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White diesel - is it harmful to engines?

My partner and I use red diesel. What will the consequences be to our engines, Perkins 1992 and Beta 2000) when we have to change to white diesel?

Asked by: Barry Babbington  | 7.51pm, Wednesday 20 October


WW says:

The simple answer is probably nothing- certainly for the Beta- in fact, it will probably run cleaner.
You might need to check some of the fittings in the Perkins, however, it will run quite well on it, as long as the rubber seals in the fuel system aren't affected.
Most engines derived since the 1980's will be quite happy on white diesel- it is older engines that might suffer from reduced lubricity of the fuel.
One more pressing concern is the inclusion of up to 5% biodiesel within the mix- this can make the fuel more likely to retain water, so a good fuel/water seperator should be fitted (which is standard practice anyway)- don't reply on just the engine final fuel filter.
Low sulphur diesel is not an issue for most boats- and the length of time that most boater leave fuel in their tank, plus the fact that fuel is constantly heated and returned to the tank, which degrades the fuel quickly, is more of an potential problem. As the fuel degrades, it looses the more volatile components, so becomes harder to combust (more smokey exhaust) and can lead to waxy deposits forming in the tank and lines.
Ideally, narrowboats would use smaller tanks, and turn over the fuel quicker, to avoid degredation.
With any fuel stored over time, it is worth adding a fuel conditioner, which can both combat fuel bug, and increase the lubricity of the fuels.
So, in short, most engines will be absolutley fine- the higher cost will be the most noticeable effect, along with cleaner exhaust emissions. However, for peace of mind, engine manufacturers will be able to give further reassurance.

Mark Langley  | 9.09PM, Wednesday 20 October

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