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Old 30-06-2022, 15:47   #1
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Kerosene for diesel engine

So I was walking through some town along the Erie Canal, and passed a gas station that was selling kerosene for about 50 cents less than the cheapest diesel I've seen in quite some time. I wasn't about to haul it in 5 gallon jugs many blocks to the boat -- but it did get me thinking.

Diesel engines, generally speaking, can burn most anything. But specifically? If this circumstance shows up 100 yards from the boat, should I haul kerosene? Is kerosene bad in any way?

I'm quite accustomed to hauling in jugs -- at home it's much easier than motoring an hour+ to a marine fuel dock.
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Old 30-06-2022, 17:10   #2
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Interesting idea. We use kero for cooking. Supposedly you can also use diesel in those stoves but need a different jet and it does not work as well. Also many run kero through their diesel heaters, cleaner, they last linger between replacing screens.

I would think there may be some metering issues with the fuel pump or injectors, but not sure.
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Old 30-06-2022, 17:13   #3
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Your Diesel engine will run on kero, you are unlikely to know the difference in the short term.
Is it good for it - no, not really. Kero has much less lubricity than diesel, the injection pump and injectors aren't going to be happy.

If you have to use it, try diluting as much as possible with diesel or add some ATF or 2 stroke oil to it.
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Old 30-06-2022, 18:21   #4
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

In an emergency you could use it. You are not having an emergency, so don't, not to save 50c/gallon.
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Old 30-06-2022, 18:32   #5
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

The reason K1 is cheaper is that it does not have road fuel taxes added to it.

Kerosene is frequently added to over the road diesel to lower the "gel point" in very cold climates, but as the other posts have suggested a diet of pure K1 is not going to leave your injection pump happy for the long run.
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Old 30-06-2022, 18:52   #6
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Kerosene has a low cetane rating, which will cause very poor performance in a diesel engine. [ hard starting, smoky exhaust, low power, etc ]

It also lacks proper lubricity additives. Therefore, is not intended, or recommended for use in a diesel engine. Joe



Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingharry View Post
So I was walking through some town along the Erie Canal, and passed a gas station that was selling kerosene for about 50 cents less than the cheapest diesel I've seen in quite some time. I wasn't about to haul it in 5 gallon jugs many blocks to the boat -- but it did get me thinking.

Diesel engines, generally speaking, can burn most anything. But specifically? If this circumstance shows up 100 yards from the boat, should I haul kerosene? Is kerosene bad in any way?

I'm quite accustomed to hauling in jugs -- at home it's much easier than motoring an hour+ to a marine fuel dock.
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Old 30-06-2022, 19:23   #7
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

its better to use power pole transformer oil (cans on power poles)

you can shoot to make a hole in the bottom it and collect it in a bucket. (only do this in a real emergency)
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Old 30-06-2022, 19:25   #8
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
If you have to use it, try diluting as much as possible with diesel or add some ATF or 2 stroke oil to it.
Or chuck your old cooking oil in it?
(Filtered through a fine kitchen sieve first of course)
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Old 30-06-2022, 19:40   #9
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

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Or chuck your old cooking oil in it?
(Filtered through a fine kitchen sieve first of course)
Yeah, maybe, never tried it.

I have put hundreds of litres of kero through a car diesel (Peugeot 504) and a BMC diesel tractor when I had access to free kero. Mostly I diluted it about 75/25 (diesel / kero) for the car and about 25/75 for the tractor. The few times I used kero full strength I'd chuck in some 2 stroke oil about 1/50 or 1/100.

Dunno about the car, it was sold decades ago, tractor still doing OK though.

Never felt the need to use kero in a boat engine as I never used more than 50 or 100 litres a year.
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Old 30-06-2022, 19:50   #10
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Yanmar has this to say in one manual, and similar content in many others:

Quote:
• NEVER mix kerosene, used engine oil or residual fuels with the diesel fuel
......
• Do not use kerosene or residual fuels.
And Volvo has a service bulletin that says:

Quote:
6. Kerosene (“Jet fuel”)
Kerosene has low cetane number, low viscosity, low lubricity and high sulfur level compared to diesel fuels. Usage of kerosene will negatively impact durability, emissions, power and fuel consumption.
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Old 30-06-2022, 20:02   #11
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingharry View Post
So I was walking through some town along the Erie Canal, and passed a gas station that was selling kerosene for about 50 cents less than the cheapest diesel I've seen in quite some time. I wasn't about to haul it in 5 gallon jugs many blocks to the boat -- but it did get me thinking.

Diesel engines, generally speaking, can burn most anything. But specifically? If this circumstance shows up 100 yards from the boat, should I haul kerosene? Is kerosene bad in any way?

I'm quite accustomed to hauling in jugs -- at home it's much easier than motoring an hour+ to a marine fuel dock.
I too haul jugs, but still use the red dyed "off-road" diesel, (no road tax).
Around here the "road diesel" is ~15>20% bio, it runs in the engine Ok, but is unsuitable for the Dickinson stove.
I get my fuel from a non-public card depot, my understanding from talking to the owner is that if you add 2qts of Kero to 5gal of #2 diesel you will essentially have #1 diesel.
I do that in the winter, although I use only 1qt per 5gal., it helps the stove burn cleaner, and the engine is not run much in the winter anyway.
Also, while the off-road fuel, (in this area,) is still ULSD it still contains more Sulphur than the "on road" stuff, and for some old mechanical engines that may not be a bad thing.
Sulphur not only adds lubricity, but it acts as an accelerant in the burn process.
It also helps to "cushion" the valve seats.
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Old 01-07-2022, 05:20   #12
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Kero has much less lubricity than diesel, the injection pump and injectors aren't going to be happy.
This was actually the most significant downside that crossed my mind. I didn't know the answer, but thought it might be a problem.
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Old 01-07-2022, 05:27   #13
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeywoodJ View Post
Yanmar has this to say in one manual, and similar content in many others:







And Volvo has a service bulletin that says:
Well that pretty solidly answers the question. What other manufacturers say is interesting, but I have a Yanmar and they are very clear!
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Old 01-07-2022, 16:10   #14
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

The old US Army deuce-and-a-half's had a plaque that indicated that, for emergencies only, jet fuel (essentially kerosene) could be used. IIRC there was lube oil to be added but I'm not clear on that. The military is quite happy to sacrifice an engine in support of a battle but not really what you want to do with a yacht.

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Old 01-07-2022, 16:36   #15
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Re: Kerosene for diesel engine

Use kerosene to clean out (burn time) or run in your Webasto style heaters, only.

When taken into the shop for service, the tech will run your heater on kero to try to clean out the burner screen, if that doesn't work, it is then pulled down and parts will be changed.
Saving a few pennies, running a Diesel engine on kerosene, not worth it.
Do as you wish.



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