Is your fuel killing your power pack? How to mitigate fuel quality issues.

Bad fuel kills power packs. Don’t allow poor fuel quality to affect power pack performance.
Poor fuel quality is the number one cause for power pack failure and engine shutdown. Contaminated fuel in storage tanks can create particulate that becomes suspended in the fuel during power pack transportation, movement, or refueling. This particulate restricts fuel flow by clogging fuel filtration systems.

Fuel related issues can be more than an inconvenience. Clogged filters can damage expensive fuel pumps and injectors, not to mention the downtime associated with these repairs.

How does fuel contamination happen?
Many outside elements can affect fuel quality, either by the introduction of debris or through the degradation of the fuel itself. Here are some common challenges that power Power Pool Plus at Red Hook Terminalpack operators face:


  • Reefer yards located near open water, face an unavoidable challenge. Temperature changes create condensation, humidity enters through ventilation ports, and the refueling process allows for the introduction of water.
  • Water promotes bacterial growth creating one of the more common contaminants; micro-organisms, called diesel bugs, live and die in the fuel forming debris.
  • Rust particulate and corrosion on critical engine fuel system components are a result of water in fuel tanks.

Hard Particles

  • Windblown sand and dust are common problems in many reefer yards. Often these contaminants enter the fuel tank during refueling.

Soft contaminant particles

  • Overheated and degraded diesel fuel enters the tank through the return line. These particles act like gum and coat filters with a black asphaltene-like substance, leading to power loss and engine shutdown.

These are just a few ways that fuel contamination occurs. Understanding these challenges and taking preventative action where possible are the first lines of defense.

Here’s what we’re doing about it.
We equip all Power Pool Plus rental power packs with a primary fuel filtration system as the first step in removing contaminants.fuel filtration on Power Pool Plus power pack

During routine power pack inspections, take note of the filtration system located upstream from the standard fuel filters. Empty the water collection bowl and replace the filtration element as needed.

Doing this simple process will:

  • Prevent costly injector damage.
  • Increase the operational life of downstream filters
  • Save time and money by eliminating unplanned maintenance and unscheduled downtime from fuel system component failure.

A best practice is to keep several extra fuel filters and cartridges on-hand and replace them at the first signs that the engine is starving for fuel.

Ensuring the quality of the fuel is the responsibility of the power pack operator. Don’t allow poor fuel quality to affect the performance of your power pack; the critical load of reefer containers under your care is counting on it.

Ted Shelson
VP Marketing
Power Pool Plus