Diesel bug in fuel could ruin your engine

Diesel bug in fuel could ruin your engine

Fuel Bug (or "Diesel Bug" as it is commonly termed) outbreak can come from a "clean" source.
You can pull up at a truck stop that has clean fuel and tanks, but one of the trucks that filled up before you may have had "diesel bug", and by dipping the filler nozzle in his tank can transfer it to any other truck that uses that pump nozzle before it gets cleaned. And let's face it some outlets never clean their pump nozzles.
Once the spores have been transferred they can very quickly multiply. They can double their numbers every 20 minutes and one single spore can produce over 260,000 cloned descendants in six hours. Each spore lives for about 48 hours and as older fungi die their bodies accumulate, forming a slime that ultimately floats upwards into the fuel, a bit like soft candy floss- so it doesn't take long for the bugs to dominate the entire fuel system. 
So filling up the truck is now like having sex without a condom in a third world brothel, you are going to catch something sooner or later.

Regular use of XSNano can prevent diesel bug infestation and keep fuel systems clean.

XSNANO cleans diesel bug

What is Diesel Bug?  

Diesel bug microbes thrive wherever there is food and water. Fuel storage, dispensing and some vehicle fuel systems are therefore dream homes for diesel bug bacteria, yeasts and moulds. The trend towards greener fuels is creating pressure to further reduce sulphur and increase biofuel content. Sulphur kills bugs and biofuels attract additional water, so changing fuel specifications are set to make diesel fuel an increasingly diesel bug friendly environment. Diesel bugs that grow unchecked can block fuel filters, and cause injection problems. They are so corrosive that over time, they can damage the structural integrity of the tank and injectors

Update – Sulphur has now been removed from the fuel, so there is no diesel bug protection in fuels now.

Effects of the Diesel Bug;

  • Blocked Filters
  • Engine Failure
  • Exhaust Emissions
  • Corrosion Damage
  • Expensive Repairs
  • Increased Fuel Consumption

Of all the organisms in this consortium, H res is the most recognisable and also damaging component of ‘sludge’. This fungus is the main culprit in instances of filter blockage & tank corrosion when left unchecked. The rest of the consortium includes bacteria and other types of fungi, particularly some yeasts which can also cause fuel system problems.

Diesel bugDiesel bug 

How fuel has changed

The combined effects of adding FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) and reducing sulphur have changed the characteristics of diesel fuel. The fuel supply chain is adapting to deal with the consequences in storage, from distribution to storage and right through to vehicles.
Avoiding water is much more difficult now as FAME, being hygroscopic, attracts it. With more water comes an increased incidence of injector problems, corrosion and lubricity issues. Then there is, of course, microbial contamination aka ‘diesel bug’.

Information supplied by Fuel Test Australia – www.fueltest.com.au


Regular use of the new XSNANO diesel fuel additive used at a ratio of 1;10,000 (one ml per ten litres of fuel) can prevent diesel bug from forming and protect your fuel system while giving more power and far better fuel economy.

For treatment of Diesel infestation a stronger dose of 1;1,000 (one ml per litre) is recommended. For more information about XSNANO see www.lubricationsolutions.com.au

So the prolonged use of XSNANO is highly recommended to prevent costly repairs.

Most Diesel Engine Failures
Originate In The Fuel Tank

The Real Story of Bad Diesel Fuel

Frequent diesel fuel filter changes and the expensive and time-consuming task of cleaning diesel fuel tanks have become acceptable periodic maintenance instead of a warning signal for diesel engine failure. Diesel fuel filter elements should last a thousand hours or more and injectors some 15,000 hours. However, since diesel fuel is inherently unstable, solids begin to form and the accumulating tank sludge will eventually clog your diesel fuel filters, ruin your injectors and cause diesel engines to smoke.


  Clogged and slimy filters
  Dark, hazy fuel
  Sludge build up in tanks
  Loss of power and RPM
  Excess smoke
  Corroded, pitted injectors
  Foul odour

The solids that form as the result of the inherent instability of the diesel fuel and the debris formed in the natural process of fuel degradation will accumulate in the bottom of your fuel tank. The sludge will form a coating or bio-film on the walls and baffles of the fuel tank, plug your fuel filters, adversely impact combustion efficiency, produce dark smoke from the exhaust, and impact performance. Eventually fouled diesel fuel will clog fuel lines and ruin your equipment.

Filter plugging can have several causes and often critical consequences. For example, low temperatures can cause wax crystallisation, which can lead to fuel filter plugging. An example would be using untreated summer diesel fuel in cold weather. Wax or paraffin is part of the diesel fuel.

Contaminant build-up resulting from excessive microbial growth and bio-degradation of diesel fuel can cause fuel filter plugging. Micro-organisms, bacteria and enzyme activity, fungus, yeast and mould cause diesel fuel degradation and the formation of waste products. The process is similar to milk turning into cottage cheese, a different form of milk. Of all the microbial debris and waste products in the diesel fuel tank, only about .01% is "bugs". Even though microbes may cause and accelerate the process of fuel degradation, it should be clear that the waste products clogging your filter are not the microbes but fuel components that have formed solids. These waste products can float in the fuel, being visible when looking into a fuel tank, but also coat the sides, bottom, baffles, and even top of the tank - wherever the fuel touches. Most service personnel are quick to recommend the application of a biocide product to the fuel to address the problem. Unfortunately, by the time you realize you have a problem, the effectiveness of biocides are limited. If a heavy bio-film has accumulated on the surface of the tank or other equipment, the biocide may not be able to penetrate to the organisms living deep within the film. You may see short term relief, but the problem quickly returns as the remaining organisms further reproduce.

Frequently, the application of a biocide aggravates the situation and turns bio-film into solids, creating a real fuel filter nightmare. As a further complication in the use of biocides, the removal of water from a tank bottom that was treated with biocides must be disposed of appropriately because biocides are toxic.

Bio-film develops throughout the entire diesel fuel system. As most organisms need water to grow, bio-growth is usually concentrated at the fuel-water interface in the bottom of the tank. The organism colony feeds from nutrients in the fuel additives. It takes time for the organisms to grow to produce enough acidic by-products to accelerate tank corrosion or biomass to plug filters, so a problem may not show itself for months.

Keeping the water out of the tank is the first and most important step. Although water often enters the tank through badly fitting or missing fuel caps, fuel used is replaced by air drawn in through vents, often bringing moisture with it. The accumulation of condensation over time provides a habitat for the organisms. Also, an unlucky end user may be filling up his fuel tank and getting water, organisms and this debris delivered as a part of his diesel fuel, for the same price as the diesel fuel.

A separate but equally perplexing problem is the natural degradation of diesel fuel. A diesel engine uses only some of the fuel it pulls from the tank. All of that fuel goes through the high-pressure fuel pump and to the injectors operating under enormous pressure and high temperatures. The surplus fuel the engine is not using goes back to the tank. This fuel is continuously re-circulated and exposed to extreme pressure and heat, which results in the agglomeration of asphaltenes, the high carbon content, and heavy end fuel molecules. It leads to the formation of larger and larger clusters and solids, which are very difficult to completely combust. These solids may grow so large that they will not pass through the filter element. They become part of the polymer and sludge build-up plugging the filter.

In addition, the hot fuel coming back to the tank will raise the fuel temperature in the tank, cause condensation (water accumulation in the bottom of the tank) and contribute to microbial contamination, fuel break down, biofouling and the build-up of sludge and acid.

Large fuel droplets and high asphaltene concentrations require more time, more energy and higher temperatures to combust than is available in engines during the combustion cycle and before the exhaust valve opens. Any device in the fuel system exposing the fuel to stress (heat and pressure) such as pumps, heaters, or centrifuges will increase the formation of asphaltenes. If you have seen fuel that has turned dark, or almost black, in comparison to clear, bright fuel, then you have witnessed the results of this process. This degraded, dark fuel negatively impacts combustion.

Note that fuel in storage for long periods show this same darkening of the fuel. Most diesel fuel is consumed within a couple of months of leaving the refinery, but fuel in storage, such as for backup power generator service or companies or farms that have fuel tanks that receive refills only a couple of times per year (or less) suffer from the darkening of the fuel. Over time, depending on the quality of the fuel, and even with vigilance in keeping water out of the tank, the fuel will degrade and turn dark. This happens naturally as the asphaltene components in the fuel that is in solution attract other asphaltenes and grow in size until the fuel is dark and these components drop to the bottom of the tank. If you have ever seen the inside of an old fuel tank that looks like it was painted with roofing tar, you have witnessed the results of this process.

The diesel fuel of today is not the same as what was available years ago. Up until about 15-20 years ago, refineries used only about 50% of a barrel of crude oil to make distillates such as gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel. The remainder of the barrel of crude oil went to "residual oil" such as lubricating oils and heavy oils. Today, as a result of different refining techniques and additive packages, the refinery uses 85% or more of the same barrel of crude, which clearly has consequences for fuel stability. In addition, requirements within the U.S. since 2007 of Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) fuels further impacts fuel performance in on-road diesel engine equipment. 2014 will see the requirement that all types of diesel, on-road and off-road, are required to use ULSD. Further, some regions of the U.S. also use a percentage of biodiesel blended into fuels. These changes have made diesel fuel more unstable (higher susceptibility to bread-down) and more apt to separate, contributing to the accumulation of water in the tank (microbial habitat).

Poor thermal fuel stability can plug filters. Fuel will form particulates (solids) when exposed to pumps and the hot surfaces and pressure of the fuel injection system. This will result in an increase in asphaltene agglomerations, polymerisation and a dramatic loss of combustion efficiency.

Fuel systems, in general, are designed to return a significant proportion of the fuel not used for combustion back to the tank. This return fuel is very hot and will promote polymerisation and fuel breakdown. Eventually, more and more solids from the tank will reach the filter and over time, plug the filter. These problems continuously occur in commercially operated engines, such as trucks, heavy equipment, shipping, and power generation, but will also appear in recreational boats, RV's and all types of fuel storage tanks.

Truck engines are used continuously and, in most cases, the tanks "appear to be clean". However, a 2-micron filter element does not last very long, in general, 25,000 kms or less. It should be 48,000 kms or more. In the marine industry filter changes of 400 hours is in many instances standard operating procedure, while filters should easily last 1,000 hours or more.

Short filter life is quite remarkable realising how "thin" diesel fuel actually is and knowing how clean the tanks on most trucks "appear" to be.

Short filter life is symptomatic of polymerisation, increase in the size of the fuel droplet, agglomeration of asphaltenes and the formation of solids in fuel systems. The consequences are carbon build-up in engines and exhaust systems, higher fuel consumption and excessive smoke.

The stuff that clogs your filters is actually fuel in some way, shape or form. In excess of 90% of this organic debris are fuel breakdown products. It is not sand, dust, stones, rust or in-organic matter that blocks your filter.

Inorganic material like sand, dust and other particles will not cause your filters to clog. In fact, a lot of sand in a fuel filter would act as extra filtration. The pores between the sand particles are much larger than the pores in a standard fuel filter element. Sand filters are commonly used to filter water. A hair is approximately 40 microns and fuel filter elements range all the way from 30 microns for a pre-filter to 2 microns in a fine filter.

Fuel is an unstable, organic liquid that goes "bad". Your vendor will always sell you the highest fuel quality possible. However, due to a variety of circumstances fuel may have "aged", oxidized and/or may contain water. It may have been contaminated before it was delivered to you or to your vendor.

Fuel has to travel from the refinery to the end-user destination. It is pumped through pipelines, barged, trucked and stored in tank farms. Changes in temperature throughout any given day and exposure to the atmosphere will cause condensation and water in storage systems. As a result, your fuel quality diminishes.

When your fuel is finally used, it is exposed to the heat and pressure of engine injection systems, centrifuges, pumps, and heaters causing an increase in asphaltene agglomerations, which negatively impacts combustion efficiency and emissions.

Fuel is made to certain ASTM specifications and diesel engines are designed and built to operate on fuels that consistently meet these specifications. When it does not meet these specifications, we could refer to it as "bad fuel". However, we tend to refer to fuel as "bad fuel" when we see symptoms such as •dark hazy fuel, •filter plugging, •sludge build up in tanks, •poor engine performance, •excessive smoke & •emissions, •etc. We refer to fuel as "good fuel" when it is clear and bright. Or rather, in that case, no reference is made at all to our fuel. We simply use it and take fuel quality and peak engine performance for granted.

Dark fuel is symptomatic of poor quality and even though, in most cases, it can be used, fuel in this condition will provide poor combustion and filtration problems.

"Dark fuel" is in general indicative of oxidation and that the process of fuel degradation is in a far advanced stage. Hazy fuel is indicative of water emulsified in the fuel. In general, dark hazy fuel will not damage your engine. However, it does indicate poor fuel quality which will definitely not provide you with peak engine performance.

As long as fuel meets the (ASTM) specifications, it will perform in your engine. Using fuel that is less than optimal quality negatively impacts engine efficiency and accelerates the process that degrades fuel injectors, causes fuel pump failure, and makes new engines old.

Diesel fuel can range from colourless to amber or light brown in colour depending on the crude oil and the refinery process used to produce it. In addition, dyes may be added to change the fuel colour for tax identification purposes.

In time, stored fuel will darken due to oxidation, polymerisation and agglomeration of certain components. The darkening is accompanied by the formation of sediment that plugs filters and causes poor combustion. Fuel & Oil vendors know what time can do to fuel quality and suggest that if diesel fuel is stored for emergency use, it should be replaced with fresh fuel within a year unless special precautions or remedial actions are taken. Some ULSD fuels and fuels containing bio-diesel will not perform acceptably before a year has passed.


The regular use of XSNANO fuel treatments can clean your fuel and injectors and control the diesel bug in fuel. It can extend the life of the fuel and eliminate carbon from the system. XSNANO provides a more complete burn of fuel which can result in far better fuel economy, cleaner operating engines and fuel systems, removal of harmful NOx gasses including carbon from the system and increasing power and performance.

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