How often do you think about your diesel fuel filter? If you run diesel your filter has a bigger job to do than you may realize. Here I will be explaining what part fuel filters play within your vehicle. For this purpose I will be using Fass 150 filters as an example, as they are a commonly found brand.
What Are Diesel Fuel Filters and What Do They Do?
Unlike vehicles that run on gasoline, diesel fuel must be filtered several times, with most systems having around 3 stages of filters. In a basic setup there is a filter screen which is situated at the tank, or alternatively the transfer pump. This is followed by a primary fuel filter, and another accompanying filter is placed after that.
The function of a diesel fuel filter is to protect the fuel system from becoming inundated by engine components. The filters are constructed so as to remove extraordinarily small particles which could cause failure if otherwise not diverted. Let’s look at the mathematics behind this for a moment:
- The unit of measurement that fuel filtration uses is the micrometer; a single micron is equitable to 40 millionths of an inch. For reference, a human hair is about 70 microns in diameter.
- A primary fuel filter is responsible for removing particles that are between 10 and 15 microns in size. As another reference, a grain of power is about 10 microns, this is impossibly small.
- A secondary filter is responsible for particles between the ranges of 3 to 5 microns.
The particles filtered from fuel via these filters may seem too small to cause problems, but over time they could go on to cause a failure if not prevented. Fass 150 filters, for instance are widely used due to their ability to purify fuel without increasing friction. Filters like these have the potential to extend fuel injector life, while maximizing engine performance.
Changing Filters After Time is Also Important
Substances can and will eventually build up in the filters, preventing them from doing their intended purpose. All diesel fuel contains a component known as asphaltene. Though they do not cause harm to the injector itself, they can stick to the filter and build up overtime causing a plug the diesel fuel pump.
Additionally, another component found in diesel fuel, paraffin wax can cause similar problems. As fuel cools in the system, there is a chance for wax crystals to form. As more and more adheres and forms, the substance will eventually encompass the filter, and like with the asphaltene, fuel movement will be prevented.
Those are just a few reasons to check and change your filters if needed. The diesel fuel supply system, is complex and requires attention if you want to get the most out of your vehicle. If you’re not savvy with maintenance yourself, your local mechanic will be more than happy to assist and answer any questions you may have about filter types. Though I used Fass 150 filters as a default in this article, you mechanic will be able to recommend what is most beneficial for your vehicle’s make and model. There are a lot of different diesel filter manufacturers, and each have benefits that might be right for you. Let us know in the comments below how you maintain your fuel filters. Have you ever used Fass 150 fuel filters?