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Over-the-road truckers have experienced power loss and in some cases engine stoppage due to blocked fuel filters during the winter. The cause is the refrigerating effect of brine evaporating from the surfaces of exposed fuel tanks, lowering the fuel temperature far enough below ambient to cause either wax precipitation or ice-crystal formation. Experimental work on the road shows that evaporative cooling can result in a 6 to 8 F drop in fuel temperature, depending upon external conditions. Though wax-crystal formation can be the cause of filter plugging with marginal fuels, there is a larger and more significant effect due to ice-crystal formation from water in the tank bottoms, originating in the fuel-distribution system or by condensation through vehicle tank breather.
diesel fuels, fuel oil, evaporative cooling, diesel engines, fuel systems, truck engines, fuel filters
Barnard, D. P.
Development engineer, specialist, Standard Oil Co., Cleveland, Ohio
Fleming, R. H.
Engineer, Standard Oil Co., Cleveland, Ohio