Diesel Fuel Additive Lubricity Test
When the American EPA regulated sulfur out of Diesel fuel 10 years ago or so,
this created a problem. All diesel engines were designed to use the sulfur in
diesel fuel as a lubricant. Now it's gone. I don't know about you, but I
certainly didn't get the memo. Why should I? I'm a sailor not a diesel mechanic.
The sulfur lubrication was a necessary component of the diesel fuel as it prevented wear in the fuel delivery system. Specifically, it lubricated fuel pumps, high pressure pumps and our injectors. Traditional Low sulfur diesel fuel typically contained enough lubricating ability to suffice the needs of these vital components. ULSD fuel, on the other hand, is considered to be very “dry” and incapable of lubricating vital fuel delivery components. As a result, these components are at risk of premature and even catastrophic failure when ULSD fuel is introduced to the system.
When you dig into this you'll discover the oil companies were required to put some additives in their diesel fuel to compensate for the removal of sulfur. But did anyone really know if this lubrication was sufficient? It was professional 18 wheeler Truckers who were concerned about the consequences as their livelyhood was at risk.
Independent truckers use their engines more than anyone, and have a sizeable investment their trucks. They regularly purchased diesel additives at truck stops to protect their engines. However, over the years the number of these additives has grown and all proclaim to protect diesel engines. Have a look in the additive area of an auto parts store or truck stop these days, it would take hours to read all the additive labels and no way to be certain which is the best lubricant or if any of the additives actually lubricate. These truckers were looking for answers. Which of these additives did what it said, and offered the protection they were looking for? There were no answers to this. As a result, they commissioned their very own independent research which was funded by a group of independent truckers and completed by an independent lab.
The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of multiple diesel fuel additives to replace the missing lubricity component in ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) fuel. ULSD fuel is the fuel currently mandated for use in all on road diesel engines. This fuel burns cleaner and is less polluting than its predecessor, called Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel. Low sulfur fuel contained less than 500 ppm of sulfur. ULSD contains 15 ppm or less.
These tests prove that often times the fuel we purchase is not adequately treated and may therefore contribute to accelerated wear of our fuel delivery systems. For this reason it may be prudent to use an after market diesel fuel additive to ENSURE adequate lubrication of the fuel delivery system.
Additionally, many additives can offer added benefits such as Cetane improver, anti-gel agents and water separators (demulsifiers). Some fuel additives include water emulsifiers that cause the water to remain in suspension with the fuel. For sailors, this should be of interest as we all depend on our diesels and at times they could be necessary to save us from life and death situations.
This is a study of some of the most popular diesel additives in a test which has ZERO bias as to the brand of the additive. Each additive was sent to the lab with random numbers on the container.
All marine diesel owners should be grateful for this study which was conducted and sponsored by Dieselplace.com. Click on the Link below for the results of their testing but I'll tell you right now that if you plan on keeping your boat, you should be adding a lubricant into your diesel fuel.
The webmaster of this website has 2 Yanmar diesels in his Catalac Catamaran and used this study to choose additives regularly used in his diesel engines.