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Deck Fill Protection Device
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I n   previous   articles   I   took   you   through   the   problems   we   are   all   experiencing   with   diesel   fuel   due   to   changes   in   the chemical   make-up   of   today’s   diesel   fuel.      We   examined   the   various   maintenance   methods   every   boat   owner   needs   to follow   if   one   is   to   insure   their   fuel   is   clean;   which   translates   to   safe   and   reliable.      In   this   article   I   will   pull   back   the mystery   cloak   from   fuel   additives   to   reveal   some   facts   you   simple   must   know   if   you   are   to   prevent   fuel   problems   and the   costly   expense   they   bring.      If   you   read   no   other   article   on   diesel   fuel,   this   one   is   absolutely   vital.      Before   I   begin,   let me backtrack and review some key points: T he   primary   fuel   contaminant   that   causes   filters   to   clog   and   engines   to   stop   is   diesel   fuel   breaking   down   attempting   to return   to   its   original   crude   oil   state.      Call   it   the   misnomers   algae,   mud,   sludge   or   its   correct   name,   Asphaltenes;   this black   goo   is   the   main   fuel   problem   boaters   face.      It   results   because   today’s   diesel   fuel   is   far   less   stable   than   fuel   made years   ago.      Why   you   ask?      The   answer   is   demand   and   profit.      Petroleum   refiners   use   to   distill   crude   oil   into   various products,   i.e.   kerosene,   heating   fuel,   gasoline,   diesel,   etc.      Today,   to   increase   production   to   meet   demand   and   more importantly   to   increase   their   profits,   they   use   a   chemical   or   catalytic   process   called   “Cracking”   which   yields   more product   per   barrel   of   crude.      Good   for   them,   but   bad   for   us   since   these   products,   especially   our   diesel   fuel,   are   far   less stable   as   the   result.      Put   simply,   their   “shelf   life”   is   shorter.      Within   60   to   90   days   of   production   fuel   begins   to   oxidize and   re-polymerize   back   into   crude   oil.      Since   most   boats   sit   idle,   conditions   are   perfect   for   promoting   the   destabilization of   the   fuel.      Besides   changes   in   the   way   fuels   are   being   processed,   we   are   also   seeing   changes   in   the   way   fuel   is   being stored.      Storage   tanks   use   to   be   underground   where   fuel   was   always   cool.      Now,   we   are   seeing   smaller,   above   ground tanks.  These small tanks cause higher fuel temperatures which accelerates the formation of Asphaltene particles.      S olutions   to   slowing   this   destabilization   process   include   installing   high   quality   and   large   fuel   filters,   investing   in Magnetic   Fuel   Conditioner   units,   like   those   offered   by   the   Algae-X   company,   and   rotating   fuel   more   frequently   by   not filling   one’s   tank   with   any   more   fuel   than   can   be   used   within   a   month   or   two.      Better   to   fill   more   often   so   fuel   is   fresher. Also,   change   your   primary   and   secondary   fuel   filters   often.      I   recommend   they   be   changed   with   every   oil   change   or   at the   first   sign   of   sludge   in   the   filter   bowl.      Filters   are   the   main   line   of   defense   against   bad   fuel   and   are   cheap   compared   to tow   bills   and   engine   repairs.      The   final   and   often   least   considered   fuel   maintenance   option   is   using   a   high   quality   fuel additive.  So let’s throw some light on this subject of fuel additives. B esides   the   production   changes   refiners   made   to   increase   profits,   diesel   fuel   has   changed   due   to   the   clean   air   acts   of 1994   and   2004.      These   government   regulations   were   enacted   to   lower   exhaust   emissions.      To   do   this,   refiners   were required   to   lower   the   sulfur   content   of   diesel   fuel.      In   1993,   low   sulfur   diesel   (LSD)   fuel   was   born.      This   was   good   for the   air   we   breathe,   but   bad   for   diesel   engines   since   sulfur   provides   the   load   bearing   protective   film   for   injectors,   fuel pumps,    and    the    balance    of    the    fuel    metering    system.        The    introduction    of    LSD    fuel    sent    engine    manufacturers scrambling   to   redesign   their   engines   to   prevent   part   failures.      In   2007,   the   government   again   enacted   further   emission reductions   and   in   2010   more   went   into   effect.      Current   diesel   is   now   classified   as   Ultra   Low   Sulfur   Diesel   (ULSD)   and has   97%   less   sulfur.     These   changes   spurred   the   introduction   of   a   whole   new   generation   of   electronically   controlled,   low emission,   high   speed   and   high   horsepower   diesel   engines.      These   high   tech   engines   have   electronic   injectors   with   much smaller   tolerances   than   older   engines   and   will   not   tolerate   fuel   contaminants   below   their   rated   micron   capacity   or   any water passing through them.  This makes it ever more critical that fuel be clean and water free.   
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