View Full Version : Red Dyed Diesel Fuels

03-07-2006, 11:31 AM
I got a weird one here. We took delivery on a 301.8 in December. It was all ready to go from the dealer, and it had sat on line for a few months because they overstocked that model.

It got low on fuel, so, I opened the cap, stuck in the nozzle and got a lap full. It seemed the pre screen in the fuel neck had a red colored substance almost looked like fiberglass resin and was accumulated right about where a full tank of fuel would be sitting. Everything ran fine but I called my sales rep, who used to be the serive manager at my Cat dealer. He came out and wanted to see what it was I was talking about, becxause much like many of you might be thinking, he had never seen it before. We arranged to have CAt pick the machine up and they gave me a loaner, where after 3 days, they had disassembled every part in the fuel system, changed them out and sent them back to Cat for an analysis. Everything is and always has run fine.

I go to the job yesterday to fuel the machines and check progress and I get yet another lap full of fuel....

The Red stuff is back...The only thing I can pin this on is red dye fuels. Has ANYONE ever heard of, or seen this phenomenom before? It's a new one on me, and my obvious concerns are that if it is gumming up a pre screen, it will prematurely clog filters, lines, and so fourth, and, even tually, this can't be good for an injection pump or injectors.

Any thoughts?

03-07-2006, 11:48 AM
We have dyed fuel here. Basally it is for off road use. We put it in our tractor, the reason for it is you don't pay road taxes ect. on it. But don't get caught with it in truck as it will cost you much $$$.

Dirty Water
03-07-2006, 03:24 PM
Do you use your own transfer tank? Perhaps there is debris in the tank picking up the colour of you fuel?

Canon Landscaping
03-07-2006, 03:27 PM
I have a d3 that we use very little so it takes a long time to run a full take out and the dozer sits for extended periods of time and we have had that problem the dye seems to settle out and form a gel and it coated the inside of the tank and we went through about 4 filters then decided to remove the tank and pressure wash it out after all that we put road diesel back in it and havent had any problems since.

03-07-2006, 05:17 PM
I've never heard of the dye settling out of off-road fuel, but it is possible to have an infection of alge, or some sort of bacteria, that grows in diesel fuel. There is an additive that will clear that condition up. Good luck!

03-07-2006, 06:02 PM
The bacteria or algae was my suggestion as well. I have never heard of the dye settling out of diesel fuel but I have heard of Alge problems. Do you have a filter on your transfer tank? If not that might be a good idea until whatever it is is cleared up.

03-07-2006, 11:15 PM
Yep. Everything is filtered. Thanks for the inputs. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. Maybe I can get them to shim the injection pump out another notch and make 23 HP....:)

03-10-2006, 10:45 PM
Bill, my first thought was that you are sucking debris from the bottom of your fuel tanks. I've never seen off road fuel clog a screen like that before. What does the material that's clogging it look like????

03-11-2006, 06:34 PM
This material looks like when you mix a batch of fiberglass gel coat in ruby red color and let it harden. It is as hard as gel coat as well. At this point, my dealer has the entire fuel tank, lines, pumps and injection system assembled on a bench connected to a injection flow tester. Essentially, it's a model of how the fuel system works so they can watch what is going on from a bench. So, we shall see what happens next week.

03-11-2006, 07:02 PM
Wow, you'll have to keep us updated on this one Bill.....:dizzy:

Gravel Rat
03-12-2006, 12:09 AM
Bill if you try take a magnet to it you may figure out if its rust or not which I think it may be.

The contractor I worked for me and another guy I worked with put a new pump on his slip tank. We installed a filter with a clear bowl soon as we turned the pump on you could see crap in the bowl. We couldn't figure out why one of the excavators filters kept plugging up.

It definatly pays to have a Racor type filter on your fuel tanks when you have fuel transfering so many times its going to pick up junk.

I never heard of marked diesel having the dye crystalize we use marked diesel in our boats. We always had a filter on the storage tanks with a filter designed for gravity dispensing.

03-16-2006, 02:36 AM

I've heard of the red gel-like substance you describe before but never in the fuel tank. I've heard stories of operators pulling fuel filters off (particularly on the Tier II machines) with the entire filter clogged with a red gel. My understanding is the filters are so fine (like .03 microns) that they're catching everything going through the filter. Could be rust or a mixture of condenasation and the dye (especially if the excavator set in a moist atmosphere for a long time with a low or near-empty fuel tank).

03-16-2006, 02:50 AM
OK. An update, then we are out of town for a few days.

First, a 301.8 uses a plastic 6 gallon fuel tank. Condensation, perhaps, but the plastic tank should pretty much remove the rust theory from the mix.

They are still running tests on my machine and dont want to give it back until they confirm whatever it is.

Hopefully, we'll have an amswe soon. Stay tuned:):) WE're off to Pheonix and Scottsdale and then Gordons Well with the dune buggies and quads for a long weekend. Got a new suspension on the buggy with 26" of travel. Should be fun!. Thanks for the input all, time to play, these 14 hour days are killing me.

03-24-2006, 09:04 PM
They found it...When machines are built Cat uses a rust inhibitor that coats the steel parts such as lines, transfer pumps, etc.

For whever reason, this inhibitor did not tack up, decomposed and suspended in the fuel. So, fuel is added, the machine sits on line waiting for someone to buy it and, solidifies in the way I mentioned. They took the engine and all components out and replaced it, as there were chunks of crapola all through the fuel system and micro particles that passed through the filters.

Craziest thing I ever have seen for sure!

Dirty Water
03-24-2006, 09:18 PM
What I don't understand is that why doesn't cat just buy back these machines and give you another one...it was brand new wasn't it?

03-24-2006, 10:38 PM
They gave us an new engine when they could have let it slide, I guess they were concerned with running engine tests to see what damge was caused. the rest of the machine is fine.