John Deere Maintenance Monday: Hot diesel fuel
Radio inteview source: Allen Drake, John Deere Tech Instructor, Lake Land Community College
Listen here to the radio story (mp3) or read below
In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Martha in Missouri. She uses a tractor for heavy brush removal, and is concerned about the effect of extreme heat on diesel fuel. Is there something she should do to either stabilize the fuel or protect the engine?
Allen Drake is a John Deere Tech instructor at Lakeland Community College in Illinois. He says most modern tractors have a fuel cooler. Air flow from the engine fan cools the fuel down. However, the engine also has the means to measure the fuel temperature and let you know if it's getting a little too warm.
"If the fuel gets up to too high a temperature where damage could occur, the engine will typically be de-rated in power," Drake says. "The power will be cut back a little bit to protect it, and the operator
also gets a warning if fuel temperature becomes too high. It's usually in the form of a beep or a warning light."
If you hear the beep or see the warning light, Drake says to let your dealer know about it. There are several factors that determine the temperature of diesel fuel, and overheating may either be a cause for concern or a simple fix. "Air temperature, how hard is the engine being loaded? Is it a heavy load, is it a light load that will affect fuel temperature? Quite often too, that fuel cooler uses the air flow from the fan," says Drake. "If something is plugged up, maybe from dust, debris in the field, the fuel cooler might be plugged up. Maybe it just needs simple cleaning."
Diesel fuel exposed to high temperatures accelerates the formation of solid particulates, which could end up clogging the fuel filter. A warm environment combined with moisture can also cause microbial growth in the tank. There are fuel conditioners meant for hot weather that will help eliminate these effects.
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