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Dec 04
2018

Important Services You May Be Neglecting: Fuel Sampling

By: Patti Stewkesbury

 

All generators have three major fluids vital for engine performance, reliability and lifespan

  1. Coolant (similar to radiator fluid in your car)
  2. Oil (similar to oil in your car)
  3. Fuel (diesel engines have on-site storage tank of diesel fuel)

All of these fluids should be tested periodically to ensure they are still within OEM specifications. Fluids that fall outside of spec can place the engine at risk including reduced efficiency, shorter lifespan, inability to start on demand or even engine damage and failure.

Engine Coolant

What is it?   Engine coolant runs thru the engine block to draw heat away from engine. The coolant is then “cooled” via the radiator. The radiator is a heat exchanger with the coolant on the inside and cooled via the radiator fan blowing air across the radiator. The coolant also has additives to prevent corrosion of metal parts. It also has additives to lower the freeze point. This helps protect the coolant from freezing even when outdoor air temperature is below 32 degrees.

How is it tested?   Sample is drawn from coolant reservoir and sent to lab for testing.

What is the Standard? Standards are developed by Kinsley using multiple sources including manufacturers, ASME guidelines and industry norms.

Consequences of poor condition: The coolant serves many functions including cooling the engine, corrosion protection as well as protecting the coolant from freezing during cold weather.

Typical corrective action: Typical corrective action is flush and replace. If oil is detected in the coolant, the engine head gasket would be inspected and potentially replaced.

Coolant Sample Tests

  • Corrosion metals in ppm (iron, aluminum, copper, lead, tin, silver, zinc)
  • Mineral contaminants (ppm)
  • Corrosion Inhibitors (ppm)
  • Carrier salts (ppm)
  • Visual observation by lab (foam, oil, precipitate, odor)
  • Freeze point
  • Boil point
  • % anti-freeze
  • Hardness, conductance, Nitrite (levels)
  • Acidity (pass/fail)

Engine Oil

What is it?   Engine oil is used to provide lubrication for the engines moving metal parts (cylinders, pistons, rings).

How is it tested?   Sample is drawn from the oil reservoir and sent to lab for testing.

What is the Standard? Standards are developed by Kinsley using multiple sources including manufacturers, ASME guidelines and industry norms.

Consequences of poor condition When oil loses its viscosity, or shows presence of contaminants/water, the oil needs to be changed in order to prevent harm to the engine.

Typical corrective action Typical corrective action is flush and replace.

Engine Oil Sample Tests

  • Wear metals (iron, chromium, nickel, aluminum, copper, lead, tin, cadmium, silver, vanadium)
  • Contaminant metals (ppm)
  • Multi-source metals (titanium, molybdenum, antimony, manganese, lithium, boron)
  • Additive metals (ppm)
  • Other contaminants (water, dilution, soot)
  • Fluid properties (viscosity, oxidation, nitration)
  • Particulate count (by micron size)

Diesel Fuel

What is it?   Diesel Fuel is stored in on-site tanks. The fuel is used as needed and the tanks are refilled when low.

How Tested?   Sample is drawn from the fuel tank and sent to lab for testing.

What is the Standard? Standards are developed by Kinsley using multiple sources including manufacturers, ASME guidelines and industry norms.

Consequences of poor condition Often diesel fuel can sit for years in the tank. Over time the fuel can be contaminated by water (condensation), bacteria, suspended solids (dirt, debris) or corrosion byproducts from the tank lining/vessel/baffles.

Typical corrective action Often the fuel can be cleaned with a process called Fuel Polishing. In extreme cases the fuel should be removed and disposed.

Fuel Sample Tests

  • Cetane Index
  • Distillation (required for cetane)
  • API Gravity (required for cetane)
  • Bacteria, Fungi, Mold
  • Water & Sediment (%)
  • Total Acid
  • Elemental metals (24 metals)
  • Flash Point
  • Particulate Count (suspended solids)

It’s easy to avoid costly damage to your standby power system with a regular program of fuel sampling to uncover trouble areas before they cause major damage. Contact Kinsley at service@kinsleypower.com to learn more.


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