DIESEL IN WINTER
Fuel Filter Problems due to low ambient temperatures.
Engine Power Loss
Diesel engine power loss during winter operation is a common occurrence and source of complaint. Unless there is a component failure within the engine, the problem can usually be traced back to paraffin crystal formation in the fuel which restricts flow through fuel filters. In case there are small amounts of water in your fuel or fuel system, freezing temperatures may cause the emulsion of water and fuel to freeze into a fuel/ice slush, further restricting filters.
Frequently, fuel filters are blamed for the problem when, in fact, the problem is caused by the effect of cold weather.
Solving the problem
As long as diesel or a winterized diesel blend is used during winter conditions, most fuel related winter problems can be avoided. However, encountering poor quality or unconditioned fuel is inevitable, so some precautions should be taken when operating in cold weather. Depending on the severity of winter operating conditions, many operators may choose to protect their equipment through the use of fuel additives, fuel heaters, and fuel/water separators.
Due to the severe weather conditions and the restricted flow due to the formation of fuel/ice slush putting extra strain on the filter it is important to have a new filter on your engine during winter.
A Word of Caution: Never add gasoline or alcohol to diesel fuel to help with cold weather operation. Operating with such a mixture may cause serious damage to the fuel injection system or even possibly cause an explosion!