October 5, 2020

The 4 Strangest Diesel Questions People ask on Google

Written By: ProSource Diesel

These questions may seem strange, but they are among the most Googled questions regarding diesel trucks, diesel fuel and popular diesel engines like the Powerstroke, Cummins and Duramax. The strangest most-searched questions on Google are as follows:

  • How Much Does a Gallon of Diesel Weigh?
  • What Temp Does Diesel Freeze?
  • How to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes?
  • Why do Diesel Trucks Have Two Batteries?

ProSource Diesel is here to answer these questions and some related questions as well.

1. How Much Does a Gallon of Diesel Weigh?

A gallon of diesel fuel weighs roughly seven pounds. The exact weight varies by country. For example, a gallon of diesel in the US weighs slightly less than seven pounds, while in Canada it weighs slightly more than seven pounds. The weight of diesel fuel also changes very slightly depending on the temperature.

For example, in 15 degrees Fahrenheit temps, one gallon of diesel fuel weighs about 7.1 pounds. In extreme heat temperatures of 105 degrees or more, that same gallon weighs about 6.8 pounds. In average temperatures of around 70 degrees, one gallon of diesel fuel weighs around 6.9 pounds.

How Much Does a Full Tank of Diesel Fuel Weigh?

How much a full tank of diesel fuel weighs depends on the size of the fuel tank. Semi-truck fuel tanks can carry as much as 300 gallons of fuel, so that means a full tank could weigh over 2,000 pounds.

The fuel tank size of a three-quarter-ton diesel Ford Powerstroke truck is between 34 and 48 gallons depending on the year and trim. That means a full tank might weigh between 238 and 336 pounds. Chevy trucks and Dodge trucks of the same size have fuel tanks around 32 gallons on average.

What is the Cost of a Gallon of Diesel Fuel?

The cost of diesel fuel largely varies by location. In early 2019, the average price for a gallon of diesel fuel in the United States was $3.093. The most expensive prices are typically found in California at well over $3 per gallon. The cheapest fuel is usually on the Gulf Coast with prices hovering just over $2 per gallon in 2020.

2. At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze?

Diesel fuel doesn’t freeze like a block of ice, but it gels up due to the paraffin in the fuel. It stiffens and causes the fuel tank to cloud. The problem with this is that it can start clogging the fuel lines and the tank itself. The temperature when this starts to happen is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the normal freezing temp of water as well. As the temps go down further to 10 and 15 degrees, actual gelling starts to occur.

How to Stop Diesel Fuel from Gelling in Cold Weather

The key to driving a diesel truck in cold temps, even in below zero temps, is using a diesel fuel additive. Diesel fuel additives are specifically designed for diesel engines like the Powerstroke, Cummins and Duramax. The additive disperses water, stops gelling and lowers the fuel pour point. It works by reducing the size of the crystals that start to form in cold weather. That prevents the diesel fuel from gelling and allows it to keep flowing in subzero temps.

Can Additives Be Used When Diesel Fuel Has Already Gelled?

In order to use an additive on an already-gelled tank, the tank needs to be cleared to free the fuel line. That generally means pouring the additive into the tank and giving it about 20 minutes to break down the gel. Upon starting the truck, it should idle for a few minutes to further clear the fuel lines.

Preparing a Diesel Truck for Cold Weather

Besides using a fuel additive, it’s important to make use of a block heater as well. This is especially necessary if the truck is parked outside. While additives can prevent clogging in temps as low as 30 below zero, lower temps can make the additive ineffective, therefore requiring a block heater.

3. How to Get Diesel Smell Out of Clothes

One of the potential problems of having a Ford Powerstroke, Dodge Cummins or Chevy Duramax truck is the possibility for diesel smell on clothes. This can happen when filling up if some fuel drips out, or during mechanic work on the vehicle. Owners of diesel trucks often report that simply washing clothes to get rid of the diesel smell isn’t enough. Not only that, but the diesel smell might leak into the washing machine as well. Fortunately, there are some other ways to get the diesel smell out of clothes.

Here are three:

  1. Use baking soda and vinegar to break down the oil and smell before washing normally.
  2. Add Listerine mouthwash to the washing machine with a load of laundry. Firemen use this to get rid of smoke smells.
  3. Fast Orange hand cleaner can be added to the washing machine to get the smell out. Adding some baking soda with it can help even more.

How to Get Diesel Smell Out of a Truck Cab

Another problem might arise if diesel smell gets into your truck cab. If the spill can be located, Fast Orange might do the trick. If not, some drivers try car fresheners, which might work if the smell is just from fumes that leaked in from somewhere else. However, if the diesel smell is really strong or from a significant spill, the best way to get it out is through professional detailing.

Why Does Diesel Smell So Bad?

The reason diesel has such a bad smell is due to the high sulfur content, which is higher in the US than it is in other countries. The sulfur reacts to the nickel in the fuel and both work to lubricate the engine – and to create a foul smell!

4. Why Do Diesel Trucks Have Two Batteries?

The main reason trucks with diesel engines have two batteries is due to the need for higher cranking amps when the truck is started. Diesel engines have a higher resistance load than gas engines. Compression in a diesel engine is around 17:1 compared to the gas engine rate of around 9:1. In order for the truck to start, the temperature in the combustion chamber must be raised enough to combust the diesel fuel. Gas engines rely on spark plugs to do this. A diesel engine has glow plugs to preheat the combustion chamber. They require extra electrical energy to do this.

When to Replace Diesel Batteries

Batteries come with warranties that suggest how long they might last. However, many factors weigh into when the batteries actually need to be replaced. Some of those factors include:

  • Starting frequency and running time duration
  • Extreme cold weather or extreme heat
  • Corroded connections
  • Overcharging alternator
  • Dirty battery terminals

It’s important to replace diesel batteries in pairs and not just replace one at a time. The average life of a battery is usually three to five years.

How to Jump-Start with Two Batteries

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to jump-start both batteries or have another truck with two batteries jump-start a dead truck with two batteries. Only one battery needs to be jump-started and then the alternator will do the rest by sending a charge to both batteries. The following are the steps to jump-starting a truck with a diesel engine and two batteries:

  1. Both vehicles should be in park if they’re automatics, or neutral if one or both are manuals.
  2. Connect one clamp from the red jumper cable to the dead battery’s positive terminal.
  3. Connect the second clamp to the good battery’s positive terminal.
  4. Connect one of the black cable clamps to the negative terminal of the good battery.
  5. Connect the last black cable clamp to a piece of unpainted metal on the dead vehicle, such as the alternator bracket.
  6. Start the engine with the good battery, and let it run to send juice into the dead battery. This might take a few minutes.
  7. Start cranking the engine of the dead vehicle. If it doesn’t fire up, wait a few minutes for more juice and then try again.
  8. Once the engine turns over, the black cable clamps can be removed, but make sure they don’t touch each other, the red cable or any metal.
  9. Remove the red cables carefully from each vehicle one at a time.
  10. Allow the revived truck to run for at least 20 minutes to let the alternator do its job and charge both batteries. Driving is better than idling.

Find diesel truck parts for your Ford Powerstroke, Chevy Duramax or Dodge Cummins truck at ProSource Diesel. It’s where repair shops shop for reliable and hard to find diesel parts and kits.

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