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Alternative Fuels An energy source alternative to using fossil fuels. Materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, other than conventional fuels. Waste oils, vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used alone, or blended with fossil fuels.

Alternative Fuels

Use of Kerosene in small gas engines


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  #1  
Old 06-03-2015, 12:51:47 AM
Oberon67 Oberon67 is offline
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Default Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Hi, all.

I've read a lot of stuff about dual-fuel systems in old small engines (and some larger ones, up to tractor size). Typically the plan is to start the engine on gasoline, then once it's up to operating temperature switch over to kerosene. Power output drops a little, but much useful work can still be done. The switch to kero has to happen after the engine is hot, because the heavier fuel won't vaporize and burn properly otherwise.

So here's my question... do you just put a T in the fuel line feeding the carb, and use the same carb for both fuels? Maybe run the kero line between a pair of fins on the head for pre-heating?

It seems to me that for the two different fuels you would probably need two different richness settings, because the best fuel/air mix for the two fuels would likely not be the same. If you use a carb like the older Walbros, your rich/lean settings are just a turn of the screw; not hard to manage. Otherwise you might have to have a split intake/dual carb system to manage the two fuels, and that's starting to get annoying.

Has anyone here done the dual fuel thing, and if so, how did you manage it?
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Old 06-03-2015, 06:16:53 AM
adzaxe adzaxe is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Just purchased a Wiscona Pep engine in April. They have two separate fuel tanks and the mixer has two needle valves. Kerosene line is loped around the exhaust pipe before reaching the mixer. There are pics on You Tube
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2015, 12:26:44 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Back in the 1960s, Briggs & Stratton had dual fuel engines, made for kerosene as a secondary fuel. They had a twin reservoir fuel tank and a source selecter valve. As you stated, the engine was started on gas then switched to kerosene once hot. There was no preheating of the fuel. You did however, have to reset the fuel mixture, as B&S used the same carb for both fuels. The reason for using kerosene was that it was way cheaper than gas at the time (15 cents for kero VS 28 cents for gas). You did lose a bit of power on kero, and the engine ran much hotter. In the case of the B&S, when you were done using the engine, it had to be idled and the fuel selection had to be reversed, until the engine was idling on gas. This helped cool the engine and also put gas back into the carb for the next start. if you just shut off the engine, the exhaust valve tended to warp, and with kero in the carb, was virtuall unable to start once the engine cooled off.In actuality, kero has more energy available than gas, but you had to make alterations to get the most benefit out of it. Timing had to be advanced, compression lowered a bit, water injection (to reduce knocking), and more. B&S found that it was not really reasonable to make the necessary changes, and with the price of kero going up, not really economical to continue making the dual fuel models, so they were discontinued.

With the old cast iron engines, it was the same story. They did have lower compression, and most also had water injection. Kero was way cheaper than gas (1 to 2 cents a gallon VS 20 cents for gas), so it was a very good money saver for farmers who needed a lot of time with engine power. Most dual fuel engines used the same carb, but has individual sources for the fuel. You turned down the gas and added kero as the engine warmed up, until it was running totally on kerosene. If you worked the engine hard, you added water as an anti knock component, and could actually save up to 25% of your fuel usage as well! This was due to the fact that water cooled the intake charge, making for a more dense intake, and also the fact that water broke down into its componants (oxygen and hydrogen), when under heat and compression. This was like turning on a nitrous bottle on a gas engine. basicly were adding more fuel to the mix. When the engine fired the mixture with a spark, the added fuel would burn, creating more power. Also, the now re-combined water reverted to a liquid and cooled the exhaust on the way out. By adding water, you could reduce the fuel needed to run the engine. With modern engines, there is too much needed to make it worthwhile to use dual fuel (gas and Kerosene). In fact, if you put kerosene in a modern engine, chances are you would do a lot of damage to the engine.

With todays prices (over $5.00 a gallon for white kerosene), it isn't economical to run an engine on kerosene, now that gas prices are way lower than they used to be
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Old 06-03-2015, 01:40:43 PM
Oberon67 Oberon67 is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

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Originally Posted by Andrew Mackey View Post
With todays prices (over $5.00 a gallon for white kerosene), it isn't economical to run an engine on kerosene, now that gas prices are way lower than they used to be
Agreed. I was thinking, however, of setting up my Clinton B1290 for dual-fuel, mostly as a hobby exercise. I'm just wired to think that versatility is cool... and kerosene stores better than gas does.
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Old 06-03-2015, 04:03:17 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

After seeing a few other videos on YouTube with people making all kinds of weird changes to their engines and strapping extra gas tanks to the handle bars with ball valves hooked to the air intake with 3 feet of hose to crudely adjust the airflow to the carb thinking they're adjusting the mixture by doing so I finally broke down and posted my own video a while back actually mowing the yard with mine where all the other videos I found they could hardly even run their engines let alone do any work with them.

https://youtu.be/Zb1FHAS2zts


Other than starting the mower on gas to warm it up all I did was pour the kerosene straight into the regular gas tank and continue on mowing with it with NO adjustments made to anything on it.

If I was going to do that on a regular basis I might consider adding a second tank for switching back & forth but for my experiment just to see if it would work and to use up a couple gallons of kero I had laying around that I was never going to get used up otherwise I just did as shown in the video.

Probably not the safest way to refuel a lawnmower pouring it in while running, but that's how I've been doing it ever since I rescued this mower from a dumpster 5 years ago. It doesn't like to restart when hot so I just mow a while and when I think it is about to run out of gas I fill it up again about half to 3/4 full because that's all I can get in it without splashing back out from the vibration. Since I always do that anyway with This mower it worked out OK for my gas/kerosene switch-over.

The Results as seen in my video show it mowing Perfectly Fine with normal mowing at a steady pace until I hit a patch of LONG THICK grass where it bogged down and rattled a little. Even running on gas it still bogs down on me in those same patches where they grass grows faster and thicker so the only real difference was the rattle when I got in them. All I had to do was back off and go through those patches a little slower to lighten the load and go back to the steady pace again once I got through it.


I should also note that the video is actually of the Second tank of kerosene as I didn't film the first one. All in all I refilled the tank twice and then a partial tank to use up what was left in the jug. Then I went back to gas to finish mowing.

IF you plan on working the engine HARD, then you may need to preheat the kerosene and/or play with the mixture a little, but for light to moderate work there's No Fancy Gimmicks or carb changes needed. Just let it warm up on gas and switch over to kero.




---------- Post added at 03:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:56 PM ----------

While I never posted an updated video, I also mowed the yard on a 1/2 gallon of paint thinner later that same year with basically the same results though I did have to add a little gas back in the tank to keep it from rattling even in some of the slightly longer grass. A half & half mixture of gas & paint thinner worked OK and was pretty much the same as straight kerosene. More paint thinner & less gas and it rattled more than the kero did.

---------- Post added at 03:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:00 PM ----------

While I never posted an updated video, I also mowed the yard on a 1/2 gallon of paint thinner later that same year with basically the same results though I did have to add a little gas back in the tank to keep it from rattling even in some of the slightly longer grass.

A half & half mixture of gas & paint thinner worked OK and was pretty much the same as straight kerosene only rattling in the real thick heavy spots in the yard. More paint thinner & less gas and it rattled quite a bit more than the kero did.
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Last edited by OTTO-Sawyer; 06-03-2015 at 04:22:52 PM.
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:33:07 AM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

After watching your video......and thank you very much.......I saw others related to just running on the fumes from gasoline. Really interesting! The only thing I observed is that many of these home experimenters don't give a thought to the fumes accidentally exploding. At least one experimenter is using a .50 cal. ammo can for a fume tank, which is a good thought, but he should incorporate a spring to hold the lid on instead of the military latch. Any explosion would simply pop the lid open.

Why did I get so sidetracked? I guess because we all like to see what other shenanigans others are up to!
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Old 10-10-2015, 10:47:20 AM
Amax Amax is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Does a small amount - let's say 5 or 10% - of kerosene or diesel added to E10 gas help add top-end lube, mitigate against the gas going stale or help prevent internal galvanic corrosion of the white metal parts?
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Old 10-10-2015, 03:45:20 PM
DustyBar DustyBar is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amax View Post
Does a small amount - let's say 5 or 10% - of kerosene or diesel added to E10 gas help add top-end lube, mitigate against the gas going stale or help prevent internal galvanic corrosion of the white metal parts?
You just jogged my memory. Back in the early 1980's VW recommended or at least the local fuel oil supplier recommended adding a quart of ATF to a tank of fuel oil for top end lubrication. I don't know for sure if it was official. They didn't recommend diesel in Alaska but rather fuel oil for winter fuel.
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Old 10-10-2015, 11:33:37 PM
Fifty7ChevyNut Fifty7ChevyNut is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

dad and grand dad used to bail hay using a 35 jd unstyled B. i asked him about it a couple times. he said that you could make an initial start on gas, and then change to kero after getting it good and hot, and closing the radiator shutters to keep temp up. set the carb for optimum running on kero. before shutting it down, change back to gas and not worry about the carb settings. it would run rich, but you would only run it enough to get it hot. as stated previously, if engine is set to run on kero, it can actually make more power than gas. (more btu in gallon of kero than gas)

dad tells a story of them finishing up one field and parking the tractor by the road for the next days bailing. next morning, they went to start tractor, and it was out of fuel. someone had siphoned it off during the night. drove to town to get some more and one of neighbor kids cars was up high on jackstands dropping the gas tank. think they learned anything from stealing?
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Old 10-12-2015, 11:34:35 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Funny K1 works in a gas engine. I know some diesel guys who run K1 in their engines when they are low on diesel fuel. These being diesel generator sets on a farm. I bet using diesel in a gas engine would be a good way to destroy the engine though.

Robert
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Old 10-13-2015, 12:26:20 PM
magneticanomaly magneticanomaly is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Kerosene was the intended fuel for a lot of Otto-cycle (spark-ignited) engines, includiing my 1931 farmall tractor.

It poses two problems for a naturally-aspirated, carbureted Otto engine. One is that it does not vaporize well at ordinary temperatures. My tractor had an auxiliary tank for gasoline for starting. After the engine was warm, as long as you kept a good load on it, the manifold was plenty hot to vaporize the kerosene. If you let it idle long without covering up the radiator, it would smoke a bit. Kero has more BTU per gallon than gas, gives better economy and more power, IME.

The other problem is that Kero has a lower auto-ignition temp than gas....people think it is harder to ignite, but that is not quite right. Harder to vaporize, yes, but once vaporized it ignites at lower temp. That is what you want for a Diesel, since the only source of ignition heat is the adiabatic compression-heating of the air in the cylinder. But for a spark-ignited engine that pulls fuel in with intake air, you do NOT want compression heat to ignite the mixture, you want it to WAIT for the spark.....low octane fuel, high compression= "knock" or pre-ignition.

Old tractor with compression ratio of around 5:1, no problem with "knock".

I finally quit using Kero in my farmall because it got more epensive than gas, so why hassle with fuel switchover.
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Old 10-13-2015, 11:18:13 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

I am actually amazed by just what a spark ignited engine can burn. Gas, Kero, Naptha, Wood Gas, Propane, Natural Gas, etc.

Almost makes a spark engine more useful than a diesel engine. But still hard to beat a boiler and small stationary steam engine. As long as you got plenty of water you could burn what ever is at hand.

Robert
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:10:29 PM
sdowney717 sdowney717 is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

interesting that it runs on kerosene. Practically though kerosene costs more so I wont try it myself. I buy the cheapest fuel I can buy for the boat, car, lawn equipment.

Back when gas was almost $4 per gallon, I started running a mix of old ATF in the the 94 Roadmaster wagon, maybe 1 to 2 quarts per fill up, just to slightly lower the cost of filling up and use up some old ATF. It did run ok, had a longer crank time to startup, like it was delayed. It may have had a little less power, but I did not notice any smoking exhaust.

Try running E85 and I bet it wont work unless you enrich the mixture.
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