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Winter Diesel

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, just wondering how close to the mountains should I try to get before filling up? Will the fuel in Troyes have the antifreeze?waxing stuff in or should I get further on?
Just saw Chris "Demon" Tomlinsons post about "Landie" having frozen...
Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Buy in the mountains (Grenoble, Chambery, Annemasse), try something like Total excellium. I have had the alpine supermarket stuff freeze.

Even better, buy some diesel antifreeze in the UK or French garage and use that.
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Brilliant, thanks. Just ordered some "Shell Fuel Cold Additive Diesel Fuel Treatment Anti Wax Agent"
Thanks
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harrim51 wrote:
Brilliant, thanks. Just ordered some "Shell Fuel Cold Additive Diesel Fuel Treatment Anti Wax Agent"
Thanks


yes that should be good. All the winter fuel in France (and the UK I suppose) should be good to -10C, the mountain fuel to -20C. I think the Shell additive will give you some peace of mind up the mountain.
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The new supermarket on the road at Aime was advertising -15c for its diesel last week.
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Just back from Switzerland - Managed to end up with a non starter despite antigel in tank full at Langres, and 40 L of mountain diesel.
Car is a 2005 Volvo XC70 with about 70K miles
Overnight got to about - 20, and needless to say, the night before we were leaving, it resolutely refused to fire. Fortunately managed to arrange breakdown man for the morning, and after about 10 mins cranking, and extra antigel, finally got it running.
Done some homework, and it appears that, at least on older, (EU3) diesels, the glow plugs do not last forever. Having checked them once back home, they aren't happy, and Bosch only give a service life of 60K km. Got a new set to throw in before 1/2 term.
May be useful for someone running an older diesel.
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Here's an extract from some info I put up on a thread 4 years ago, FWIW.


"Leading on from a couple of other threads regarding frozen diesel.

I had an email from the landlady at our accommodation earlier today advising that in the Grand Massif overnight temps were at -20 - -25C with daily conditions at -12C. She operates a transfer company and they have had a number of problems with freezing diesel and the requirement to replace fuel filters. According to her the local fuel stations have been economising on the quality of fuel by only using diesel which protects to -10C.

Additive is in short supply and she has asked me to take some out for her tomorrow, I bought some of this from a local car accessorie shop:

http://www.wynns.uk.com/Product.aspx?p=90795&g=GRP_PRO_DIESEL

I got it for £10 a litre and it treats 400 lt

The instructions are a bit vague so I called the company who advised that depending on the diesel used would depend on the level of protection. He went on to explain that different countries add different levels of freeze protection and depending on what they put in depends on the capability of the additive. Below is a list of a few EU countries, the lower value is the standard issue diesel for winter, the second value the protection offered with the additive. He remarked on the protection offered by the Netherlands.

France: -19/-32
Netherlands: -28/-32
Luxembourg: -20/-27
Italy: -15/-26"
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Hoping I'll be ok in underground car park, but will look for some additive just in case! Worst thing is I have a hybrid diesel, so the bloody thing doesn't start anyway when you turn the key.
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I hadn't considered this until I read this thread.

Does anyone know if the GVA rental cars will have winter diesel in them?
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Quote:


Does anyone know if the GVA rental cars will have winter diesel in them?

New post Wed 11 Jan, 17


Yes! AFAIK all Swiss diesel will be properly winterised
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boredsurfin wrote:
The new supermarket on the road at Aime was advertising -15c for its diesel last week.


-15C is the standard in France currently, but as Basil pointed out the supermarkets were economizing a few years ago when there was the last cold snap and thousands of alpine motorists were caught out. It was -10C where I was and the diesel froze requiring a new fuel filter + labour as the car was stranded.

Since then I use Total Excellium and have additive if I think it is going to be really cold. Esso etc due similar low temp fuel.
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Can you still add a small quantity of petrol to diesel to stop it freezing? Or does it mess up modern engines? I know thats what my Dads generation used to do back in the dark years Laughing
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A 'heads up' on diesel anti-gel additives:

I've come across two types, one from Facom (about €9 to dose one tankful) and one from Bardahl, €40 for a litre bottle, enough for 1000 litres of diesel.

Never had any problems with the one from Facom (on the shelves in Super U) and I have added it whenever it's turned chilly when I've been re-fuelling.

The one from Bardahl, however, turns to jelly at plus (yes plus) 5 degrees centigrade and below, becoming impossible to add. The small print specifically states that you must add it before the fuel's temperature drops below +5 degrees C. Although the fuel in the underground tanks of a petrol (diesel?) station is likely to be warmer than this, it still makes it impractical to add if you are topping your car's tank once the temperatures have dropped. Especially if you keep it in the car!

So, right now I keep a dose of both products in the car and will add the Bardahl if the car's been down in the valley at more than +5 for a while, else it will have to be the Facom.

Years ago I used to do the 'pint of petrol' trick and it never seemed to do my old Peugeot 305 any harm. I'd also like to know what the score is on this with modern cars. I've not risked it yet with the C5 Tourer. Their engines seem to conk out quite happily without my extra help!
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FWIW my local garage sells Excellium at -22 protection I pay around 10 cents more than the Supermarket . Would not have thought he would be silly to rip the year round locals off hence I buy there.
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CaravanSkier wrote:
Can you still add a small quantity of petrol to diesel to stop it freezing? Or does it mess up modern engines? I know thats what my Dads generation used to do back in the dark years Laughing


That is what I do. I'm not sure it will work down to -20 though. More useful for easy starting when there is a bit of frost. wink
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Anyone know if Ad blue makes any difference or indeed does ad blue freeze, I read somewhere that my ad blue tank has its own heating system so presumably it does...
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Do not mix add blue with diesel I've seen it put in a bus accidenely with the diesel (I'm a bus and hgv mechanic) it crystallises and will block your fuel lines and possibly other components
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@joeytriv56, Yes, I understand that ad blue is used only on the exhaust and is nothing to do with the diesel fuel, (although the two filler caps are next to each other on my car) I have seen ad blue spilt down the paint work and it certainly crystallises as it dries out.
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Sorry if I came across a bit strong I just didn't want you making an expensive mistake lol!. Is diesel freezing a common problem in cold places ? I knew it was a big problem years ago but with all the additives and the way modern Diesel engines work I didn't think there would be much trouble the company I work have have many coaches of kids to the French also and Austria during the ski season and I've never come across this problem
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@joeytriv56, Couple of seasons ago it was so cold in the Alps the shops were out of anti wax and diesels were freezing up all over. It gave the transfer companies some real problems. I guess bus/coach tanks are so large they don't freeze?
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Ohh it's that bad when it's really cold is it maybe the buses don't suffer as bad with the thicker fuel lines and the higher pressure diesel systems on them
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@boredsurfin, adblue is added after the engine to exhaust gases so will not affect what the diesel does. If the level drops or possibly freezes, the ecu may prevent the car starting though as it's unable to meet its emission requirements, so could complicate things.

Petrol in diesel would not normally affect the combustion parts of the engine as they'll burn almost anything remotely flammable, any concerns are usually centred around the fuel pump and injection system.

It's obviously easiest to make sure you fill up with a protected diesel in order to avoid having to make ad hoc arrangements, so that should be your first choice.

If your vehicle is fitted with a water drain facility on it's fuel filter, this should be used as per servicing directions to avoid any significant amount of water building up in the filter and freezing. Many newer vehicles won't have this.

Older diesels had fairly basic injection pumps that just sucked fuel from the tank and distributed it under pressure to the engine on demand with no surplus. It's this era that would most likely have been dosed with petrol in the winter.

Newer very high pressure diesels generally have a return loop for the fuel. It's pumped usually by a lift pump located in the tank to the engine. At the engine, a high pressure system supplies the injectors with a constant feed, any excess not used is passed round and back to the tank. It comes back to the tank warm from the engine so the tank is generally kept warm by its contents when running. If you park it where the tank can get really cold, like touching the snow underneath, then waxing can prevent the lift pump from establishing it's supply, irrespective of the engine end of things being fine to run.
Any underground garage should ordinarily prevent the above so it should be ok.

You need also to make sure the battery is ok as many of the newer vehicles have a minimum cranking speed below which the ecu won't initiate the injection to fire the engine. Contingency would be to have jump leads available or a manual transmission vehicle can go with a bump start even if not on the key.
Any of them can benefit if really really cold by running it through its glow plug cycle 2 or 3 times without cranking the engine, just turn it on and leave for two minutes each time to fully cycle the heat buildup. Then try and start it. It just builds more heat in the combustion chamber to give more favourable conditions for getting cold diesel fuel to ignite.
If you start it to see if it's going to go after a prolonged stay, leave it running for 30 mins to get the whole system of diesel supply warm, also to recharge what you've just taken out of the battery (it's good to have a spare key so you can lock the car manually from the outside if you need to leave it running). Keyless systems are not going to help you here, you'll just have to sit and listen to music.

It's easy for someone to misdiagnose non starting as diesel waxing, make sure you run through some of the above prior to giving up and calling for help.
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In Russia they just light a fire under the engine, keeps it warm. Do not do this with a petrol car.

Obviously, but you never know.
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Very Happy Shock
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@boredsurfin, Yes I believe it does freeze at about -11. It is after all just 90% water, the rest is pigs wee wee Toofy Grin Depends where the tank is I guess, on most trucks it is close to the exhaust so gets warmed by that, no experience of cars I am afraid but I guess it depends how severely your car is programmed for emissions control as to whether it goes into limp mode if the wee wee is taken (away) Laughing
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So glad I switched back to petrol Toofy Grin
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If you see an earlier thread about this, difficult starting isn't just associated with diesel freezing. I did a bit of research on an earlier thread after always experiencing difficulties starting diesels if left in resorts in the cold. There are a number of other car forums where this has been discussed at length, particularly from those living in high altitude locations.

basically, cold and altitude cause some diesels starting problems not just related to waxing of fuel.

- If left a long time in the cold, over several days, the whole engine drops in temperature.
- A single shot of glow plugs isn't then sometimes enough to raise the temperature, as the cold block bleeds temperature down, such that compression ignition will occur.
- This evidences in lots of churning and partial combustion and smoke as the temperatures raise internally enough for diesel combustion to occur
- altitude makes this worse as the quantity of air is reduced by 10 - 15% depending on the altitude at typical ski resorts and the effective temperature increase due to this reduced pressure is also reduced making it also harder to start.

So I was originally thinking I was getting a bit of waxing, did a bit of research and realised that it is just a bit of a common problem for many diesels. Some seem more affected than others.
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CaravanSkier wrote:
Can you still add a small quantity of petrol to diesel to stop it freezing? Or does it mess up modern engines? I know thats what my Dads generation used to do back in the dark years Laughing


That's the Old skool method certainly worked with 2011 engines!!
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@emwmarine, We also had a problem with this with a peugeot hdi engine despite having used a similar engined car under more extreme circumstances, down to -25. The problem one would sometimes not start even at relatively mild temperatures, -5 ish, puff of easystart and away it went. Some days though it would be OK at temperatures well below that. The fault that we we found in the end, and I guess it will probably apply to many other Hdi diesels as other manufacturers use both the peugeot and Bosch technology, was that there is a sensor in the "rail" (that acts as the bank of highly pressurised diesel for the injectors), if that sensor does not tell the ECU that the pressure has reached a certain figure the injectors will not be fired. To get that pressure up high enough, the high pressure fuel pump, driven off the cambelt, especially if it is a little tired, needs to be spun really fast by the starter, if the starter cannot quite get that speed , not enough pressure and no fuel allowed through injectors. Hence the easy start fires up at the lower cranking speeds, gives everything the shove it needs and it starts. Unfortunately, especially on older vehicles, the problem can be a combination of, at least, worn pump, erratic sensor and weakish battery and it is quite difficult to work out which expensive bit to attack first even with diagnostic gear Sad
Regarding the method of switching glow plugs on more than once, please do not anybody take this is as an insult, but you do need to make sure the glowplug indicator actually comes on. Many peugeot HDi's, and again I assume this will apply to others with the same technology, do not use pre start heating until quite low temeratures, -10ish I think, they start (or should start Toofy Grin ) and use post start heating to make a smoother burn and better emissions.

I think your first point is probably the most important "- If left a long time in the cold, over several days, the whole engine drops in temperature"
Whatever the level of technology in the engine, when it's cold it has got a lot more work to do to start and it's going to show up minor faults / degradation that would never be noticed under "normal" circumstances.

The swedish method is the best, where you plug your car into a socket at night and everything is warmed ready for you in the morning, no black smoke, clear windscreen and warm seats Very Happy I know someone, in austria, who ordered a swedish spec car, from fords rolling eyes and it just makes life so easy. Not sure what the cost was though.
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@skitow, one thing that my dad used to do when we lived in Austria was to put a 100W lamp under the hood. Seemed to always work. I sometimes leave the light on in our garage, which also has a 100W bulb in it. Is enough to bring the temps up to about -10 when we have -17 outside, and that also works just fine.
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skitow wrote:
@emwmarine,

The swedish method is the best, where you plug your car into a socket at night and everything is warmed ready for you in the morning, no black smoke, clear windscreen and warm seats Very Happy I know someone, in austria, who ordered a swedish spec car, from fords rolling eyes and it just makes life so easy. Not sure what the cost was though.


It's not really a swedish method, mind you. You can easily install a heating 'plug' on the engine. Defa makes them and they are quite affordable, 50e-80e depending on car model. Add cabling and an indoor heater it comes 200e-300e installed. We have an electric outlet on most parking places of houses in Finland. They usually include a max two hour/24h timer so it doesn't waste too much energy when you time it two hours before you plan to go. And it saves a lot of fuel.
My car uses a petrol heater (webasto) which is convenient as it doesn't require a power socket. It works with a remote control which I just use from indoors. It warms both the engine and the inside of the car.
My only experience of a frozen summer diesel happened some years ago. Our camper van started nicely in -25C but after 45min driving it just died. Had to wait some ten minutes to let the heat of the engine melt the (apparently) frozen fuel filter or something. Then filled with winter diesel (luckily this happened next to petrol station) and no issues followed. I surely remembered to let the tank be nearly empty before the winter arrived on the coming years, to fill it with winter diesel as soon as it was available.
When it gets down to -40C (our recent record is -51C) there's no alternative than mixing the diesel with petrol. No idea of a ratio though.
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@lmu2002, "It's not really a swedish method, mind you."

Sorry, no slight intended, it is just that I have visited Sweden and after finding what appeared to be an abandoned kettle lead in our hire car, eventually was told the connection between it and all the electrical sockets on posts outside where we were staying Embarassed It was not winter so it probably would have been obvious then.
From what I have read about trucks operating in Finland you guys have got the winter driving pretty well sorted, although -51 does sound like a challenge, you must be getting to the point where it is difficult to get anything to move, including yourself Laughing

Am familiar with the webasto diesel cab heaters for trucks etc.although I would say eberspacher is more well known here, did not realise they did such things for cars, fired by petrol ?
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Adding petrol to any age diesel engined vehicle will work ok for that environment, that's not the issue. It's more the modern very high pressure systems and lubrication of the pumps that is questioned, particularly for longevity of the components.

It gets into the area of lubricity of the diesel fuel and it's ability to prevent wear in some system components. If you don't own the vehicle or not keeping it long, it may not be of any concern.
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