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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!
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Thread: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel! Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-31-2013 06:40 PM
Alex W
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

Modern on-road diesel in the US is ULSD, which is <15ppm. I'd guess that most marinas would also start selling that because it is easier to source than LSD (<500ppm).
01-31-2013 06:32 PM
MarkSF
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

ChucklesR, I re-read the report and it says they deliberately used a sample of raw ULSD that had not received an additive package. So it is not representative of the ULSD you can buy.

What the study proves is that adding additives to raw, untreated ULSD improves lubricity, or reduces it, depending on the additive - that's all!
01-31-2013 06:27 PM
chucklesR
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

TropicCat, the study is a 2007 study but does not mention ASTM 975 - are we sure the added lubrication of that standard was part of the test?

I mean to say, is this really an issue or has the industry self corrected?

And does anyone know if the fuel at the pump is no. 2 d s15 (15 ppm of sulfur)
or is it no. 2 d2500 (500 ppm of sulfur).
both are within the standard.

I don't even know if the no. 2 I have delivered a 'heating oil' is s15, s500 or s5000.

If you page down to the chart here http://ia700803.us.archive.org/24/it....d975.2007.pdf
it has the HFRR rating for ALL of the no. 1 thru no.2 S5000 (the old nasty version) as exactly the SAME, i.e. HFRR 520.
Let's be real clear, old fuel with a sulfur content of 5000 ppm has the same lubricity as ULSD at 520, per the standard.

The stuff the guy used in the study for his baseline was 636 - meaning it didn't meet the standard
That tells me there is no problem, maybe just hype?
01-31-2013 05:17 PM
MarkSF
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TropicCat View Post
Not quite the same thing though, is it? Your 2013 engine was designed for Ultra low sulfur fuel, and our older diesels were not. This is the entire point.

Read the test. If guys who drive a diesel 1,000,000 miles swear this is the bible, are you better qualified to disagree with them?

And please refrain from shooting the messenger.
Right above there's a post from a guy who runs a trucking company, and hasn't seen any change in fuel pump failures.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that low lubricity is bad, or that ULSD has lower lubricity than old high sulphur fuel. The question is, is ULSD that meets the ASTM spec SUFFICIENTLY lubricitous? And if so, how often does it not meet spec, and why?

The question in that test you quote, is how come the baseline fuel failed the wear spec it should have met? Was it contaminated or poorly made?

An interesting fact is that, since VW introduced the latest TDI engine in 2009, and had some problems with fuel pump failures, VW have taken to testing the fuel in every car that suffers a failure, and makes a warranty claim - and are finding gasoline contamination in the diesel, every single time.

So it seems possible that fuel pump failures are at least sometimes, and probably most of the time, due to contamination of diesel with gasoline (or marvel mystery oil!)

So the best action you can take is to make sure you get fuel from a reputable supplier.
01-31-2013 04:23 PM
casey1999
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

I was just reading my Yanmar engine manual. One thing it said was sulfur in diesel fuel can mix with any water in the fuel (and all fuel probably has some water mixed in, even if you have a fuel water separator) and create sulfuric acid which will attack your fuel pump and injection valves. So it seems no sulfur in the fuel is a good think, as long as additives are there to get the lubricity up.

I do add a lubricant and algacide to the fuel, just in case.
01-31-2013 03:40 PM
TropicCat
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
....If ULSD can lubricate the 25,000 PSI fuel pump in my 2013 TDI, I'm sure it can lubricate the 30-year old technology fuel pump in my Universal.
Not quite the same thing though, is it? Your 2013 engine was designed for Ultra low sulfur fuel, and our older diesels were not. This is the entire point.

Read the test. If guys who drive a diesel 1,000,000 miles swear this is the bible, are you better qualified to disagree with them?

And please refrain from shooting the messenger.
01-31-2013 02:22 PM
Alex W
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

It's off topic, but every new version of the TDI drives worse than the last. We've owned 1998 Jetta, 2000 Golf, 2002 Jetta Wagon, 2006 Jetta and I've driven many others (up to the 2010 Sportwagen TDI). The 2000 Golf was the best handling of the bunch. My wife's 2006 Jetta is comfortable, but I think it handles pretty poorly.

5 gallons of diesel on a sailboat per month seems like a lot, you must get to enjoy a lot of time on the boat. I mostly use the engine to get in and out of my marina (~10 minutes at a time) and it can take me 6 months to go through 5 gallons of fuel. It's long enough that I don't remember if Shilshole still sells 20% biodiesel or not (which has great lubricity, but don't use it in VW TDIs newer than 2006).
01-31-2013 02:04 PM
MarkSF
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

When I fill the Passat up (which is about every 3 weeks... the result of 50mpg on the highway) I just fill the 5 gallon jerry for the boat. That about covers my sailing use. This way I get fresh diesel.

I had the Jetta 6 (2010) and now the 2013 Passat TDI. They are very similar to drive, the main difference being a much softer ride in the Passat, more room, and more soundproofing.
01-31-2013 01:44 PM
miatapaul
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
The ASTM 975 lubricity specification for #2 diesel fuel has been in place since 2006, and the ultra-low sulphur fuels must meet it. So there has been NO change in the lubricity spec that fuels must meet. If ULSD can lubricate the 25,000 PSI fuel pump in my 2013 TDI, I'm sure it can lubricate the 30-year old technology fuel pump in my Universal.

The failures I think have been of seals that were in a poor state anyway, and ULSD sends them over the edge.

Just because some guy at the marina says it's true, doesn't make it true.
I agree, it is likely the age of the seals, and the ULSD pushes them over the edge, but if you can avoid the failure a few years or more, then it is cheap insurance given how little fuel the average sailboat uses. I was surprised at Stanadyne's results were so low, I wonder how there current formula would be if there has been any change. I know that is one of the top additives for the modern VW crowd. I hope to pick up a new TDI whenever the new Golf 7 comes to the US, or I may get a Jetta Sport-wagon or Golf 6. I was not impressed with the new Passat or Jetta.

I also wonder about availability of the top rated additives from that study. Keep in mind the marine environment has other things to be concerned about other than just lubrication. (High levels of H2O and other contaminates) You are also likely better off finding the best source of fuel before even worrying about additives. I know a lot of Marine supplies are suspect to begin with. With my previous diesels I have religiously used truck stops to make sure I got high quality fresh fuel, but you cant do that with a sailboat unless you use jerry cans.
01-31-2013 12:07 PM
MarkSF
Re: EEK! They've taken the sulfur out of Marine Diesel!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post


I was talking with a marine diesel mechanic and he told me that they've now taken almost all the surfur out of marine diesel. I knew that the on-road stuff was low sulfur now but I thought us (off-road) boaters were still polluting. Apparently not!

He told me that since diesel fuel is the primary lubricant for the high pressure fuel pump and parts of the injectors that those are the parts wearing out rapidly now. He said that Seattle Injector has had to hire more staff to deal with the increased demand of suddenly worn out $3000 injector pumps.

His recommendation was to add a lubricant additive to the fuel. He likes the biobor brand but says many other brands work.

Read more here:
Locomotive, marine and non-road diesel fuel standards begin at later dates. - Clean Diesel Fuel Alliance

MedSailor
The ASTM 975 lubricity specification for #2 diesel fuel has been in place since 2006, and the ultra-low sulphur fuels must meet it. So there has been NO change in the lubricity spec that fuels must meet. If ULSD can lubricate the 25,000 PSI fuel pump in my 2013 TDI, I'm sure it can lubricate the 30-year old technology fuel pump in my Universal.

The failures I think have been of seals that were in a poor state anyway, and ULSD sends them over the edge.

Just because some guy at the marina says it's true, doesn't make it true.
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