AdBlue can be rather troublesome and can lead to a wide range of issues, such as poor handling, accidentally adding it to the diesel tank, or contamination among some of the more popular problems that can cause severe damage to your equipment, and incur high repair costs.
The diesel exhaust fluid has also recently made headlines, as an export ban on urea from China, one of the main ingredients, has caused the price of AdBlue to soar recently, which can make mistakes even more costly.
Let’s have a look at some of the common issues with AdBlue.
Handling and storage
Proper handling is vital to avoid any AdBlue-related problems. Always take note of the manufacturer’s instructions before handling.
AdBlue should be stored in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight, and preferably indoors in stainless steel or plastic containers. It’s important to note that AdBlue will freeze below -10ºC, turning it slushy.
If it’s going to be kept somewhere cold, ensure that you have an expandable container, as its volume increases by 7 per cent once it hits freezing. Although AdBlue naturally degrades over time, it can last up to one year.
Never mix your drinks
It cannot be stressed enough – never mix AdBlue with diesel. Starting a machine with AdBlue in the fuel lines can severely damage the machine.
However, it can be a common mistake and easily made, as the AdBlue and diesel tank filler holes are often very close to each other. Always take care when filling your AdBlue tank. The cap will be blue and generally has a smaller filler hole than the diesel tank.
If ever you are in doubt about whether the correct filling port was used, drain and flush the tank with
deionised water or clean AdBlue fluid to avoid any potential damage, and get in contact with a service engineer.
Strength through purity!
So that AdBlue can do its job effectively, it must be absolutely pure. Contaminants can easily get into the fluid, often due to careless storage, handling, or filling, which can then lead to machines becoming damaged.
Talk to your operators and maintenance staff to let them know it is super important that contamination is avoided and that cleaning around the cap before use is vital.
Proper storage is also vital. You need a dedicated container for AdBlue that has never been used for storing other materials or liquids.
An indicator that your AdBlue may be contaminated is an uptick in AdBlue consumption, a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system malfunction, or quite simply, the engine shuts down.
The ideal concentration of urea-based AdBlue is 32.5 – 37 per cent. Problems may occur if this ratio is off, indicating contamination. To test and monitor the purity of your AdBlue, use a digital refractometer.
Good to know
While the above points are the most common and biggest issues, there are some other things to keep in mind.
Once the AdBlue tank is empty, a dashboard indicator light will appear and the engine will de-rate after some time.
Also, regularly change AdBlue filters according to service intervals and bear in mind that AdBlue tanks are prone to a build-up of condensation – and this water can lead to contamination. Topping off the AdBlue tank at the end of the day will avoid this.
If you’re looking for AdBlue removal for your on-site machinery, then get in touch today.