Sites: GlobalSpec.com | GlobalSpec Electronics | CR4 | Electronics360
Login | Register
The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®

Previous in Forum: Surface Scale - Formation and Prevention   Next in Forum: Silicon Carbide Fiber Drawing
Close

Comments Format:






Close

Subscribe to Discussion:

CR4 allows you to "subscribe" to a discussion
so that you can be notified of new comments to
the discussion via email.

Close

Rating Vote:







21 comments
Active Contributor

Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 18

Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/05/2009 2:57 PM

When I was a kid we had a tractor on the farm that used tractor fuel. I assume it was some kind of low grade diesel. To start it you had to use the kerosene fuel tank and then switch it over to tractor fuel once it was running. I'd like to know if you can use kerosene in diesel vehicles and wheter you can burn high grade diesel in a kerosene space heater. Thank you.

Register to Reply
Pathfinder Tags: diesel kerosene
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Piping Design Engineering - New Member

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Ketchikan, AK, USA
Posts: 14995
Good Answers: 565
#1

Re: Conversion of diesel to kerosene and vice versa

12/05/2009 3:19 PM

I searched "diesel kerosene substitition" and got many hits. The first one I checked was an article on answers.com; too long to quote. It said that kerosene will work in a diesel engine, and that diesel will burn in a stove, but it will be smokier and smellier. I would worry about those pollutants. Carbon monoxide was not mentioned, but it would be of the highest priority to check.

__________________
In vino veritas; in cervisia carmen; in aqua E. coli.
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 5305
Good Answers: 476
#2

Re: Conversion of diesel to kerosene and vice versa

12/05/2009 5:12 PM

A number of people I know have the old commercial 'jet engine' type space heaters that originally burned kerosene. To convert them they just changed the fuel pressure settings on the pump and the burner air flow rates. (sort of trial and error I think)

They work well once set properly but unfortunately diesel has more residual smell than kerosene so you will need better air exchange if its being used in an enclosed space.

As far as vehicles diesel engines are not fussy about there fuel. As long as it doesn't jell up it usually works! Even something as cheap as E85 and used oil works well (when mixed and filtered properly) in a diesel engine!

__________________
"Posting information on the internet is rather like casting seeds to the wind. Once it leaves your hand you have little chances of getting it back and no control over where it may land or what may sprout from it in the future." tcmtech.
Register to Reply
Guru
Panama - Member - New Member Hobbies - CNC - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Panama
Posts: 4298
Good Answers: 213
#3

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/05/2009 10:03 PM

Check the Wikipedia page for "Tractor Vaporizing Oil"- the starting fuel was most likely gasoline. Once the engine warmed up, you switched to a modified keosene fuel, most likely.

Register to Reply
Associate

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 43
Good Answers: 1
#4
In reply to #3

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/05/2009 10:47 PM

Years ago diesel when I was trucking if we could not get diesel and only kerosene we would add oil to the kerosene. I forget the ratio. Diesel was not as available then.

Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Safety - ESD - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 50.390866N, 8.884827E
Posts: 14158
Good Answers: 139
#11
In reply to #3

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 10:52 AM

Thats exactly the type of tractor I first drove on my uncle's farm about 1956 or so.....

Starts on petrol and runs on paraffin......smells a bit like a jet engine when running on paraffin......

I also remember it had a carburretor, you had to remember to switch back to petrol before switching off, otherwise you had to empty the carb before you could start from cold again!!

I also remember it was very low compression 6:1 is my memory.....

__________________
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt!"
Register to Reply
Anonymous Poster
#5

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/05/2009 11:05 PM

Diesel can be converted to kero but it is not a do it yourself thing. It needs to be vaporized and "cracked" either thermally or by a catalyst. When cracked you will also get other lighter fractions such as methane, ethane,& propane for example. Most of these products are most likely unwanted by you. They cannot be vented to the atmosphere so they must be stored or burned off (sent to the flare in a refinery was a past practice but no more) The DEP and EPA would have a lot to say about " home oil refineries"

Edmund from NJ

Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville, OH
Posts: 693
Good Answers: 14
#6

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/05/2009 11:54 PM

I'm with cwarner7_11, the starting fuel tank was probably gasoline which would vaporize in the cold engine. After the manifold was warmed up, you switched to the "tractor fuel" which may have been kerosene (some called it coal oil.) The hot manifold would vaporize the kerosene so it could be ignited.

In the antique tractor hobby, there are "kerosene manifolds" for those tractors. I have never noted the difference between the two.

I can't comment on whether the fuels can be used interchangeably.

__________________
Lehman57
Register to Reply
Active Contributor
Hobbies - CNC - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 19
#7

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 2:43 AM

Way back in the 1950's, farm tractors were started using a small gas engine for warm up and then switched over to distillate fuel (kerosene) for running. The distillate was cheaper than kerosene as it was tax free to the farmer.

More information can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerosene

Cheers: Gary

Register to Reply
4
Power-User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 197
Good Answers: 2
#8

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 9:35 AM

i don't see how it is possible to start an engine with gas and then switch the fuel tt diesel???? it is apples and oranges....

About Diesel Fuel

By Bill King 12/8/2000

With all of the recent talk about using Kerosene (number 1 diesel) as a motor fuel and the differences between grades of Diesel Fuel, I thought I would pass along to the group my short course on refined petroleum.

In the hierarchy of refined petroleum products from highest to lowest (from a gaseous state, then liquid, to solid) are: natural gas; "wet" natural gas; high-octane aviation gasoline; automotive gasoline; finished kerosene; home heating oil; diesel fuel; industrial fuel oil; finished lubricating oils; waxes and paraffin's; gas oil; coke and finally asphalt. Also moving from highest to lowest, the viscosity, or stiffness, of the refined product increases. For example, at room temperature, automotive gasoline flows much more freely than finished lubricating oils.

Diesel fuel lies in the middle of the refined petroleum hierarchy and is considered one of the middle distillates -- slightly heavier than kerosene and slightly lighter than industrial (bunker) fuel oil. Like automotive gasoline, diesel fuel is refined into several sub-categories or grades. From highest to lowest viscosity are Number 1 Diesel Fuel (1-D), Number 2 Diesel
Fuel (2-D) and Number 4 Fuel Diesel (4-D). There used to be a Number 3 Diesel Fuel (3-D), but it is no longer refined.

Number 4 Fuel Diesel Fuel is slightly lighter than industrial fuel oil and is used in low and medium speed engines that operate at a constant or near-constant speed, such as stationary power plants or railroad locomotives. Even though Number 4 Fuel Diesel Fuel has an ignition quality similar to Numbers 1 and 2 Diesel Fuel, it is too thick to work well in a truck engine where the load on the engine is constantly changing and requires varying amounts of fuel to be injected into the cylinders.

Just above Diesel fuel in the middle distillate category is Kerosene. Like Number 4 Fuel Diesel Fuel, Kerosene has an ignition quality similar to Numbers 1 and 2 Diesel Fuel. But unlike Number 4 Fuel Diesel Fuel, which is too thick, Kerosene is too thin to work well as an engine fuel. The thickness of the diesel fuel itself acts as a lubricant to prevent wear of the engine's fuel injectors. This lubricating quality of diesel fuel is why some Old-timers still refer to it as "Diesel Oil." Adding a common lubricant to Kerosene usually decreases its ignition quality.

Numbers 1 and 2 Diesel Fuel are the primary fuel for mobile diesel engine applications. Number 1 Diesel Fuel is commonly labeled at the pump as "Premium Diesel" or with a Cetane number of 44 or 45. It is not as thick as Number 2 Diesel Fuel and for this reason is the choice for motorists during the cold winter months. The disadvantage of Number 1 Diesel Fuel is that it does not have the lubricating qualities associated with Number 2 Diesel Fuel. While Number 2 Diesel Fuel has a higher lubricating quality than Number 1 Diesel, its thickness can cause rough starting in a cold engine and rough-running in cold weather. Number 2 Diesel Fuel is usually labeled at the pump with a Cetane number of 40.

Home Heating Oil is closest to Number 2 Diesel Fuel in ignition quality and lubricating ability. But before anybody rushes to put this non-road taxed fuel in their truck, consider this: refiners don't intend Home Heating Oil to be used in an internal combustion engine and the furnace fuel that is sitting in your basement tank may or may not have the smoke suppressants, ignition accelerators and biocides to kill fungi and bacteria that we generally assume to be present in the Diesel Fuel at the pump.


Cetane:

#2 diesel should have a cetane rating between 40-55. If I remember correctly, nothing lower then 45 should be run in most common diesel engines, lest it's non-turbo. The higher the cetane rating the better, especially on cold days, as it will make starting an easier process. In the winter, look for the highest number you can find. Also ensure you are using a good additive (Power Service Grey bottle, I have personally had good luck with..it not only has the antigel/anti wax agent, but it also provides for good lubrication of the injector pump, and thus should also keep the rest of the system 'good to go').

Dump Motor Oil or ATF in your Diesel ?

by Peter Hipson 11/10/2003

There is *no* advantage to adding motor oil, or transmission fluid to diesel fuel. Period.

There are disadvantages to doing this however, including damaged injector pumps (especially with turbo diesel electronic pumps), clogged filters, etc.

The manufacturer of our injector pumps strongly cautions against using either when their pumps are used.

There are many additives that are approved, and are in fact *much* cheaper than either motor oil, or transmission fluid. As an added bonus, these additives really work!

Most diesel fuels and engines don't need additives, but if you feel the urge to pour something else in the tank besides diesel fule, use a product that is *specifically designed for the purpose*.

Kerosene is added to diesel fuel by some suppliers, though in small quantitites. Kerosene has virtually no lubrication qualities--adding more (and an essientially unknown amount, since you don't know if or how much has already been added by the supplier!) is a sure way to cut the life of your injector pump. Kerosene is routinely added to home heating oil, in large quantities. The furnace doesn't know, or care. The furnace oil pump does not have the same clearances (they are more crude, greater clearances, lower pressure...) and the kerosene won't hurt them. Most will (and often do) run on straight kerosene--here in NH, if the oil tank is outside, the mix will be either 50/50 or straight kerosene. Kerosene doesn't have the same heat values either, you won't get the same amount of power from a gallon of kerosene as from heating oil, or diesel fuel.

#2 diesel fuel is basically #2 heating oil, with the exception that rather than adding kerosene the supplier will add an anti-gel additive. Costs more, but then it sells for more. In the summer, there is virtually no difference, other than legal issues. (again well debated).

Bottom line:

A wise owner will add nothing to the fuel tank that is not designed for the purpose. People who pour whatever they have at hand (motor oil, atf, gasoline additives (yes, some do!)) simply add to the profits that repair shops (such as mine) make. It is a big buck job to replace the injector pump, you dno't want to do it any more than necessary.

The 6.5s injector pump is good for at least 100K miles if not abused. Most owners get many more miles than that, however.

http://flashoffroad.com/Diesel/DieselFuel/about_diesel_fuel.htm

Register to Reply Good Answer (Score 4)
Associate

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 43
Good Answers: 1
#9
In reply to #8

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 10:02 AM

I had a TD 15 Dozer, It had a gas tank which held around 1 gal of gas. You started the dozer on gas and after it run about a min. there was a lever you pulled which shut off the gas and turn it over to diesel. This is fact, had the dozer for years and sold it and the guy still has it and uses it.

Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Safety - ESD - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 50.390866N, 8.884827E
Posts: 14158
Good Answers: 139
#12
In reply to #8

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 10:55 AM

I'm with you on this too, never heard of an engine starting on Kero and running on diesel when war5m, but I have also learnt that anything is possible!!!

__________________
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt!"
Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Louisville, OH
Posts: 693
Good Answers: 14
#17
In reply to #8

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 9:39 PM

i don't see how it is possible to start an engine with gas and then switch the fuel it diesel???? it is apples and oranges....

The language above has apparently mislead you. You start on gasoline because it vaporizes easily, then switch to distillate / kerosene / Diesel fuel when the manifold gets warm enough to vaporize it. This is not a switch from spark ignition to compression ignition. The tractors running on distillate were still spark ignited.

__________________
Lehman57
Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Safety - ESD - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 50.390866N, 8.884827E
Posts: 14158
Good Answers: 139
#19
In reply to #17

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/07/2009 5:56 AM

Someone else has already explained, there is a compression change though some mechanical device, so the spark plug would not be required except for the warming up phase on Gasoline (but still in place.....).

I personally have never heard of such an engine, but eminently possible!!

__________________
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt!"
Register to Reply
Anonymous Poster
#21
In reply to #8

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

09/20/2010 8:44 PM

hi Bill, you definitely know your stuff about diesel fuel. My question is if kerosene is not lubricative enough to run in a typical diesel truck engine, could you add motor oil to kerosene to achieve the viscosity of the diesel? What would the ratio of kerosene to oil be? Thanks for any info -Terri

Register to Reply
Commentator

Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 77
Good Answers: 5
#10

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 10:05 AM

Allis Chalmers diesel engines of 50's vintage used gasoline for startup and warmup. After an appropriate run-up, a lever was actuated that kicked in the diesel pump and injectors. In (way) earlier days, I worked for a contractor who operated an AC dozer (about Cat D6 or D7 size) and a fairly large track loader with the gasoline/diesel feature. I never pulled maintenance on the engines in these other that fueling and oil, but as I understand the design, there was some sort of valve letoff in the cylinder heads and sparkplugs for the gasoline assist on startup.

Register to Reply
Guru
Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: US Virgin Islands
Posts: 1093
Good Answers: 56
#13

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 1:59 PM

I accidentally put diesel into a gas vehicle. The motor would not idle, would only run wide open, making a lot of white smoke. I think it was a compression problem, diesels have more compression than gas engines. I was lucky to get somewhere I could dump the diesel and refill with gas.

I would like to see a thread on the relationship between compression and fuels in a piston engine.

__________________
mike k
Register to Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Safety - ESD - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 50.390866N, 8.884827E
Posts: 14158
Good Answers: 139
#14
In reply to #13

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 2:39 PM

You must have had a reasonable amount of gas/petrol still in the tank as a petrol engine will not work with pure diesel. Diesel needs around 20:1 compression.....

I do not know what the minimum percentages are for the gas/petrol content, but my guess would be that if the mixture is more than 50% diesel, then the engine would not run at all (but I am prepared to be completely wrong!!)

Has anyone any further practical experience?

A diesel with (too much) petrol/gas in the tank runs very hot. (My wife did just that some years ago and damaged the cylinder head......)

__________________
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt!"
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 5305
Good Answers: 476
#15

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 2:40 PM

The old international diesel WD-4, WD-6, WD-9 and other machines that used those same series of diesel engines where a dual engine of sorts. They had a compression release that dropped the diesel compression down and allowed for a small carburetor and spark ignition system to run the engine just like a gasoline engine until it warmed up enough.

A that point you just pushed the diesel throttle up until it smoked a bit and then flipped a lever down that closed the decompression system and shutoff the carburetor side of the system.

They always had a unique and wonderful sound too!

__________________
"Posting information on the internet is rather like casting seeds to the wind. Once it leaves your hand you have little chances of getting it back and no control over where it may land or what may sprout from it in the future." tcmtech.
Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 185
Good Answers: 12
#16

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/06/2009 8:54 PM

Years ago I accidentally filled my VW diesel with gasoline. Having no money and no time, I decided to run the tank down to at least half and add diesel instead of flushing the tank and replacing the gasoline. I drove slowly that day and it survived. The next morning while it was warming up, it shook so badly, it killed half my gauges while idling. My "cheap fix" was rather expensive in the long run.

Register to Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain - possibly to become "South Scotland" or "Non-Caledonia" from September 2016. Kettle's on.
Posts: 22399
Good Answers: 564
#18

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/07/2009 3:23 AM

Kerosene and gas-oil (that's diesel with red dye added) can both be used as space heating fuels, and most domestic central heating boilers can be adapted to run the alternative fuel. Because of the different characteristics of the fluids, the burner nozzles do need to be changed, as a minimum. Get the task done by the annual servicing technician, as they are doing this sort of thing all the time.

__________________
The recent explosion of personal telephony across the globe seems to have gone hand-in-hand with a profound reluctance to actually use the damn things for the purpose for which they have been designed.
Register to Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 1485
Good Answers: 18
#20

Re: Converting Diesel to Kerosene and Vice Versa

12/07/2009 8:48 AM

Whilst older diesel engines could run on a variety of fuels, it must be remembered that the the fuel injection equipment (the fuel injection pump and the injectors) needs to be lubricated........kerosene and petrol ( even leaded petrol) do not have the lubrication properties of distillate.

The compression ratio of diesel engines today range from 15-25:1..........this is out of necessity to achieve the air temperature required to ignite the fuel.........approx 3500C. The auto ignition temperature of kerosene is approx 2100C, and just as a matter of interest petrol is around 4000C.

One also needs to be aware of the bio-fuels as well.............Caterpillar say that you can run their diesel engines on bio-fuels.........with the proviso that if anything happens to your engine.........don't bother calling us to make a claim.

Some large diesel engines in sewage treatment works can run on 80-85% methane gas, but the fuel injection pump (and hence the injector) are lubricated by engine oil supplied to the plunger and barrel Assembly (in-line pump), and a small quantity of distillate (15-20%).

__________________
TO BE. or NOT TO BE. That is the question!! The Bard
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 21 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Andy Germany (4); Anonymous Poster (2); cwarner7_11 (1); digger104 (2); flynnstar (1); Lehman57 (2); messager (1); mike k (1); MOBI (1); PWSlack (1); Rebuilt (1); reefdiver (1); tcmtech (2); Tornado (1)

Previous in Forum: Surface Scale - Formation and Prevention   Next in Forum: Silicon Carbide Fiber Drawing
You might be interested in: Oil Heaters and Kerosene Heaters, Aerators, Landscape Services