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Oil Field Engines & Related Equipment

Water in Fuel


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  #1  
Old 03-05-2019, 10:31:17 AM
Joel Sanderson Joel Sanderson is offline
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Default Water in Fuel

A little background: I have a 15 horse Reid which powers my shop, consisting of 90+ feet of line shaft connected to 30 or so machines. This puts a constant load on the engine. Whenever the engine's running, so is the dynamo for my lights. I'd guess the steady draw on the engine is around 8 horsepower before more load is added by other machines.

I start the engine on propane with a hot tube and run it until it's warmed up. Then I switch to the carburettor (which I made) and liquid fuel. Once I switch from propane, I turn the hot tube off, and the Reid has no ignition other than compression.

As often as it's available, I burn reclaimed gasoline. This varies from lot to lot, but as a whole, it works much better than new gasoline. Some lots burn well just as they come; other lots need kerosene mixed in to get it to ignite by compression. I'm burning my most recent lot in a 3:2 ratio, gas/kero. New gasoline, even mixed with kerosene 1:1 does not run well under heavy load. It knocks--pre-ignites--when the engine comes under heavy load.

(This is acting as a carbureted diesel; in other words, the volume varies with the load and changes the ignition temperature depending on how much air mixture is being compressed--unlike a true diesel which has a constant volume and varied fuel only.)

I haven't had to buy new gas for a few years now, but I'm sure I will again, so I'm trying to answer the question: why doesn't it run as well? There is water in the old gas. (Who knows what else is in that stuff!) My guess is the water slows the burn enough to prevent the knocking under load. New gas cannot run the whole shop without knocking or flooding the engine; on old gas, the Reid just leans into the load, makes a little more noise and pulls harder on the belt.

Does anyone here have any experience mixing water with gasoline? Shouldn't it be possible to add a certain amount of water to E-10 and have the alcohol absorb the water? Wouldn't that take the place of the water valve that some of the all-fuel engines (like a Fairbanks Z) have on them to prevent knocking under load? How much water can I add before it can no longer be absorbed? Are there oil field engines with water valves?

(I don't think I've asked this question here before. If so, I'm sorry. I did a search though and didn't find one. I wish I could order a new memory.)

Thanks for helping. .

Joel

P.S.: I'll try not to be so windy in future posts.
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Old 03-05-2019, 05:08:18 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Water in Fuel

You have a few issues with your Reid engine. 1) it is a low compression (about 5.5:1) engine. It should not run as a true diesel - too low a compression for true diesel compression ignition. When the hot tube burner is shut off, the engine should quit within a few minutes as the tube cools. I suspect it is running as a 'carbureted semi diesel' due to hot carbon deposits in either the combustion chamber or the hot tube itself, which is igniting the fuel. The more you load the engine, the hotter the carbon or hot point, thus the pre-ignition (knock). Adding kerosene to 'dead' gas allows the mix to burn - the bad gas is actually diluting the kerosene, not the other wy around. With new gas, it is just igniting too early due to the hot spots. Adding water to it won't help, it just mixes with the alcohol and settles out to the bottom of your fuel tank.

Now you have 3 options. 1) clean out the engine and hot tube to get rid of the hot spots, and run on the hot tube full time, or 2) set up a water injection system to give a bit of water to the intake to cool the charge and stop knock. The water 'injection' system will have to be adjusted to load as you go, and you will need to shut it off about 5 minutes before engine shut down in order to prevent rust in the combustion chamber. Water injection has its benifits; you can save up to 20% of fuel use, the engine actually 'burns' the water! 3) buy some gas and store it in open gas cans for 3 or 4 months, and see if your engine will burn it. if you have a Costco fuel station near you, get your gas there. Costco buys old but not stale fuel from gas companies that take back unused fuel from closing company stations. Your other alternative is to see if there is a company near you that does gas station tank replacement. Maybe they can sell you the old gas they have to pump out before digging up the tanks.

If you absolutely are set on adding water to gas, try adding a few cans of 'dry gas' to the gas first, add about a pint of water and shake well. The dry gas should help the gas to absorb the water but i do not know how well it will work in your engine. i suspect it will not run well on this mix. Sorry for the bad news.
Andrew
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:28:07 PM
Joel Sanderson Joel Sanderson is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

Thank you very much, Mr. Mackey. I appreciate your ideas, and I respect your experience. I will hold my ground that this engine actually does diesel though. When this first happened years back, I was in such doubt, I went all through it, piston out, hot tube and so on. It's clean.

If it were due to a hot ember--a bit of carbon or whatever--that hot ember would vary over time. It might go away, burn out or get too small, and the engine wouldn't run. Or it might get larger over time and cause the engine to ignite too early. Either way, it'd be erratic. But it's not. It runs evenly and consistently day in and day out--and has for more than a decade.

It will not diesel on straight gasoline or kerosene--they have to be mixed. This lowers the ignition temperature. Straight gasoline would ignite from an ember.

It will not diesel unless it's under load, when it gets enough intake to compress enough air to be hot enough to ignite the charge. When I throw off the line, it runs terribly, firing every fifth cycle or less. This wouldn't happen if there were an ember there to ignite it. Under propane, it will four-stroke with the line off, but it's nothing like the horrific, smoking, pop-cycling it does if I try it with no load on gas. I mean, it's so bad it's scary to hear.

One of the things about the reclaimed gas is that it's a mixture of every petroleum in whatever engine they crush. There's diesel, gasoline, engine oil of all viscosities and whatever else they drain that's not water based. It's black, and the good running stuff smells like varnish. My current source is much cleaner and has no diesel in it because they don't take diesel engines. I think that's why I need to add the kerosene to it. I didn't with the other sources. It has water though.

What will the dry gas do? I thought it was alcohol that took on the water so it'd burn. E-10 already is 10% alcohol. Does the dry gas still work with it?

Running on the hot tube doesn't help the preignition I'm talking about. In fact, it can make it worse, because under load it's that much easier to ignite the charge.

Thanks again, Mr. Mackey. You know, if you ever get near Quincy, Michigan, you should stop and see it run.
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:19:56 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

Dry gas is an alcohol. It will disolve into gasoline and will absorb water. Thus is allows water to mix with the gas.

As for your Reid - i had a 11/2 HP IHC M with an over shot ignitor. I had it running on 50-50 gas kerosene, and it ran hot. Once I got it really warmed up, i could disconnect the mag and the engine would run like a throttled diesel, like your reid. it would knock like the dickens until i openned the water injection. Like your engine, as long as i kept a heavy load on it, it seemed to run just fine. Could be that your engine just runs hot and there isn't soot build up in it.

As for kerosene - it burns at a much higher temperature than gas, more BTUs per unit than gas. Mixing it with 'dead' gas will lower the ignition temperature, but it will still burn hotter under load. You are right about 'new gas - it isn't really gas any more, it's mostly by-products like Iso propane, iso butane, esters and other stuff like tolulol and tolulene. Not much real gasoline in it anymore! If your reclaimmed oil has lube and transmission oils in it, that too will raise combustion temps, which may be why your engine is running as a diesel. All a semi diesel needs is a near red hot componant to run. Ever hear of a 'hot head engine'? Low compression (about 6:1), but uses a hot surface in the combustion chamber for ignition. A true diesel is most effecient between 18 and 22 to one. Lower compression than that you need glow plugs to provide initial fire, after warm up, the engine will run on its own.

As for your engine, only time and testing different fuel combinations will tell. I know it's more expensive, but have you tried high test gas or diesel or fuel oil instead of kerosene?
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Old 03-05-2019, 07:56:09 PM
Bill Hazzard Bill Hazzard is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

Joel, you are running your Reid with controlled pre ignition to the point where it is not pre igniting but igniting at the proper time as if it was just running on the tube. The water mixed in a kerosene engine really lowers the temperature of the compressed charge which prevents pre ignition. As your Reid heats up under load the compressed charge heats up higher as well leading to pre ignition knocking so water mixed in will help. I doubt anyone has experimented with a gasoline alcohol water mix but in theory it should help.

Doing a Google search it looks like a gallon of E10 can hold about 3/4 ounce of water in suspension which seams like it would be plenty of water to lower the compression temperature. I think that you will have to become the expert on your uniquely running engine. As far as I know oil field engines were not built to burn kerosene.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:01:11 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

No. they were not, but they did burn crude oil! A semi diesel will burn about any liquid fuel. The higher ends like jet fuel and gasoline won't work as well as the lower end fuels, early kerosene was poorly refined it was actually a poor mix of gasline and kero, and when used in kerosene heaters of the day, ended up with explosions and many fires as the volatile fuel heated up and vaporized. Remember Standard Oil? They got their name from their process of making all their kerosene of a standard constant volatility. No more guessing on how much gas was in it. Todays gas is in just about the same state that kerosene was 100 years ago. There is no constant! Pump gas E-10 can have up to 27% alky in it! Nobody is watching the store so to speak, so you don't know what you are getting from the pump unless you test each batch. i know Redmax and Sthil both have tests that can tell you age of fuel, alky and water content, only problem is they only want dealers to use it for warrenty and it costs about $10 a pop for the test. On both makes, gas over 30 days old, over 10% alky and any water - NO WARRENTY! if these issues are found, its up to the owner to go after the gas station - good luck with that unless you know somebody in government.
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:35:07 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Sanderson View Post

As often as it's available, I burn reclaimed gasoline. This varies from lot to lot, but as a whole, it works much better than new gasoline. Some lots burn well just as they come; other lots need kerosene mixed in to get it to ignite by compression. I'm burning my most recent lot in a 3:2 ratio, gas/kero. New gasoline, even mixed with kerosene 1:1 does not run well under heavy load. It knocks--pre-ignites--when the engine comes under heavy load.


I haven't had to buy new gas for a few years now, but I'm sure I will again, so I'm trying to answer the question: why doesn't it run as well? There is water in the old gas. (Who knows what else is in that stuff!) My guess is the water slows the burn enough to prevent the knocking under load. New gas cannot run the whole shop without knocking or flooding the engine; on old gas, the Reid just leans into the load, makes a little more noise and pulls harder on the belt.

Does anyone here have any experience mixing water with gasoline? Shouldn't it be possible to add a certain amount of water to E-10 and have the alcohol absorb the water? Wouldn't that take the place of the water valve that some of the all-fuel engines (like a Fairbanks Z) have on them to prevent knocking under load? How much water can I add before it can no longer be absorbed? Are there oil field engines with water valves?


Thanks for helping. .

Joel
Not knowing where your "Old Gas" comes from I would have to say if you're finding water in the bottom of the tank it's either Non-Ethanol or if it IS Ethanol it has already Phase Separated. In either case, the water in the bottom of the tank isn't Mixed In the gas and should have no effect on how the engine runs unless you're drawing fuel off the bottom of the tank, in which case you would risk getting a slug of straight water and not firing.

As for Running Better on the "Old Gas" and Knocking Under Load on the new stuff, that is because the "Old Gas" has lost a lot of the "Volatiles" that make it "Explosive" and is burning Slower and Smoother.

Low Octane Gas is Very Explosive, while High Octane Gas has a Slower Burn Rate, Making it Less Explosive to control Detonation in High Compression engines.

While "Old Gas" probably won't make anywhere near the same power in a High Compression engine as 'new' High Octane Gas would, it would still Knock Less than 'new' Low Octane Gas does, because of the slower burn rate.

While our old engines aren't high enough compression ratio to need High Octane Fuel, They DO run Smoother on it. I had a little Stover CT that would jump off the ground every time it fired on regular pump gas but ran smooth & steady on the Less Explosive Slower Burning High Octane Racing Fuel.

As for "ADDING WATER" to control detonation, the engines that had the water lines on them for doing that added it into the air-stream with the fuel, NOT "Mixed" in the tank. Though if you are running an Ethanol Mix, then you Could add water directly to the fuel tank, but Only Up To 0.6% MAX with E10 (and presumably higher with E15, E20, and #85) before it Phase Separates and Dumps the Alcohol And Water to the bottom of the tank, which would defeat the purpose of adding it at that point.

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Old 03-07-2019, 01:13:16 PM
EMU EMU is offline
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Cool Re: Water in Fuel

The more you advance the Timing in an Internal Combustion Engine it ' will' run cooler and smoother . Water Injection allows the extra hydro carbons within the fuel to become more readily available benefits a dark heavy gravity fuel or cocktail hence the extra hydro carbons . Water is an Anti Knock agent . Prevents knocking and pinging with an advanced timing especially in Load only condition. Specially used when an Engine is under load condition . Set up a drip system , to the air intake , may be warmed water possibly from the cooling system , or set up a system where the water before entrance to intake is '' steam '''' . So the water hits a '' hot pan ''. Plenum . You will never break down the water to its constituents that's more of a hydrogen set up . Set up will need to be monitored . If timing is advanced it will not ' ping' or ' knock' without the water on at '''''''''' idle '''''''''' , although water or atmosphere will be needed , for '''' load ''' conditions …….. A variable adv / ret ,timing system is handy ….. It wouldn't need much water at all . Again try to get Water to a Steam state . Added atmosphere . Forced Atmosphere is Super Charging .It can be done . It would go well with propane … Water Injection , keeps spark plug electrodes clean, and allows for cool plug choice , cold plug choice … Heat range . I would treat the sleeve via lubrication system , with a good run , added to the drip system '' TEFLON ENGINE TREATMENT ' . As an added benefit ….Good stuff ….Water is a Lubricant , although Teflon clings to Metal . Picture this , Inside the Air Intake is an Exotic Mesh Plenum , heated to a Red Glow , from a Power source , Water Hitting the Heated mesh plenum , and there you have it ''' Steam ''' . more advanced system . Intake proximity to exhaust or manifold can be used as a Heat source . Try a copper line against the exhaust , with water in the line from cooling system , and try to get the water as hot as possible then drip , or vent slowly , into intake . Possibly ' wrap' the copper pipe around exhaust several times , gravity fed water , much less complicated or into engine side of throttle body intake on throttle governed engines ..
.

Last edited by EMU; 03-07-2019 at 02:05:43 PM.
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:13:41 PM
Joel Sanderson Joel Sanderson is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

That's far out, EMU. You might have something. I like the idea. I could make a new carburetor and have one jet--the last one to open, maybe--be a water jet only. Burn rain water, held in a separate tank. In fact, I have a cistern under the office floor that I put in for my old 6 horse Z's water hopper.

Several years ago I had a batch come that was so loaded with water I couldn't make the Reid run for beans. I put some in a jar, and it split almost in half when the water finally settled out. But you know what? my 10 hp Z ran just fine on it, half water and all (though it's not hooked up to the line yet so I don't know about it's load). It ran without a problem on that goo. I left the stuff in my tank for six months or more, drained off the water, and then it ran the best of any gas ever! Could the contact with the water be part of the fuel's change?

Now that I've put this into words for the whole world to see, I've gotta experiment mixing water into new gas, even though I just filled my tank with the nicely free reclaimed stuff. Might even try a water injection system.

I sure appreciate everyone's input on this.
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:19:33 PM
W.P.Klein W.P.Klein is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

I can't see where adding water to gasoline will help. The water does not "blend" with the gas, it just collects into irregular blobs and will not be controllable. Some intake strokes will have none and some will have way too much. Water injection is the only way to introduce water into the combustion process in an effective manner in my opinion- and my opinion is worth every cent you paid for it!
Have you tried ethanol free (recreation) gas? Bill Klein
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Old 03-11-2019, 08:11:16 AM
Joel Sanderson Joel Sanderson is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

Bill, Yes, I tried ethanol-free gas. It doesn't run as well--harder to get to run evenly (ignite evenly) under varying load than with ethanol. I really should type out all the mixtures I tried and put them here for everyone to see and comment on. I'll try to remember to bring my notes home from the shop today. It'd make for a very long post though.

Andrew, I think it's really interesting that your 1 1/2 hp M ran on 50/50 without ignition. Did you try it on straight gas or straight kerosene? I'm gonna guess that it wouldn't run without ignition unless the fuel was mixed.

The Reid's governor's strong enough I could put a link to a water valve fairly easily so it opens only under heavier load--without having to make a new carburetor. I think that's like you suggested, EMU. (I was thinking new carb up until now.) That'd be fairly simple to do other than needing my other engine belted and plumbed so I can work on the Reid while it's down. Drat.
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:06:22 AM
IronworkerFXR IronworkerFXR is offline
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Default Re: Water in Fuel

Don't forget the 1 1/2 IHC is a four stroke, your Reid a two stroke . you have an interesting balance of "some type of ignition controlled by the fuel. I like the added steam vapor idea , or a high pressure mist maybe ?. if you could find an old Chevette diesel , they had a grid heater on top of the intake .
also "and I am learning about Reid's still" part of the issue would be the suspension of the mix in the charge piston , would it condensate there ?.
one last note taking everything that has been said , could you have a hot spot in the water jacket that's letting it act as a hot head oil engine ?.

JC
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