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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for you guys and I was hoping you could help me do some troubleshooting. My efforts have been complicated by the fact that I've recently replaced a couple of parts at once and we also have been having REALLY cold temperatures in our area (which I don't think I've ever witnessed with this truck).

First the facts: I have a 2004.5 3500 with an airdog 2 200gph fuel pump and a block heater. I've had it this way for years and never even needed to plug in the block heater. I usually use a bit of XDP fuel treatment in each tank. I live in Charles Town, WV and have never had a problem with winter fuel gelling.

This past summer I made a few changes to the fuel system. My fuel rail pressure regulator had become damaged so I went to Antrim diesel in PA and had them install a new fuel rail, an industrial injection 85% over DragonFire CP3 and six brand new industrial injection 165HP injectors.

Back in early January, I heard about the "polar vortex" coming and a potential snow storm, so I filled up my tank (using the XDP additive). I plugged the block heater in and it started up fine the next morning. I drove around for about five miles and the Airdog light came on. I started to head home and the truck died. I keep a spare filter in my truck so I changed it on the side of the road. The truck made it home, and I swapped the water separator as well (I thought that it would be a logical place for ice to form).

I made it about another five miles out when the same thing happened. My wife brought me some Diesel 911 (pretty embarrassing to be saved by your wife's hybrid) and a hair dryer. I plugged the hairdryer into my DC inverter and started heating the filter, but it was just too damn cold. I filled the filter with Diesel 911 and put some more in the tank. I waited half an hour, but still had no luck getting the thing started and had to get it towed home. When I got home, I did realize that the extension cord I had used to plug in the block heater was bad. It was about 1 degree out that day.

I ordered a 12vold filter wrap electric heater, but it was backordered and won't arrive until February.

Today my wife called me (I'm working out of town) and told me that she had decided to take my truck to work because we had gotten a lot of snow and she didn't think her car could make it. She got a few miles down the road and the truck died. She was able to drift into a parking lot (fortunately right in front of the sheriff's office) and she got a ride home. My wife said that she had plugged in the block heater all night, and against her better judgement, decided to try the truck even though it was 0 degrees and she knew there was a chance the fuel was gelled.

My questions are this: Do you think that it could just be a bad tank of fuel? Would it gel even with the diesel 911 in it if it was bad fuel? Do you think that it could be the new CP3 or injectors that have something to do with it? Besides installing the 12v heated filter wrap on the airdog, do you guys have any other suggestions as to how I can make this thing more reliable in winter? We don't usually get weather like this, but in my mind, a truck shouldn't stop working at 1 degree!
 

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First off, does the fuel treatment you are adding do anything to prevent gelling? If it does, are you adding the right amount? Do they normally sell winter fuel in your area? Winter fuel usually has some kerosene mixed in with regular diesel.

I also belong to a tractor forum and a lot of the country has been having really cold temps, my area included. I've seen a lot of posts in regards to this happening and it usually just seems to be the fuel gelling up. It seems like once it happens its hard to make it stop happening.

I wish I had an answer, it could be some of your previous work but it most likely is just a gelling issue. These trucks have a fuel heater, it might be worth checking to see if its working but I doubt that's 100% of your problem. It seems like the truck would have to run a few minutes before the fuel heater would do much good.
 

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Classic fuel gelling.
powerservice 911 dosen't always prevent gelling it just helps
clear the fuel up that is already gelled.
I would double treat the tank with regular powerservice and
try again.
Also find a station that has at least 20% k1 and fill it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First off, does the fuel treatment you are adding do anything to prevent gelling? If it does, are you adding the right amount? Do they normally sell winter fuel in your area? Winter fuel usually has some kerosene mixed in with regular diesel.

I also belong to a tractor forum and a lot of the country has been having really cold temps, my area included. I've seen a lot of posts in regards to this happening and it usually just seems to be the fuel gelling up. It seems like once it happens its hard to make it stop happening.

I wish I had an answer, it could be some of your previous work but it most likely is just a gelling issue. These trucks have a fuel heater, it might be worth checking to see if its working but I doubt that's 100% of your problem. It seems like the truck would have to run a few minutes before the fuel heater would do much good.
Thanks for the input. I really don't think that many of the service stations in our area treat their fuel to winterize it. Even though we are in the mountains, temps just don't get that cold here (most winters the temp only goes down into the low twenties at the lowest).

The XDP treatment I usually use says that it helps remove water from the fuel, but doesn't really say anything about preventing gelling. That's why I treated the fuel with the Diesel 911. I knew I was going out of town, so I just threw the whole bottle in. I know that it doesn't help to add more than is needed, but I figured that this tank of fuel would last through the coldest temps of the winter since I won't be around to drive it and my wife will only drive it when it snows, so I just figured I would throw it all in.

I should check my grid heater. The truck is almost ten years old and the grid heater is the original one. Wouldn't hurt to check to make sure it is working. Funny that you mention tractors. I have an old Ford 8N and that usually starts up right away no mater how cold it is.... so long as the battery is warm.
 

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A grid heater heats the air not the fuel. The fuel heater is kinda irrelevant with the air dog. Fuel most likely gels up on the air dog filters. 911 is not to prevent gelling. I assume you're using the xdp opti lube right?? That stuff should prevent it. Read the bottle and make sure you're using the right amount and it's not the summer blend.
 

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Yeah, I bet your 8N is a gasser? I also agree, you guys probably don't get cold enough that the fuel stations blend anything in it for the winter. You can ask, but the person rarely knows what kind of fuel they are selling.
 

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use double the dose of white bottle power service when its gonna be cold. last cold front my truck gelled up and clogged the hose between fuel tank and my airdog. if this happens filling the filter with 911 won't work. try filling the tank with a full bottle of 911 and hopefully you can get it thawed out. last time my truck gelled I had the correct amount of ps anti gell in with the fuel but it must not have been treated good enough. plus plugging it in isn't gonna prevent gelling, it doesn't heat your fuel. don't crank it a ton I would be worried about hurting cp3 with it straining for fuel. good luck
 

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Take this for what it is. Keep in mind it is a manufacture pushing product, however it does have valuable information in regards to how the ULSD reacts differently to cold temps. I know for a fact it does react differently because in my lifetime I've never seen so many OTR trucks sidelined with gelled fuel this winter, and you know they are getting it from fuel stations that are properly prepped for cold temps.

ULSD Cold Weather Information
 

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my experience has been any diesel vehicle that is usually run on less then full tanks of fuel end up with condensation biuld up in the tank, which then freezes, once the condensation is frozen then the fuel near it gels quickly...

with diesels that are topped off daily(full tanks) they rarely have condensation and rarely gel unless they got crap fuel somewhere...

diesel 911 is mostly alcohol and not good for system/components but it is about the best way to thaw the ice in tank in an emergency and it never prevents gelling it only thaws any ice already present...

Stanadyne Additives no alcohols and does help better than anything else i've used in 35+ years... usa fuels are mostly crap so u canadiens don't have to chime in and say additives ain't needed (your fuels are much better up there)...
 

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Fuel Gelling in WV? How cold it get?

I started my truck a few weeks ago when it was -5F with no fuel additives at all. I start the truck all the time at +5F.

Does West Virginia get colder the -5? What makes you think the fuel is gelling? I am originally from PA and I don't ever remember it going below zero.

I have a friend up in ID who has to deal with -25 every winter. He doesn't have any fuel problems.
 

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From your explanation, I think you may have a problem with the AD. If the truck starts and stays running for you to get several miles and you have changed the filters and added anti-gel either you have some really bad fuel or the AD is going bad.

Best advertisement for never buying a system without a fuel heater I have ever seen if it really is the cold getting to the fuel. What generally happens is the fuel is crystalizing and plugging the filter as it runs it thru. Normally it will stay runnign and just be a dog but your is dying so it makes me thing something else is going.

Another good reason NOT to rely on the AD for all the filtration and use multi pass. A 12 um filter probably won't plug at those temps and with a fuel heater there and the OE one you can still make things run without issue down to way lower temps than you are seeing. I know cold and there is no way I would run that fine a filter on the AD without a fuel heater and a wrap in -20 or lower temps. When it got that cold we wrapped the engine and fuel tanks on the tractors completely with tarps to keep them from gelling just driving slow.

Looks like even at 0 degrees the fuel is an issue as the newer trucks that did not have the rear filter heater enabled are having issues.
 

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answer to ihedrick...it depends on source of fuel, many independent stations buyin fuels on open market and settling for cheapest bid/source... seen a station buy contaminated diesel, mixed it with some fresh, all day long his station was blocked up with rigs that died right after fillin up... funny only a couple of owners sued, the rest just fixed em themselves... now its a vacant lot...
 

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I had this problem with my truck yesterday. I filled it up on Tuesday and I run regular power service additive as well as a little 911. Yesterday fuel gells up and add more 911, still didn't help. Ended up going buying 5 gallons of kerosene and dumped about 2 gallons in my tank.
 

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ULSD Cold Weather Information

see above link: ULSD #2 15ppm sulfur gels at much higher temps than the old #2 5000 ppm real diesel from years ago. lots of real cheap ULSD #2 high wax levels thats made of the low quality crudes such as bituminous tar sands goop out there that will gel above 32d F.

winter blend is created at the tank farm tanker fill rack, only way to get the added #1 low gel temp to mix, mixing completes in tanker on road haul and fuel dump into retail tank.
dumping in a gel point improver at the retail station tank is almost worthless, never mixes, most sets on top until the #2 in the lower part of the retail station tank is pumped out into someones tank with disastrous results.

real cetane number of the fuel is also critical to quick easy on engine winter starts.
above 0d F need 45C
below 0d F, look for 50C.
lots of 40C and lower fuel out there in the winter time.

cheap low quality diesel puts money in the pocket of the retailer and bulk wholesaler

like cerb stated, fuel system diesel heater helps, also return line to tank in the cold areas. HPCR fuel system creates lots of hot diesel which is pumped back to the tank for cooling in summer and fuel heating in winter. S. Cali and S. Florida have nothing to worry about until the ice bergs start floating in.
 

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doesn't hurt to use Stanadyne Additives on a regular basis...

seems i've said that in dozens of threads, including the fact the states have lower standards for fuel when it comes to cold weather...

can't even buy decent cold weather gear/clothing in states, everything is active wear crap (thin/useless until your running around then it warms u up, what a joke)...

heres something worthwhile...
http://www.arctic-fox.com/fuel-fluid-warming-products

in line fuel heaters... http://www.arctic-fox.com/products/hotline174-electric-in-line-fuel-heater
 

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I'm too lazy to read all the replies, but when I was making biodiesel and living in PA, I was very sensitive to gelling. I added a inline fuel heater (wired to battery through ignition) and a (rv) tank heater. The tank heater fell off after a winter, but the inline heater remained and worked beautifully, I recommend it. PM me if interested, I'll dig up where I bought it from.
 
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