Comparison Additive Testing For Diesel Fuel Additives-Know Before You Buy!

Fleet fuel winterizing protection is crucial to vehicle operability during cold weather. The wrong additive use can be extremely costly in unit downtime and associated maintenance headaches. Additive comparison reports are intended to aid the fuel user in understanding differences in additive performance benefits and chemical treatment ratios versus pricing.

Summer additive testing comprises an ASTM physical quality package that can document more efficient, cleaner burning of fuel. Those package properties not only enhance vehicle operations but can reduce costly DPF maintenance especially regeneration “regen” replacements and cleaning plus reducing equipment repair downtime and extending equipment life.

Winter additive packages are tested under ASTM, IP and other acceptable analysis methods.   Research Laboratories, Inc's  one-of-a-kind COLD ROOM pinpoints when a diesel fuel will fail under frigid “real world” operating conditions by comparing untreated and additized fuel flow through OEM fuel filters using OEM fuel pumps. Restricted fuel flow equates to a failure.

Research Laboratories, Inc has also developed its proprietary Wax Dispersant Filterability Test (WDFT freezer test) that visually shows suspension (or non-suspension) of diesel fuel paraffin wax after placing fuel in a freezer for 24-hours at 20 degrees F below the fuel Cloud Point. Then an ASTM D5771 Cloud Point Test is conducted on the Top and Bottom of the same fuel. Significant differences between the Top and Bottom fuel Cloud Points indicate a WDFT Test failure due to fall out of the paraffin wax. Settled fuel paraffin wax will plug the fuel filters and cause vehicle failure because engine fuel is pulled from the tank bottom.

The following is a sample of requested testing from a customer considering purchasing a well known winterization additive from a recognized manufacturers. Names have been omitted at the customer's request.

Additive Product Literature Claims:

1Boosts Base Cetane up to 15% (raising Cetane levels 3 to 4 points on average)

2 – Reduces Emissions (reduces emissions by an average of 20%)

3 Reduces Friction and Wear (improves Lubricity of fuel protects equipment from wear)

4 – Cleans Injectors & Pumps (meets or exceeds the latest Cummins L-10 Injector Cleanliness Test)

5 Prevents Gelling (lowers fuel pour point by up to 20ºF)

6 – Reduces Oxidation during storage (stabilizes fuel during storage)

7 – Prevents Rust & Corrosion (contains rust and corrosion inhibitors)

8 – Contains Metal De-activators (prevents copper from promoting varnish and gum)

9 – De-emulsifier (prevents emulsification and separates water and eliminates water contaminants)

10 – Improves Mileage (improves fuel efficiency up to 7.5%)

11 – Year-round diesel fuel conditioner

12 – Contains no alcohol

13 – Treat rate 1 gallon per 1000 gallons of fuel

Based solely on the literature supplied with this additive the customer is led to believe this additive product is the best available in the industry for improving the quality and performance of diesel fuels.

While three claims listed for this product (1, 3, 5) can be verified through ASTM laboratory testing, it is nearly impossible to prove the remaining claims using recognized industry laboratory test methods.

Although this additive purported to be a good winterization additive for diesel fuels, the additive:

(a) Does NOT claim to lower the CFPP – Cold Filter Plugging Point operability temperature

(b) Does NOT claim to fully suspend the diesel fuel paraffin wax formations in fuels at fuel temperatures below the fuel cloud point

(c) Does NOT claim to de-ice typical dissolved moisture/water in diesel fuel which will change to ice crystals at fuel temperatures below 32 ºF.

These fuel properties are extremely important in order to provide adequate diesel fuel operability during cold weather and all three must be addressed with any good winter diesel fuel additive.

 

Testing to Verify the Product Claims (1, 3, 5):

ASTM – D613 Engine Cetane Number Test – Enhancements in the Engine Cetane Number as attributed to a diesel fuel additive can be evaluated using a single cylinder diesel engine with a variable head and a base fluid (chemical fuel) with a known Engine Cetane Number as defined in the ASTM D-975 Specification for Diesel Fuels. The engine is run on the base fluid to establish baseline data and then the engine fuel system is cleaned and re-run using the test fuel treated with the additive. A comparison of the two test runs determines the improvement (or lack thereof) achieved with the diesel fuel additive.

A base test diesel fuel was determined to have a base (untreated) 46.4 Engine Cetane Number.

A sample of the same diesel fuel treated with 1000ppm (1:1000) of the Recognized Diesel Fuel

Additive Product was determined to have a 48.0 Engine Cetane Number.

This represents an increase of only 1.6 NUMBERS.


1)  The Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product did not raise the Engine Cetane Number by 3 to 4 numbers as claimed.

 

ASTM – D6079 HFRR High Frequency Reciprocating Rig Test – Improvements in diesel fuel Lubrication Value (as an indicator of potential reduction of component wear) can be determined by comparing the HFRR result of a diesel fuel without and with a subject diesel fuel additive product as defined in the ASTM D-975 Specification for Diesel Fuels.

A base test diesel fuel was determined to have a base (untreated) 400µm HFRR wear scar result.

A sample of the same diesel fuel treated with 1000ppm (1:1000) of the Recognized Diesel Fuel

Additive Product was determined to have a 418µm HFRR wear scar result.

This represents an INCREASE of 18µm of wear scar not a reduction of engine wear damage.
 
 
3)  The recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product did not lower (improve) the Fuel Lubrication Value as claimed and actually NEGATIVELY increased the wear scar rating.
 
 

ASTM D – 97 Pour Point Test – Reductions in the fuel solidification temperature (gel point) can be established by using this test as defined in the ASTM D-975 Specification for Diesel Fuels.

 

A base test diesel fuel was determined to have a base (untreated) - 18 ºF Pour Point.

A sample of the same diesel fuel treated with 1000ppm (1:1000) of the Recognized Diesel Fuel

Additive Product was determined to have a - 30 ºF pour point (a reduction of only 12 DEGREES F).


5) The Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product did not lower the Pour Point by 20 ºF as claimed.

 

Testing to Verify An Additional Item:

Proprietary Wax Dispersant Filterability Test (WDFT) – This laboratory test was developed by Research Laboratories, Inc as a means to demonstrate the paraffin wax dispersing abilities of prospective winter diesel fuel additives.

Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product does not make a claim to suspend any of the paraffin wax content at cold fuel temperatures. Nevertheless keeping the diesel fuel wax crystals small and fully suspended up in the fuel is critical to preventing fuel filter plugging during cold weather operations.

A base test diesel fuel was treated at 1:1500 (667ppm) with a “proven” winter diesel fuel additive that is known to fully suspend paraffin wax during cold weather operations was placed in a freezer for 24-hours at a fuel temperature of - 5 ºF

Two additional samples of the same base test diesel fuel were treated at 1:2000 (500ppm) and 1:1000 (1000ppm), respectively with the Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product and placed in thesame freezer for 24-hours at a fuel temperature of - 5 ºF.

The following photographic comparison of the diesel fuel treated with the Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product clearly shows the paraffin wax was NOT suspended. However when the same diesel fuel was treated with another winter diesel fuel additive (LO-102008-CFI) supplied from previous testing, all of the paraffin wax was fully suspended.

 
 

Wax Dispersant Filterability Test Photo

 

Highly settled diesel fuel paraffin in the fuel delivery system will plug the fuel filters on the island pumps and plug diesel engine fuel filters and fuel lines during cold weather operations.

Conclusions:

Only three of the thirteen advertised product claims can be easily laboratory tested to verify the truthfulness of the Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product. Unfortunately all three of these advertised product claims tested did not prove to be true.

The Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product makes no product claim for suspending paraffin wax during cold weather operations despite the fact that an effective winter diesel fuel additive absolutely must fully suspend paraffin wax at cold fuel temperatures in order to assist in preventing fuel filter plugging.

The WDFT (Wax Dispersing Filterability Test) photo herein clearly demonstrates that the Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product (treated at two different dosages) does not adequately protect the diesel fuel to insure proper fuel system operation and prevent fuel filter plugging during cold weather.

Based on the three unsubstantiated product claims tested in this fuel, it is very doubtful the other nine product literature claims presented for the Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product would be found to be true if those claims could be effectively tested. The Recognized Diesel Fuel Additive Product is reasonably deemed not to be an effective winterization additive for diesel fuels.

Back To News