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Old 08-04-2010, 07:31   #1
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Running a Diesel on Heating Oil (Kerosene)

just had a friend ask me about running his volvo turbo diesel 2003t
on what is in the tank of the yacht he recently purchased.
apparently there is 1000 liters in the tank,of this fuel,lighter than diesel!!!!!!! german heating oil apperently.
any body have any experiances using different fuel in a high commpression diesel?
all comments appreciated
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:44   #2
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It may not be as different from diesel as it appears. I don't know if fuel labeling is much different in Europe than it is here but in Texas, the difference between #2 diesel and #2 fuel oil is primarily different taxes. I would ask a (European) diesel mechanic who would be familiar with both the fuel grade and the engine.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:45   #3
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There is very little difference between #2 heating oil and diesel. I worked in the refining industry for many years and can assure you the common misconception they are different is wrong with the following stipulations:
Some countries require lower sulfur content than do others which can affect lubricity and I'm un-familar with "german heating oil".
Some countries during winter cut the #2 oil with kerosene to prevent gelling.
Some countries require a higher cetane rating in their diesel which heating oil obviously won't meet.
Certainly in an emergency, you can feel safe in using heating oil but I would not do it as a routine practice simply because of the sulfur content
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:11   #4
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I bet his 03 Volvo is a direct injection motor with picky fuel injectors that would not appreciate the lower lubricity..... might be an expensive experiment.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:18   #5
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I have no knowledge of modern diesels, but know a bit about old skool.

They will run quite happily on a wide range of fuels.

In the uk heating oil or diesel are fine, if the tax man doesn't catch you.

In my experience aviation fuel is fine too, though some folks add oil to lubricate pump I never have and have several 1O, 000,s miles on various cars.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:31   #6
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Follow up clarification ... I live in northeat US and a couple years ago put in a geothermal heating unit. The oil company filled my tank with heating oil (200 gallons) that is just sitting there. Can I put this in my boat that has a perkins 4-107 ??? Been trying to figure out what to do with this oil. Thanks
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:45   #7
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Older diesel engines will run on just about anything. Newer engines you need to be more careful with (especially newer OTR engines with DPF's). I recently looked at the fuel spec for a 6BT Cummins that I have and there were like 5 acceptable fuels listed including diesel, kero, jet, etc. All of these fuels burn similarly enough that they will run fine. The problems that can arise are due to the fuel injection system which on newer vehicles needs good lubricity and good fuel quality.

Heating oil is the same base stock as #2 diesel. Diesel engines need to be able to run on a blended form of #2 anyways in cold weather so #1 is acceptable as well. #1 used to have less lubricity (this may have changed with additives) so it wasn't recommended at 100% and it also has much lower BTU/Volume so you get lower mileage and power. The real difference in terms of your engine's longevity has to do with lubricity and additives. Lubricity recently changed since the process of removing sulfur from the fuel lowers lubricity so now they use additives to raise it up to spec. On ULS heating oil, I don't know whether they use lubricity additives. Also, keep in mind that ULSD is a US thing so European fuel will be different. Since most people on this forum don't operate their engines in cold enough temps for the fuel to gel, that is not a concern.

Basically, yes it will burn. Make sure you have good filtration and if you are concerned, you might use powerservice additive. Be careful with fuel that has been sitting for a long time because of algae. If it were me, I wouldn't worry about doing this on an older engine but would think twice on a common rail engine.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:04   #8
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I would not worry at all about putting it in a 4-107. I ran tractors for 37 years with the same block on heating oil.
Just make sure it is well filtered and maybe add som biocide.
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Old 08-04-2010, 15:12   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V_Surya View Post
Follow up clarification ... I live in northeat US and a couple years ago put in a geothermal heating unit. The oil company filled my tank with heating oil (200 gallons) that is just sitting there. Can I put this in my boat that has a perkins 4-107 ??? Been trying to figure out what to do with this oil. Thanks
Your old Perkins should be quite happy digesting a dinosaur in raw form should one ever present it's self to you for the purpose... Fuel oil should be no problem.
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Old 08-04-2010, 15:13   #10
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ive ran a diesel engine on cooking oil,i thinned it a little with a 20% diesel mix.

There is not a great deal of difference between heating oil and diesel , in the UK we have Red diesel which is intended as a low cost commercial fuel for boats and farm vehicles,about 18 months ago we had a change in tax laws up untill then we could fill our boats with red diesel,these days we have to pay full tax on the fuel for propulsion and lower tax for heating,so the stuff that we use for heating can run our engines.

I had a talk with one of the guys who designs Perkins engines,his words were that the older engines will run on most oils such as vegatable oil and heating oil.The newer engines that are designed with low sulphur emisions will not like anything other than diesel

BTW we are now paying 6 pounds for a gallon of diesel we find it funny when our buddies in the states moan at their fuel prices,in Greece it is now hitting 7 euros for a gallon
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Old 08-04-2010, 18:23   #11
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ive ran a diesel engine on cooking oil,i thinned it a little with a 20% diesel mix.
Not quite the subject of the thread but running unheated VO is a really bad idea even if you cut it. When your engine is cold, your rings won't seal very well and you will get the veggie oil into the bottom end of your engine. Veggie oil is not very good for lubricating bearings and can plug oil passages. I have personally seen 2 engines that have had catastrophic failures because of this and you will find many more cases if you search forums like frybrid. A smaller issue but still a real problem is that unheated veggie oil will wreak havoc on your injectors.

A good heated VO system with the ability to purge is great but they take a lot more time and effort to setup. Unfortunately, a lot of the info on veggie oil conversions is still pretty old and still recommends practices which lead to burning unheated veggie whether by contamination of tanks or using a single tank setup. And then there are the snake oils like DSE (diesel secret energy). The modern SVO/WVO systems are actually quite good and do not do nearly the harm to your engine that the old ones did.
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Old 10-04-2010, 23:11   #12
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thank you all for the good input,will pass on the info,looks like it is probably not such a good idea to run a 2003t volvo,due to very high compression and wear on the pumps and injectors.
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