Alternative fuel

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BobShirleyAtlantaTx
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Alternative fuel

Post by BobShirleyAtlantaTx » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:06 am

Back in the early 60’s I would hear tails form the old timers about running Model T’s on kerosene. They said once the engine was warm a T would do just fine on kerosene. These were the old men who sat on the old wood bench in front of the drugstore almost every day. WELL, I ran the T out of gas right at dark, night before last, went to the garage picked up a gas can and and poured in a couple of gallons of what I thought was gas. Put the seat back and Stepped on the starter —bad shoulder, no hand cranking— fired her up and smoke came from everywhere! A fog out the tailpipe, around the spark plugs, the nut on the manifold and from under the car. Car died and didn’t want to start. Then it hit me, brain isn’t much any more, that wasn’t gas, it was JP 4 — high grade kerosene for use in the lamps. The point of the story, not sure I believe all I heard from those old guys now. Mr. Henry in his wisdom did make it easy to correct the mistake. Put the can under the tank and open the sediment drain, drain the tank, then move the fuel can to the carb and repeat. Pour in real gas, or as close as we have these days, and with a little persuasion, off we go to the garage. So if some old guy tells you, your T will run just fine on kerosene, don’t believe everything you hear.


Rich Bingham
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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Rich Bingham » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:59 am

As with most things Model T, . . . It depends . . .

The old boys spoke true. A T will run on kerosene if it's hot enough and you don't mind the smoke. It will not start on kerosene.

For a number of years I worked a '40s Case Model D tractor. It had two fuel tanks, a small one for gasoline, and a larger one for "low-cost" fuel (aka kerosene or stove oil) and a metal vane winter front that was operated from the seat by a hand crank. Close the winter front, turn to gasoline, start and run until up to operating temp, then switch tanks. Keep an eye on the temp and regulate via the winter front crank. A four-cylinder L-head with updraft carburetor no more sophisticated than those found on Model Ts, there wasn't a whole lot of difference between them, save the size.

Bob, I'm curious about your reference to "JP-4".
In my experience, kerosene was designated "Pearl" (highest quality no longer produced) K-1 (jet fuel) and K-2. Below that are the various grades of fuel oil.
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Mark Osterman
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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Mark Osterman » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:00 am

Were there specific carburetors for kerosene?


Dan Hatch
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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Dan Hatch » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:00 am

I poured one of mine full of diesel by accident, kept diesel in red can and shop was dark). It cranked and ran on a 75% diesel mixture. Smoked like a tar kettle.
Fordson tractors run on diesel. But it has to be Jet fuel now. Friend has one and it will not run on kerosene. He has to go to airport and get fuel. Dan


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by otrcman » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:13 am

Bob,

I heard the kerosene story from my Uncle George Teters (1908-1987), who said he used kerosene in his Model A during the WWII years. He explained that he fashioned a small (~1 gallon) tank to the dash and teed it into the fuel line with a shutoff valve. The main tank held the kerosene and the little tank held gasolene. As he explained it, the Model A would be started on gasolene and then switched over to kerosene once warmed up and under way. As Uncle George told it, the car would snort and cough a bit, and had very little power, but it get him from Point A to Point B. I don't remember whether he did other modifications to the car to make it run or if he may have doctored the kero with a bit of gasolene.

Uncle George was quite a car guy and an innovator. Bought his first vintage car (1908 Mitchell) in 1932. Restored cars for himself and for others all his life. One of the last cars he did was a T pie wagon.

Of course, what we call kerosene today (just like gasolene) may be quite different from the makeup of those fuels back in the day.


Norman Kling
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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Norman Kling » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:22 am

Many years ago when I was in high school in the 1950's. I filled up a Model A with Diesel and ran it from Los Angeles to San Berdino and back, about 85 miles round trip. It did make a lot of smoke, and it was the only time the crankcase got more oil as I drove along than when I started!. It is a good thing I had along some extra spark plugs, because they got fouled. Later I was stopped by a Sheriff deputy who asked what I was burning. I told him. He gave me a warning that if he ever saw me making that much smoke, he would give me a citation. That was the last time I used diesel in any of gasoline cars!
Norm


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by jab35 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:37 am

I read an account of 2 railroad workers in the day driving their model T service vehicle to a remote area to work. At the end of the day when they returned to the parked T they discovered the needle valve leaked and the T lost all the gas while it was parked and they worked elsewhere. They allegedly were able to limp the T and themselves back using the fuel from the acetylene torch they carried. One man lay on the fender metering acetylene into the carb intake and the other drove. I don't have the reference for this story, and it may be total Bull, I think it was from an old railroad history book, if anyone knows the source, please post. Although I do not personally recommend it, a model T would/will certainly run on acetylene, along with all the other 'fuels' mentioned, YMMV, jb


Been Here Before
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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Been Here Before » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:41 am

From 1916. One has to remember that the first produced gasoline was a "pure" product, later to be less pure and not suitable for automobile engines.

If a heavy fuel such as # 2 fuel oil is introduced in an internal combustion engine it needs to be preheated first.


KEROSENE VERSUS GASOLINE IN AUTOMOBILE ENGINES,Charles E. Lucke, Transactions (Society of Automobile Engineers), Vol. 11, PART II (1916), pp. 118-165 (48 pages)

Abstract

The author outlines the factors leading to the present high cost of automobile fuel, states that the introduction of new distillation processes will not solve the problem, but that the development of kerosene-utilizing appliances will produce results satisfactory to everybody. It is stated why kerosene cannot be used on the present gasoline cars. The adaptation of the gasoline automobile engine to the use of heavier fuels than will vaporize without the use of heat is entirely a problem of heating and heaters. The author reviews at length the principles embodied in and the construction of the heated vaporizers or vaporizing heaters now used in stationary and traction kerosene engines and in alcohol engines, giving illustrations of a number of such devices. After thus developing what in his opinion are desirable and good principles, the author describes a form of vaporizer embodying such principles, which he states has had successful trials (both block and road) in automobile service. A semi-automatic starting burner to accompany the vaporizer is also described, as regards both construction and operation. In conclusion the hope is expressed that the principles outlined will result in the production and use of kerosene automobiles on a scale sufficiently large to affect the price of fuel within the next year.


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BobShirleyAtlantaTx
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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by BobShirleyAtlantaTx » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:43 am

JP-4 is the fuel the turbo Agcat crop dusters use. They come in to the Atlanta airport in the late winter to fertilize the pine trees. I have a fuel tear shaped tank from an old tractor that has two compartments, Free, if anyone needs one.

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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by TRDxB2 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:45 am

There have been several postings noting that "back then" gasoline wasn't as refined as it is Today (or prior to ethanol mix). So it is likely that kerosene wasn't the same then as it is now either. So the difference of the two is the temperature at which they ignite, flashpoint, in a combustion engine which explains why kerosene would work in a hot engine. The flash point of a volatile material is the lowest temperature needed to evaporate enough fluid to form a combustible concentration of gas. Gasoline has a flash point of -45°F. Kerosene holds a flash point of 100°F. Of course, there are deviations based on the actual composition of the fuel. Soooo it would be difficult to prove or disprove the stories without the information on the conditions upon which they were based.

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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:57 am

The Case two tank setup Rich describes was common, used on many tractors. Start with the little tank of expensive (15¢) gas, then switch over to the big tank of cheaper kerosene. Today that would be counterproductive. Now kerosene is the expensive stuff.
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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by bud delong » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:58 am

Back in 61 or 62 we ran our F-20 on fuel oil once.Same carb ,same spark plugs and it ran well. Simple to do just follow instructions on the fuel tank .Start on gas and run until very warm, shut off gas and quickly turn on fuel. Stopping is just as important as you shut off fuel oil and run until it stops dry. Restart on gas and make sure you NEVER MIX FUELS!!! Been there done that Bud. :D


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by ModelTWoods » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:03 pm

I remember reading or hearing that during WWII, in a pinch, if gas was unavailable, troops ran Jeeps on kerosene, by lowering the coolant level in the radiator enough to make them run hot enough to run on kerosene. Truth ot myth?


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by bud delong » Fri Oct 02, 2020 12:05 pm

Some of the other post are part right. There were tractors that also were made to run on kero. Those tractors had 3 tanks , one for starting gas, one for kero, and one for water to use when hot and pulling hard to prevent pre ignition with burning kero . Bud. :D


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Rich Bingham » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:17 pm

Mark Osterman wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:00 am
Were there specific carburetors for kerosene?
Good question for our resident carb doctor !

There may be differences on rigs intended to run in fuel oils (the Rumley Oil Pull cimes to mind) but the carb on my old Case worked fine on gas or fuel oil.
"Get a horse !"


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by John Codman » Fri Oct 02, 2020 1:59 pm

Just for the record, aviation jet fuel (JP-4) is Kerosene. As was said in the OP, the aircraft kerosene Is refined to higher standards then the kerosene that some gas stations sell. As with all aviation fuels, it is never shipped in a tank or pipeline that was used for a non-aviation product, unless the tank or pipeline has been thoroughly cleaned first. Most aircraft do not have fuel filters; you would not want to lose power in an aircraft engine due to a plugged fuel filter. This is why aviation fuels have to be super-free of contaminants.


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Kerry » Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:39 pm

Well for a start the kerosene that you can buy today, lighting kerosene, is not what was used to run engines back in the day, TVO, Tractor vaporising oil, Paraffn or Power kerosene are names that it was known as, hasn't been available sinse the 70's. Today, those who still use kero in display engines use a mix of kero and gas to come close to what was used.

'Found the octane ratings, Kerosene- 15-20.
TVO, power kerosene used in engine fuels was 55-70.
The reason for using Kero at this end of the world for so long was it was tax free.


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by bud delong » Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:39 pm

Tax free has nothing to do with kero, gas, or fuel oil! If any of these were used on the farm or off road most taxes did/do not apply. On the farm sales tax in Mich does not apply. Some large farms will use on road or clear diesel for both trucks and tractors and get a refund on the portion used off road machinery. :D Bud.


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Kerry » Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:45 pm

Bud, I said this end of the world, meaning I'm in Australia. different tax rules here at pre 70's times, now much the same as you state now.


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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by John Codman » Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:27 am

bud delong wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:39 pm
Tax free has nothing to do with kero, gas, or fuel oil! If any of these were used on the farm or off road most taxes did/do not apply. On the farm sales tax in Mich does not apply. Some large farms will use on road or clear diesel for both trucks and tractors and get a refund on the portion used off road machinery. :D Bud.
When I was a kid in Massachusetts, Farm vehicles did not have to be registered unless they were operated on roads more then a mile from the farm. The idea was that these vehicles could be moved between fields without having to register and insure them. Most farms of any size had there own fuel tanks. As the fuel was delivered to off-road tanks (not for resale), no state gas tax was collected on it. I don't know about Federal tax.

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Re: Alternative fuel

Post by Susanne » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:09 pm

Rich Bingham wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:59 am
In my experience, kerosene was designated "Pearl" (highest quality no longer produced) K-1 (jet fuel) and K-2. Below that are the various grades of fuel oil.
:!: :!: :!: Thanks for the heads up!

I use Pearl for my kerosene lamps down at the local fuel/oil jobbers... haven't bought any since the Corona thing, but got 15 gallons last year... this is bad news, as regular kerosene stinks up the house something bad when I run it. I was told it's manufactured from Natural Gas (which is why it's extremely pure and relatively scent-free)... and my cowl lamps positively glow burning it. Not sure what to switch to if I can't get it any more...

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