What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

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What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Jonah D'Avella » Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:40 am

What other than normal gas, can you run your T on? Thinking of the post about the posible lack of gasoline in the future and the electric model T, I started wondering about the stories I have heard about the T running on just about anything flammable. I have heard about it running on kerosene is there any other fuels you can use?
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by jab35 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:02 am

Jonah: If you are worried there won't be fuel available, I suggest worrying about other stuff first.

To answer your question, with appropriate carburation, the model T engine like other low compression SI engines will run on a variety of liquid and gaseous fuels. IIRC, the first IC engine was based on a modified steam engine fueled with turpentine. Ford experimented with alcohol-gasoline blends, he called 'alcolene' when petroleum based fuel became scarcer during WW I. low volatility liquid fuels, like kerosene and other heavier petroleum fractions can be burned if volatilized sufficiently before entering the combustion chamber. The 'vaporizer carburetor was invented in part to make that possible. On the non liquid, 'gaseous' fuel side, there's stuff like propane and butane that have been used and the mtfca book on carburetors shows an example of an LP adaptor for the model T to run on Propane. With proper 'carburation' hi and low pressure natural gas, and of course, biogas could similarly be used, just don't try to do the high pressure NG conversion yourself. Producer gas (which is mostly carbon monoxide) from destructive distillation of coal and wood has been used widely in road vehicles, HF had several 1,000+ horsepower spark ignition producer gas engines in the Highland Park factory at one time (and one is in THF presently). The liquid dregs from destructive distillation of coal from the HF powerplant were sold as liquid motor fuel, I think they called it benzene, which I believe was the term for 'gasoline' also used in Europe at the time. I read of one account where a RR work crew ran out of gas and fed acetylene from their torch into the Model T carburetor to get themselves home for the night.

For now, I respectfully suggest you focus on making your Model T roadworthy and safe, drive careful, jb


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Jonah D'Avella » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:53 am

I apologize for the miscommunication, i do not want to burn anything other than gas in my car i am just curious of what you can use and what has ben used in the past.
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:05 am

I agree a shortage of gasoline is unlikely to force a change of fuels anytime soon. Even when most new car production moves to electric, there will still be a lot of cars running on gas for many years. But with the decline in economy of scale, the price of fuel will climb. Ninety years ago kerosene was cheaper than gas. Today it's much more expensive. Will the price of gas go so high that kerosene becomes the cheaper choice again? Not anytime soon.
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Ruxstel24 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:16 am

I had a friend in high school that ran used lacquer thinner in a slant six Dodge...


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Dan Haynes » Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:00 pm

Years (and years) ago, my aunt and uncle went on vacation and asked me to tend to their animals and house-sit at their place about 6 miles out of town. Arriving at their place in the Model T, the car died as I reached for the key to turn off the ignition. "Hmm... that's weird", I thought. But I got out and went about feeding and watering the animals, then went in the house.

I the morning, I fed the critters again and locked the place up. I choked the engine a couple of times and noticed the dry Hhuh - hhuh noise as I cranked, rather than the juicy Shhsh - shhsh sound the carb always made. I turned on the key and I didn't get my customary free start. I choked it a few more times - but it was not dripping or snorting back through the vent under the tag. I tipped up the cushion and unscrewed the gas cap. The hollow echoing sound the tank made as I unscrewed the cap told me it was empty.

No problem, there will be a gas can in the shed for the lawn mower. And there WAS a gas can! But it was empty. I checked the mower's tank but it, too, was dry. I was looking in all the usual places a second time when I noticed a can of paint thinner in the shed. I picked it up and it has a little more than half full. Well alrighty, then, let's see how this works... I dumped the paint thinner in and the car started with no fuss. It ran well enough, but the exhaust stunk. I didn't care, I was not walking.

On another occasion, in a different car, I found myself out of gas. This time there was no paint thinner handy but I did have a gallon of denatured alcohol and so in the tank it went. Again, it started easily but quickly died. I opened the carburetor adjustment an extra turn and it ran ok - it just wanted a richer mixture than on gas. This time the exhaust had a very pleasant sweet smell. Even after topping the tank off with gas, the exhaust still smelled good.
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by got10carz » Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:44 pm

Recently I had a friend fill his Model A. It was at about 1/4 tank. He filled it with diesel. Smoked like a fogger, but made it home, about 50 miles.


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by jiminbartow » Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:47 pm

In the early 1900’s gasoline was not always easy to find way out in the country and the most prevalent fuels on the farm were kerosene for oil lamps and turpentine for paint thinner and first aid. Both could be purchased in the general store. I recall my Grandmother, who was born in 1900 and grew up on a Georgia farm, using turpentine to doctor my childhood injuries and sooth her arthritic joints. I remember it having the strong smell of Pine. Kerosene is distilled from crude oil and turpentine comes from pine tree sap. I believe both were used to fuel the Model T when gasoline was not available. Moonshine (corn squeezin’s), made in the Georgia backwoods was also widely available was probably used as a fuel as well. Farmers most likely mixed them together in various concoctions until the best running alternate fuel mixture was found as some were too volatile and some, not volatile enough. Jim Patrick

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Dan_Jensen » Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:09 am

Wood using a gassifier.

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by George House » Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:09 am

Everclear...
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Mark Osterman » Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:59 am

I used benzine at work and just for fun brought some home and using my small test gas tank (from an old lawn mower) tried it in my T. It ran fine. Would be a very expensive alternative now but I understand it was one of the more common fuels in the early days. We also use toluene but I didn’t try that.

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by TRDxB2 » Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:42 am

Here is what I found about benzene https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzene
Benzene was identified as a carcinogen prior to 1970! Benzene is used mainly as an intermediate to make other chemicals, above all ethylbenzene, cumene, cyclohexane, nitrobenzene, and alkylbenzene. More than half of the entire benzene production is processed into ethylbenzene, a precursor to styrene, which is used to make polymers and plastics like polystyrene and EPS. Some 20% of the benzene production is used to manufacture cumene, which is needed to produce phenol and acetone for resins and adhesives.
Toluene is now often used as a substitute for benzene, for instance as a fuel additive. The solvent-properties of the two are similar, but toluene is less toxic and has a wider liquid range. Toluene is also processed into benzene.
As a gasoline (petrol) additive, benzene increases the octane rating and reduces knocking. As a consequence, gasoline often contained several percent benzene before the 1950s, when tetraethyl lead replaced it as the most widely used antiknock additive. With the global phaseout of leaded gasoline, benzene has made a comeback as a gasoline additive in some nations. In the United States, concern over its negative health effects and the possibility of benzene's entering the groundwater have led to stringent regulation of gasoline's benzene content, with limits typically around 1%. European petrol specifications now contain the same 1% limit on benzene content. The United States Environmental Protection Agency introduced new regulations in 2011 that lowered the benzene content in gasoline to 0.62%.[60] In many European languages, the word for petroleum or gasoline is an exact As a gasoline (petrol) additive, benzene increases the octane rating and reduces knocking. As a consequence, gasoline often contained several percent benzene before the 1950s, when tetraethyl lead replaced it as the most widely used antiknock additive. With the global phaseout of leaded gasoline, benzene has made a comeback as a gasoline additive in some nations. In the United States, concern over its negative health effects and the possibility of benzene's entering the groundwater have led to stringent regulation of gasoline's benzene content, with limits typically around 1%. The United States Environmental Protection Agency introduced new regulations in 2011 that lowered the benzene content in gasoline to 0.62%. In many European languages, the word for petroleum or gasoline is an exact cognate of "benzene".

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by RustyFords » Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:56 am

One of my refinery customers had me come pick several 4 liter bottles of expired Pentane a while back.

I figured what the heck, it's a long chain hydrocarbon, why not run it in the T. I did. I mixed in about a liter with each full tank. The T didn't notice a difference.

And, for what it's worth, 99% pure Pentane is the best parts cleaner I've ever seen.
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Duey_C » Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:39 pm

Racing fuel (alcohol) works great!
You flyer's try av-gas yet?
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Jonah D'Avella » Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:48 am

What is everclear?
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Philip » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:00 pm

everclear is 200 proof white liquor

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by TRDxB2 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:01 pm

google it
Its a liquid known to be produced in Appalachia.


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by John kuehn » Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:53 pm

A Model T engine is similar in some ways to any older antique internal combustion engine. Old tractors and old internal combustible engines would run on kerosene or something similar like mentioned in the above posts. They weren’t as efficient but they would run.
If there was a fuel shortage farmers and other people used what was avaliable. Model T’s weren’t unique in using different types of fuel. Gasoline was what they designed for but it sometimes was hard to get.

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by ivaldes1 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:44 pm

Close. Everclear is as far as you can get with distillation to get the water out. That's is about 190 proof or approximately 90% alcohol. It forms a low-boiling azeotrope. The last 10% of water can only be removed by chemical means.
Philip wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:00 pm
everclear is 200 proof white liquor

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by ivaldes1 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:08 pm

According to this article https://tinyurl.com/y4ppe2n7 you can add an 'entrainer' like benzene to break the water bonds and distill the alcohol all the way to 100%. Not for food use.
ivaldes1 wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:44 pm
Close. Everclear is as far as you can get with distillation to get the water out. That's is about 190 proof or approximately 90% alcohol. It forms a low-boiling azeotrope. The last 10% of water can only be removed by chemical means.
Philip wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:00 pm
everclear is 200 proof white liquor

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by RustyFords » Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:49 am

ivaldes1 wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:44 pm
Close. Everclear is as far as you can get with distillation to get the water out. That's is about 190 proof or approximately 90% alcohol. It forms a low-boiling azeotrope. The last 10% of water can only be removed by chemical means.
True. I sell a true 200 Proof, non-denatured ethanol to my industrial customers. It's highly regulated by the ATF.

I also have a true 200 Proof, ethanol that's denatured with 5% methanol.
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by halftracknut » Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:32 pm

drip gas...aviation gas...anything without alcohol....


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Jonah D'Avella » Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:42 pm

what is drip gas?
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by halftracknut » Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:34 pm

when natural gas (well head gas ) is compressed for shipping thru a pipeline as it heats and goes thru the cold pipe a sweat much like water droplets on a cola bottle forms inside the pipe and this sweat is caught in what is called a drip kind of a trap and when a person blows off the drip you get a form of liquid natural gas which is known as drip gas....

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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Quickm007 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:19 am

Thank you all posting comments. A lot things I do not know about gas on a T. Very instructive for me as well.
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Norman Kling » Wed Jan 06, 2021 10:40 am

I have never run anything but gasoline in my T's, however, when I was in high school in the 1950's, I had a Model A. In those days diesel was lower price than the lowest octane gasoline, so one day I filled up the A with diesel. My friend and I drove from Los Angeles to San Bernardino and back in it, about 90 miles. I had to tweak the fuel adjustment, but it ran with a lot of smoke. I'm glad I had some spare spark plugs along, because they got fouled, and it was the only time I actually had more oil in the crankcase after a long drive than before I left. I got pulled over by a sheriff and he asked me what I was burning, and I told him diesel. He said I was causing air pollution and if he caught me again making that much smoke, he would cite me. I never used diesel again.
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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by jab35 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 11:17 am

Randy, Thanks for posting that drip gas information. Here’s a little more info copied from Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-g ... %20gold%22.
“Some early internal combustion engines—such as the first types made by Karl Benz, and early Wright brothers aircraft engines—used natural gasoline, which could be either drip gas or a similar range of hydrocarbons distilled from crude oil. Natural gasoline has an octane rating of about 30 to 50, sufficient for the low-compression engines of the early 20th century. By 1930, improved engines and higher compression ratios required higher-octane, refined gasolines to produce power without knocking or detonation.”

“Woody Guthrie's autobiographical novel Seeds of Man begins with Woody and his uncle Jeff tapping a natural gas pipeline for drip gas.”
“In 1975, the New Mexico State Police's drip gas detail – three men in pickup trucks – began patrolling oil and gas fields, catching thieves and recovering barrels of stolen gas. The detail stopped its work in 1987.“

“The use of drip gas in cars and trucks is now illegal in many states.”

Sorry for hijacking the thread, there's much more info in the Wiki reference if you are curious.


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by bud delong » Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:22 pm

With a small oil field north of here some used drip gas when they could. :D Bud.


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Jim Sims » Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:57 pm

As a teen ager I used drip gas in my Model A. It ran OK but had to change carb adjustment. .One bad thing, you can smell the crude oil smell for a long way from the car.


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by John Codman » Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:40 pm

If you are worried about the availability of gasoline (I'm not), there is always Propane. It burns cleaner, and with relatively minor work, any gasoline engine can be adapted to using it. A plus is that you don't have tp worry about the availability of original gas tanks.


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by Joe Bell » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:10 pm

I put Av gas in all my toys before I put them to sleep for the winter and my winter toys for summer, carbs are always clean when I put fresh gas in them.


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Re: What other than normal gas, can you run your T on?

Post by John Codman » Thu Jan 07, 2021 9:55 am

Avgas is a great idea for long-term storage; it has a shelf life of five years. It also has a hell of a lot of lead in it, even though it is called "100 Low Lead". It is low lead compared to the old 100-130 Octane avgas that it replaced, but still higher in lead than pump auto gas ever was. I wouldn't recommend running it on a continuous basis unless you like to clean fouled spark plugs and leaded-up valves. One tank after the winter's storage won't hurt anything though.

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