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Diesel fuel quality is an important factor in obtaining satisfactory engine performance, long engine life, and acceptable exhaust emission levels. In general, fuels meeting the properties of ASTM Designation D 975 (grades 1-D and 2-D) have provided satisfactory performance. The ASTM D 975 specification, however, does not in by itself adequately define the fuel characteristics required to ensure fuel quality. The properties listed in Table provide the optimum engine performance. ‪

General Fuel Classification

ASTM Test Method

No. 1 ASTM 1-D

No. 2 ASTM 2-D

Gravity, API (Not Specified in ASTM D 975) ‪

D 287 ‪

40-44 ‪

34-38 ‪

Specific Gravity, @ 16C (60F) ‪

D 1298 ‪

0.806 - 0.825 ‪

0.835 - 0.855 ‪

Flash Point, Minimum- C (F) ‪

D 93 ‪

38 (100) ‪

52 (125) ‪

Viscosity, Kinematic-cSt @ 40C (100F) ‪

D 445 ‪

1.3-2.4 ‪

1.9-4.1 ‪

Sulfur Content, Maximum-wt% ‪

D 2622 ‪

0.05 (0.5)w ‪

0.05 (0.5)w ‪

Cloud Point ‪

D 2500 ‪

# ‪

## ‪

Cetane Number, Minimum ‪

D 613 ‪

45 ‪

45 ‪

Cetane Index, Minimum ‪

D 4737 ‪

40 ‪

40 ‪

Distillation Temperature, C (F) ‪

ASTM Test ‪

No. 1 ASTM 1-D ‪

No. 2 ASTM 2-D ‪

IBP, Typical ‪

D 86 ‪

177 (350) ‪

191 (375) ‪

10% Typical ‪

D 86 ‪

196 (385) ‪

221 (430) ‪

50% Typical ‪

D 86 ‪

218 (425) ‪

256 (510) ‪

90% Maximum ‪

D 86 ‪

260 (500) ‪

329 (625) ‪

End Point, Maximum ‪

D 86 ‪

288 (550) ‪

357 (675) ‪

Water & Sediment, Maximum-wt% ‪

D 2709 ‪

0.05 ‪

0.05 ‪

Ash, Maximum-wt% ‪

D 482 ‪

0.01 ‪

0.01 ‪

Carbon Residue on 10%, Maximum-wt%, ‪

D 524 ‪

0.15 ‪

0.35 ‪

Copper Corrosion, Maximum ‪

D 130 ‪

3b ‪

3b ‪

Accelerated Stability, Total Insolubles, Maximum ‪

D 2274 ‪

15 mg/L ‪

15 mg/L ‪

Dupont Pad Test, rating Maximum ‪

TM-F21-61 ‪

7 ‪

7 ‪

Lubricity, gm, Minimum ‪

D 5001 (mod)* ‪

2800 ‪

2800 ‪

Fuel Selection Chart

Note: * As modified in the U. S. Army Scuffing BOCLE Test Method

Note: No. 2 diesel fuel may be used in city coach models which have been certified to pass Federal and California emission standards.

Note: Differs from ASTM D 975

Note: The sulfur content of diesel fuel for use in on-highway vehicles is limited to 0.05% maximum.

Note: || Not specified in ASTM D 975

Note: # The cloud point should be 6C (10F) below the lowest expected fuel temperature to prevent clogging of fuel filters by crystals.

Note: ## When prolonged idling periods or cold weather conditions below 0C (32F) are encountered, the use of 1-D fuel is recommended.

Fuel Sulfur Content

Beginning October 1, 1993, all diesel fuel sold in the U.S. for use in on road vehicles must contain no more than 0.05% sulfur. This represents a reduction in sulfur content from a pre-October 1993 level of approximately 0.3%. ‪

Diesel fuel sulfur content above 0.3% mass causes premature ring and cylinder wear and deposit formation. Sulfur has also been identified as a major contributor to exhaust particulates, which became a federally regulated exhaust constituent in 1988. ‪

Diesel fuels with low sulfur content should be selected, if the use of fuels with sulfur contents above 0.5% are unavoidable, lube oil drain intervals and lubricant selection need to be changed. Detroit Diesel recommends that the Total Base Number (TBN D 4739) of the lubricant be monitored and the oil drain interval be reduced. ‪

Fuel Storage

Fuel should be clean and free of contamination. Storage tanks and stored fuel should be inspected regularly for dirt, water, and sludge. Tanks should be drained and cleaned, if contaminated. ‪


Do not use galvanized steel or sheet metal tanks or galvanized pipes or fittings in any fuel storage, delivery, or fuel system. The fuel oil will react chemically with the zinc coating, forming a compound that can clog filters and cause engine damage. ‪

  1. Keep the storage tank filler cap covered to prevent contamination by rain water.
  2. Keep the tank clean, especially around the filler cap and tap areas.
  3. Position the tank so that it tilts slightly toward the bottom drain. This will ease the draining of accumulated water and sediment.
  4. Minimize condensation by keeping the tank reasonably filled at all times.
  5. After filling the fuel storage tank, wait a few hours before filling equipment tanks. This will allow contaminants to settle.

Operation of Cold Weather

In cold weather, diesel fuel will form wax crystals that can restrict flow and clog filters. Fuel suppliers approach this problem several ways. Some provide a specially refined product, while others may use flow-improving additives or winter blends. Winter blended fuel will likely contain kerosene or 1-D fuel, which provide good cloud point temperatures but will result in a lighter fuel with a lower heat content. The use of such fuels is acceptable but may result in reduced engine power, fuel mileage, or both. ‪

Fuel Additives

Detroit Diesel engines are designed to operate satisfactorily using a wide range of diesel fuels. Some fuels containing performance additives are marketed as premium diesel fuels. Detroit Diesel engines do not require such fuels; however, they may be used at the customer's discretion. ‪

Water Contamination

Some fuel additives provide temporary benefit when fuel is contaminated with water. They do not negate good fuel handling practices, however. Where water contamination is likely, the fuel system should be equipped with a fuel/water separator, which should be serviced regularly. In environments where microbe growth is a concern, a fungicide such as Biobor JF (or equivalent) may be used. Microbial activity may be confirmed with commercially available test kits. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for treatment. Avoid the use of fungicides containing halogenated compounds, since these may cause fuel system corrosion. ‪

When small amounts of water are present, supplemental additives containing methyl carbitol or butyl cellusolve are effective. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Because of its negative effect on fuel lubricity, the use of isopropyl alcohol is no longer recommended. ‪

The following fuel additives are NOT allowed: ‪

Lubricating Oil: Detroit Diesel specifically prohibits the use of drained lubricating oil in diesel fuel. Used lubricating oil contains combustion acids and particulate materials that erode injector components, resulting in power loss and increased exhaust emissions. In addition, the use of drained lubricating oil will increase maintenance requirements due to plugged filters and combustion deposits. ‪

Gasoline: The addition of gasoline to diesel fuel will create a serious fire hazard. The presence of gasoline in diesel fuel will reduce fuel cetane number and increase combustion temperatures. Tanks containing such mixtures should be drained and cleaned as soon as possible. ‪

Detroit Diesel Corporation will not be responsible for any detrimental effects which it determines resulted from the use of used lubricating oil or gasoline in the diesel fuel. ‪