Water, microbial growths and rust are the three elements that will prematurely destroy fuel pumps and injectors, the diesel engine was initially designed as a static power plant with its operating life expressed in hours, the average operating life of a modern Diesel engine is 20.000 hours, consequently every tank of contaminated fuel that passes through the engine will decrease the life expectancy from a few hundred to potentially thousands of hours of premature wear.
We all have friends and family with engines and fuel systems that have operated trouble free for over 500.000 ks and those whose engines have achieved less than 50.000 ks due to catastrophic failure associated with water, microbial growths and rust in their fuel.
These contaminants migrate from storage tanks to your tank due to site specific housekeeping issues or more to the point the lack of housekeeping.
Service station storage tanks are re-filled via a 100 mm drop tube that is welded into the tank bottom; tanks are 2.5 mtrs in diameter and 1 mtr below ground with the tankers discharge outlet at 1 mtr above ground, giving an overall head of 4.5 mtrs, fuel flowing from this height hits the tank bottom at 800 to 1000 ltrs per minute agitating and emulsifying the water, microbial material and rust into the fresh fuel.
The suction stub that delivers the fuel to the dispenser is on average 50 mm off the tank bottom consequently until the stirred up contaminants drop below the suction stub you are pumping a nominal amount of contaminants into your tank, rarely enough to shut you down on the spot however enough to start the scenario we refer to as cancer of your fuel system.
Cladosporium Resinae (microbial contamination) is the result of airborne soil spores entering fuel tanks due to the breathing action of filling and emptying, there are numerous spores that are only attracted to hydrocarbons, siting in the host fuel (petrol’s & diesel) dormant until coming into contact with water, water provides the spores with oxygen for germination at the fuel water interface, the spores then convert minerals and trace elements in the fuels to yeasts from which they feed and excrete.
Water weighs 1 kilogram per litre; diesel is 840 grams with petrol at 740 grams per litre and the dreaded Cladosporium Resinae (Clad) at 1 kilogram per cubic mtr, Clad is the same family as baker’s yeast and loves heat, the average temperature in an underground storage tank Australia wide is 5 to 25°C, the average heat of fuel returning from a common rail injection system is 50° to 60°C, consequently the smallest amount of Clad migrating to your tank will grow like a virulent cancer.
People ask me all the time how many king hits of Fuel Doctor will it take to kill the Clad and clean my fuel system, there is no simple answer as I refer to Clad as cancer of the fuel system and Fuel Doctor as the chemotherapy, as with cancer in humans we all need various treatment régimes dependant on which strain of cancer we have and how much chemo is required, the only positive in this scenario is that the chemo (Fuel Doctor) will kill and eradicate the cancer.