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Does John Deere allow the use of Ultra-Low-Sulfur diesel fuel?
Ultra-Low-Sulfur diesel fuel in John Deere Engines.


Summary

Overall Recap

What is ULSD?
ULSD (Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel) is diesel fuel with a maximum of 15 ppm sulfur content.

How will its use affect us?
The good news is we will have cleaner air.  The not so good news is that the introduction of ULSD fuel to older vehicles may adversely affect fuel system components (mainly seals) and/or loosen deposits in fuel tanks. As part of a good maintenance program, owners and operators of existing diesel equipment are encouraged to monitor their diesel-powered vehicles closely for potential fuel system leaks or premature fuel filter plugging during the change-over to ULSD fuel. 

Depending on how long the unit has run on higher sulfur fuel it may take several filter changes before system is purged.  For system leaks new seals should alleviate the problem if they occur. The new seals will take the desired set compatible with the low sulfur fuel.

Depending upon the manufacturing process, there maybe a slight increase (~1%) in fuel consumption over higher sulfur fuel.

When will this happen?
- Diesel fuel intended for non-road engines and equipment must meet the Low Sulfur Diesel fuel maximum specification of 500 ppm sulfur in 2007.
- By June 2010, the ULSD fuel standard of 15 ppm sulfur will apply to non-road diesel fuel production.
- Be aware, some distributors may elect to go directly to 15ppm and reduce the number of pumps required for on-road and off-road applications. Also, in some cases, common delivery systems may be used for both on and off road fuels.  Federal law requires labels on each pump designating sulfur levels.

In California, all diesel fuel will transition in 2006 to meet the ULSD 15 ppm level. Compliance date for California retail outlets is December 2006.


Non-Road Diesel Fuel Standards

 Who Covered Fuel  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010 and Beyond 
All Off-Road  Non-Road  5000 ppm  500 ppm  500 ppm  500 ppm  15 ppm 

What can we do to reduce risk with use in older vehicles?
Know what fuel sulfur content you are fueling with thru pump labels and fuel sampling.
Monitor the fuel system, especially around pump and filters, to catch seepage and to prevent air ingestion.
Check filters for premature plugging.

Additives for lubricity should not be necessary. Like Low Sulfur Diesel fuel, ULSD fuel requires good lubricity and corrosion inhibitors to prevent unacceptable engine wear. Additives to increase lubricity and to inhibit corrosion will be added to ULSD fuel prior to its retail sale. With these additives, ULSD fuel is expected to perform as well as Low Sulfur Diesel fuel.


In-depth Technical Information
John Deere allows the use of 15 ppm Ultra-Low-Sulfur diesel fuel (more commonly known as ULSD or S15 Diesel Fuels) in all Engine Models as long as the diesel fuel used meets the latest ASTM D-975 diesel fuel lubricity specification which allows up to a 520-micron maximum wear scar diameter measured on a High Frequency Reciprocating Test Rig (HFRR). This new ASTM lubricity standard was introduced on 01 January 2005, and applies to both on-road and off-road diesel fuels.


Please note that between 01 June 2006 and 01 June 2007, federal law will allow three different diesel fuel Sulfur content levels (5000 ppm, 500 ppm, and 15 ppm) in off-road diesel engine applications, and that after 01 June 2007, all off-road diesel engines must use 500 ppm (or lower) Sulfur content diesel fuel. And after 01 June 2010, all off-road diesel engines must use 15 ppm (or lower) Sulfur content diesel fuel.


Generally speaking, the same oil refinery process used to reduce Sulfur content also removes Oxygen, Nitrogen, aromatic compounds, and other key characteristics in diesel fuel, which are considered to be natural fuel lubricity agents. Sulfur content by itself has little to do with fuel lubricity. Many oil refineries are now adding back in other fuel lubricity agents to prevent the former diesel fuel lubricity and rubber seal deterioration fiasco experienced back in 1993 and 1994.  Reducing the sulfur content of diesel fuel from 500 ppm to 15 ppm will have no significant effect on engine fuel economy, fuel density, fuel heating value, or fuel lubricity.  For your reference, here are the current and future government regulations addressing diesel fuel Sulfur content in the United States and Europe.


Maximum Limits of Diesel Fuel Sulfur from EPA of the United States:

On-Highway Fuel Sulfur Content (ppm)

 EPA Current Limit

 Current Market Average

 EPA 01 June 2006 Limit 

EPA 01 June 2010 Limit 

 500

 200-300

 15 (80% minimum) 

 15 (100%) 

Off-Highway Fuel Sulfur Content (ppm) 

 EPA Current Limit 

 Current Market Average

EPA 01 June 2007 Limit 

EPA 01 June 2010 Limit 

5000 

2000-3000

500 

15 

There will be a phase-in period for on-highway ULSD from 2006 to 2010 (EPA 80/20 rule) meaning at least 80% of the on-highway fuel must be ULSD and the rest can be 500-ppm Sulfur fuel (supplied from smaller oil refineries). As usual, we expect to see significant spill-over of on-highway diesel fuels into the off-road market sector in the near future.


 

 


Maximum Limits of Diesel Fuel Sulfur from European Union:

On-Highway Fuel Sulfur Content (ppm)

 EU Current Limit

 Current Market Range

 EU 01 Jan 2006 Limit 5

EU 01 Jan 2009 Limit 

 500

 10-350

 50

 10

Off-Highway Fuel Sulfur Content (ppm) 

 EU Current Limit 

 Current Market Range

EU 01 Jan 2008 Limit 

EU 01 Jan 2009 Limit 

2000 

10-2000

1000 

10 (TBD)


Please note that EU 01 January 2009 off-road limit of 10 ppm fuel Sulfur will be reviewed and finalized next year, and that individual EU member states may impose their own rules which could be more stringent than the common EU standard.

The conversion of fuel Sulfur content as measured on a percentage mass basis to ppm units is shown below:

500 ppm = (500 / 1,000,000) x 100 = 0.05%
15 ppm = (15 / 1,000,000) x 100 = 0.0015%

Or going the other way,
0.5% Sulfur Content = 5000 ppm
1.0% Sulfur Content = 10000 ppm

For more information, please contact your John Deere Dealer.


Affected Equipment
All John Deere Tractors   

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