Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Diesel Fuel Nightmare
A couple days later I went to use the tractor again and didn't get very far from where I park it under the deck and it stopped and this time it was pretty obvious that it was not going to start. It sat outside over the weekend and first thing Monday I called the dealer again. Three hours later the mechanic was back and we emptied the fuel tank. There were a couple metal filings in the fuel and some very fine grit. He then changed the fuel filters. The photo below shows the first filter in the fuel line. It had a very thick substance like a super thick hand cream that clogged the filter. The mechanic thought I had gotten a bad batch of fuel but there were several possibilities to choose from. Since the fuel was only a few weeks old it couldn't be the age of the fuel.
I wanted to see what sugar in diesel was like so the third photo is 1/3 cup of white sugar in a bottle of diesel fuel. After three days it did not dissolve and just clumped up on the bottom of the jar. It also clouded the fuel so it was no longer clear. The result is clearly visible in the photo.
So the verdict is still out as to cause. It could have been bad diesel fuel or vandalism. I can not tell from the content of the fuel filters what the cause could be. It could have been vandalism, or it could have been bad fuel or some unknown cause. This five gallon tank of fuel was treated with three different brands of anti gel diesel treatment and this still happened. When it happened the first time I did look at the filters and they had diesel in them and did not look like the photo on top.
It will just have to remain a mystery and I hope it does not happen again as it has been a long two weeks of no tractor. We have had vandalism in the past when our log splitter was vandalized by opening the fuel line and putting something in the gas tank. Also the oil was contaminated and it took several trips into town and the purchase of a new air filter and a gallon of carburetor soak to get it back running again.
Another time I was working in the garden and noticed something was sticking to my boot. It turned out to be big globs of roofing tar that had been thrown into the garden. Another time our gate was broken off and laying on the ground. Another time the lock on our garage door was turned upside down and encased in ice where someone had frozen it. A candle resolved that quickly.
There is no proof that the tractor was vandalized and I do not believe it was even though I can't explain that grit in the fuel or the putty type white substance in the fuel filter or the jelly like substance that came out of the filter before I cut it open. I'm just thankful that the tractor is running again and as far as the log splitter it runs better now than it did when it was brand new.