It’s that time of the year again. The temperatures have dropped and that white stuff has made its yearly appearance just in time for some winter fun. While some choose to hit the slopes, there are those looking for a different style of adrenaline rush. The snowmobile is there for them, a great way to spend a weekend when the beach simply isn't an option. Preparing your sled for the winter sports season is imperative to reduce weekend headaches.
Similar to prepping a car or truck for winter, there are several things that need to be maintained on your sled before it’s first winter trek. One of those specifically is the fuel system. Adding a high octane fuel to your tank is a perfect way to get your engine firing on all the right cylinders!
Check out some tips for using higher octane fuels in snowmobiles for different engines and sled types. ⬇
Tips For High Octane Fuel
Diesel trucks are used and loved by many. They provide traction and security in the winter, making many people's lives easier. Also, they are a huge source of supply transportation in the use of semi-trucks. However, the cold temperatures of winter can cause various problems for diesel engines. When it gets really cold, diesel fuel is especially under attack.
Paraffin is a wax used in diesel fuel; this wax can reach a solid-state when it reaches colder temperatures (generally in a range of minus-18 degrees F to 20 degrees F). This can cause expensive mechanical issues during the winter months. The gelled fuel can clog filters, damage injectors, or cause other serious harm to the engine. To prevent this, it’s recommended that diesel fuels be blended either with winter additives, like what is provided through Power Service, or a diesel No. 2 blend.
Using a No.1 and No.2 diesel blend can be a huge help in the wintertime. Diesel fuel No.1 doesn’t contain the paraffin wax making it much more durable in the colder temperatures, thus aiding the paraffin filled diesel No.2. To improve your diesel engines durability in the winter, diesel blending and Power Service additive are a must!
Tips for Blending Diesel Fuels
Its no secret that cold temperatures turn engine oil into molasses, especially heavy oils like 15W-40. Therefore, switching to a lighter oil in your engine points towards easier starts for your vehicle in the winter.
Some vehicles come with a viscosity chart in the owner’s manual, this chart explains and suggest which oil should be used in your car for certain temperatures. Generally, a vehicle that uses 10W-30 regularly should switch to a lighter oil like 5W-30 in the wintertime. This protects your engine from winter wear and tear and helps your engine start easier.
The glow plug is one of the most important features of diesel engines. Almost like a first defense against the cold, glow plugs help your diesel engine start in the cold and prevent damage from freezing temperatures. Testing and replacing these little gadgets should be on every diesel owner’s winter prep checklist.
In a nutshell, slow starting, and complete failure to start. Once the vehicle does start, missing, rough idle, hesitation, and lots of white smoke until the engine warms. If you have a four-cylinder, one glow plug bad will cause a slight hard starting and a miss. Two will cause a very hard start and very rough operation. Three bad plugs make the vehicle almost impossible to start and keep running. The same applies to larger engines. If your vehicle starts OK if you plug in the block heater overnight, but will not start if you do not, then you probably have a glowplug issue unless your engine has very low compression.
Step by step test:
Step 9 walkthrough:
While Power Service 9-1-1 products are perfect for fuel gelling emergencies, wouldn’t it be easier to just prevent the emergency?
Changing out your fuel filter is a great way to start the winter trek. The current fuel filter in your engine may contain some water from the changes in temperature or excess fuel that can turn into a gel. In the case of paraffin precipitation from fuel, a dirty fuel filter will clog up much faster, and to a greater extent, than a new filter. It is worth changing the fuel filter before every winter, especially since new filters are much more effective in stopping contaminants and separating water.
This is one of those basic maintenance things. While it's easy to put off it's necessary to get it taken care of. If your fuel flow becomes reduced because foreign particles are not being filtered out, then you will risk reducing your engine's performance, as it won't be able to freely draw fuel, as it so desires. So, be sure you are mindful of signs that it's time to replace the filter.
When should you change your filter:
It’s a constant battle to keep your diesel engine safe from harsh temperatures during the winter. The block heater is one of the many tools people can use to fight this battle.
Most block heaters heat up the coolant that flows through your motor. Even though antifreeze isn’t circulating when the engine is off, the heat from the plug transfers throughout the cooling system via this fluid and slowly creates a blanket of warmth throughout the engine block. In turn, this also keeps the engine’s oil temperature and diesel fuel from plummeting to the point of a solid, sticky mess.
There’s a huge upside to using diesel fuel; more power, better fuel economy, but the major downside to using diesel fuel is its performance in the winter months. When temperatures drop, diesel fuel crystalizes and forms into a gel, clogging fuel lines and injectors. Not only does this not allow you to start the vehicle, but it can also lead to a costly mechanic bill if any serious damage occurs.
In order to properly take care of your diesel vehicle and prevent future headaches on chilly winter mornings. Therefore, using a diesel anti-gel fluid can make a huge difference in keeping your vehicle safe and gel-free. We recommend Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement, perfect for the brutal winter atmosphere.
When should you start to add anti-gel additives?
Two tips for using additives and supplements:
Here Comes Winter! First, Test Your BatteriesYour car battery is a hard worker, especially in today’s auto era. With so many electrical gadgets in cars, it’s hard for a battery to keep up and stay in good health, and that’s why it needs your help.
Maintaining the connection from the battery to your car is an important step. This can be done by making sure the cables, posts, and fasteners are in good shape and free from corrosion. If there is some needed cleaning, grab a steel wire brush and scrape off any debris or corrosion. Finally, it’s also good to check if the battery is secure in its battery tray to prevent excessive vibration.
After physically checking the battery, it’s important to have your electrical system, alternator, and battery tested. Then, it’s advised to use a voltmeter to test the battery’s power output. Generally, a battery should operate around 12.4 volts or higher. This process should not only prevent any hazards down the winter road but help extend your battery’s life.
Three helpful battery facts:
It’s that time of year again. The changing leaves of fall are slipping into the snow flurries of winter. If you’re a diesel owner and expect your truck to be ready when you need it most, it’s time to take action. It’s time to ensure you are winter ready. From testing the health of your batteries, adding anti-gel fuel additive to the tank, & changing motor oils, this 7 step system is designed to ensure you never miss a beat regardless of what Mother Nature throws your way.
1. Test Your Batteries
The average battery lasts between two and five years. How many years have you had yours? After enduring a hot summer (where corrosion and fluid evaporation often occur), followed by a lack of cold cranking amps capacity once colder temperatures arrive, winter has a way of killing weak batteries. To avoid being stranded, now is the time to test the health of your batteries.
With the engine off, set your multimeter to any voltage setting above 15 volts and connect to the battery leads. A fully charged battery should measure at least 12.6 volts. Then make sure voltage doesn’t drop below 10 volts as you crank the engine over (below 10 volts is a sign of a dying battery). With the engine running, voltage should measure between 13.7 to 14.7 volts. Also make sure you clean up the battery cables for a corrosion-free, good connection. Last but not least, it’s also good practice to test the output of your alternator (they don’t last forever, either), as a unit with the inability to recharge the batteries can result in a truck that won’t start, and a double whammy repair cost (new batteries and alternator).
2. Glow Plug Testing and Replacement
(If Applicable) Should your diesel employ glow plugs to aid cold starts (like all Duramax and Power Stroke engines do), it’s important to make sure they’re in great shape before winter hits. In the Duramax segment, glow plug failure is a pretty bug deal. For this reason, many neglect replacing them while the truck seems to be starting fine (during spring or summer), but end up regretting it come fall and winter. Luckily, the glow plugs can be accessed externally on all Duramax (as well as on most Power Stroke engines) by pulling the inner fender well to access each bank.
Of course, starting with fresh glow plugs is never a bad idea. If you go this route just remember one thing: never cheap out on them! Stick with brand new, OE replacements, as some aftermarket glow plug tips have been known to swell, crack, or break off, and drop in- cylinder. On engines that don’t necessarily throw a CEL when a glow plug or glow plug relay fails (such as with the 7.3L Power Stroke, shown), it pays to hit them with a test light to make sure they’re in good working order.
3. Test Your Block Heater
In frigid conditions, a block heater can be a life saver. Unfortunately, most diesel owners don’t discover that theirs has stopped working until they need it. You don’t be that guy. Testing to see if your block heater is working is quite simple, since they’re either working or they’re not working.
Clean off the prongs on the plug, get out your multimeter, set it to ohms (to show resistance), and attach its leads to the plug prongs. A reading of 9 to 25 ohms indicates a working block heater. Any lower than that and you’ll want to inspect the block heater cord itself. We’ve seen wires pulled out of the plug (usually due to stretching the cord in order to reach an outlet), which requires a simple wiring repair.
4. Then Use Your Block Heater
You wouldn’t believe how many diesel owners don’t utilize their block heater in sub-zero degree temperatures. More often times than not, it’s due to the owner not even knowing his or her truck is equipped with one!
5. Use an Anti-Gel Fuel Additive
In severe cold, even the best winter blend diesel fuel can reach its cloud point (the measure of diesel’s low-temperature operability) and begin to gel up. Due to so many differences in fuel quality existing across North America and the fact that each vehicle’s exposure to cold weather will be different, there is no definitive temperature in which diesel begins to gel. However, most fuels reach their cloud point between 20 degrees F and -18 degrees F. This is why it’s always a good idea to run a fuel additive during winter. Make sure to use an all-season additive or one that’s specifically designed to shine in cold climates.
We’ve always been fans of Power Service Diesel Fuel Supplement + Cetane Boost. It’s a winterizer/antigel that is used in the cold winter months to prevent fuel gelling and keep fuel-filters from plugging with ice and wax. When temperatures drop, paraffin (wax) in ULSD fuel will gel stopping fuel from flowing through the engine, and water in the fuel can freeze on the facings of fuel-filters, blocking fuel flow. It provides trouble-free winter operation for diesel fuel.
Diesel Fuel Supplement +Cetane Boost is intended for use only during cold winter months when temperatures drop below +30F. Use Diesel Kleen +Cetane Boost (in the silver bottle) for peak performance in non-winter months. If your vehicle will not start or gain power in cold temperatures, use Diesel 911 (in the red bottle).
6. Change Fuel Filter(s)
It’s a fact that the fuel filter is the most common freeze point for diesel fuel. When compared to what is stored in the fuel tank, a very minimal amount of diesel remains in the fuel filter when your truck is allowed to sit overnight.
While installing a new fuel filter right now isn’t a guarantee that you won’t have gelling issues, it does offer you a fresh start over what might be a partially clogged cartridge that’s been in use for thousands of miles. Besides, changing fuel filters before winter reduces your chances of having to perform the job during the coldest part of the year. Last but not least, always keep an extra fuel filter and/or water separator in the cab—you never know when you might need it.
7. Ditch the Weight
As if cold starts aren’t hard enough on your batteries, starter and engine, conventional 15 weight motor oils turn to molasses in arctic temps. Switching to a lighter weight (preferably synthetic) oil will greatly improve its cold temperature flow characteristics, thereby saving wear and tear on the engine’s internals.
Remember, if you’re still running good ‘ole 15W-40 conventional when it’s 30 below, your engine isn’t going to see ample oil pressure for a considerable amount of time following a cold start (between 5 and 30 seconds!).