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Antique Engine Archives All archived posts from 1999 to 2004 when SmokStak was on EnginAds. This is a read-only board.

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lantern fuel?

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Old 03-11-2003, 06:21:32 PM
Mike Monnier
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Default lantern fuel?

I searched the archives and couldn't find quite what I was looking for on this subject. Problem: I tried to start my 1.5hp John Deere on Saturday. I figured since it was warm I may as well fire up an engine. I parked in the garage in the fall with roughly 1/2 - 3/4 tank of lantern fuel. I checked and double checked my mag and ignitor timing, but the engine absolutely refused to fire. I brushed the mag wire over the terminal on the ignitor and made sure I was getting spark. After wearing out my arm I gave up. I could smell fuel, and if I used my thumb in place of the choke plate it came out wet. Mixer needle was only open half a turn. Any good ideas? Should I drain the tank and refill it with regular gasoline? I'm wondering if the low volatility of lantern fuel combined with cool(60's) temps is the problem? I hereby submit myself to the Stak. Thanks, Mike.
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Old 03-11-2003, 06:52:27 PM
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

Probobly too cold. I have a model engine that won't start on coleman fuel unless it is warm. It will start on gas, and then run on coleman fuel after it warms up a little.
Old 03-11-2003, 08:06:24 PM
Dave Valentine
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

Hi, At the risk of sounding stupid, may I ask why would you want to run on lantern fuel ??? Dave
Old 03-11-2003, 10:29:12 PM
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

Dave, I think some use the Coleman fuel or white gas because it leaves very little residue in the tank once it evaporates.
Old 03-11-2003, 11:22:43 PM
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

Mike, I believe Vernon to be correct. Think about how a lantern works. The supply tube that carries the vapor from the fuel tank to the mantles runs between the mantles. When you first start your lantern, the mantles are rather dim. As the vapor inside the supply tube heats up from being so close to the glowing mantles, the mantles become brighter & brighter. This is due to the ability of the vapor to now burn properly. Logic says the same thing in an internal cumbustion engine. When the hot engine draws in a charge of the lantern fuel, it should run fine but as when first lighting a lantern, the vapors ignite poorly. Drain the lantern fuel and use gasoline. I bet she takes right off.
Old 03-11-2003, 11:48:26 PM
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

I use avgas. It doesn't go bad or get gummed up near as fast as automotive fuel. I've read before lantern fuel was 50 to 60 octane. If that is so it is more not less explosive than auto gas. The lower the octane the easier is is to set off. That's the reason you go from 87 octane to 93 in your car to prevent detonation (pre-ignition knock). The 93 is harder to detonate, therefore it won't detonate early from compression or from red hot carbon as easy as 87.
Old 03-12-2003, 01:17:02 AM
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

Mike try a little shot of starting fluid and see if she hits. I have used coleman fuel before and even after sitting a couple yr. my JD. would start after I made sure the check valve was free! I beleive that engine will run on anything.(I know it will run on 2yr. old unleaded!) If it doesnt hit on starting fluid you may need to rebuild your ignitor with some new mica. My guess BobRR
Old 03-12-2003, 01:20:37 AM
Ted Brookover Ted Brookover is offline
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

I don't buy the "Too Cold" or the "Less explosive" excuses, I ran a Rock Island two weeks ago with Ice in the hopper and coleman fuel in the tank, fired right up and ran perfectly, my money is on dirty ignitor points.
Old 03-12-2003, 03:05:46 AM
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

I've had a couple model engines that would only start on fresh coleman fuel - once you opened the can it was only good for about a month.

I think mebbe it was because the stuff absorbed water or the more volatile stuff innit evaporated. Real Colemand fuel also worked better than the off brand stuff from Wally-wurld as well.

But then models are usually fussier than real engines due to their smaller size.
Old 03-12-2003, 04:36:41 AM
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

Ran a couple of models in the 50F garage last week. Only use Coleman Fuel in them. They started right up after sitting since the last show in 2002. My guess is it's a dirty igniter(points or drag on the shaft), weak battery, poor ground, or.... Ted, welcome back. Paul
Old 03-12-2003, 07:35:35 AM
Jon Rozevink
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

I run my lanterns, models, and big engines with regular 87 octane pump gas. I've had less trouble that way than using Colman fuel.
Old 03-12-2003, 12:03:47 PM
Kid Dynamo
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Default Re: lantern fuel?

Lantern fuel isn't always stable. My Svea hiking stove sat for several years with white gas in it and wouldn't light when it tried it. I looked inside the fuel tank and there was a large solid chunk inside the tank that looked and felt like wax. I had to break it up to get it out of the tank. The remaining fuel was nearly non-flammable.
Old 03-12-2003, 01:14:11 PM
Mike Monnier
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Default Thanks!

Thanks for all of the responses. I certainly have plenty to try when I get home tonight! The engine ran fine when I parked it at the end of September, so I'll try fresh fuel first. If that doesn't get it then I'll pull the ignitor and clean out the points. Thanks again, Mike.
Old 03-12-2003, 11:08:37 PM
Russell T
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Default Re: Thanks!

Coleman fuel is actually Naphtha. It is processed one more step than gasoline. I do not think it contains octane. Lanterns don't knock and ping. They do put in an additive to prevent rust and an additive to facilitate longer shelf life.


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