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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Caring for Diesel Machines in Sub-Zero Temperatures

Prevent Gelled-Up Diesel Equipment in Cold Weather: 

With extreme lows in the forecast, we’re here to help prevent issues with your diesel equipment. Here are a few tips and tricks to prevent fuel gelling and ease cold weather starts so you can clear snow, feed cattle and get on with your chore list. 

Freezing Diesel  
First, let’s talk about gelling. Diesel fuel includes paraffin wax that, in cold temperatures, can begin to crystallize. This is considered the cloud point. If left untreated, the wax can move throughout the machine and cause blockage.

To prevent this, we recommend a diesel fuel conditioner which is designed to lower your gel point or cloud point by 18 degrees from its current state.

It is crucial to determine your fuel's specific gel point or cloud point from your diesel fuel provider to ensure optimal protection, especially in sub-zero temperatures. Each 16-ounce bottle of John Deere diesel fuel conditioner winter formula is sufficient for 52 gallons. 

In case of emergency with a gelled-up tractor, we also offer the Emergency Thaw Anti-Gel product. 

To fix a gelled-up tractor, follow these steps:
1. Remove the fuel filter and fill it with our Emergency Thaw, letting it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Treat your tractor's fuel tank with Emergency Thaw according to manufacturer standards. This bottle can treat up to 400 gallons of diesel fuel.

3. Once you've treated your tank and waited for around 30 minutes, start up your tractor and let it run for 30 to 45 minutes. This process should resolve the gelling issue. 


Cold-Weather Starts 
During cold starts thicker oil, gelled fuel, and reduced battery efficiency can make it more difficult to initiate combustion. Glow plugs and intake air heaters can help heat the ignition and allow the engine to start more easily.  

Glow plugs are essential components in a diesel engine's cold start system. Unlike gasoline engines that use spark plugs for ignition, diesel engines rely on heat generated by compression to ignite the fuel. In cold conditions, the air in the combustion chamber may not have a temperature high enough for spontaneous ignition. 

In addition to glow plugs, some diesel engines are equipped with intake air heaters. These heaters warm the incoming air before it enters the combustion chamber. Warmer air enhances the combustion process, making ignition easier. 


It’s a good precaution to check these features before the extreme cold hits. Starting a diesel machine in the cold without taking these precautions may result in increased wear on components, difficulty starting, and potential damage to the engine. 

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