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We have looked at diesel fuel in some depth in the chapters above.

The conclusion is that the only way to ensure trouble free running and heating is to manage your fuel system effectively.

Filtration / Fuel Conditioners
By far and away the best way of preventing bad fuel reaching the delicate fuel system components is to fit an in-line decontamination filter.

Fitted between the tank and the fuel lift pump, a decontamination filter uses a simple reusable lifetime filter. The simple filter element is stuffed with high technology to ensure both water and undesirable particles that have formed in the diesel fuel tank never reach the fuel delivery system.

Decontamination filters will not remove diesel bug from tanks, only prevent the contamination from reaching the engine. Kits are available to modify a decontamination filter to return cleaned fuel to the tank rather than deliver it to the engine. In this case, over a period of time, a decontamination filter can be used to “polish” or completely clean diesel in the fuel tank.
Routine Maintenance
Regular filter changes will keep most debris away from your fuel pump and injectors. When changing diesel fuel filters, look for discolouration, clouding or gelling.

Keeping the fuel tank topped up reduces oxidation by limiting exposure of fuel to air. If fitted, regularly drain your water trap. Keep on top of oil and filter changes as the mix of oil and un-burnt diesel fuel in your engine becomes highly corrosive to engine components. Blockages in oil galleries can occur in extreme cases of neglect.

At least once a year draw fuel from the base of the tank by either the tank drain plug, if fitted, of by use of a siphon tube that reaches to the bottom of the tank. This will help in the removal of any water or debris that has collected in the bottom of the fuel tank. We would suggest a good few litres until the fuel is seen to be clean and clear.

Dispose of the drawn off fuel responsibly.

As a side note, there are regulations concerning the fitting of a tank drain valve.
It must be of a type that cannot be accidentally opened and it must be fitted with a plug that cannot be removed without the use of tools.
Additives are available that can decrease diesel fuels susceptibility to atmospheric contamination by water. Others are available to stop microbial growth occurring and that will lower the cloud point in winter to stop diesel waxing in low temperatures.

Waxing is caused by dissolved solids coming out of solution at low temperatures. This is not a desirable property in the depths of winter especially if you rely on running your engine for power generation or your heating is diesel fired.

If you see evidence of clouding or gelling in the fuel, there is a potential microbial infestation. Liquid additives are available that will kill any microbes.

Remember that the dead bugs will still cause problems. They, and all the associated debris, must be removed.
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