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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I found a buried tank on my property with about 500 gallons of fuel. It looks and smells like diesel but I know heating oil can smell the same. The old man who owned the property died about 12 years ago so I suspect the fuel is about 12 years old.

Is there a stick or product I could purchase that could definitively identify that it is in fact diesel fuel?

Any other tips to identify it? Please help.
 

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Hi all,

I found a buried tank on my property with about 500 gallons of fuel. It looks and smells like diesel but I know heating oil can smell the same. The old man who owned the property died about 12 years ago so I suspect the fuel is about 12 years old.

Is there a stick or product I could purchase that could definitively identify that it is in fact diesel fuel?

Any other tips to identify it? Please help.
One clue would be to measure the specific gravity. My local pump diesel is .820 SG.
Float a diesel hydrometer to get the reading or otherwise weigh exactly one liter of the fuel. Subtract the weight of the weighing vessel. This test on my local diesel would see it weighing 820 grams.


I wrote an article showing how to measure specific gravity on my blog: Fuel from waste oil and plastic DIY Orion: Test equipment, sampling, additives, instrumentation #7


Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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Yes, the hydrometers that measure 0.8 -0.9 should do the trick. If it's not within that range it won't even look or pour like diesel. BTW, that listing is for 4 hydrometers so you could choose a mix of measuring ranges. Having spares of the 0.8 -0.9 would be the way I'd go.

The other test you could verify the fuel is viscosity. I'd do this "by comparison" to normal diesel. Technically you'd use a viscosity cup to measure the fuel but you could easily improvise because all you'd be doing is comparing one fuel to another. So you wouldn't need to come up with a viscosity figure.
Effectively you count the number of seconds it takes to empty a vessel through a drain hole.
See these pics to get the idea: https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=v...2&ved=0CCYQsARqFQoTCOi6xLSi-sgCFQccpgodyjgIaw


I think if the fuel passes the specific gravity test I'd call it close enough to be usable as diesel, at least in my older van I would. It depends how fussy you want to be. I'd still be filtering it regardless of how clean it looks.


Yes, I've found that home heating oil with the same SG as diesel before and it ran well enough in my '98 van.


Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, thanks. That does help. I'll run it in a 96 F250, maybe a Kubota tractor.

What do you prefer for filtering? So far all I've picked up is one of those Mr Funnel fuel filters. I've got some biocide coming and other misc chemicals.
 

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So you guys don't think its risky to run 12 year old diesel in your engines?

Is a bio-cide and a good filter all that is really needed?

I would guess it is heating oil so I will look forward to your results.

Good luck !
 

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So you guys don't think its risky to run 12 year old diesel in your engines?

Is a bio-cide and a good filter all that is really needed?

I would guess it is heating oil so I will look forward to your results.

Good luck !
I've had no trouble with any of the heating oil I've found. In each case the age of the fuel/oil was unknown. Potentially water could pose a problem as bacteria can grow in the interface between water and diesel/oil.
After 12 years, any sediment will be on the bottom. Pay to leave it undisturbed and draw off above.
Around these parts, home heating furnaces became too expensive so many sat redundant. Eventually the householder wants the tank and burner gone so I offer free removal.
It's recycling at its' finest...:grin2:
Olde '98 Toyota, IDI, not common rail
 
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