Fuel gelling due to location of fuel filter?
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Thread: Fuel gelling due to location of fuel filter?

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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Fuel gelling due to location of fuel filter?

    I notice quite a few 1-series folks are experiencing fuel gelling in the in-line fuel filter that is under the floor. I've also read instances where the fuel has gelled in very cold temperatures even while the tractor is in use.

    It caused me to wonder if the location of the fuel filter could be contributing to the cold weather fuel problems. On my 2720 both the spin-on fuel filter and the water separator are right next to the engine. So while in operation both the spin-on filter and plastic screen in the water separator are getting some heat from the engine. It may not be much, but it is certainly more heat than down under the floorboard.

    The same could be said concerning the location of the fuel tank. The 1-series (and new 2-series) tanks are back under the fenders where there is zero heat whereas the previous 2-series are located under the hood where it would be subjected to the heat from the engine.

    Now these might just be the mindless ramblings of someone whose brain has gotten cold but it certainly caused me to go hmmmmmmm.
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    I don’t think it mindless rambling, makes perfect sense to me

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Without fuel recirculating or some way to duct heat to those fuel lines and tank, yes, they are subject to the cold weather.

    I don’t think there’s any good way to protect them or heat them up. If the fuel is rated for the temp, the operator shouldn’t have any trouble.

    That being said, some tractors like the 2720 could easily be set to accept some engine heat and it also has recirculated (warmed) fuel running back to the tank. I think I would limit the airflow going over the radiator by blocking it off to some degree and close off the side of the hood. As long as you have a temp gauge and monitor it, I don’t see much risk. In fact, that’s exactly what I would do if I needed to use my 2720 in the stupid cold.
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    It seems the price you pay to have the fuel tank in the fender.

    But, I find that filter ridiculously small. Yeah - I’m sure Deere engineers say it is fine, but it looks like it belongs on a push mower. So I wonder if the small size has anything to do with it (gelling).

    I honestly think at least 1/2 the 1-series gelling incidents in the past cold snap came from poor fuel habits like not keeping the tank full and/or lack of knowledge about diesel fuel in general. Buying fresh fuel and treating it properly probably would have avoided a lot of these issues.
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    The fuel is already gelled in the tank before it reaches the filter. The paraffin is floating around in the fuel in small droplets that are too big to go through the filter media. Then they collect on the media until it's plugged. When the tractor is running there should be enough fuel flow to allow the fuel through the fuel lines without it gelling. The plastic fuel lines and filter are insulated somewhat by the nature of there construction and the fuel is in the line for a very short period of time. The fix is simple always use properly winterized fuel and don't rely on the supplier to do it for you.
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    Yes, the filter not being next to the warm engine will tend to cause it to plug sooner if the fuel is to the point of clouding, however, even if the filter was right next to the engine, it's still going to plug quickly even if there is no clouding issues. Deere spec'd the filter at 7 microns, for a filter that's the first pass filter, this is a rather small rating.

    If I was specing this out, I would have put a 30 micron metal screen serviceable element with a thermostat controlled heater in it, then I would send that fuel to a water separator then finally to a 3 micron spin on cartridge type. Of course, I don't make a lot of friends in accounting....

    And whoever said its a fuel treatment issue, your right too. Fuel tanks are remote from the engine bay and thus subject to ambient temps on the vast majority of cars, trucks, tractors and other equipment. I was out with my tractor this morning, it was -7 F, the other day cleaning up after the blizzard it was -12 F, the fuel tank on my tractor is right by the rear wheel, I had no issues.

    In this case with the first pass filter being right at the tank you need to be careful with your fuel, always treat for the lowest expected temps and always fill through a paint strainer. These 2 steps will make your filter last longer and save you grief when it gets cold.
    Last edited by tomd999; 01-07-2018 at 10:53 PM.
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    ejb69's Avatar
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    I think its got more to do with untreated fuel and the prolonged cold than the filter location.
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    Yes, I agree the filter under the floor board is a pain and very small. Proper fuel management seems to be the key to prevent issues including Gelling. Not saying what I do is gospel but, never had an issue. -12 on Saturday it started and performed without a hitch.... (although my short drive shaft on the 54" blower failed), I make sure my fuel is stored off the floor and is treated with a name brand Winter Formula, namely Howes or Power Service.
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