Generator on kerosene

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I think the real answer is Coleman says it is not recomended. (lawyers may have hardened that message since) I do know people who did it back in the 70s when gas was unobtanium. It ran like crap but you could get home.
On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 13:39:09 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Are you sure that was a gasoline engine they were talking about. Diesel and kerosene are very close. Gasoline is different.
At best, I would expect that it would do the engine no good, if it worked. I am sure it would really screw up a modern automotive gasoline engine.
It might have been a better idea to have bought a diesel engine generator tot start with.
--
Joseph Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Yes, kerosene is basically super refined diesel fuel or heating oil. I can't imagine a gasoline engine could even combust it being it has such a lower flash point. I know you can easily run a diesel engine on kerosene..Been there done that.. Had an Oldsmobile Ninety Eight diesel and ran out of fuel backing out of the driveway. Ran to the shed, got my five gallon can of Kerosene and poured it in. Started right up and ran fine all the way to the fuel station. Don't think putting diesel in a gas engine would hurt the engine, other than quickly fouling the plugs if you could even get it to fire, but doing the opposite, putting gas in a diesel engine can cause damage quick... John
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Joe - This was done in the 30s - 40s - 50s to save money. Yeah - the gasoline engine did not run the greatest on a mixture of kerosene/gasoline but it ran well enough to do the work. Times were tough and money was tight. You made do with whatever worked. We ran a Ford Cub Tractor on the mixture for 10 years - by the way - it was a very used tractor to start with :-) We also had a gasoline clothes washer on the back porch that ran on the same mixture. It was a two cylinder opposed engine - no carb - just a reeded dial that mixed the air and fuel. You twisted it open for more air - twisted it closed to stop it. The washe has a pedal similar to a motorcycle to start it. That was a sight seeing my 200 pound Mom "dancing" up and down on that starter pedal every Monday morning. Harry
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Harry Everhart wrote:

Yes I've seen small single cylinder engines used for irrigation pumps and similar which had dual compartment fuel tanks. A large section for kero and a small one for gasoline. There was a valve you could turn to switch from one to the other, and you had to remember to switch it back to gas for a while before stopping it so there was gas, not kero in the carb bowl for the next start.
Kero run farm tractors were quite common, again with gasoline used for starting.
I strongly doubt that today's sophisticated engines and fuel systems could take that kind of treatment without serious modifications.
Back during WWII I remember reading an article in either Popular Mechinics or Mechanix Illustrated showing how to add No.2 fuel oil burning capability to an ordinary car. IIRC in addition to needing two fuel tanks, they had you wrap a bunch of copper tubing around the exhaust manifold to deliver the fuel oil to the carb heated up so it would "work better".
Gas was rationed during that war. I remember my dad had an "A" sticker on his windshield which was the lowest priority and entitled him to buy only 3 or 4 gallons of gasoline a week. (Actually it was RUBBER that was the big problem, the US had pretty good supplies of oil, but at the time the Japanese declared war we were getting over 95% of our rubber from Japan, and synthetics weren't really on line yet. So, rationing gas saved rubber.)
> We also had a gasoline clothes washer on the back porch that ran on the > same mixture. It was a two cylinder opposed engine - no carb - just a > reeded dial that mixed the air and fuel. You twisted it open for more > air - twisted it closed to stop it. The washe has a pedal similar to a > motorcycle to start it. That was a sight seeing my 200 pound Mom > "dancing" up and down on that starter pedal every Monday morning. > Harry
I've still got a spark plug from one of those beasts in my box of "fun junk" It comes apart for cleaning. The name "Maytag" is printed on the other side of the insulator, you can just see the ending "g" in Maytag to the left of the "CHAM" in the right hand photo:
http://home.comcast.net/~jwisnia18/temp/plug.jpg
Thanks for the mammaries,
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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Jeff - Thanks for the pix of the Maytag spark plug. That was it! I remember the whole washing machine was made of cast parts - maybe not iron - but something cast. Years later in the 60s - I made a "buggie" like a soap box racer with that engine in it. We hooked a belt to it and it barely powered the car - maybe 2 mph tops - you could walk faster than that. But I do remember the police coming up to "pull us over" and tell us we couldn't operate a motor powered vehicle without a license. Boy - times have changed. Even though it only went maybe two miles per hour - I was the envy of the neighborhood for a week. I guess I got "street cred" for being stopped by the cops. Harry
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Harry Everhart wrote:

Did your family's washing machine also have that rolling mill like water squeezer outer thingus on top which gave birth to the expression, "I got my tit in a wringer"...?
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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We called that a wringer and I could see how easily one could get a teat caught there - I remember getting my fingers pinched there more than once :-)
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On Tue, 08 Mar 2005 12:46:14 -0500, Jeff Wisnia

You'll probably like this link as well.. Look half way down the page for the washing machine.. http://galthistory.org/gasengine/2003.htm Chuck
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Thanks Chuck! The gray washing machine behind the green washing machine was ours. I do remember both of them though. Pictures like that jog the memory so much. Wow. Don't get me wrong - things are so much better now - cars - houses - TVs - appliances - medications - schools - planes - clothes - you name it. But your past is fleeting - gone forever - it is nice for just a taste of it. :-) In our case - we had to fill the washing machine with pots of water that we hand pumped from the well and put on the stove. Then you would wash the clothes - then run them thru the wringer by hand - then fill with cold water from the pump again - then rinse the clothes - then run them thru the ringer - then hang them on the line - then iron them because they were really wrinkled. Harry
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Harry Everhart wrote: ...re: old times...
...

Just out of curiousity, where/when was this?
We didn't get REA power until '48, but had wind Delco generator well prior to that...
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I was born in a farm house about 30 miles north of Allentown PA in Schuylkill County. I lived there from 1948 when I born until 1954. We moved to big city of Tamaqua PA 10 miles away(10,000 people at the time - now closer to 7000) so that I could go to a school building that had each grade in a separate room. I attended part of first grade in a one room school that had 8 rows of desks - one for each grade. We had electricity - but no plumbing. We had a hand pump on the well - and later I remember getting and electric well pump and one cold faucet in the sink. We were so proud of that - but never had an indoor bathroom. We took Saturday night baths in a metal tub in front of the coal stove with water heated on the stove. We even had to cross a paved road to the outhouse - to keep the sewage away from our well. But we did have TV and I remember seeing Harry Truman being sworn in when I was just 4 in 1952. We had a big party and all the neighbors came over. In 1954 we sold 10 acres with a stream and railroad frontage - a big house - and three level barn for $3000. Boy I wish I had that back. The place recently sold for $350,000 - it has a bathroom now but the hand pump well is still out back. Do the math - I am only 57. Harry
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Harry Everhart wrote:

Well, I'm just 3 years ahead of you, Harry... :)
It's interesting the difference in areas...in SW KS when Grandad broke out the home quarter around 1900 he was still a <very> young feller working for the Santa Fe "back east" about 100 miles and coming out for a week or so at a time. By 1910 or thereabouts he had saved enough w/ a brother to quit and borrow $300 for a mule and a wagon. The house was started in 1914 (prior to that they lived in a shed/barn combination) but had lighting (the Delco windcharger system) and indoor plumbing from the beginning. I was born in '45 and remember the Delco but we were so far from anywhere there was no point in having a TV until after I was out of college. While in VA/TN and traveling on business through most of the E-TN/SW-VA/WVA/E-PN coal country (we manufactured/sold/serviced online ashmeters to mines/prep plants) I became really aware of the differences in cultures. Working w/ TVA in later years also emphasised the difference. As noted, we got "real" power in '48 in large part because my folks started the drive to spur the formation of a local rural-electric co-op as soon as the war was over--they had been plotting during the last year or so prior to that. Dad served on the board for 50 years as well as farming. I came back after he passed away. We know own/rent/farm rough 1200 A and the whole land value isn't much more than what your 10A w/ house went for... :)
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gasoline, kerosene and diesel are _almost_ exactly the same thing.
Each is a mixture of varying weight hydrocarbons, more or less directly off a fractionating tower. The only difference is that the average molecular weight of the hydrocarbons is lowest in gasoline, higher in kerosene, and highest in diesel.
[In a standard fractionating tower, there's usually "taps" off for LPG, butane, light and heavy gasoline, light and heavy kerosene, light and heavy diesel, and then various kinds of asphalt. You make various grades of gasoline primarily by varying the light/heavy ratio. Similarly summer versus winter weight diesel etc]
Conceptually, there's no reason a gasoline engine couldn't run off diesel. In practise, gasoline engines are pretty finely tuned, and something thicker than gasoline will throw it off, perhaps too far off to operate properly.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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One thing for sure you will carbon up everything. A carboned piston, head and valves will ruin a motors power. So get ready to dissasemble it for cleaning. Overall a dumb idea.
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My late father farmed in England and had many tractors that were designed to start on gasoline, then switch over to TVO (="Tractor Vaporising Oil" = kerosene) once they warmed up. However, IMO an engine would have to be designed to run primarily on kerosene: if its viscosity is different from that of gasoline, the carburetor would need different-size jets; and what about the air-fuel proportions?
(I even recall an International Harvester TD9 tracklayer that started on gasoline, then switched over to diesel!)
Perce
On 03/08/05 09:09 am Stormin Mormon tossed the following ingredients into the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:

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Two requirements for running satisfactorily on kerosene are missing on your engine. Compression ratio must be much lower; I do not recall exactly what ratios are used but I think about 4 or 5 to 1. A lot of intake manifold heat or a separate "vaporizer" to get the kerosene vapor hot enough to ignite readily. My wife mistakenly put kerosene in the tank of a hot lawnmower. The engine started but knocked severely with lots of white smoke from the exhaust. Don Young

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In my case it was blue smoke and the engine was a 2-cycle, a Dolmar chainsaw. I bouhgt the saw second -hand for a brushing project, where we had to cut alder trees about 2-5" in diam. A couple of days into the project, bush camp, I woke up sick, went out, filled my jugs from a 5 gallon jug we kept under a tarp there, and rode up to the job site. Of course the fiver was full of kerosene for the space heater, and i was so plugged up i never even smelled it. The saw was full of gas from the day before. I ran three tanks of kerosene through it before coffee, blowing smoke like a house on fire, and finally got over to where my buddies were, asked to borrow a tuning screwdriver, get the piece of %$* to rev up right. "Did you spill kerosene on your pants this morning?" somebody sez, handing me a screwdriver and sniffing the air. Yeah we had a good laugh about that. No harm done, and that saw ran till it shook itself apart many years later.
JohnK
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Chainsaw on pure kero? Sounds like how to sieze up the motor. Seeing as how no twostroke gas mixed in.
One friend of mine working at a landfill. They had a "runabout" car, soemone dropped off. Easier than walking to the top of the hill and back. One day he filled it up with diesel and he says it "never did run right after that".
--

Christopher A. Young
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Stormin,
What are you using to heat your home? If your are hooked up to LP gas or natural gas, then there are conversion kits which will enable your generator to run off that fuel instead of gasoline.
There are a few problems with such a conversion: 1) You've got to spend some money ($100 or so) for the conversion parts. 2) Unless you buy a much more expensive conversion, then you can't easily switch back and forth between gasoline and natural gas. 3) Your engine will produce fewer horsepower, which means fewer watts being output. Crude estimate - about 10% less power.
On the plus side, you'll usually never fear running out of fuel for even a long term power outage and you don't have the danger of storing large quantities of gasoline.
If the conversion isn't a viable option and I were making the decision, then I'd just buy a couple of large gasoline containers and store another 15 or 20 gallons of gasoline (with stabilizer added). Rotate your stock every year or two. How many vehicles do you own? If you are concerned about power outages, then top off your vehicle gas tanks frequently and have a good gasoline pump available.
If you store the gasoline for a long time in plastic containers, then be aware that the more volatile components of the gasoline will leech through the plastic during long term storage. Blend old storage gasoline at least 50-50 with new gasoline when rotating stock to your vehicles. Likewise, be aware that the generator won't start as easily on gasoline which has been stored long term in plastic. Have some starting fluid around or (better yet) keep at least one gallon of gasoline stored in a metal container.
I've got over twenty gallons of gasoline in storage containers. I've got 4 vehicles, with an average total of at least 50 additional gallons of gasoline which can be pumped out if needed during an outage. If I'm really desperate, then I've also got a few gallons of assorted gas-oil mixes which can be blended into the fuel for a generator (about 1 part in 10). Obviously, I'd prefer to not have oil in the fuel, but a small amount isn't a big problem if I'm concerned about a serious power outage.
With 70 or more gallons of gasoline at my disposal, I can keep one or both of my generators running for a fair amount of time. Probably longer than the short life of those cheap Briggs engines in the generators. :)
Obviously I'm not going to pump all of the gasoline out of my vehicles, so I can always send somebody out for more gasoline after I've used up most of the 70 or so gallons.
Gideon
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