It is important to prepare your diesel engine ahead of winter and maintain it properly. Diesel reacts to winter as it has some element of wax. Thus, it has a higher capacity to freeze, unlike other kinds of fuel.
When this happens, it becomes hardened and crystalizes. When the fuel crystallizes, it affects the efficiency of the engine and slows down the task at hand. Because of this, it is difficult to start a diesel engine during winter.
It is more difficult to start a diesel engine during the coldness that characterizes winter. The reason is that diesel engines ignite fuel by relying on the high temperature from compression.
Have a full tank
To maintain your diesel engine during winter, ensure that your tank is full, especially when the temperature should be lower than usual. When the tank is full, it gives no room for condensation to take place. If condensation takes place, it will cause a lot of problems for you and cause fuel to freeze.
Apart from the engine, fill any other container containing diesel to the brim. Condensation also takes place in jerricans and tanks. When storing diesel during the winter, use a temperature-controlled environment for it.
Park the vehicle where it is warm
Park your vehicles and equipment when there is no exposure to cold air. When the diesel engine becomes freezing, it is also difficult to start the equipment. If you keep cold-starting the engine, eventually it drains and damages your battery. When you park your equipment in a warm place, you prevent it from being cold.
Use blended fuel for winter
Winter blended fuel has a lesser possibility of gelling. Its Reid vapor pressure is higher. As a result, it will ignite easily and start your machine immediately, especially during cold temperatures.
Keep the engine warm
Use an engine block heater to keep the engine warm. When the diesel engine is warm, you won’t spend much time cold starting it. It will also not drain the battery. This tip might look easy, but it is vital for diesel engine maintenance during winter.
A lot of diesel engine owners do not use the engine block heater when the temperature is at sub-zero degrees. It happens because they are not aware that the machine has one.
Test your block heater to be sure that it works. It makes a lot of difference when you have a block heater that works. It will be disastrous to get to where you need to use it, only for you to discover that it is not working.
You can also use the coolant heater to heat the engine if there is no electricity to do so. A glow plug can equally help you ignite the fuel and heat it up. The battery tender is also helpful in diesel engine maintenance .
Avoid having frozen fuel in fuel filter
When the diesel crystalizes, it blocks the fuel filters. A blocked fuel filter will not work as expected. If your fuel freezes in the fuel filter, replace the fuel filter and warm the diesel before starting the machine. Doing so will stop any blockage from the frozen fuel, especially from the fuel tank through the injector pump.
Changing the fuel filter does not guarantee that the diesel will not gel again. Rather, it only provides you with a fresh start. Always keep a spare fuel filter around. You might need it.
Use a lighter engine oil
During winter, you would also want to switch to No. 1 diesel that does not have paraffin wax and is best for your machine. Switching to No. 1 diesel is not what you do automatically. Go through a gradual transition process for your machine to get used to the switch.
Also, switching to an oil that is lighter will prevent damage to the internal part of the engine. The engine is cold because of the weather and would need more lubrication as you start it.
Fuel additives help
Add fuel additives to your diesel fuel. Fuel additives lower the cold filter plugging point, which is the point at which the diesel would freeze with the temperature. So, it stops the diesel from freezing and does not allow the wax in it to gel.
There are a lot of fuel additives you can use. You can find them in physical stores or online stores. During winter, you would find fuel additives at gas stations.
Check coolant regularly
Regularly check the coolant with the hydrometer. The purpose of the glycol in the coolant is to reduce the temperature. Remember to fill the glycol each time. If you cannot do so, the water could freeze inside the engine.
Also, you need to check the temperature gauges and ensure that it is not overcooling. Over-cooling could happen where it has been idle for a while. When this happens, it would lead to poor combustion, make the engine consume more fuel, and produce white smoke.
Pay attention to your battery
Check your battery to be sure that it can serve you during the winter. Following the corrosion of the battery during the summer, the coldness of the winter could reduce the effectiveness of the battery. So, you need to check that your battery is in good condition for the work ahead.
Ensure that you don’t harm your battery as it will affect the equipment during winter. When you pay close attention to your battery, you will avoid cold-starting it or exposing it to the element.
Warm engine before use
Before you use the equipment, warm it up. Do not be in a hurry to use the equipment such that you cannot warm it sufficiently. Warm the diesel engine for about five minutes. Warming it heats the hydraulic oil and makes it easier for the engine to function.
You don’t have to leave your daily task at the mercy of the weather. Diesel engine maintenance will help you tackle the temperamental nature of your engine during winter. Maintain your diesel engine effectively for the winter or reach out to professionals in Arizona to help you monitor the essentials.