C0.5, C0.7, C1.1/3011C, C1.5/3013C, C1.6 and C2.2/3024C/3024CT Industrial Engines and Engines for Caterpillar Built Machines Fuel Quality - Test Caterpillar


Fuel Quality - Test
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Table 1
Required Tools 
Part Number  Part Description  Qty 
5P-2712  Thermometer/Hydrometer 

This test checks for problems regarding fuel quality. Refer to Diesel Fuels and Your Engine, SEBD0717 for additional details.

Use the following procedure to test for problems regarding fuel quality:

  1. Determine if water and/or contaminants are present in the fuel. Check the water separator (if equipped). If a water separator is not present, proceed to Step 2. Drain the water separator, if necessary. A full fuel tank minimizes the potential for overnight condensation.

    Note: A water separator can appear to be full of fuel when the water separator is actually full of water.

  2. Determine if contaminants are present in the fuel. Remove a sample of fuel from the bottom of the fuel tank. Visually inspect the fuel sample for contaminants. The color of the fuel is not necessarily an indication of fuel quality. However, fuel that is black, brown, and/or similar to sludge can be an indication of the growth of bacteria or oil contamination. In cold temperatures, cloudy fuel indicates that the fuel may not be suitable for operating conditions. The following methods can be used to prevent wax from clogging the fuel filter:

    • Fuel heaters

    • Blending fuel with additives

    • Utilizing fuel with a low cloud point such as kerosene

    Refer to Operation and Maintenance Manual, "Fuel Recommendations" for more information.

  3. Check fuel API with a 5P-2712 Thermometer/Hydrometer for low power complaints. The acceptable range of the fuel API is 30 to 45 when the API is measured at 15 °C (60 °F), but there is a significant difference in energy within this range.

    Table 2
    Fuel Density (API)(1) Correction Factors 
    API at 16 °C (60 °F)  Correction Factor 
    32.0  0.987 
    35.0  1.000 
    40.0  1.022 
    45.0  1.044 
    (1) The measured fuel API rating and the corresponding temperature must be corrected to 16 °C (60 °F) before selecting a fuel correction factor. Use the chart for the fuel density correction factor in order to determine the fuel API rating at 16 °C (60 °F).

    Note: A correction factor that is greater than 1.000 may be the cause of low power and/or poor fuel consumption.

  4. If fuel quality is still suspected as a possible cause to problems regarding engine performance, disconnect the fuel inlet line, and temporarily operate the engine from a separate source of fuel that is known to be good. This will determine if the problem is caused by fuel quality. If fuel quality is determined to be the problem, drain the fuel system and replace the fuel filters. Engine performance can be affected by the following characteristics:

    • Cetane number of the fuel

    • Air in the fuel

    • Other fuel characteristics

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