Pampering your workhorse

A RUN DOWN ON DIESEL ADDITIVES AND WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR YOUR ENGINE

with a machine as complex and important as a diesel engine, it’s no wonder there are lots of different products on the market to “enhance” the work it does.

In general, the purpose of diesel additives falls into one of three categories: extending the life of the engine, maintaining fuel quality or improving efficiency, all of which translate to improved performance and, hopefully, a little savings.

“If you’re running a diesel, you should be running an additive,” says Michael Bidyk of DSG Power Systems. The all around product Bidyk recommends is DSG’s 4+ Premium additive. “Fuel has been the same for 30 years and farmers don’t have 30 year old tractors. The mileage return and time and money spent on repairs that you’ll avoid make the additive worthwhile,” he says.

all  around performance
The 4+ Premium focuses on eight key issues that reduce fuel quality and engine performance. “Fuel goes through a process that takes out the sulphur and this process can cause drying of the fuel so it doesn’t have as much lubricity,” says Bidyk. DSG’s additive provides the engine with the lubricity it requires.

FS PARTNERS has an additive that also helps tackle the lubricity issue brought on by ultra low sulphur diesel fuel. “The Dieselex Gold additive has lubricity enhancers that extend the life of the fuel pump which is especially important for older engines,” says Tom O’Neil of FS PARTNERS.

Both 4+ Premium and Dieselex Gold also feature a detergent and a cetane booster. The detergent helps clean up the fuel injectors while the cetane booster gives you more horsepower and a faster start up. “The cetane booster gives you all the things that you’d expect from a high octane gasoline,” explains Bidyk.

Also featured in the 4+ Premium and the Dieselex Gold is a water demulsifying agent and a fuel stabilizer. “Demulsifyers separate the water from the fuel so it can be easily collected and removed using filters,” says O’Neil.

As for fuel stabilizers, Bidyk thinks these are especially important for newer tractors. “Engines have changed a lot in 30 years and fuel hasn’t. The stabilizer in the 4+ Premium keeps the fuel from breaking down in the engine,” he explains.

Ultimately, both products claim to do all three of the goals of an additive: maintain fuel quality, improve efficiency and extend the life of the engine. Dieselex Gold offers a 5.7 percent increase in efficiency guarantee while 4+ Premium claims top performance and fuel mileage improvement.

take caution
Despite these claims, when using additives, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affair’s engineer says it’s important to be cautious.

“You may have an additive that does one thing while it gums up something else. It’s going to affect every part of the engine,” says Helmut Spieser. The other thing to consider is your warranty. Additives can void warranties if they are not within the regular maintenance plan of a specific machine.

Spieser advises that although there are some situations where an additive can be helpful, most of the time they aren’t entirely necessary. “If you’re buying good, quality fuel and you’re maintaining good storage with clean filters, there is no need to add anything,” he says.

winter ready
One situation where Spieser does advise additives is during the winter months or during a period of time where the machine is going to be unused. “If you’re storing a machine for a period of time you might want to add some fuel stabilizer to the tank,” says Spieser. “Leave the tank full so there isn’t much room for expansion and contraction — which can cause water condensation and build up — and add a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh,” he explains. Spieser recommends this practice for any machine that is going to be stored for more than 3 to 4 months.

The 4+ Arctic product from DSG?Power Systems is one option for those cold months and the switch over time between summer and winter diesel. “Farmers have bulk tanks and onsite storage and a lot of times, summer diesel is still in the tank come October,” says Bidyk, “The 4+ Arctic is perfect for this.”

One option for a “cold emergency” is the Diesel 9.1.1. additive offered by Power Services. This winter rescue product de-ices frozen fuel filters, re-liquefies gelled fuels and contains lubricating additives similar to the other products mentioned above. •

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