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#1 Heating Oil vs #1 Diesel Oil

Use in my Diesel Tractor

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Glen 130

12-04-2002 10:05:26

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What is the difference?

As far as I can figure out they are almost the same. It is possible that the cetane number is lower in #1 Heating Oil but I am not even sure that this is the case. Comments?

The bottom line is that I have about 2000 gallons of old #1 Heating Oil taken from an old storage tank (been there about 15 years) that I would like to burn in my Tractor. What precautions should I take before using it?

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12-04-2002 18:41:08

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 Re: #1 Heating Oil vs #1 Diesel Oil - Use in my Diesel Tractor in reply to Glen 130, 12-04-2002 10:05:26  
If it were a year old & less of it, I'd say blend it with new stuff & it should be ok probably.

That old, you have a lot of quality issues. It's not as bad as gasoline, but it does go off eventually.

That much, you have additive issues. Diesel fuel has engine additives & lubes that really, really help your engine.

Some heating oil has these too (they just use the same bulk tank, cheaper then carrying 2 seperate supplies). While other heating fuel has no additives at all, and perhaps at that large a quantity, it could be true heating oil.

Then, #1 isn't all that good for a diesel anyhow, only in very cold weather. Typically run a 50-50 blend with #2 for winter use here in MN.

Your tractor, your choice. :) Can you find anyone with a heater to use it?


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12-04-2002 15:58:03

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 Re: #1 Heating Oil vs #1 Diesel Oil - Use in my Diesel Tractor in reply to Glen 130, 12-04-2002 10:05:26  
Recommend you talk to your wholesale distributor. He may be able to filter it and somehow clean it up and revitalize it. Worth a try. If not maybe you can sell it. Would not risk it as is in my tractor.

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12-04-2002 10:20:14

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 Re: #1 Heating Oil vs #1 Diesel Oil - Use in my Diesel Tractor in reply to Glen 130, 12-04-2002 10:05:26  
I see three problems:

1. Would be very concerned about using 15 yr old fuel. Water, v.o.c. loss, varnish, gum, etc.

2. #1 will correspond to kerosene on BTU's and cetane numbers. Engine will run hotter. Burning it pure can cause hot spots on pistons and piston damage. Also #1 will not be as "oily" and will not adequately lubricate injector pump

3. Heating oil will not have detergent and other additives needed to properly clean engine compnents.

Bottom line: 2000 gal fuel (at current bulk price for #2 red dyed diesel) $2240.00. Injection pump rebuild (based on 4cyl Simms) $1000.00, 4 injectors rebuilt $280.00, engine overhaul $3000.00. If you are going to do it anyway I would sure blend it 5 gallons #1 and 25 gallons of new red diesel.

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Glen 130

12-04-2002 22:08:51

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 Re: Re: #1 Heating Oil vs #1 Diesel Oil - Use in my Diesel Tractor in reply to david, 12-04-2002 10:20:14  

Maybe I should have said that the tractor that I though I would use the fuel oil in is a MF 35 with a 4 cylinder Standard Diesel. I paid about $1400 dollars US ($2000 Canadian) for it a few years ago and I have to say that after approximately 46 years of service the engine could use a rebuild. I figure I use about 500 gallons of #2 diesel in my Massey in a year. I have three other tractors including two diesels.

A couple of months ago I got a price from someone to dispose of the old heating oil, which I "inherited". It had been in an abandoned underground storage tank. They wanted 17 cents a litre (I am in Ontario, however I am using US dollars in this e-mail) or say 64 cents a gallon plus a trucking charge of $260 to take it off my hands.

I think at this point I will have a talk with my distributor about reconditioning the old oil. Dyed #2 costs me about $1.30 a gallon

At this time most of my outbuilding heat is via wood stoves. I do have one old oil heater which I do use when (sometimes) I want quick (?) heat. Last winter I used about 50 gallons of diesel in my oil heater.

I did a little visual comparison and the #1 fuel oil appears very similar to the #2 diesel from my bulk tank although the viscosity is lower. Obviously I would expect to pass the old oil through my 10 micron pump filter. My checking on oil company web sites and comparing spec sheets suggests that while the BTU content will be down by about 5% from #2 diesel it is the same (sans additives maybe) as #1 diesel. I would expect to cut the fuel oil with #2 diesel and figured that the higher cetane levels in the #1 fuel oil would be an advantage during the winter. I am hoping that the #2 diesel will provide enough lubrication for the injector pump of my Massey.

The biggest concern I have is the age of the fuel oil. From what I have found out the biggest problem with using "old" oil is really the biological one. Provided I can kill off and filter out the bugs I should be OK. Today the temperature was about 14 F so the bugs (if any) are having a tough time. "Gum" is the other concern. I am at a loss over this issue. I figure the best bet is to use some injector cleaner in the Massey's tank on a regular basis.

Thanks again to Paul, Tom and David for the feedback.

Any more comments would be appreciated.

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10-15-2005 23:57:26

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 Re: Re: Re: #1 Heating Oil vs #1 Diesel Oil - Use in reply to Glen 130, 12-04-2002 22:08:51  
Hi Glen
How did you make out with the expierment using heating oil in your tractor? I've about 1000gals heating oil, 1 1/2 years old, and would llke to use it in my diesel truck.
But I don't want to injure the engine.

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Karl R

10-28-2003 14:07:07

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 Re: Re: Re: #1 Heating Oil vs #1 Diesel Oil - Use in reply to Glen 130, 12-04-2002 22:08:51  
Don't know whether you'll pick this up after so long, but here goes...

In an old MF35, I'd say go ahead. I'd use it in my MF575 (I've modified it with extra filters), but I'd try to clean the fuel up and I'd probably add a fair bit of cheap oil for lubrication - these old engines burn almost *anything*! Also, a mix is certainly better: I've noticed increased engine noise with pure HO, but not with mixes (50-75% HO). As for the age, I wouldn't expect it to cause problems: if you can start a bonfire with it, then the Massey will burn it! No catalytic convertors, precision injectors, etc to worry about there! :)

It may burn hot, but unless your outside temperature is high that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

BTW, 500 gallons of year is a lot of hours in a MF35! They were certainly built well!

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