Water in Fuel: Diesel Fuel Lubrication Engine Additives  -- Tractor Maintenance Discussion Forum and Review Water in Fuel: Diesel Fuel Lubrication Engine Additives -- Tractor Maintenance Discussion Forum

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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Diesel Fuel Lubrication Engine Additives Forum

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 01-05-2008, 21:04 Post: 149916
dnsmithnc



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 Water in Fuel

I have a 5 gallon container of diesel that I had left over from the summer that now has a LARGE chunk of ice in it. There was no way that water could have got into the container other than through the nozzle where I bought the fuel from. Has anybody had a similar problem of buying contaminated fuel like this. What could this do to my tractor. It seems to run okay but, I am worried about long term effects.

Thanks






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 01-05-2008, 21:31 Post: 149917
kwschumm



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 Water in Fuel

I pour diesel through a water-filtering funnel each time my tractor gets fueled up. I also pour some power service directly into the tank before pouring fuel in (mixing it with the fuel will disperse water molecules allowing it to pass through the water-filtering funnel). The funnels aren't expensive. Once a visible quantity of water is in the fuel I'd discard it.






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 01-05-2008, 21:36 Post: 149918
earthwrks

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 Water in Fuel

Perhaps the water was already in there. In any event I doubt that the water has been in there before you fueled up assuming you did just that. If you had, your post would read: "Engine won't run--fuel filter frozen". If you're afraid there's water in the fuel tank, I would remove the filter and bowl and dump the contents in a small drinking glass or jar and visually inspect it. You are likely to find some debris or even water---that's normal due to humidity and condensation entering in through the fuel filler vent.

But again, if there was enough water in the bucket to freeze you would have bigger issues. Just my opinion.

And for the $15-20 the fuel costs in the bucket I wouldn't even consider trying to salvage it.






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 01-05-2008, 22:37 Post: 149920
candoarms



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 Water in Fuel

Dns,

Moisture tends to build up, over time, in any fuel tank that isn't kept entirely full.

I know this will sound somewhat amazing, but over a short period of time it's possible to collect more than a quart of water in a tank that was originally bone dry.

This is due to the same principle that causes a cold can of pop to sweat on your table. The moisture in the air condenses on the cold metal, and then forms into droplets. The droplets then increase in size, until gravity forces them to the bottom.

The gas can situation works on the same principle, but in reverse. The can gets warm during the day, which expels some of the air inside, due to expansion. At night, when the can cools off, it draws more air in. The air that is drawn in, due to the vacuum created by the condensing air, also draws in moisture with it. When the moisture makes contact with the cold can, it then forms droplets on the interior of the can, which then increase in size until gravity takes them to the bottom.

This cycle repeats itself day after day. After the first day, you might have no more than a couple of drops of water in the tank. After a month, you might have a cup of water in the tank. Eventually, however, that tank will nearly fill itself with water drawn entirely from the humidity in the air.

It is for this reason that people here in North Dakota rarely allow their fuel tanks to go below half-full. The air in the tank will continually expand and contract, drawing in moisture. This eventually leads to frozen fuel lines -- or worse yet, a motorist being stranded in a blizzard when it's 40 below zero, and no engine heat to keep warm.

This rule of nature also applies to hydrostatic transmissions, oil pans, rear end differentials, and any other housing that it isn't kept entirely full of oil.

Joel






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 01-05-2008, 23:24 Post: 149924
dnsmithnc



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 Water in Fuel

Thanks everyone and especially you Joel. In my over half century on earth, I was never made completly aware of the mechanics nor the seriousness of the phenomenon that you described. I was told that it was better to keep your fuel tanks full or nearly so but, now that I see what can happen if you don't, it makes that advice much more meaningful. But, it certainly makes sense and is, in a way, reassuring in that the water, most of it anyway, appeared after I bought the fuel. Also, I am going to look into buying one of those water filtering funnels.






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 01-06-2008, 01:14 Post: 149935
candoarms



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 Water in Fuel

Dnsmithnc,

Glad to be of assistance, Sir.

The best way to see this law of nature in action, with your own eyes, is to operate an air compressor for a few hours.

Air taken from the atmosphere is compressed and stored in a metal tank. The air taken in by the compressor contains a small amount of moisture, which is equal to the humidity readings at any given point during the day. When this compressed air makes contact with the cold metal air tank, the moisture it contains forms into water droplets and then flows to the bottom of the storage tank.

After only an hour or two of operation, it is possible to accumulate over a cup of water. This is why air compressors must be drained on a regular basis. If left too long, the air compressor will eventually fill completely with water (up to the air outlet line), reducing air storage to about half.

Another way to see this process in action, is to place an empty plastic pop bottle in the fridge. Make sure the lid is on tight before placing it inside the fridge. After only a few minutes, the plastic bottle will have collapsed on one side, appearing as though it has been dented. Now loosen the cap.....very slowly.....next to your ear. You'll hear air bleeding through the cap, entering the bottle. This is due to the vacuum created by the condensing air inside.....which is trying to pull more air in behind it to help fill the void.

The same principle applies to fuel tanks, but in a much less obvious fashion. It's not noticeable to the human ear or eye, but IT IS happening. Over time, it can cause a huge problem for us.

Joel






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 01-07-2008, 07:57 Post: 149967
kthompson



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 Water in Fuel

DN, a good friend of mine told me a few years ago...buy your diesel fuel where they really sell diesel fuel...(the more they pump the cleaner the fuel you buy probably is).

Many diesels have a clear fuel filter housing so you can visually check for water in the fuel. BTW, how did you find the ice, did it float? For water is heavier than diesel. But ice is not as heavy as water, just wondering. kt






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 01-07-2008, 08:23 Post: 149969
auerbach



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 Water in Fuel

Keep your fuel tank reasonably full, check the tractor filter more often, and store your fuel in plastic rather than metal.






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 01-07-2008, 08:58 Post: 149970
greg_g



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 Water in Fuel

Quote:
Originally Posted by auerbach | view 149969
Keep your fuel tank reasonably full, check the tractor filter more often, and store your fuel in plastic rather than metal.

Agree, agree, disagree. In part anyway. Plastic itself is petroleum in origin. As such, fuel stored in plastic tanks will actually "eat" the container from the inside out over time. Yes, plastic doesn't promote condensation as readily as metal. But storing metal containers where they're not subject to significant temperature variances will accomplish the same thing.

At best, plastic containers are a compromise. But understand that a possibility of pouring dissolved plastic into your fuel system is the trade off for lower cost and reduced condensation. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with plastic for short term storage, let's say 3-4 months. For long term storage, I definitely recommend metal.

//greg//






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 01-07-2008, 10:04 Post: 149980
Murf



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 Water in Fuel

Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_g | view 149970
Agree, agree, disagree. In part anyway. Plastic itself is petroleum in origin. As such, fuel stored in plastic tanks will actually "eat" the container from the inside out over time. .... //greg//



I suspect that's a little off the mark Greg, HDPE (High Density Polyethylene is what they make the underground storage tanks for gas stations out of. LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) has a bit of a problem handling gasoline, but they don't make 'jerry cans' out of LDPE.

Best of luck.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Diesel Fuel Lubrication Engine Additives Forum

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