Understanding Fuel Contaminants
By Tom Bock
Winter and the end of the tax year are fast approaching. Why would a column on understanding oil contaminants be concerned with the winter chill and the end of the tax year? Well we try to do much more then help you understand oil contaminants and how they affect your engine’s operation and your bottom line results. We believe that keeping you informed of various developments that will help you run a more profitable business will be beneficial to you and make this column more interesting.
In the past year we have discussed various topics from: what solid and liquid contaminants are prevalent in oil; how the additive packages are designed to reduce the effects of the contaminants; why the additives wear out or breakdown, to the importance of keeping oil clean. Along the way we explained how the Automotive Petroleum Institute sets standards for oil companies to help you select the right oil for your vehicle and operation and how by-pass filtration systems keep the oil clean and extended the useful life of the oil and your engine.
As a quick recap before we discuss winter and the tax year. The main solid contaminants are soot, wear metals, silicon (sand-dirt), sodium and potassium. The liquid contaminants are water, fuel and antifreeze. Additives use detergents to disperse the solid contaminants to keep them in suspension to allow filters to remove them and anti-wear zinc to reduce wear metal generation. The liquid contaminants are primarily water that produces acids and sludge so base chemicals and detergents are added to reduce damage to seals, parts etc. Unfortunately additives are not effective for fuel and antifreeze as these are caused by a maintenance issues not naturally occurring during operation like the condensation of water.
When selecting the right oil for your heavy duty diesel engine always look for the “C” designation for commercial vehicles, they are formulated for the additional heat, soot, sludge, pressure and acid that are produced, i.e. CJ4. Oils with an “S” rating may be cheaper but they are for automobile use not heavy duty diesel. You also must take how and where you operate to ensure you select the proper SAE grade of oil. Colder climates may require a 5W30 etc. to properly protect engine in colder temperatures.
Keeping the oil free of solid and liquid contaminants will increase the oils useful life, protect engine from premature failures and improve performance.
By-pass systems will filter the damage causing particles without affecting the normal flow of lubricating systems, protecting the engine from oil starvation. There are numerous by-pass filters on the market to choose from that vary in size, shape and cost as well as required filter change intervals that must be taken into consideration before installation. Research various systems before purchasing and evaluate how systems handle solid and liquid contaminants to get the system that is right for your operation. You can get the answers by calling a few oil filtration companies that offer different types of filtration or you can attend a truck show and speak with them face to face.
Now back to the winter and end of tax year. First while it is time consuming winterizing your engine before the freezing weather hits will pay for itself many times over. Check the coolant to ensure the proper protection levels. Take a coolant sample to check for acid levels and metal deterioration that indicate internal cooling system issues. Check all the hoses and belts replace if necessary to avoid breakdown. Sample your oil to detect any indications of premature failures in oil coolers, fuel pumps etc. Remember any dollar spent on preventive maintenance will save you tenfold by avoiding breakdowns.
The best advice I can offer to help you lower your tax burden is to take advantage of all your expense deductions this year. For example if you don’t have a by-pass filtration system purchase it now and if you already have one order your 2013 filter and sample supplies before 12/31. You can take advantage of holiday discounts and you can deduct expense this year and get the savings benefits next year.
It is our intent to make this column as informative as possible, please submit any comments, topics or questions you would like to see covered in 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line MOVIN OUT Column or call 866-OILPURE (645-7873) ext 7 and leave a message.
From all of us at Oil Purification Systems (OPS) we want to wish you Happy Holidays and a very prosperous New Year.