Caterpillar Owner’s Manual – Fuel has a storage life of approximately one year. This period may vary widely depending upon initial fuel quality, contaminant levels, and storage conditions. To remove water, scale and bacteria growth, periodic exchange of fuel and filtering/treating is recommended to extend fuel life. Water contamination of fuel during long-term storage provides a medium for bacterial growth, forming a dark slime which:
- Plugs filters
- Deposits on tank walls and pipes
- Swells rubber products that it contacts
Sulfur compounds are natural antioxidants, so low sulfur fuels (0.05 percent by weight) degrade quicker in storage. Diesel fuels oxidize and form gums and varnishes which can plug fuel filters and injectors.
Because micro organism growth occurs in the fuel/water layer, the tank should be designed to minimize this interface, and water bottoms should be drained regularly. Micro biocide additives, either water or fuel soluble, can be added to fresh fuel to inhibit microorganism growth. Consult your local fuel supplier for recommended additives. Caterpillar, LEBW4976-03, 2011