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Fuels and Alternative Fuels Materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, waste oils, vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used alone, or blended with fossil fuels.

Fuels and 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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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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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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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
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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
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

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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
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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
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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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Old 04-10-2018, 11:38:01 AM
Newoldstock Newoldstock is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Out west the oil from the tar sands is so thick it will not flow.
This leaves them with two choices, run it through an upgrader to make decent oil or thin it.

They chose to thin it most of the time, the refineries on the gulf coast do not want to pay a premium for upgraded oil when they can digest the goo from the tar sands anyways...

All this means is the light naphtha, kerosene and other low value distillates are in demand as thinners.
Might not be so bad in the USA but you cannot buy a can of Coleman fuel in Canada for less than 20 dollars a US gallon because of the shortages.
K1 is also expensive for that reason ( so much so no one uses it to heat anymore up here )

When it was cheap people used to want to buy it.
You used to be able to buy commercial grade engines from OMC for tourist camps and outfitters, they were lower compression engines that could burn white gas and you could buy duel fuel small engines that ran on K1 too.

It is unlikely we will see the day again with the light distillates are cheap enough to consider for engine fuel as long as the oil come from tar sand.
Always a twist in a story though....
Fracking oil has a lot of light distillates than are not high octane ( naphthas ).
This could balance things out, and it looks like the kinder morgan pipeline will never be built so that puts a lid on the tar sands oil as long as fracking is cheaper.
You never know one day things might change the naphtha are cheap enough again to make white gas and K1 attractive for low compression engines.

Then the EPA will ban new dual fuel LOL!!!
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:17:34 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Kerosene used to be a by-product of oil distillation. it was and still is cheaper and easier to refine than gasoline. the oil companies have found processes that increase gasoline extraction and break down kerosene into lighter componants. Now days, it is a nuisance product. It is not used as much any more, so the gas companies rip you off on the pricing. It used to be way cheap. I can remember as a kid, I used it to clean mowers, and it only cost 5 cents a gallon. One day, I went to buy a few gallons, and the fuel oil company upped the price to 15 cents. Man was I pissed! Now days, it is still used in kerosene heaters, and as an anti wax agent in diesel, during the winter.

Railroads, Unless very cold outside, it is not good to run a large percentage of kero in a diesel. More than 10%, you are asking for detonation, which can blow a piston or head gasket in a hurry. Diesel winter mix sold by fuel stations is 10% kerosene. They switch back to 100% fuel oil, when the expected outside temp is above 40 degrees. Below 30, wax dissolved in diesel comes out of solution, jamming the injectors and filters. The addition od kero dissolves the wax.

Otto-Sawyer, thanks for your description of kero use in your mower. The rattling you heard was detonation of the kerosene, due to the relatively 'high' compression and heating of the engine. If you had kept it up for a long time, you would have caused engine damage. If you happen to try it again, try adding a little bit of water to the engine intake! I think you would be surprised! As for the knock when you used the paint thinner, I would suppose it would be the 'low' octane rating that that fuel had. You would get nearly the same result if you used Coleman's fuel. Coleman's is rated about 54 octane, which is pretty low. You can get away with it in models and some hit and miss engines, due to the low compression ratio, typically around 5:1. Your common lawn mower has around 6 to 6.5 to one.

There are several engines that are multi fuel. the Detroit Engine Works engines for one, they have the ability to use kero, gas, naptha and other distillates. They have the ability to change ignition timing, so detonation is not a problem.

Amax, adding kero or diesel may help with the power you get from E-10, as it has lost 10% of that of regular straight gasoline due to the alcohol dilution. It however will not lube the top end, nor will it cool the combustion - in fact the engine will run hotter due to the added BTUs kerosene and diesel fuel have.

Dustybar, adding ATF did indeed help lube the top end. It also helped reduce damage to the rubber fuel lines, caused by the alcohol. If you put it in a modern auto though, you might damage the fuel system and catylitic converter.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:15:35 PM
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Interesting. I didn't know this thread was here. I've been thinking for quite some time about setting up a spark ignition engine (Kohler L600 flathead four) that was originally gasoline / gaseous (propane or natural gas) fueled, to be able to be switchable between propane and diesel fuel.

I'll raise the compression ratio to both improve propane economy as well as improve the diesel combustion. Obviously not so high as to allow either fuel to autoignite under compression. I wonder how high is good? Propane can take quite high compression, and my old NH Cummins starts and runs great on only 13-1/2 : 1. So obviously that would be way too high!

When diesel running is desired, first start and warm up on propane, then open the diesel supply to the carburetor, then close the propane supply.

Obviously run the carburetor dry of diesel before shutting down.

I would imagine that heating the diesel via a heat exchanger from the jacket water would help as well.
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Old 04-10-2018, 04:27:15 PM
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

You do not want to use diesel or fuel oil in a spark ignition engine. It burns too hot, and not well in a spark engine. I tried using it instead of kerosene in 2 of my IHC M engines, and it ran very poorly and smoked like hell! Both engines were kerosene burners. The oil stink was unreal!

For a kerosene burning engine, you do not want more than about 5.5 - 6:1 compression ratio, and you will, for the most part, have to adjust ignition timing as well. If you load the engine, you also may have to use water injection to prevent knocking. Water does several things. 1) it makes for a more dense intake charge (it cools as it evaporates). 2) upon compression in a hot cylinder, it breaks down into its componants - IE: Oxygen and Hydrogen. This further cools the charge, preventing detonation. 3) upon ignition, it then becomes fuel, as the Oxygen and Hydrogen recombine as the fuel/air charge burns. 4) the now recombined water then cools the expended charge and exhaust, saving the exhaust valve from excessive heat. With any kerosene burning engine you must switch back to gas in order to allow the engine to cool down, otherwise you may end up with burned exhaust valves. It also allows for a cold restart of the engine Also, you must run without the water injection, again for 5 minutes, to get all the water out of the intake tract and the engine cylinder., so you do not end up with cylinder rust.

13:1 is way too high to use kerosene, much less diesel or fuel oil in a spark engine. You probably would end up with pre-ignition as a result. A normal diesel uses about 18 to 21 to 1 as a compression ratio for most efficient operation and as a true diesel start. There are some with as low as 16:1 that use a glow plug to start. The 13:1 is close enough to cause problems.. I made the mistake of putting kero in my 1966 Chevy 250 six cylinder (11.5:1), when I ran out of gas one day. The engine started OK (it was hot and in summer time), but as soon as I put it in drive, it knocked like a SOB! I could only do about 10 MPH to the nearest gas station, and when I turned off the key, the engine kept running for about 5 minutes. I was sure I would blow a piston, the knocking was so loud! At even 5.5 to one, you stand a chance of detonation under heavy load, unless you use water injection.

One added bonus: if you use it (water), you can save up to 25% of your fuel usage! I did not believe it until I tried it myself in my 1921 11/2 HP IHC M kerosene burner that was belted to a dynamo. When using the water injector, I could actually turn down the kerosene fuel adjuster, and use less kerosene during the course of a day, under a relatively heavy load (1/2 throttle), and the engine didn't knock. If I turned off the water, I had to increase the fuel, and the engine would knock like crazy It was not a happy engine with out the water under a load. It would get so hot that I could lift the igniter trip off the engine, and it would run as a diesel for 4 or 5 minutes! Dieselling, it would knock like the dickens though, and it could not have been good for the Babbitt bearings either.
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Old 04-10-2018, 04:51:58 PM
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

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Otto-Sawyer, thanks for your description of kero use in your mower. The rattling you heard was detonation of the kerosene, due to the relatively 'high' compression and heating of the engine. If you had kept it up for a long time, you would have caused engine damage. If you happen to try it again, try adding a little bit of water to the engine intake! I think you would be surprised! As for the knock when you used the paint thinner, I would suppose it would be the 'low' octane rating that that fuel had. You would get nearly the same result if you used Coleman's fuel. Coleman's is rated about 54 octane, which is pretty low. You can get away with it in models and some hit and miss engines, due to the low compression ratio, typically around 5:1. Your common lawn mower has around 6 to 6.5 to one.
Yes, I could add a water injector to it, but as noted in the video and in the description, it only rattled like that a couple spots where the grass grows Thicker and Longer than the rest of the yard where I simply backed off on the mowing speed to lighten the load and eliminate the rattle that way. (corner of the yard gets water run-off from the street from light drizzles that don't benefit the rest of the yard making the grass grow like crazy there). Even running on gas I have to slow down in those areas because it loads down just as bad (but without the rattle) and if I keep going the grass clogs the mower deck and kills the engine.

Simply slowing down as I did to control the detonation keeps me from going through it fast enough to clog the deck so if I ever get more Kero on hand to do it again I would likely just go the same way as before with no changes or modifications.

If I had a small engine hooked up to something with a constant heavy load on it then YES I WOULD definitely add a water injection system to it to spray a fine mist in the intake, but with the variable load from mowing I would be constantly adjusting the water mixture.

The paint thinner I doubt I will ever try again, but if I do it will get mixed 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 (gas to paint thinner) instead of 1 to 1 or 2 to 1

Paint thinner works good as a carb-cleaner (or fuel injection cleaner) but doesn't tolerate any kind of a load on the engine.

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Old 04-10-2018, 05:11:03 PM
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Photo Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

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Originally Posted by Andrew Mackey View Post
You do not want to use diesel or fuel oil in a spark ignition engine. It burns too hot, and not well in a spark engine. I tried using it instead of kerosene in 2 of my IHC M engines, and it ran very poorly and smoked like hell! Both engines were kerosene burners. The oil stink was unreal!
I have No Idea what the Compression Ratio is on it, but the 3hp Fairbanks Morse starting engine (air compressor) on our Club's 60hp Fairbanks Diesel runs on the Same Diesel Fuel that the big one uses.

It's high enough compression (and fenced in so you have to crank it over from in front instead of along side) that we roll it up on compression then 'bump' the valve to bleed off pressure so it can be rolled the rest of the way over center to start it.

Fill the carb with gas and start it on that and once the head starts getting warm open the Diesel valve drawing up from the tank in the sub base and then start slowly turning off the gas mixer valve.

It is a Spark Plug Engine that runs on #2 fuel oil (diesel) under an increasingly heavy load as the air tank builds up pressure for starting the 60hp with.



Two of our Club's Diesel Locomotives also start on gas with spark plugs before switching over to diesel when warmed up.

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Old 04-10-2018, 05:21:49 PM
Vanman Vanman is offline
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Default Re: Use of Kerosene in small gas engines

Water injection when burning diesel...

So a guy could add a second carburetor with no throttle plate in front of the diesel carburetor and supply it with water, and adjust it's mixture screw for best running, making the water automatic.

To shut down, shut off both diesel and water supply, and switch on the propane when the diesel runs out, then continue to run for several more minutes on propane.
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