Any type of fuel additive seems to draw a certain amount of skepticism. Some claim it’s all snake oil and not needed. The folks who engineer the diesel fuel are college-educated and know what they’re doing. Any money spent on additives is wasted money.
This view is quite short-sided. It doesn’t consider the amount of new science forced on engine makers and oil companies. Science with a deadline. It ignores the fact that ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel wasn’t even thought of when many of the trucks on the road were built. It doesn’t take into consideration the bio-fuel with higher and higher percentage mandates that states regulate.
The other argument is that it may improve fuel economy, but not enough to pay for itself. If it doesn’t add to the bottom line, don’t use it. I have to admit, I belong to this camp. But just where’s the bottom line? Is it a tank to tank number from fuel economy? Or is it the total cost of ownership?
The reality is, regardless of which camp you belong to, when you have a problem that you know isn’t going away, you head to that additive aisle to find a solution. Using too much oil? Get one of those super thick oil additives. Rough idle? Go for an injector cleaner?
The danger of waiting for the symptom to surface is that you may have waited too long. Especially with fuel injectors. They aren’t cheap.
Diesel Extreme by Hot Shot’s Secret
Diesel Extreme stands out for a few reasons. The rest of this article is devoted to the three reasons I decided to use it. Full disclosure here. They are a sponsor of The Trucking Podcast. We’re proud of that. Don the Beer Guy and I have worked hard to create a show that would draw advertisers. And we’ve turned down or ignored several.
1. SEMI-ANNUAL FORMULA
Lubrication Specialties makes this clear, right on the label. You don’t need this every day. Just use it a couple of times a year. I’m sure they could sell more products by simply removing this one statement from the label. But they engineered it to solve a problem. Twice a year is what the problem requires.
I respect what this implies. The two times a year recommendation tells me they designed this for a purpose, not just to sell bottles or cans.
2. They Clearly Tell You How Many Gallons The Bottle Will Treat?
If you read the labels of many fuel additives you will see statements like “treats up to 150 gallons.” What’s that supposed to mean, up to? If it’s a winter anti-gel product, we all know to use more when the cold gets extreme. But on a system cleaner, you would think the ratio of additive to fuel should be a little more precise. How much is too much? How little is too little?
We know this will never be an exact science. There are variables. How much fuel remains in the tank? How big is your tank? One has to think there is a range these products were designed to work within.
A two-quart bottle of Diesel Extreme treats 150 gallons. Not up to, or at least. It treats 150 gallons. A single quart treats 75 gallons.
Diesel-powered pickups have varied fuel tank sizes, usually in the 32 to 38-gallon range. The 16-ounce bottle of Diesel Extreme is labeled with this in mind. Add a bottle to a tank. If you have one of those trucks like my old Ford with two smaller tanks that total 30 gallons or more, add half the bottle to each tank, then fill up.
3. My 3,850 Road Trip Won Me Over
Back in May, I bought a used pickup truck. The truck I bought is a 1992 Ford F250. The truck is a 2WD with a 7.3 diesel, and a 5 speed. I bought it with 211,000 miles on the odometer. It also came with a complete service history for the last several years.
The previous owner used zero additives, fuel, oil or otherwise. He fueled it, serviced it regularly and maintained it well. It turned out to be a great find.
Ford fans know that the 92 model year predates PowerStroke engines. This is a non-turbo motor with 21.5 to 1 compression. This truck idled like a big block Chevy with a racing cam. It had a kind of lope about it at idle. It also had it’s own exhaust stink typical of older diesels. It rolled a little coal when you hit the gas, but no one tailgated. On one trip with my son-in-law following, he told me it stunk like an old diesel.
Within a week of buying the truck, my wife and I found a used slide-in camper. It’s a full-sized camper with a big queen-sized bed over the cab. Weighing in at 1,800 pounds, the truck holds the load well.
Two weeks later, I hit the road for a nine-day, 3,850-mile round trip. Starting out from our home in Northern Wisconsin, I took the northern route through North Dakota, Montana and Idaho to Eastern Oregon’s high desert country. After a couple of days there, and a couple of days in Portland, I headed home.
Although Lubrication Specialties is a show sponsor, I bought the Diesel Extreme used on my road trip with my own, hard-earned cash. I started using it from my first tank when I left home. I continued to use it throughout the entire trip.
Starting out, the truck ran as expected. A little black smoke on the hill climbs, but the truck performed well. Again, no one tailgated me. I wasn’t the slowest RV in the hills by far. Only one hill in Montana required 3rd gear. The rest were fine in 5th or 4th.
By the time I reached Oregon, I couldn’t help but notice how much smoother the truck idled. It also was hard to notice any black smoke. Rolling coal in the old Ford was a thing of the past. I even had a few tailgaters in the Portland area.
On the big hill climbs like Mt. Hood, and Idaho’s Lookout Pass, I had more power climbing and little visible smoke. I only had to come out of 5th gear for steep grades, or to control my speed in the corners. I made the entire trip home without shifting into 3rd on the hills.
Buying 2 half-gallon bottles, I have a half gallon left. I’ll run use it again in January. I’m a believer.
Newer Trucks and Higher Demands
With all the newer diesel trucks comes newer emissions requirements. The engines run hotter. Ultra-low sulfur fuel is here to stay. High pressure fuel injection is working your injectors harder than ever. Diesel Extreme will keep you at the top of the game as far as your injection system goes. It’s cheap insurance. It’s good maintenance, and it will keep you at the top of your game.