Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

Warning as dodgy oils and fuels damaging farm machinery

Michael Fitzmaurice TD
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Farmers are unwittingly causing damage to farm machinery by using "out-of-date and contaminated" oils and fuels, Gulf Oil CEO Dermot Fallon has warned.

Mr Fallon said a lack of knowledge among buyers, suppliers and distributors is leading to escalating engine problems for small farmers and some larger contractors.

Speaking to the Farming Independent, Mr Fallon said the issue, mainly with diesel engine oils and hydraulic fuels, is widespread and has been developing over the last two decades.

"There is a lack of knowledge about the amount of low quality, obsolete, recycled and contaminated product currently on the market.

"People aren't up to speed with what they are buying and selling. With modern engines and modern transmissions it's gone very technical, you have to use the right product, if you don't use the right product you're in trouble straight away," said Mr Fallon.

In general terms, he says diesel engine oils are graded on a "E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, E9" basis.

Top spec hydraulic fuel should be either a straw colour or clear, not dark. Diesel engine oil is generally dark.

"E2 and E3 oils came to market 25 years ago and they're fine for a machine 30 years old. E4 and E5 came to the market 15 years ago so they've changed over time too. Modern machines need E7 or E9 and farmers just mightn't know that.

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"There is a huge lack of awareness. Farmers are using older products for newer applications which are not suitable. It's a false economy, you won't get the lifespan out of it and it causes machines to overheat and break at huge cost to the owner," he said.

'Over sensitive'

Meanwhile, Michael Fitzmaurice, Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway voiced concerns about "over sensitive" modern machinery engines.

Mr Fitzmaurice said common rail fuel injection systems, used in modern diesel engines to comply with emissions control, are also causing problems for farmers as the busy summer season takes off.

He says engines in older machines were more robust.

"A tractor 10 years ago had much more power, the newer one is a waste of space. With the old engines you could almost throw bog into it and they'd turn around.

"The new ones are so sensitive, the diesel has to be immaculately clean or you'll have woeful trouble," he said.

Michael Moroney, CEO Farm Contractors Ireland, advised farmers to carefully follow fuel guidelines of machine manuals.

He also warned that diesel fuels are more easily contaminated if tanks are not properly maintained.

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