DIESEL FUEL QUALITYThe local shop is overloaded with repair work to replace the fuel injector pumps.   The reason- California (and perhaps other states) in their wisdom to clean up diesel fuel emissions, has removed some bad guys from the fuel and, in so doing has also removed some good guys.   One of the good guys removed is at least one of the lubricants that lubes the injector pump.   The result is pumps that eventually get destroyed.   Their are fuel additives available, the one the local shop owner recommends, he can't keep in stock.   When he told me about the problem, he told me the best thing to do is to go to a local store (Walmart or KMart) and buy the cheapest 30 weight oil I can find and when I fill up the tank with diesel fuel, add two quarts of the 30 weight to our 90 gallon tank.   Obviously, this means use one quart if we are only adding 1/2 a tank of fuel.   He said their are no side effects of adding the oil, but there sure are if we don't.   He could not speak to the fuel in other states, but said it won't hurt to be sure.   You might wish to speak to your own local shop and act accordingly."
Leo Everitt quickly contacted his Cummins interface and replied with quoted
words from Cummins which indicated that there is no problem with the
lubricity of diesel fuels anywhere in the US affecting Cummins engines.
I reported my information again at the Richmond Rally, simply FYI, and Leo
again replied with the Cummins statements.   My immediate reaction in both
cases was "something is wrong in this equation.   If there is no problem with
lubricity of the fuel in California, then why is there a rash of fuel
injector pump failures in recent months in California." My plan of action at
this point was to provide the Cummins data provided so quickly and accurately
(as usual by Leo) back to my Cummins service company and inquire as to "wot's
up".   I did this and here was the response form McCormick Diesel Service in
"No reports of lubricity problems with fuel injector pumps has been
forthcoming from Cummins probably because the problem is with the injector
pumps, not the Cummins portion of the engine.   The reports HAVE come directly
from the injector pump manufacturers and alerts/notices have been issued by
I supply here the primary content of two such alerts which Steve McCormick
supplied me (I have FAX copies of both):
United Diesel Service, Inc.  (A Bosch Injector Pump Dealer in South El Monte,
"Re: FUEL QUALITY ALERT!
Over the past couple of months, we have seen a dramatic increase of injection
pump failures due to the quality of diesel fuel.
The problem appears to be related to low diesel fuel lubricity.   We have
extracted fuel samples from several sources and are awaiting the laboratory
In the meantime, we strongly recommend the constant use of a diesel fuel
lubricity supplement to protect your fuel systems.   We are not able to
warranty failures due to poor fuel quality."
Fuel Injection Service Company of California (A Bosch injector pump dealer)
July 10, 2000:
"We have seen a dramatic increase in "fuel quality" related failures of
injection pumps over the past few weeks.   Fuel samples extracted from failed
units were sent for HFRR (High Frequency Reciprocating Rig) laboratory
testing in order to measure the lubricating qualities of the fuel in
question.   The results just received indicate that the samples are extremely
dry and abrasive, typical of kerosene or even jet fuel.   The average wear
scar diameter of the samples tested was 30% to 40% worse than the maximum
allowable.   Fuel Injection is strongly recommending consistent use of a
diesel fuel lubricity supplement in order to protect your fuel system.
Injection pump failures due to poor fuel quality ARE NOT WARRANTABLE."
Steve McCormick also indicated that the injection pump failures he has seen
are not limited to Cummins engines (Ford and GM also), small or large, and
are not limited to Bosch injector pumps.
So what's the bottom line? As for me, when I fuel up with diesel anywhere in
California, I am using an additive.  Either a special additive for lubricity
(one is put out by STP but I have no knowledge of its quality) or to do as
Steve McCormick suggested- in the absence of a special additive, use the 30
weight oil.   Why Cummins is not aware of this I can't answer, but I am going
with what the injector pump folks are saying.   As far as Steve McCormick
knows, California is the only state that has inforced the stringent process
for sulfur removal which also removes the lubricity qualities.   To his
knowledge, none of the low sulfur fuel is exported to other states.
Best regards and happy motoring,
Don Fuller #1088