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Old 09-02-2016, 09:15   #1
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How long does stored diesel last?

I have had an additional 40 ltr plastic drum of diesel on the boat for around two years, treated with a diesel bug additive, and have scarcely given it a second thought. It is well sealed in a watertight and airtight drum and kept in a secure and mostly dry locker. Recently, however, I witnessed a friend of mine pouring his 'spare' diesel away, saying that after a couple of years, it would not be usable!

I poured scorn on his wastefulness, but on reflection thought that it might be wise to check with my 'learned friends on-line' to see what the general consensus is!

Is it easy and obvious to see whether a drum of diesel oil has become contaminated (with diesel bug for example), or reduced in quality somehow?
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:29   #2
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

I feel it it is in a sealed container diesel will last a loooooong time.
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Old 09-02-2016, 09:50   #3
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

I would mix it with newer diesel until it was used up.
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:01   #4
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

Why not invest in a fuel filter funnel (see example below)? Then you can use your old diesel with confidence - unless it's completely bugged, in which case you'll see as soon as you start pouring.

GORDON KNIGHT

Force 4 8 inch Yacht Fuel Filter Funnel
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Old 09-02-2016, 10:27   #5
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

Old Diesel if stored correctly would last almost indefinitely, I believe in some places there is Diesel left from WWII still being used, but I can't confirm that.
Newer ULSD won't last as long, but two years in an air tight container? I'd burn it without hesitation, I bet many boats have Diesel older than that in their vented tanks

"bugs" I have seen, look like snot, you can't miss it
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:00   #6
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

Good idea... I have a couple of funnels on board with strainers, but not sure how they compare with the 'filter'?
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:02   #7
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Old Diesel if stored correctly would last almost indefinitely, I believe in some places there is Diesel left from WWII still being used, but I can't confirm that.
Newer ULSD won't last as long, but two years in an air tight container? I'd burn it without hesitation, I bet many boats have Diesel older than that in their vented tanks

"bugs" I have seen, look like snot, you can't miss it
Thanks for the graphic description of diesel bug... Not seen that before and think I might notice it! Does it float or sink to the bottom?
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:22   #8
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

The "bugs" I have experience with were actually in Jet fuel, but I don't think there is a difference, it sits on the bottom, and plugs a filter pretty well, and disgusting as this sounds, looks and feels like a large glob of snot.
The stuff I have experience with was called Apple Jelly, actually APPL for Alberta Products Pipe Line.
Investigation of "Apple Jelly" Contaminant in Military Jet Fuel

It was one of those takes multiple things to form a chain to have an effect, this junk came about partially because the compound to "dry" Jet fuel was apparently the same stuff that absorbs water in baby diapers, but somehow it helped "bugs" grow.
I think it's actually an algae, not a Bacteria, but I really don't know?
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:30   #9
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

I have also heard you can tell biologic containment from a chemical one by using household bleach, if biologic, it will bleach out and lighten in color, but if it's some kind of tar or something, it won't.
I've not had to try that, so I don't know if it will work or not, but it sounds logical.
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Old 09-02-2016, 12:40   #10
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

Some suggest adding a cetane booster before using "aged" diesel; I have never bothered and have occasionally used diesel well over 2 years old. If it looks good and smells good, that is good enough IMO.
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Old 09-02-2016, 14:16   #11
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

As advised long time ago, at the end of the season, once the boat is on the hard, I top up my tank from a 5gal container until it's really full, put in cetane and some other stuff and next spring it's as good as new. The key to keeping diesel fresh during prolonged non-use is no air in the tank as the air condenses into moisture and the bacteria just love that water. With no air or water (and no bacteria to begin with) the diesel will be just like the bitumen - keeping around for millions of years.
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Old 09-02-2016, 22:14   #12
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

Old diesel from before the EPA lasts a long time, but will gain moisture in a vented tank. New diesel absolutely sealed will last a few years but seems to loose some of it's already poor burning quality. I run a catalyst in my diesel pickup and gained about 12% better mileage and much better cold weather starts w/o heat. I just started using it in the boat and get better cold starts, but haven't traveled enough to check economy.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:25   #13
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

We run our diesel through fuel polishing system every 3 months when Marina bound and always keep tanks pressed.


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Old 10-02-2016, 05:15   #14
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

i have burned 4 year old diesel in my perkins. it works. i like a racor and another filter before the engine, but it is good stuff, unlike gasoline which has a 2-6 month lifespan, in good conditions without alcohol added.
if it makes your head feel better, pump it thru yoyr filters a bit so you feel it might be polished. you will be fine, even without the polish. carry cartridges for your filters and use it.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:46   #15
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Re: How long does stored diesel last?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I feel it it is in a sealed container diesel will last a loooooong time.
This...

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Old Diesel if stored correctly would last almost indefinitely, I believe in some places there is Diesel left from WWII still being used, but I can't confirm that.
Newer ULSD won't last as long, but two years in an air tight container? I'd burn it without hesitation, I bet many boats have Diesel older than that in their vented tanks

"bugs" I have seen, look like snot, you can't miss it
And this...

Just my own personal experience... Not accompannied by scientific data...
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