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In the Shop

RSS By: Dan Anderson, Farm Journal

As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.

In The Shop: Prep Fuel Systems For Harvest

Aug 29, 2010

 Let's see a show of hands--how many of you have had to change fuel filters on harvest equipment, then sat in the combine, tractor or truck cab reeking of diesel fumes for the rest of the day? Uh-huh---most of you, including me. 

Modern diesel engines are getting more and more finicky about fuel cleanliness, so now is the time to avoid in-field baths of diesel fuel. Spend a little time changing fuel filters on BOTH equipment and especially storage AND fuel transfer equipment to keep those finicky engines happy.

Diesel fuel is delivered to your farm filtered to 10 microns. Many new diesel engines require fuel filtered to 2 microns. Engine manufacturers recognize the discrepancy and that's why you often see two, large fuel filters on newer engines--a pre-filter and a final filter. Good, "10 micron" fuel delivered to your farm is no problem for those filter systems.

The problem is if fuel GAINS contamination while stored on your farm, during transport to the field, or during transfer to the machine. When on farms I often glance at their fuel storage tanks, and often note the "sediment glass" on the bottom of the pump's filter is half-full or more of slimy gunk or watery fuel. That hints there is a lot of contamination in the tank itself.

I've found that local fuel delivery jobbers are really anxious to help farmers clean up tanks. They have special chemicals to flush infamous "black slime bacteria" from diesel tanks. Their advice on how to clean up fuel storage and handling systems pre-season can help prevent in-field fuel filter changes. 

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