Fueling Around Blog

Star Oilco, Hydrotex, and Donaldson Filtration demonstrate Precision Fuel Management Program Works 1024 574 Star Oilco

Star Oilco, Hydrotex, and Donaldson Filtration demonstrate Precision Fuel Management Program Works

solid proof

09-18-2015 Recology Samples BEFORE Precision fuel management program

First sample taken 09-18-2015, lots of water and visible dirt in samples pulled from bulk tank. The company was having issues with equipment running rough, and they were spinning fuel filters way more than manufacturers recommended changes. We sat down with the plant supervisor and talked about diesel fuel quality testing. He was happy to hear his diesel fuel problems explained. It has nothing to do with diesel fuel quality by brand. All fuel vendors get the same fuel supplied to the Northwest.  The environment where this client is located has dust, dirt, and water in the air constantly due to the nature of the recycling processes with wood products. Our first goal was to sample the tank bottom and nozzle and share the results. As you can see from above, they had tons of water and dirt in the tank. So we set up to clean the bulk tank, polish the fuel with 1 micron filtration,  then install quality Donaldson clean & dry filtration including a 4 micron particulate filter, a water filter, and a desiccant breather trap to control the moisture that accumulates in most all bulk tanks. The client had dirty diesel fuel filters that were only 30 micron, letting all the damaging particles right into the equipment.




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second sample


Recology NP sample pic SECOND SAMPLE Precision Fuel Program 03-04-2016

The second round of samples after the tank was initially clean, the process is showing signs of improvement already.

The second round of samples after the tank was initially cleaned, and the remaining fuel was polished with 1 micron filtration. The process is showing signs of improvement after cleaning the tank. The Donaldson Filtration and Hydrotex PowerKleen additive was working on the contents of the tank, and the inside of the tank is being cleaned by the additive. The effects of water that was in the tank, and rust and corrosion showed signs of improvement on the second samples. Both water and rust will continue to be less in volume each time we sample, it is a continuous improvement program. Over time the water and rust goes away or is caught by the excellent Donaldson Clean & Dry filtration and what remains is attacked by the superior quality of Hydrotex PowerKleen additive!


The most damaging particles and water, the ones between 4 and 8 microns,

are being filtered out of the fuel, the one’s we can’t see with the naked eye. Green Transfer After 04-20-20163rd sample

After 6 1/2 months on the Precision fuel management program the ISO count is well below the manufacturers specs for ANY of Recology's equipment. The water PPM if only 42 down from 89, well below ASTM standards. THESE NUMBERS DON'T LIE, THE PROGRAM WORKS!!!

After only 3 months on the Precision fuel management program the ISO count is well below the manufacturers specs for ANY of the customers equipment. The water PPM (Parts per million)  is now 42 down from 89, well below ASTM standards. THESE NUMBERS DON’T LIE, THE PROGRAM WORKS! To maintain this quality consistently the client only needs to change the filtration when the filtration gauges jump 10 PSI over normal flow rate. The Desiccant breather which controls moisture, has an indicator that turns RED from it’s original YELLOW to let you know it’s time to change.  The Hydrotex additive will continue to make the water drop out of the fuel, keep cleaning the rust and corrosion in the tank, and help with lubricity for the equipment that fuels from the tank.

Dont Wait until you see this

Another customer of ours was having issues with their previous fuel vendor, I approached the operations manager and let him know that we had a program that could turn their fuel issues around. He agreed to let me take bottom and nozzle samples from his tank, the results came back un-readable, meaning there was so much dirt and water that you could see it with the naked eye, (not good). All the damaging particles are between 2 and 8 microns. If you can see visible particles and water you know you are in trouble. We recommended our Precision fuel management program including cleaning the tank and using Donaldson Clean & Dry filtration along with Hydrotex PowerKleen additive and our Star Oilco Premium filtered diesel. Within 3 weeks the client saw results.

“The latest nozzle sample is looking very good, will continue to get down around 14/13/11”. In just one week after the second sample the water ppm has dropped to 52, which is well below the goal of 80 ppm. It dropped 20ppm after only one week of Hydrotex PowerKleen additive making the water drop out of the fuel.

The API gravity is down to 35.9, which means more BTU’s (heat transfer) meaning better gas mileage and horsepower. The fuel is burning clean and dry, like it is supposed to.

The client said, “We have not been spinning filters as often as we were in the past, we see an overall improvement in fuel quality since starting the Precision fuel program with Star Oilco.” Look at the before and after data below from the labDiesel Fuel Tank Testing and Cleaning Portland


Another satisfied Star Oilco Precision fuel management program customer!

If you suspect you have fuel issues because you’re seeing:

  1. Fuel filters plugging
  2.  Trucks and equipment are running rough
  3. Poor engine performance and fuel mileage below normal
  4. Fuel injector issues, pitting scaring or blown out tips

You may have issues with your bulk tank and filtration on the tank.

We can help you with a complementary lab sample test like you see above.


Get with the program that works

                                                                 Get with the program that works


Star Oilco Precision Fuel Management Testimonials 1024 585 Star Oilco

Star Oilco Precision Fuel Management Testimonials

Precision Fuel Management Program Testimonial Page

Testimonial #1 Recology North Plains

Recology Material Recovery helps reduce the amount of waste entering Oregon’s landfills. In achieving this goal they strive to seek out new ways, types, and procedures to recycle waste which would otherwise be sent to the landfill instead of reusing it.

The environment onsite is dusty from the recycled wood products and has particulates floating in the air constantly. The piles of debris are kept semi-moist to help keep the dust down, which creates another issue for them to deal with. Both water and particles find their way into the bulk storage tank that they use for diesel fuel to fuel equipment. What seemed like small amounts of dirt and water was being sucked in through the open vents on the tank.

This in turn created issues with their bulk fuel tank cleanliness, their loaders, dump trucks and other “off-road” equipment they use to move the waste products through the recycling process. This picture is a before picture showing a bottom sample from the bulk tank.

Star Oilco suggested putting Recology on our Precision fuel management program. The program tackles the problem at the root cause and corrects it through the following processes:

  • Clean the tank and remaining fuel using 1 micron filtration
  • Install a Donaldson Clean & Dry Filtration kit™ on the tank.
  • Deliver Star Oilco Premium Diesel with Hydrotex PowerKleen™ additive.
  • Star Oilco then monitors the tank over a period of weeks for cleanliness taking bottom fuel samples as well as nozzle samples and sending them to our partner Hydrotex lab in Dallas Texas.

Nick Olheiser is the plant manager of the Recology North Plains and is very happy with the results.

“We do not have to change our filters on our equipment as much as we were”

“We are noticing our equipment is running smooth again since making the changes”

“I am very happy with the results and recommend it to anyone having issues with bulk fuel”

Nick Olheiser, Plant Supervisor Recology North Plains

Testimonial #2 Green Transfer & Storage

Green Transfer hauls and stores steel products in N. Portland, they were experiencing issues with the fuel they were getting from a local competitor. Star Oilco took fuel samples from the tank, and also took a fuel filter off the tank and had it sent to labs in Dallas Texas (Hydrotex) as well as Minneapolis, (Donaldson) the conclusion was as follows:

“The primary cause of filter plugging is believed to be a combination of the extremely high levels of glycerin and the polyamide chemistry that has been associated with some cold flow improvers. LCMS also identified DDSA and long chain amines; they are also known to cause filter plugging.” 

What that means in layman’s terms is the fuel had contaminants and particulates that were getting through the filtration and into Dave’s trucks. They were having issues with filters plugging and engines running rough. They were also seeing issues with fuel injectors showing signs of scoring and pitting.

Dave decided it was time to take action and had his tank cleaned, and had the Donaldson clean & Dry™ filtration installed. Dave opted to put an additional pre-filter before the two Donaldson filters, an added step to pre-filter the filters. Dave said,

“Since we re-cleaned the tank and added pre-filter I have not changed any filters. I have not had any other issues or driver complaints”.

Dave had several trucks in his fleet that kept changing fuel filters more and more frequently until they changed to the Donaldson Clean & Dry™ filtration kit and implemented the “Precision fuel management program” exclusively through Star Oilco, Hydrotex and Donaldson.

Star Oilco diagnosed the problems, took the necessary steps to alleviate them with the essential solutions.

  • Clean the bulk tank
  • Install Quality Donaldson Clean & Dry Filtration™
  • Deliver Star Oilco premium diesel with Hydrotex PowerKleen™ additive

If you are having issues with your bulk tank, or think you are having what might be fuel related issues,

Star Oilco will come out and take nozzle and bottom samples from your bulk tank and send them to our partner labs.


Complementary of course!

Star Oilco can help

What Are Diesel Soaps? Do Diesel Soaps Cause Some Diesel Engine Problems? 1024 585 Star Oilco

What Are Diesel Soaps? Do Diesel Soaps Cause Some Diesel Engine Problems?

Star Oilco answers: What are Diesel Soaps?

Cliff Burbrink, chemical technology specialist at Cummins Filtration, provides a layman’s definition of diesel soaps:

“Diesel soap is not very different chemically than the soap used to wash your hands. The main ingredient in a bar of soap is formed when lye reacts with fats or oils. Lye is sodium hydroxide.

Fats and oils contain fatty acids. When they react, they form sodium soaps. Diesel soaps are formed from acidic additives in the fuel [such as some corrosion inhibitors and lubricity improvers] reacting with trace amounts of sodium.”


Rick Chapman, Industry & OEM Liaison Manager, Innospec Fuel Specialties, adds that acids can be derived also from other sources:

“[Soaps] can also be formed from free fatty acids in biodiesel starting materials and carboxylic acids derived from oxidatively degraded fuel and/or biodiesel.”


From a layman’s point of view, then, the formation of diesel soaps is the result of metals, such as sodium, calcium and potassium (in the form of positively charged ions, or cations), reacting with various sources of acid in the fuel.


“When these two species [acidic compounds and cations (usually sodium)] come together, diesel soap can form,” says Chapman.

“There are a lot of other factors or variables that can play into it, of course, such as pH, solubility, mixing intensity and so forth—but this is the basis for it. Unfortunately, when these soaps form, assuming they are formed from additives, they make the corrosion inhibitor or lubricity improver inert, and the corrosion or lubricity protection provided by the additive is lost.”



 Diesel soaps


  1. Plug fuel filters
  2. Form injector deposits that lead to over-fueling
  3. Create Turbocharger problems
  4. Generate Oil dilution
  5. Cause Poor performance, and poor fuel economy


In a May 2013 report, “Case Study—Impact of Poor Diesel Fuel Quality on an Urban Fleet,” Cummins Filtration investigated problems with diesel engines in a New York City bus fleet.

Complaints ranged from an excessive number of turbocharger fault codes to smoke at start-up to fuel-injector failures. The investigation uncovered excessive soot deposits in the turbocharger, resulting from over-fueling, which was determined to be the result of fuel injectors sticking because of deposits that were “rich” in the metals of sodium and calcium.

Although injectors showed sign of scuffing—the result of hard particle contamination, which, says the report,

“is the greatest fuel quality concern for high-pressure/common-rail fuel systems, worldwide”

—investigators determined that scuffing was not the primary issue for the immediate problems the bus engines were exhibiting.

The culprits in this instance were “metal carboxylates” in the fuel, more commonly know as “diesel soaps.” The recommended fix for the problem was use of a fuel additive that could both clean the Injectors and minimize further deposits, coupled with much tighter filtration.


Another Bad Actor




Biofuel is manufactured by reacting a plant-derived fat or oil (usually soybeans in the United States) with an alcohol, using sodium hydroxide as a catalyst. An unwanted by-product of the process is glycerin.

Although most of the glycerin is washed out during the manufacturing process, regulations do allow 200 ppm to remain.

Biofuel usually is mixed with petroleum diesel in 5-, 10- or 20-percent concentrations to form biofuel blends, but even at these relatively low concentrations, enough glycerin remains to create filter-plugging problems when, under certain fuel moisture and temperatures conditions, it becomes a solid and drops out of solution.

To help counteract glycerin’s effects, Jim Peterson, sales manager for Donaldson’s Hydraulics and Clean Solutions Group, suggests these measures:

  • Filter fuel on the dispensing side of the bulk tank and use proper on-machine filters
  • Keep fuel dry with proper tank flushing and proper breathers
  • If possible, moderate the temperature of stored fuel above the glycerin dropout level
  • Turn over fuel as quickly as possible
  • Keep fuel infrastructure as free from particulate contamination as possible
  • Ask OEMs about using detergent additives to keep glycerin in solution, both in equipment and bulk storage


Filtration and Additives




As noted before, the contamination of diesel fuel with soaps is not as prevalent, at least in many fleets, as other sources of fuel contamination.

These other fuel contaminates include hard particulates, increased water in biofuel blends, rapid oxidation of such blends, microbial growth, so-called asphaltenes (compounds that can agglomerate into an oily sludge), acetic acid formation and glycerin.

Glycerin being an unwanted by-product of biofuel manufacturing. “There are so many inherent problems with diesel fuel today,” says Hydrotex’s Cummins, “that machine owners must take a holistic approach when attempting to resolve them.”

The best defense against diesel soaps (and for most other contaminants, as well) seems to be the use of premium filtration, like the “Donaldson clean & Dry kit which includes 4 micron particulate and water filters. The kit also incorporates a desiccant breather to absorb moisture.”

Donaldson Clean and Dry Filter kit

In addition, (tank intake, tank dispensing, and on-machine), good tank housekeeping, and a well-chosen additive package.

Additives might be included in “premium” diesel fuel offered by some jobbers, but solving a serious soap problem might require consultation with an additive supplier who can take a comprehensive, laboratory-assisted view of all the fuel-quality issues in a particular fleet.

But, the best efforts are no guarantee of complete success when dealing with diesel soaps.

We’ve seen soap deposits form in engines that use our most effective filters—those proved to remove 99.9 percent of material 4 microns and larger and significant amounts of material smaller than 4 microns,”  says Cummins Filtration’s Burbrink.

“If soap particles don’t agglomerate before the filter, they can pass through it. When they hit the injectors, the heat can cause these particles to deposit on metal.”


Deposit control




“We have seen great success with some additives,” says Burbrink. “The use of good detergents has dropped the failure rate significantly in some applications. Unfortunately, we also have seen customers having issues even though they are using detergents.”

That said, a well-formulated additive package seems to be an integral part of the potential resolution of problems with diesel soaps.

A good, multi-functional package will contain corrosion inhibitors and lubricity improvers (some formulations use nonacid, non-reacting lubricity improvers), as well as a deposit-control agent that will assist in cleaning injectors and minimizing further deposits.


The Key




“The key to diminishing field issues is the use of a two-prong strategy,” says Innospec’s Chapman. “One, use an additive that provides the required lubricity but is resistant to reaction with metal hydroxides, and, two, use a deposit-control additive to ‘clean up’ and ‘keep clean’ any deposits that may form, regardless of the their source. Deposit-control additives are useful for reducing injector deposits, reducing filter plugging, and for carrying through trace amounts of water. In lower-dose rates, or at a ‘keep-clean’ level, they will put a protective coating on metal surfaces and not allow deposits to form—or will limit their formation.”

Hydrotex’s Cummins makes the point, too, that treatment rates for additives, a corrosion inhibitor, for example, might have to be adjusted to meet the conditions of a particular storage tank. Cummins also reminds machine owners that deposit-control additives might need time to work in certain situations: “Soap deposits can get very deep into the injectors, become sticky, and cause poor actuation of the pintle. A good additive package will help clean the injectors, but given the nature of the deposits, it’s usually not a quick fix. The process might require four or five tanks of treated fuel before improvement is noticed.”

Sunrock’s Dennis offers this suggestion to fellow fleet managers: “I would recommend that fleet managers, if they haven’t already done so, educate their fuel suppliers on the subject of upstream fuel-contamination issues and their effects on diesel engines.

Managers can use that opportunity to register their concerns about diesel soaps—for the purpose of promoting a partnership in utilizing countermeasures against diesel-fuel contamination. Their fleet reliability depends on it.”



To read more technical data on Diesel Soap click link below