Old Diesels; Ultra-Low Sulfur Fuel

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by nathaniellawnwv, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. nathaniellawnwv

    nathaniellawnwv LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Just wanted to let you guys know that are running the older diesels that your injection pump was designed to be lubricated by the sulfur in the fuel. Now that everyone is running on Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), your old injection pump may not be getting the lube it needs. There are supposed to be additives in the ULSD to compensate for the lack of sulfur in the fuel. This may be fine for your newer diesels, but I would not trust it for older diesels (mid to early 90's or earlier), especially high mileage units.

    The solution?... Instead of shelling out lots of money on lubrication additives, I just dump in about 4-6 oz. of Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) in every tankful. The ATF provides the lubrication needed and burns pretty clean.

    Maybe your injection pump would be fine without the ATF, but for as cheap as it is, I will not go without it. You get peace of mind and save hundreds on a new injection pump and prevent your truck from being down.

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    How about using a product actually designed to be put in the diesel fuel? I use Stanadyne at EVERY fill-up. I've heard of people using ATF, but not in my truck.
  3. nathaniellawnwv

    nathaniellawnwv LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Well that's fine for your nice new truck, and I'm sure that is a good product, but I'm talking about a '91 F-250 with 432,000 miles on it (and still going strong, thank you very much). I'm just talking about your old diesels that you still want to take care of without putting too much money into it.
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    You don't want to use ATF that will kill your injection pump your better off with Howes.
  5. salopez

    salopez LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 271

    Um...don't waste your money.

    I run ultra low in my....
    84 international dt 466
    99 f350 with 150+k miles

    and my buddy's 78 f250 6.9 diesel with unknown miles...

    no problems.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    The old 7.3 IDIs have a rotary injection pump they REALLY need the lubrication or they will wear out. The new low sulphur fuel will wear out a Stanadyne DB2 Pump.

    For a PSD it really doesn't matter a truck with a inline Bosch pump still needs some lubricant but it uses engine oil to lubricate most of the internals. A rotary pump uses the fuel for lubrication.

    If the injection system on the truck hasn't been touched in years then don't worry about it keep running it. The engine is close to dying anyhow I'am really surprised the engine hasn't failed yet from cavitation.
  7. nathaniellawnwv

    nathaniellawnwv LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    So is your opinion to use a little ATF or not? I'm no expert, but I figure it can't hurt.
  8. SiteSolutions

    SiteSolutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,114

    A long time ago, I saw some guys prime a big diesel on a road grader with ATF. They had been working on it and were putting it back together, they filled the filter up with ATF and started it right up. I didn't know much about diesels at the time, still don't know a lot about them, but I wondered if the ATF primed easier because it is thicker than fuel?
  9. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    ATF was never designed for a fuel additive so DON'T use it. Its the same with the old wives tale of using used engine oil in the fuel.

    Todays ATF has so many different friction modifiers etc that isn't good for a injection pump. The days when there was only type F fluid it was probably okay.

    Buy a jug of Howes and be done with it. The stuff is designed to be a fuel additive. There are others out there like power service etc.

    A good mechanic will use Howes to fill a filter on a old mechanical injected engine.
  10. nathaniellawnwv

    nathaniellawnwv LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Well, if the ATF is doing more harm than good then I guess I'll quit using it. I was just told that it helped lubrication which made sense to me because it is oil so I figured what the heck, it's cheaper than most additives and it can't hurt anything. And I figured if I'm saving this money I might as well tell other old diesel owners - but maybe they should be advised not to use ATF????

    What about using plain old type F fluid????

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