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What is the best method to keep the fuel system warm?

On my truck, I have had to change fuel filters several times this winter due to the filter getting so cold the water in the fuel turns to ice. I have also noticed a drop in fuel mileage and mo boss insists that I don't idle, so he has me use a plug-in heater when the temperature drops below 20. I did not have this problem last winter, as I was OTR regional most of the time and this year he has me running local.

I find that once I warm the filter or the truck (by pulling it into a heated shop or changing the filter), the truck runs fine until I fuel it or I park it overnight. He doesn't want me idling, because it costs him too much money in fuel expenses, and my fuel mileage has steadily dropped as the temperatures have gotten colder. Last night, it was 5 below zero, and one of my co-workers is having a very similar issue with his 2006 Volvo VN 630.

I am seriously interested in getting the FASS system and it's fuel filter heater for my truck, or perhaps getting a diesel-fired cab and engine heater (such as a Webasto). Which one would be better for our operation (hauling grain)?

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Here's what I'm looking at, as an add-on to the FASS system: http://www.fassride.com/shop/accessories...

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It's the water, not fuel that freezes in your filters. If you have water separators drain them often. None of the heaters will really help you because the fuel gels in the tanks, lines and filters so a cab/engine heater will do nothing for that and i'm guessing you don't sleep in the truck.

I'd start using a large bottle of the orange 911 every time you fuel to keep the diesel from gelling and water from freezing.

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Yes, you are right about fuel gelling in the tanks, but when I drain the separator, there only seems to be fuel coming out, not water, even when it's warm. BTW, I do occasionally sleep in the truck, and we already use 911 and Diesel Fuel Supplement. Could it be that we need to drain the fuel tanks or perhaps I've been getting bad fuel? And what about the FASS accessory that heats the filters directly, since that's where my problem is?

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I know which fass heater you're talking about but that will do nothing for the filter on the engine of gelled fuel in the fuel lines. I have the fass without the heater and i think it would be a waste of money to get one. You can always go old school and wrap diapers over your filters. Btw instead of changing filters every time get a small torch...just be careful ;)

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I've checked into several things at this point...

Heat tape won't work- Indoor use in dry areas only.

You are right about the FASS- it mounts in place of the water separator. A heater element will work there, but it won't help the block-mounted fuel filter because of the space between the frame and block which only has enough room for the prescribed CAT fuel filter.

The small torch may work in a pinch, but with another truck in the fleet having the same problem even though it was stored inside, I am suspecting the fuel itself. Could it be a problem with the separator, since water is getting past it?

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It may be the fuel but more likely plain old condensation after you shut a hot truck down in cold weather. Your boss could get a propane blower but you'd need to come in about an hour early in the morning to get it going and to thaw the engine out.

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Btw you don't need to change the filters. Pour half of the fuel out of them and top off with the 911. Let sit for a few and it should get rid of the ice and liquify the diesel.

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I'm not sure of you location, and what fuel blend is available for purchase in your area.

But buying quality 1# fuel is all that's needed for some of the most severe cold weather. Examine the fuel you purchase, clear is good, hits of yellow indicate a 2#blend.

My truck is always outside, and shut off every night. -22F in Saskatoon Saskatchewan was not an issue the other night. I use no additives, and have no fuel filter/gelling issues.

Loss of fuel economy in cold weather is expected

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Most of the fuel around here is #2 B10 biodiesel blend, because of Illinois law... that's why I was suspecting the fuel. Also, I already knew about loss of fuel mileage in cold weather, which I expected, and 2 hour detention lines don't help fuel mileage either.

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Found out we got bad fuel, and I was able to confirm the problem myself when I attempted to fuel yesterday, only to have fuel freeze in the pump nozzle at FS in Forrest, Illinois. I turned off the pump and tried another nozzle, which worked properly, perhaps under too much pressure.

Be careful when fueling at "card-lock" stations (especially low volume ones) and at smaller truck stops- make sure the filter on the pump is fresh in cold weather. If in doubt and an attendant is available, ask them.

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I realize this is a very old post, but noticed you mentioned Forrest, Illinois. I live outside of Chatsworth and only fuel at K&H in Gilman during the winter and never need anti gel and don't have any issues and my truck will sit up to a week in the winter

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Park inside the shop at night.

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The shop only has room for 4 trucks, and when I get back from my runs, it's already full with trucks being repaired or needing to stay warm, so I have to keep the truck outside.

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An in the fuel tank heater. It's an immersion heater that mounts from the outside of the fuel tank. The heater heats the fuel with a monel tube runs in to the fuel tank. The fuel is heated by means of engine coolant. Before you say what if the tube breaks Monel is impervious to corrosion it's used in aircraft, aerospace, marine & trucking applications it's one tough metal. I ran the cold country for ten years and wouldn't have a tractor without one.

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That helps in the tank, but is there one that helps at the filters, specifically? My problem seems to be under the hood, not in the tanks.

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This heater heats the fuel through out the system from the tank, the fuel filter and the lift pump. meaning it sends heated fuel through the whole fuel system. Which will block the formation of wax and keep the fuel from gelling...

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This kind of a heater works only when the truck is running and the coolant is hot and circulates through the system. Won't help when the truck is parked over night.

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I ran IA, NE, MN. WY, ND, SD in up to -30 weather My truck never let me down. This system is easy on the wallet and works well

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Get some of that electric heating wrap for home water pipes, wrap your fuel filter with it, plug it in at night.

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The heat tape you mention is not available at my favorite home improvement stores, simply because the stuff they sell is "indoor use only" and because the truck is kept outside, I need something with water resistance.

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You don't mention what engine you have, I have a friend with an 06 Volvo with the Volvo engine and he claimed that the Volvo engines don't return enough [or any] fuel to the fuel tanks which really compounds the fuel gelling problem. Fuel starts gelling at about 8 degrees and when this happens the wax in the fuel comes out of suspension and plugs the fuel filters, every time. If the temperature stays at or near 0, I will just run the tanks low on fuel [1/8 to 1/4 tank] and put in 1/2 bottle of Lucas Extreme winter fuel conditioner and let the engine run for 15 minutes to get it into the filters and lines. Shut the truck off. In the morning, fuel up with #2 fuel for only the amount you are going to use that day in case another cold night is in store. If the temp is going to be far below zero, run the truck very low on fuel and put in #1 fuel to get a 50% to 80% #1 dilution. Shut the truck off. In the morning, fuel up with #2 and add a little extra because of the mpg loss with #1 fuel. I have run old Detroits and new Cats down to -25 on 100% #2, just don't shut them off till you are back home safe. My trucks always have a Davco heated fuel filter to run in the northern winter.

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Obviously, you didn't look up my truck at LetsTruck.com. I have a CAT 3406E and my co-worker has an '06 Volvo D12 Vectro with EGR and DPF (Kevin Rutherford's favorite engine).

I was looking into a heated fuel filter myself, as that would likely prevent the issue in the future.

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There are many ways to keep fuel warm while the engine is running. Zachary is looking for a way to keep the fuel/fuel filters warm while the engine is not running.

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Zachary in the winter you need to put Howes fuel conditioner or Power Service in the white container. Follow directions on the bottle with bio-diesel I go over-board. Under 30 degrees I condition my fuel. I live in Milwaukee, WI and it works great for me.

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We were already doing that, I found out both FS and Fairbury Shell had bad shipments of fuel that had too much water content (and perhaps old filters on the pumps). In fact, the pump nozzle itself froze at FS in Forrest when I attempted to fuel the other day, so I had to shut off the pump and move the truck to the pump in the other island. I had no problems starting this morning, and I'm looking to find a permanent fix to cold-weather fuel quality issues (perhaps a FASS system, plug-in tank heaters (I may have to invent those) and/or heat tape) in the future. Heat tape- commonly used to prevent water pipes from freezing- looks promising, though right now, I don't see outdoor-grade heat tape available in Central Illinois at Menard's, Lowe's or Ace.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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i'm not sure how much money the boss is willing to spend. but since the cost of fass (which won't help for starting in cold temps-i have 1 in each of my 2 trucks and live in co) is ok, a hotel battery setup with an inverter, an electical fuel heater, and/or block heater might solve your problem. there's a bonus to this setup: you can plug in a small space heater as well. for years i had a 3500 watt gas generator and plugged in block heater at extreme temps and always started like i had had shut off truck within a couple hours.

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I found out my truck was supposed to offer a filter pre-heater as a factory option. But it wasn't spec'd because the truck was originally run in Texas, where they don't get cold, much less snow, very often...

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there are several sources for 110 volt plug in heaters that glue to the bottom of the fuel tank,hydraulic tank,oil pan or anything else that needs heated they come in different ratings.I have 300 watt units on all the fuel tanks,a 1000 watt on the oil pan.You can also get pre made fuel lines that have a 12 VOLT heating element inside them they are made by a co called HOTLINE which was bought by PACCOR a few years back .By equiping your truck with both your fuel will stay warmer at night then in the morning you flip on the fuel line for 1-2 minutes before starting truck to put more heat going into filters, I forgot to mention the fuel line is thermostaticly controlled you can leave it on all day if needeed

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Did you mean PACCAR instead of PACCOR? I think you did... but if they own HOTLINE, that means I likely can't get it for my truck since the product might be exclusive to Peterbilt and Kenworth. That would be nice, however... so it might be a way to influence my boss to buy me a KW T800 to replace the old Volvo.

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Arctic Fox has anything you would need to keep fuel warm in winter.

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Zachary will be eternally grateful.
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