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Fuel contamination: How best to protect your engine

Contamination in fuel, we know, can cause fuel system components to fail, resulting in costly repairs and downtime. 

Understanding the impact of fuel contamination on your vehicle’s engine and limiting their negative impact can greatly increase the life expectancy and vehicle’s reliability.

There are a variety of different types of contaminants that exist in fuel, namely organic and inorganic contaminants. 

The increase of contamination can be accumulative through all the processes involved in moving fuel along the path from production to engine. Each process can add more and more contamination to the originally clean fuel, rendering it unfit for use by the time it gets to the sensitive components of the fuel system. 

Organic contaminants result in premature filter plugging or the development of corrosion leading to hard particle damage and with inorganic particles being introduced at fuel production, fuel transport vessels, storage tanks, transfer equipment, pumping stations and vehicle fuel tanks etc., controlling the impact of both types of contaminants is ever present. 

If fuel is relatively clean, a quality and well-selected filter can help ‘polish’ the fuel, to meet the cleanliness specifications demanded by fuel-injector equipment manufacturers. However, this is not so straight forward when it comes to cleaning dirty fuel with a single filter. Even with highly efficient filters, the dirtier the fuel, the more particles will pass through the filter. 

For example, if a filter is 99.5 per cent efficient (for a given micron range), that still means 0.5 per cent of contamination in the pre-filtered fuel will get through. Let us consider that relatively clean fuel contains 1000 particles of a given size for every one millilitre of fuel. At 99.5 per cent efficiency, the filter would only let five particles through. But let’s say the fuel is relatively dirty, with 100,000 particles of a given size in the same volume of fluid. That same filter would then let 500 particles through. That is 100 times the number of contaminants that accelerate the wear of fuel components despite the filter being 99.5 per cent efficient. 

It goes without saying that it is important to manage the filtration of fuel at the numerous points of distribution, handling and storage to keep the level of contamination closely controlled. Additionally, pre-cleaning of the fuel may be required to further purify and cleanse fuel to help optimise engine efficiency. Such products as Fleetguard Diesel Pro, Fleetguard Fuel Pro and Fleetguard Industrial Pro filters are purposely designed and provide a host of on-board, pre-filtering features to help reduce the burden on vehicle fuel filters when dealing with dirty fuel. 

The Fleetguard Pro Series filters aim to deliver high efficiency media, through technological advancement in media design that allows large dirt-holding capacity, and excellent water-removal capabilities over the life of the element. Such advancements help extend the life of the fuel-system equipment and reduce filter-change intervals, resulting in lower total cost of ownership of the engine. According to Cummins Filtration, they are easily retrofitted to any vehicle fuel system. 

Managing fuel cleanliness is about understanding the travel life cycle of fuel and identifying trouble travel spots for introducing additional, effective filtration to deal with practices that are far from satisfactory or even passable. 

Cummins Filtration recently introduced an effective and easy field-test kit that can help identify if diesel fuel passes cleanliness requirements. Companies such as Cummins Filtration, which invest in equipment and technology investigating the cleanliness of fuel and providing system improvement solutions, will prove to be the most consistent and reliable products on the market. Fleetguard products know how best to control and protect your engine.

For more information, please contact Fleetguard on 1800 032 037 or visit the website at


The post Fuel contamination: How best to protect your engine appeared first on Big Rigs.

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