A friend sent me this research paper on a test of diesel fuel additives. Kind of long, but very good reading. Jack
DIESEL FUEL LUBRICITY ADDITIVES
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 1 - August, 2007
DIESEL FUEL LUBRICITY ADDITIVES STUDY RESULTS
The following are the preliminary results of a research study on diesel fuel
Lubricity Additives. There is likely to be further commentary and explanation
added at a future time.
The purpose of this research was to determine the ability of multiple diesel
fuel additives to replace the vital lubricity component in ULSD (Ultra Low
Sulfur Diesel) fuel.
ULSD fuel is the fuel currently mandated for use in all on road diesel
engines. This fuel burns cleaner and is less polluting than its predecessor,
called Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel. Low sulfur fuel contained less than 500 ppm of
sulfur. ULSD contains 15 ppm or less.
As diesel fuel is further refined to remove the polluting sulfur, it is
inadvertently stripped of its lubricating properties. This vital lubrication is a
necessary component of the diesel fuel as it prevents wear in the fuel
delivery system. Specifically, it lubricates pumps, high pressure pumps and
injectors. Traditional Low sulfur diesel fuel typically contained enough
lubricating ability to suffice the needs of these vital components. ULSD fuel,
on the other hand, is considered to be very “dry” and incapable of lubricating
vital fuel delivery components. As a result, these components are at risk of
premature and even catastrophic failure when ULSD fuel is introduced to the
system. As a result, all oil companies producing ULSD fuel must replace the
lost lubricity with additives. All ULSD fuel purchased at retail fuel stations
SHOULD be adequately treated with additives to replace this lost lubricity.
The potential result of using inadequately treated fuel, as indicated above,
can be catastrophic. There have been many documented cases of randomly
tested samples of diesel fuel. These tests prove that often times the fuel we
purchase is not adequately treated and may therefore contribute to
accelerated wear of our fuel delivery systems. For this reason it may be
prudent to use an after market diesel fuel additive to ENSURE adequate
lubrication of the fuel delivery system. Additionally, many additives can offer
added benefits such as Cetane improver, anti-gel agents and water
separators (demulsifiers). Some fuel additives include water emulsifiers that
cause the water to remain in suspension with the fuel.
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 2 - August, 2007
In this study we will test multiple diesel fuel additives designed to replace
lost lubricity. The primary component of this study is a side-by-side
laboratory analysis of each additive’s ability to replace this vital lubricity.
Additionally, claims of improving Cetane, water separation or emulsification,
bio-diesel compatibility and alcohol content will be noted. These notes were
derived from information that was readily available to consumers (via the
label and internet information) and none of this information has been
evaluated for validity and/or performance. Cetane information has only been
noted if the word “Cetane” was used in the advertising information. The
words “improves power” has not been translated to mean “improves Cetane”
in this evaluation. Information on alcohol content is provided by indicating
“contains no alcohol”. Omission of the words “contains no alcohol” does not
imply that it does contain alcohol. This information was simply missing in the
information available to a consumer. However, the possibility of a form of
alcohol in these products is possible. Additionally, information on dosages
and cost per tankful are included for comparison purposes.
How Diesel Fuel Is Evaluated For Lubricating Ability:
Diesel fuel and other fluids are tested for lubricating ability using a device
called a “High Frequency Reciprocating Rig” or HFRR. The HFRR is currently
the Internationally accepted, standardized method to evaluate fluids for
lubricating ability. It uses a ball bearing that reciprocates or moves back and
forth on a metal surface at a very high frequency for a duration of 90
minutes. The machine does this while the ball bearing and metal surface are
immersed in the test fluid (in this case, treated diesel fuel). At the end of the
test the ball bearing is examined under a microscope and the “wear scar” on
the ball bearing is measured in microns. The larger the wear scar, the poorer
the lubricating ability of the fluid. The independent lab runs every sample
twice and averages the size of the wear scar.
The U.S. standard for diesel fuel says a commercially available diesel fuel
should produce a wear scar of no greater than 520 microns.
The Engine Manufacturers Association had requested a standard of a
wear scar no greater than 460 microns, typical of the pre-ULSD fuels.
Most experts agree that a 520 micron standard is adequate, but also that
the lower the wear scar the better.
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 3 - August, 2007
An independent research firm was hired to do the laboratory work. The cost
of the research was paid for voluntarily by the participating additive
manufacturers. Declining to participate and pay for the research were the
following companies: Amsoil and Power Service. Because these are popular
products it was determined that they needed to be included in the study.
These products were tested using funds collected by diesel enthusiasts at
“dieselplace.com”. Additionally, unconventional additives such as 2-cycle oil
and used motor oil were tested for their abilities to aid in diesel fuel lubricity.
These were also paid for by members of “dieselplace.com”.
The study was conducted in the following manner:
-The independent research firm obtained a quantity of “untreated” ULSD fuel
from a supplier. This fuel was basic ULSD fuel intended for use in diesel
engines. However, this sample was acquired PRIOR to any attempt to
additize the fuel for the purpose of replacing lost lubricity. In other words, it
was a “worst case scenario, very dry diesel fuel” that would likely cause
damage to any fuel delivery system. The fuel was tested using the HFRR
testing facility at the Laboratory. This fuel was determined to have a
very high HFRR score of 636 microns, typical of an untreated ULSD
fuel. It was determined that this batch of fuel would be utilized as the
baseline fuel for testing all of the additives. The baseline fuel HFRR score of
636 would be used as the control sample. All additives tested would be
evaluated on their ability to replace lost lubricity to the fuel by comparing
their scores to the control sample. Any score under 636 shows improvement
to the fuels ability to lubricate the fuel delivery system of a diesel engine.
In order to ensure a completely unbiased approach to the study, the
following steps were taken:
Each additive tested was obtained independently via internet or over the
counter purchases. The only exceptions were Opti-Lube XPD and the biodiesel
sample. The reason for this is because Opti-Lube XPD additive was
considered “experimental” at the time of test enrollment and was not yet on
the market. It was sent directly from Opti-Lube company. The bio-diesel
sample was sponsored by Renewable Energy Group. One of their suppliers,
E.H. Wolf and Sons in Slinger, Wisconsin supplied us with a sample of 100%
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 4 - August, 2007
soybean based bio-diesel. This sample was used to blend with the baseline
fuel to create a 2% bio-diesel for testing.
Each additive was bottled separately in identical glass containers. The
bottles were labeled only with a number. This number corresponded to the
additive contained in the bottle. The order of numbering was done randomly
by drawing names out of a hat. Only Spicer Research held the key to the
additives in each bottle.
The additive samples were then sent in a box to the independent research
firm for testing. The only information given them was the ratio of fuel to be
added to each additive sample. For example, bottle “A” needs to be mixed at
a ratio of “480-1”. The ratio used for each additive was the “prescribed
dosage” found on the bottle label for that product. Used motor oil and 2-
cycle oil were tested at a rationally chosen ratio of 200:1.
The technician at the laboratory mixed the proper ratio of each “bottled
fluid” into a separate container containing the baseline fuel. The data,
therefore, is meaningful because every additive is tested in the same way
using the same fuel. A side-by-side comparison of the effectiveness of each
additive is now obtainable.
These results are listed in the order of performance in the HFRR test. The
baseline fuel used in every test started at an HFRR score of 636. The
score shown is the tested HFRR score of the baseline fuel/additive blend.
Also included is the wear scar improvement provided by the additive as well
as other claimed benefits of the additive. Each additive is also categorized as
a Multi-purpose additive, Multi-purpose + anti-gel, Lubricity only, nonconventional,
or as an additive capable of treating both gasoline and diesel
As a convenience to the reader there is also information on price per treated
tank of diesel fuel (using a 26 gallon tank), and dosage per 26 gallon tank
provided as “ounces of additive per 26 gallon tank”.
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 5 - August, 2007
In Order Of Performance:
1) 2% REG SoyPower bio-diesel
HFRR 221, 415 micron improvement.
50:1 ratio of baseline fuel to 100% biodiesel
66.56 oz. of 100% biodiesel per 26 gallons of diesel fuel
Price: market value
2) Opti-Lube XPD
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
Cetane Improver, Demulsifier
HFRR 317, 319 micron improvement.
3) FPPF RV, Bus, SUV Diesel/Gas Fuel Treatment
Gas and Diesel
Cetane improver, Emulsifier
HFRR 439, 197 micron improvement
4) Opti-Lube Summer Blend
HFRR 447, 189 micron improvement
5) Opti-Lube Winter Blend
Muti-purpose + anti-gel
HFRR 461, 175 micron improvement
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 6 - August, 2007
6) Schaeffer Diesel Treat 2000
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
Cetane improver, Emulsifier, bio-diesel compatible
HFRR 470, 166 micron improvement
7) Super Tech Outboard 2-Cycle TC-W3 Engine Oil
(Not ULSD compliant, may damage 2007 or newer systems)
HFRR 474, 162 micron improvement
Stanadyne Lubricity Formula
Demulsifier, 5% bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 479, 157 micron improvement
9) Amsoil Diesel Concentrate
Demulsifier, bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 488, 148 micron improvement
10) Power Service Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost
Cetane improver, bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 575, 61 micron improvement
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 7 - August, 2007
11) Howe’s Meaner Power Kleaner
HFRR 586, 50 micron improvement
12) Stanadyne Performance Formula
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
Cetane improver, Demulsifier, 5% bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 603, 33 micron improvement
13) Used Motor Oil, Shell Rotella T 15W-40, 5,000 miles used.
(Not ULSD compliant, may damage systems)
HFRR 634, 2 micron improvement (statistically insignificant change)
14) Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant
Gas or Diesel
HFRR 641, 5 microns worse than baseline (statistically insignificant
15) B1000 Diesel Fuel Conditioner by Milligan Biotech
Multi-purpose, canola oil based additive
HFRR 644, 8 microns worse than baseline (statistically insignificant
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 8 - August, 2007
16) FPPF Lubricity Plus Fuel Power
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
Emulsifier, alcohol free
HFRR 675, 39 microns worse than baseline fuel
17) Marvel Mystery Oil
Gas, Oil and Diesel fuel additive (NOT ULSD compliant, may damage
2007 and newer systems)
HFRR 678, 42 microns worse than baseline fuel.
18) ValvTect Diesel Guard Heavy Duty/Marine Diesel Fuel Additive
Cetane improver, Emulsifier, alcohol free
HFRR 696, 60 microns worse than baseline fuel
19) Primrose Power Blend 2003
Cetane boost, bio-diesel compatible, Emulsifier
HFRR 711, 75 microns worse than baseline
Products 1 through 4 were able to improve the unadditized fuel to an
HFRR score of 460 or better. This meets the strictest requirements
requested by the Engine Manufacturers Association.
Products 1 through 9 were able to improve the unadditized fuel to an
HFRR score of 520 or better, meeting the U.S. diesel fuel requirements for
maximum wear scar in a commercially available diesel fuel.
Copyright© The Diesel Place & A. D. Spicer - 9 - August, 2007