Problems

A typical 10,000-gallon bulk delivery can contain more than 700 grams of dirt and other particles (the equivalent of a 700ml soda bottle, packed with dirt), and that’s before it mixes with whatever contamination that is already lurking in your tank, waiting to cause problems with your injectors.

Measuring Contamination

ISO 4406 contamination codes consist of three numbers corresponding to the number of particles of 4 microns and larger, 6 microns and larger, and 14 microns and larger present in the fluid. This table illustrates what it means to start with a contamination level of ISO 22/21/18 and target a cleanliness level of ISO 14/13/11.

Particle Sizes
Fuel Injector Clearance
microns The typical clearance for a high pressure common rail fuel injector is less than 5 microns, and some injectors feature a clearance of less than 2 microns, so even the tiniest particles can cause problems. With tight tolerances and high rates of pressure, even microscopic particles in diesel will ruin your injectors and cost you thousands of dollars in downtime and replacement parts.
Size of Familiar Particles
Grain of table salt 100 µm
Human hair 80 µm
White blood cell 25 µm
Talcum powder 10 µm
Red blood cell 8 µm
Silt
Bacteria 2 µm
RANGE OF PARTICLES PER 100 MILLILITERS
ISO cleanliness level Code More than Up to including
24 8,000,000 16,000,000
23 4,000,000 8,000,000
ISO 22 / 21 /18 - 4 μm+ 22 2,000,000 4,000,000
ISO 22 / 21 /18 - 6 μm+ 21 1,000,000 2,000,000
20 500,000 1,000,000
19 250,000 500,000
ISO 22 / 21 /18 - 14 μm+ 18 130,000 250,000
17 64,000 130,000
16 32,000 64,000
15 16,000 32,000
ISO 14 / 13 /11 - 4 μm+ 14 8,000 16,000
ISO 14 / 13 /11 - 6 μm+ 13 4,000 8,000
12 2,000 4,000
ISO 14 / 13 /11 - 14 μm+ 11 1,000 2,000
10 500 1,000
9 250 500
8 130 250
7 64 130
6 32 64
5 16 32
4 8 16
3 4 8
2 2 4
1 1 2

Modern Engines Demand Clean Fuel

Progressive introduction of increasingly stringent emission standards have resulted in sophisticated diesel engines that require cleaner fuel than ever before to operate efficiently, due to injection pressures of more than 30,000 PSI and extremely tight  tolerances.  In engines where precision is everything, you can’t risk the damage done by high-velocity microscopic contaminants. At 30,000 PSI (2000 BAR), every unfiltered particle acts almost like a tiny sandblaster, eroding the injector, creating inefficient spray- patterns and potentially over-fueling the engine. A fouled injector doesn’t spray fuel efficiently and may lead to improper idle, irregular fuel distribution, unsuitable exhaust emissions and poor fuel economy.

Onboard Filtration isn’t enough

Onboard filters are designed to provide final filtration for moderately clean fuel. Engine filtration is not intended to clean fuel contaminated with large amounts of dirt and water. If contaminated fuel is used, the capability of the onboard filtration is overwhelmed and injectors either wear out prematurely or seize. This means more maintenance and more downtime. This means more maintenance, more downtime and more money out of your pocket.