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Understanding Icebreaker: A diesel fuel anti-gel

Case Study

Diesel-fueled cars make up approximately a third of all cars sold annually, and diesel fuel powers a little over 20% of all vehicles on Australian roads. When considering off-road use, a compelling case for diesel being the most important internal combustion engine fuel can easily be made.

Diesel, by nature, contains dissolved wax. Wax is critical to diesel fuel engines as it has a high Cetane (CN) value, which provides excellent ignition properties that are naturally important for a smooth and efficient running compression ignition diesel motor. However, having wax in its composition does have inherent problems for operation when cold conditions occur on the eastern side of the country and in some desert areas.

As the fuel cools, the wax molecules start to fall out of the solution and then link with others to create larger structures. This is first indicated by the fuel going cloudy. Once larger wax structures start to form, trouble can hit in the form of blocked fuel altereds, fuel lines, pick-ups and alike. Sometimes, even cold but cloudy fuel can block ne matrix fuel filters and stop engines from starting.

Fuel reners monitor weather patterns and blend pour point depressants and dedicated additives into their diesel to off-set, negate or prevent diesel fuel gelling. Depending on the time of year, geographic location, and historical considerations, fuel sourced via service station bowsers or delivered to onsite tanks may be summer blends (non-additised) or winter blends (additised), and in some cases, alpine blends, which are highly additised to combat the most severe cold conditions we experience in Australia.

The effect of weather on diesel

The lowest ever recorded temperature in Australia was -23.0°C in 1994. While we don’t experience the cold as harshly as other countries, it is cold enough for diesel not to 0w and engines not to start. Wind chill also has an influence. Diesel fuel in outdoor bulk tanks can experience gelling when mild temperatures are in play, and strong winds will amplify the chill effect. Once the cold sets in for the season and fuel reners are dialled in with their blending, problems rarely occur. However, what happens when the off-season cold snaps happen in early spring or cold conditions hit early or late autumn? Farm tractors, pumps, generators, and other diesel-powered engines exposed to this weather may refuse to start!

Another scenario that may occur is eager snowgoers from the major cities heading to the snow with a tank full of summer-grade diesel bought in a capital city where conditions rarely go below high single figures. They park in mountain car parks for the weekend of skiing only to return to their diesel vehicle, and disaster strikes: the fuel has gelled, the injectors are restricted, and the engine won’t start! What can we do here?

TriTech’s Icebreaker, our flagship fuel supplement product, is the solution. Icebreaker is designed with two purposes in mind:

1. Depress the pour point of diesel – in other words, ensure it will 0w when cold.
2. Lower the diesel’s cold filter plug point (CFPP) – so that even when cloudy, the fuel will still 0w through most filter mediums when the product is used as directed.

Product features

Available in two forms: 

1. 250ml ready-to-use

  •  Tailored specifically for retail sale to treat one full tank of fuel (100lt).
  • Ideal for cars, SUVs, 4wds and smaller trucks.

2. A concentrate in 1L chamber packs

  • Available in 5L, 20L, 205L and 1000L IBC.
  • It ideally suits in-ground service station tanks, above and below-ground bulk tanks on site, larger trucks, and other commercial equipment/plants.
  • Icebreaker is a non-ash producing cold 0w / cold performance-improving additive for traditional
  • diesel and bio-diesel fuels. Regular use of Icebreaker in cold weather conditions will smooth out fuel performance quality for consistent results during critical times of the year.

Directions for use

When used as directed, Icebreaker has produced consistent results and has proven proof of
performance in lowering pour point, cloud point and cold filter plug point across a variety of diesel fuels.

For best results, use a dilution range between 1 part and 1000 parts fuel (1:1000) or 1 part to 500 parts fuel (1:500). Dilution to ratios greater than 1:1000 is not recommended; however, Icebreaker has been found to be effective up to 1:2000 under controlled conditions*.

*Consult TriTech technical department for further details.

Tips and tricks

  • Always add Icebreaker to fuel in advance of cold weather setting in.
  • Add Icebreaker to the fuel when the fuel is at its warmest, or above the cloud point.
  • For best results add Icebreaker to the vehicle or bulk storage tank, then add fuel to aid dilution and dispersement of Icebreaker within the fuel system or storage vessel.
  • Icebreaker works at its most efficient as a preventative; once the untreated fuel is affected by the cold, and the cloud point or cold filter plug point is reached, Icebreaker’s effectiveness is negated.

For more detailed information on the application or case requirement, refer to the TriTech technical department.

TriTech Lubricants also offers our additive products in a range of pack sizes, including 250ml, 1L, 5L, and 20L. Icebreaker is sold in 250ml ready-to-use bottles aimed at the single tank dose for cars, SUVs, 4WD, and smaller truck owners/consumers. It is also available as a concentrate in 1L chamber packs, 5L, 20L, 205L, or 1000L.

TriTech Lubricants offers 11 supplementary additive products catering to older, later, late, and the latest heavy commercial, agricultural, construction equipment, industrial equipment, passenger cars, and light commercial vehicles in the Australian market. Our vast range offers excellent accessibility and availability, proving a winner for all professional workshops, self-repairers, and street operators.

All Australian-made TriTech Lubricants products are manufactured under the ISO 9001: 2008 / 2015 quality assurance system and supported by our comprehensive lab testing program. See PDS/MDS for a complete range of technical documents, including Icebreaker.

For vehicle lubricant look-ups and a complete product recommendation database, check out our Lube Guide.

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