Buying a truck: Diesel or Gas? Got Advice? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've never owned a diesel powered vehicle. Recently seen recommendations from people preparing for Y2K that they are going with a diesel 4x4. Haven't seen their reasons (yet). Any thoughts and/or experience from folks here? I'm in the market to buy an older Y2K vehicle, and have narrowed my choices down to 2, one is diesel the other gasoline. Flip a coin regarding the condition of each, each having similar stats.


-- PJ (, February 27, 1999


Diesel engines will burn gasoline that hasn't been unleaded. The purity therefore is not as good but diesel is obviously cheaper and eaiser to get. It also burns slower and dirtier but will give you better gas milage if your vehicle is fairly well maintained.

I think some people recomend diesel because in a post Y2k scenario it would be easier to get gasoline that hasn't been through the purifying process since the refineries may or may not function.

I don't know for sure but I think it's possible to run alternate sources of fuel through a diesel engine if it burns fast enough (kerosene? alcohol?) More than likey it will ruin your motor after a while. But since it's impossible to run anything other than unleaded gasoline through your standard car it might prove to be a useful thing to have just to tinker with if the gas staions all close down and you can't get your hands on anything else.

I'm not very high on the Yourdon scale for Y2K disruptions (1.5-2) but I would love to see the fossil fuel industry scaled down or even shut down. Solar energy and natural gas are safe alternatives. I think there has to be some sort of motivator for people to wake up and smell the clean air.

-- (, February 27, 1999.

Where do you live? #1 diesel fuel turns to jelly at -30 F., #2 at 14 F. You can get additives to lower the geling point if you want to store #2 which has about 3% or so more BTU's (better milage) than #1. All low sulpher diesel fuel is clear, dyed fuel is high sulpher and illegal for road use (EPA), and tax evasion (not paying the $0.41 road tax).

Diesel stores better than gas even if you put in anti-oxident additives in both. Diesel is safer, you can put out a match by dipping it in diesel - can't do that with gasoline! If you store diesel you should add something like PRI or other brands that are 1-anti-oxident 2-anti-gel 3-anti-fungal. Running your stored fuel through a fuel/water seperator will help prevent fungal problems, that and keeping the tank as full as possible to prevent condensation.

-- Ken Seger (, February 27, 1999.

This is not a flame, but...

Dear AES2010, Where are you getting your information?

Gasoline will destroy a diesel engine, kerosene will too but not quite as quickly and alcohol almost as fast as gasoline. Even the military M35 style dual-fuel trucks which are specifically designed to be able to run on diesel and gasoline should be run on diesel.

You can run a gasoline engine on leaded gas, it will ruin your catylic converter, but where you can still find leaded gas, I don't know. You can run a gas engine on alcohol if you modify the carb to deliver a richer mixture, though starting on alky is very difficult.

As for solar power, I suggest you look at solar is a great richman's toy but is an ecological nightmare as far as waste products and land altering goes if you plan to produce much power.

-- Ken Seger (, February 27, 1999.


Did you REALLY mean "Diesel engines will burn gasoline that hasn't been unleaded"?

If you did, that is just too too funny for words. Ya really stepped in it this time.

-- Greybear, who has started a reluctant D6 caterpiller 100s of times by holding a gasoiline soaked rag over the air intake (being to tight to buy either) and had the diesel engine lock up when too much gasoline vapor entered.

- Got Boot Scrapers?

-- Greybear (, February 27, 1999.

Ken Seger - We live in an area of northern Arizona where the low temperature in the winter nights might get down to 8 (ave about 22), but will warm to about 40-50 each day.

-- PJ (, February 27, 1999.

I think I meant to say that diesel gas is fuel that has not been unleaded. Am I wrong?

Hell I don't know I was just trying to help.

-- (, February 27, 1999.

A further question: If we opt for the diesel truck, what's the best method you found for storage of diesel fuel? 55 gallon steel or plastic drums? Or?

BTW I looked first through the old threads to see if this question had already been asked and answered. I found a thread dealing with the sorage of gasoline but not diesel.

Thanks for the resposes thus far. Very helpful.

-- PJ (, February 27, 1999.

You can get some good information off of the net by running a search for "biodiesel".

-- No No (, February 27, 1999.

Diesel requires some biocides if it is to be stored for a long period of time. But more importantly, make sure there is not water in it. It is so important to have it as water free as possible that one really should prefilter it before putting it into drums. We won't go into Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRBs) here.

AES, some of the problem here may of the common parlance type. As used mostly around where I live: diesel is not gas and gas is not diesel. They are both fuels (but then so is wood). Diesel may be called Diesel Fuel but I've never heard Gas called Gas Fuel. The word gas is commonly reserved for gasoline. The two liquids are distinctly different. Diesel is a much lower-end product. (Means it can be stripped out of crude oil in a topping unit - you don't need the full refining process) Diesel is thicker and has an "oily" feel compared to gas. Diesel is a kissing cousin to Kerosene and Jet Fuel. Diesel has a relatively high flash point. Means it harder to get the dern stuff to burn.

Gas is much thinner - nearer the consistency of water - and evaporates a lot quicker. Gasoline will iritate you skin with minimal contact. Gasoline does require the full cracking process that is the essence of a refinery. Gas has a relatively low flash point - means it ain't hard at all to get it to burn. Gasoline is a kissing cousin of naphta which is commonly refered to a White Gas.

BTW, while I'm at it - Neither Gas or Diesel has much of anything to do with propane. Propane will not maintain it's liquid state at above (if memory servs) -65 degress centigrade (it's boiling point) at atmospheric pressure. Therefore when most of us encounter propane it is sealed in a pressure vessel of some kind. Those containers can be anything from a small one pound cylinder for the propane coleman stove or one of those huge silver tanks you see at dealers, or even in a medium size tank up under the RV. The (usually) silver or white tanks that many have connected to their BBQ grills normally contain propane. Propane is a cousin of Butane (whos boiling point is about -20, if that tricky memory works).

If you Coleman stove has a RED tank hanging on the front of it - it uses one of the liquid fuels. If it has a rubber hose running somewhere or a little cylinder you have to replace way to ofter it uses one of the gaseous fuels.

Course if you have a Petromax you don't really care about any of this cause the dam thing burns whatever you put in it (just about). If they just made vehicle engines as reliable as the Petromax stuff. (I have NO interest in Petromax other than an appreciation of excellent engineering and exicution)

-- Greybear, waiting to see the Petroleum engineers try to put snakes in my hair for the liberties I take with exact .0001 information.

- Got Matches?

-- Greybear (, February 27, 1999.

Many years ago (15-18), Mother Earth News had an article about using vegetable oils as a fuel in diesel engines. I owned a restaurant at the time and we had lots of used deep-fry grease. Since I knew it was 100% vegetable oil, I decided to try it in my 24HP Kubota tractor. I mixed it at varying percentages with diesel fuel, the object being not to get so much veg. oil that it would solidify in cold weather. The final mixture I used was 60% veg. oil to 40% diesel, with no additional anti-gel additives. I put a jar in the refrigerator meat keeper to see if it would gel, and it didn't. I put it in the 0 degree freezer and it did. The tractor ran fine, but it made me hungry as the exhaust smelled like I was next door to a McDonald's when they were frying french fries! I never tried running straight veg. oil, but if I remember right, the M.E.N. article recommended at least a 10-20% diesel fuel mix. BTW, I did filter the veg. oil through a diatomaceous earth filter (made for filtering grease) before running it through the tractor. It's cheap; I think the used grease people only pay $3.00 for a 55 gallon barrel of used grease, but some of it is really burnt and dirty.

-- Gerald R. Cox (, February 27, 1999.

The big advantage of a diesel powered-vehicle in a seriously bad Y2K situation is that priority of refining capacity will be shifted to diesel and/or number 2 heating oil, just like during the gas crunch of 1974. If you remember that's when diesel powered autos first made serious strides, simply because diesel could be had and gasoline was not readily available at any price.

If the government has to prioritize the production of fuels post-Y2K, look for diesel to be what's available. Simply because that's what's used in the majority of military vehicles, civilian transport vehicles (trucks and trains) as well as construction equipment and oil-fired home heating systems.

If there's any fuel available after the priority users, then private users may be allowed to purchase diesel. Or if things are very bad, they'll have a vehicle that can burn what's available (if you've got a siphon hose). Those of us with gosoline burning vehicles will have to walk.


-- Wildweasel (, February 27, 1999.

The other advantage of diesel-fueled vehicles in an emergency situation, at least in those areas where homes are heated with oil-fired furnances rather than gas, is that home heating oil is essentially diesel fuel without the dye that signifies that the road tax has been paid on it. So if you have a diesel vehicle and heat with oil, you potentially have 275 gallons of vehicle fuel in your basement. At least, that's the capacity of the tank in my house. Your mileage may vary.

-- Cash (, February 27, 1999.

ASE.... the last time I saw someone stupid enough to try to burn gas in a deisel engine, the head created a neat hole in the hood and the garage roof, with valves etc creating big shrapnel.

Consider the differences in just the ignition physics and chemistry.

Deisel engine : Combustion occurs when the concentration of deisel fuel in air, is compressed to the proper pressure, and heated by the glow plug.

Gas engine : combustion ocurs when the spark plug sparks with the gas and air mixed in chamber.

Gas in Deisel Engine : Gas is vaporized by injectors, hits glow plug and ignites immediately, breaking engine, sometimes spectacularly.

Chuck, a night DRIVER

-- Chuck, night driver (, February 27, 1999.

If you're going to buy a truck, buy a diesel- The engines are much better suited for the type of work that Pickemups do. A quick primer re Diesel engines- Diesels are compression combustion engines, taking advantage of the fact that when a gas (air) is compressed, the temperature goes up- in the case of a Diesel, up to about 1400 degrees Farenheit. Add Diesel fuel, it goes "OOmph", not "Bang". The glow plugs are merely for starting from cold. One NEVER wants to run gasoline in a diesel. the flash point of gasoline is around 450 degrees, Diesel is a bit over 1000. Add gas to a Diesel and you could have ignition when the piston is rising, leading to at the very least a rod bending, or at worst a case where the engine plays bomb. If I had to buy a large truck, I'd buy a Diesel

-- Damian Solorzano (, February 28, 1999.

Well if you only get to just 8 above, you can go with #2 all year IF you put in PRI or some other multi-function additive, which you WILL want to do. Please note that if you stock up in the summer from the pump you'll probably get pure #2, towards fall they'll start mixing in some #1 to lower the gel point. Greybear's advice of filtering (water/fuel filter) the fuel before storing it is right on! Be sure to leave as little air space in your storage fuel.

I'ld go with 55 steel drums rather than plastic. You can pick up new or near new drums for only $20, that's only about $0.40 a gallon. Most poly tanks are $1-2 per gallon. Do buy a good barrel pump and bung wrench.

As for, "Hell I don't know (sic) I was just trying to help" this is NOT a survival skill when it comes to medicine, electricity, or things that can go boom. Be careful out there, when in doubt, first don't, then find out what you SHOULD do.

-- Ken Seger (, February 28, 1999.

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