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Ask Dave: Should I use fuel additives for my Cat diesel?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses Cat diesel engines.

Dear Dave,
I have a 2005 Fleetwood Providence 39L with a 350 Cat diesel engine with 60,000 miles on it. Should I be using a diesel additive or is diesel fuel good enough to protect my engine? If so, what brand would you suggest is best? —Ardo

Dear Ardo,
From what I have gotten from most of the diesel technicians and looking at the Cat owner’s manual they do not recommend any type of additive. Their engine is designed to run on high Sulphur Diesel. What is important is to service the engine regularly and only use Cat-approved filters and oil – especially the ultrahigh efficiency fuel filter.

I have seen several posts and talked with my Winnebago rep. They stated they use Power Service Diesel Additive. I have used that in several Chevy 3500 trucks with the Duramax and put more than 250,000 on three different vehicles.

One other thing that I believe is important is to only use top-tier fuel and make sure it’s the blend designed for your temperatures. We did run into some issues with driver’s filling up in the South and hitting cold weather coming back home to the North. But sometimes you can’t tell or can’t help hitting colder weather.

Check your Cat manual to see if there is any recommendation there as well. I will also keep checking to see if I can find a Cat technician, although that is harder these days as they are not in the RV market anymore.

One more update. I was able to get in touch with a Caterpillar technician in the on-highway division. He said they do not recommend any type of additive other than Power Service anti-gel in cold weather. Plus, he recommended larger truck stops for fuel as they cycle diesel faster and their engines can handle up to B30 biodiesel.

And yes, even though the box says “Fuel Supplement,” it is an anti-gel product.

Read more from Dave here

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Impavid
1 month ago

Read the instructions on any additive. From what I’ve read anti-gel should not be used when it’s not needed.

Erik
1 month ago

I’ve driven diesel trucks for 30 years, I swear by adding Howes fuel conditioner, it also acts as an anti gel

Erik

Jeff Arthur
1 month ago

I see others have spotted the hi sulfur part of Daves post. Many diesel owners have been using additives to combat the reduction of sulfur . Sulfur like lead in gasoline acts as a lubricant. Fuel pressures in Diesel engines run 25,000-40,000 psi which I find amazing. Fuel pump problems surfaced with the reduction of sulfur & many owners feel the need to use additives.Cummins does recommend power service conditioner or at least did a couple years ago.

Thomas D
1 month ago

Cat uses a HIGH SULFUR fuel. I don’t think so. Probably cant even buy that stuff.
All pumps I see are 15ppm lo w or ultra low sukfur

David Telenko
1 month ago
Reply to  Thomas D

Totally agree, sometimes I wonder who actually writes Dave’s replies! I believe he needs to retract that statement!
Snoopy

Bob P
1 month ago
Reply to  David Telenko

In 2005 Low Sulfur diesel was not required. That is why CATS owners manual calls for high sulphuric diesel. Reading further CAT rep says they can use up to B30 biodiesel which helps replace the sulphur content.

GWM
1 month ago
Reply to  Thomas D

Most of the high sulfur diesel pumps that I have encountered are marked as “OFF ROAD ONLY” and are a dyed fuel of which I use for my farm tractor. Filters used must meet or exceed manufactures standards but you are not required to use their filters in accordance with the “Hatch Act” which makes it illegal for them to demand such. They will NOT put this in writing.