On The Fast Track To Fuel Savings: 4th in a series of articles
From December 2008 issue of Movin' Out
By Antoinette "Toni" Trotta
In the September 2008 issue of Movin' Out we ran the first of a series of articles introducing Arlindo "AJ" Jardin, co-owner and inventor of ValvePal and an independent truck owner/operator with over thirty years of driving experience detailing the changes he made in his quest for increased fuel mileage.
"AJ" drives a Freightliner 2000 FLD 120 with a 3406E 600hp CAT, an 18 speed Eaton transmission and 3:58 rears. The Freightliner runs on 11R 22.5" tires and pulls a 53ft. dry van. He has a regular weekly run from Boston to Minneapolis and back, running primarily across I-90.
We started our journey in April 2006 averaging 6.166mpg and a total of 351,138 miles later we ended in July 2008 with an overall gain of 1.949mpg and an average fuel mileage of 8.115mpg.
"AJ's" overall changes of: consistent weekly tire pressure maintenance, using proper techniques, on both tractor and trailer; replacing his big lug drive tries with rib tires; reducing his speed to 60mph; replacing his stock mufflers with high-flow mufflers; installing Fleet Filters high-flow washable air filters; regular use of an additive that actually delivered the results it claimed; installing a port and polished ceramic coated exhaust manifold; changing the size of his fuel lines from a #6 fuel line to #8 fuel line and shimming the transmission to increase pressure had all paid off for him in performance, increased fuel mileage and dollars saved at the pump.
"AJ" had seen many ads and articles about the benefits of fuel air separation systems and was intrigued by the concept. He had seen the FASS system displayed and demonstrated at several truck shows. After talking with Brad Ekstam, owner of FASS Fuel Savings at the Walcott Truckers' Jamboree "AJ" knew this was his next addition.
Brad's product the Fuel Air Separation System, or FASS, is designed to remove water, condensation and air/vapor from diesel fuel systems. Brad’s company has an impressive body of research from major corporations, manufacturers and universities all discussing the serious affects of air/vapor on engines. Some of these affects include: loss of horse power, low fuel mileage, excessive smoke, injection failure, hard starts, engine surges at low idle and more. According to Brad, eliminating air in the fuel tank and fuel lines is absolutely essential to improving fuel economy.
Fuel tanks on trucks are mounted low and behind the engine. To move fuel from the tank to the injectors vacuum pumps are used to "suck up" the diesel fuel. Whenever a vacuum is introduced to a liquid, vapor develops. The more that liquid becomes heated the thinner it becomes thus producing more vapor. Heating has always resulted in thinning fuel but with the new low sulfur fuels the problem becomes even worse. After traveling with all the variables of temperature, road conditions and fuel levels there is enough air/vapor displayed in the fuel that it equals the vapor being produced by a fuel filter with about 11.5 inches of restriction (very restricted).
The new emissions standards result in diesel/biodiesel blends that are thinner and with a concomitant loss in lubricity. Air in the fuel system retards the timing of the fuel injectors. Fuel injectors are designed to deliver a pre-determined amount of fuel at a pre-determined time. Air in the system disrupts the timing and causes restriction of the injectors. It changes the amount of fuel going into the cylinder. It is estimated that diesel fuel contains at least 10% air (Caterpillar) and according to the MSOE (Milwaukee School of Engineering) 75% of all hydraulic systems fail due to air/vapor.
The FASS unit is usually mounted to the truck frame rail with connections being made from the fuel tank to the FASS system and two connections from the FASS system that 1.) delivers fuel to the engine and 2.) returns the separated air/vapor to the fuel tank. Fuel enters the first filter, the water separator, where water is removed from the diesel fuel. The fuel then travels through a fuel pump where it becomes pressurized. From there it goes to a fuel filter that removes the air and debris, pure diesel fuel is sent to the engine and the separated air/vapor returned to the fuel tank. The water separator filter can be removed for cleaning and removing the accumulated water.
On August 1, 2008 "AJ" installed the FASS system on his Freightliner. The manual suggests that the unit be mounted on the truck frame rail. Because there was not enough available space on the truck’s frame rail "AJ" removed his primary fuel filter then made a bracket so the unit could be bolted to the side of the engine. For the month of August he traveled 14,716.6 miles using 1,747.4 gallons of fuel with an idle time of 10.1hrs. and an average speed of 51.8mph. For this one month his average was up to 8.421mpg. In September 2008 he ran a total of 6891.7 miles using 815.3 gallons of fuel with an idle time of 3.4hrs. and an average speed of 52.5mph. September showed an average of 8.452mpg. In October 2008 "AJ" ran a total of 14,617.5 miles using 1,740.6 gallons of diesel fuel with an idle time of 8.1hrs. and an average speed of 53.1mph giving him a total average of 8.397mpg. His total average over the three month period from August 2008 to October 2008 was 8.418mpg giving him an over all increase of .303mpg. The FASS system had delivered what it promised. "AJ" saw an increase in his fuel mileage, better engine performance and a positive return on his investment. "AJ's" total net gain from January 2008 to the end of October 2008 was .824mpg. From his original start date in April 2006 to October 2008 he realized a total gain of 2.252mpg.
ValvePal would like to thank: Steve and Pam Pollock for suggesting we share this information with their readers and for all their encouragement and support; Dave Kountz of Fleet-Air Filters, Brian Morton at Cleveland Bros. CAT, Harvey Brodsky of TRIB, Ron Greene of Enertech Labs and Brad Ekstam of FASS Fuel Air Separation Systems.
We would also like to thank the many readers/drivers who took the time to call us and Movin' Out. We appreciate your support and your overwhelming response to these articles. We enjoy talking to you and welcome your calls for any further information or to answer your questions. "AJ" can be reached at 781-408-9000.
Many drivers have phoned about the additive product that "AJ" used to improve his mileage. Because of the overwhelming amount of calls from the October issue, we wanted to mention that the additive is called Complete Fuel Treatment® from Enertech Labs. For more information see their ad in this edition of Movin' Out. In addition to improved mileage, "AJ" also noticed his soot levels decreased and no water was present when he drained his separator. Finally he had found an additive product he was happy with.