use it but I'm not too sure how it affects gelling. Being in Oklahoma we have maybe 2 days a year where it gets cold enough to gel diesel but I've never had it gel and I use Lucas. I also slightly over treat my fuel at 1/3oz per gallon trying to regain lubricity with thus ULSD junk. I'm not too sure if I should blame the additive for my good fortune or the massive amount of steel around my tanks on the dually keeping things warm enough.
  8. lhuston

    lhuston New Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    What you have to take into account is that the ULSD has more naturally entrained water in it which is part of the refining process. It is actually the water, that causes most of the problems in "gelling" issues, not the fuel. Eliminate the water that you can through good fueling/equipment practices. Keep your tanks full to prevent condensation in the evenings!

    I do agree that finding a good COLD FLOW IMPROVER is very important in a cold weather climate--Schaeffer's has a good product that we have used for about 7 years and have great luck with it.
  9. wjjones

    wjjones Moderator Staff Member

    May 27, 2010
    Good read, and info Live Oak Thankyou..:D
  10. Panelman55

    Panelman55 New Member

    Feb 10, 2011
    And I went with a diesel tractor instead of gas to avoid all the problems folks are having with gas. I sure hope diesel doesn't turn into junk...