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Man in the field report on fuel specs

Discussion in '1982-Present GM Diesel' started by 4by4bygod, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Hi All..

    Just thought I would throw this out there, and let you guys know what I'm finding in the bulk tanks, as a public service.. I have changed the company names, as to not be accused of slander on a public bulletin board.

    a little background.. trying to work with some fleets (from a prospecting standpoint ) is difficult because there is a prevailing mindset that the fuel suppliers are : a) infallible, b) are handling everything with the best possible product for the application, or C) wouldn't possibly sell or deliver a product that doesn't address a fleets needs from an emissions or performance standpont..

    an actual response I got from a school district, that I knew was having bacteria and fungus problems leading to rampant filter changes: - " well, we don't want to talk to you because we buy all of our fuel from the supplier specified by the group buying consortium, so we don't have to think about any of this, or make decisions about anything"..

    so, there's the midset.. he hung up on me as I was mentioning the district up the road from his that's been with me since 2003, and the problems they don't have, but anyway....

    A different district that has also been my customer since 2003 is in an interesting situation.. being an on road user, all of the fuel is supposed to be 15ppm or less sulfur anyway.. they are also running DPF's on these buses, (we're there to lower PM's even more, and NOx, which these traps don't do) and as a condition of their grant funding, they MUST have ULSD fuel..

    As a service, since they've been my peeps for so long, I have been having their fuel sampled independently. One local supplier's fuel tested at 30 PPM,(classified as low sulfur ) while the spec sheet from the terminal said it was 11PPM ULSD, coming from a texas based fuel company.. this is the same local fuel supplier who had no idea what CJ4 oils even were, when I asked when they would start being rolled out to the fleets..

    So, I get them to switch to a different local fuel supplier, a distributor here in town for a foreign owned fuel company, that's big on " green fuels".. I explain the situation, and what my customers needs are.. the first load was ULSD, which I had tested, and it came back as 4 PPM sulfur.. so far so good..

    a month later I test the next delivery, and it comes back 100ppm, or a low sulfur fuel.. I call the supplier, and he at first denies delivering the load in question.. then he claims that " all I have is the ULSD"...I asked if perhaps the fuel was cut with a high sulfur kerosene for winter..

    he promised to check, and when he called back, i learned that it was their delivery, and the fuel came from the same terminal and texas refining company as the previously mentioned low sulfur fuel ( not the previously purchased 4ppm ULSD from the foreign company like we asked for ) because it was the cheapest that day at the terminal.. oh, and it was delivered without kerosene.. ( in cleveland..in february )..

    the guy then claimed it was labelled USLD.. I told him, "remember why you got this account in the first place?"... I explained that I also had a spec sheet from the previous ( texas fuel) terminal and supplier , also claiming ULSD, and it tested at 30... so I have two loads originating from the same terminal and same texas company to the same customer from two different fuel suppliers within two months of each other, and they both test as low sulfur.. I really can't fake these tests and my customer HAS to have ULSD..

    So, he promised to get only the correct ulsd from the foreign - owned company from now on.. and I'll be checking that too..

    I informed the district of what was going on, and they were happy I stepped in.. but the morals of the story are:

    shopping on price alone has consequences, and trusting other people to shop for you on price also has consequences.

    If you have a fleet, and need your fuel to be of a certain spec, get it tested..most outfits that do oil analysis also do fuel testing.

    Remember, they only standards the refiners / suppliers have to meet is ASTM D - 975.. there is no standard for "premium fuel", and lubricity is not allowed to be listed as a premium fuel quality..

    I've seen all sorts of crazy stuff.. I've seen suppliers dump in the cheap truckstop additives and charge top buck ( while the fuel still gells ) and I've seen them deliver a load of fuel laden with fungus and water, while refusing to come and clean the tank..

    Now, there are some good ones, and I value the ones we have good relations with, but my only point is, not to take anything for granted.. sometimes these guys are limited by what they get at the terminals so the end users have to take steps themselves.

    If you are buying fuel at the reatil outlet, remember the words of forrest gump.. " you never know what you're gonna get"..

    Tom
     

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