Log in
Article search:

Q & A

problems with new low sulphur Diesel

We have a narrow boat with a traditional engine (Gardner 2LW ) I have read that the new low Sulphur Diesel fuel will accelerate engine wear. What is the definitive answer to what additives, if any, should be added to this fuel to a) Guard against wear and b) to reduce bacterial action and water retention.

Asked by: Robert Doody  | 6.05pm, Thursday 13 October

WW says:

You are right that low-sulphur fuel may increase engine wear- however, the lubricity rating of the fuel has to match current fuels. Over the lifetime of a boat engine, it would probably not be noticeable the wear that would occur.
On the (slightly) plus side, most diesel supplied now contains a certain percentage of biofuel- often FAME type- up to about 7%. This has the added benefit that is add lubrication to the fuel.
The downsides are that it deterioates quicker. you are right to be concerned about water retention and bacterial growth.
The main thing is to keep the fuel dry! This would mean full tanks, so that there is less air/vapour inside the tank to expand/contract, drawing moisture in from the air. However, full tanks means that you never properly achieve decent turnover of fuel. Ideally, narrowboats would have much smaller fuel tanks, and fill up more often! At least your Garnder does not return lots of hot diesel to the tank from the injector bypass, unlike a lot of modern engines (the hotter the diesel, the shorter its "shelf-life!).
Drain the base of the tank regularly, to remove any standing water. DIfferent agents (such as Fuel Set) could be used to emulisfy the water into miniscule droplets. We are planning on reviewing fuel additives in WW soon- some are better than others!
You shouldn't need to add a bacterocide to fuel (and "Diesel Bug" is a complex mixture of bacteria and fungi, amongst other species) unless you get contaminated. overuse could lead to resistant biofilms forming.
Removing the water, and not keeping fuel for long periods of time, is the most efective way of ensuring the quality of the fuel remains high. However, with older engines, there is still no definitive answer to the rate of engine wear- but considering the very poor lubricity and cetane values of red diesel stored in boat fuel tanks, it shouldn't be a major issue!

Mark Langley  | 8.55PM, Thursday 13 October

You must log in to post an answer.