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Help! Kerosene in lawnmower engine


johnransom's Avatar
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09-10-06, 01:14 PM   #1  
Help! Kerosene in lawnmower engine

My son took my mower to a neighbor's to do their yard. They failed to tell him that their gas can was not filled with gas but with kerosene. Now I can't start the engine (Honda 6.5HP) at all. I emptied the tank and refilled with gas but still no joy. Any recommendations or can I assume my mower is now dead?

 
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09-10-06, 05:05 PM   #2  
If it has a bowl type carb,remove the bowl to empty out the kerosene. Remove spark plug,put a couple of teaspoons of gas in cyl and crank it over w/o spark plug.This should thin out any kerosene in combustion chamber. Install new spark plug and try to start it. I doubt anything was hurt except the spark plug.
Good luck,
Mike

 
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09-11-06, 03:06 AM   #3  
Mla is somewhat right on the damage aspect of any potential trouble. However, Kero is very abrassive and if it mixed just right with the gasoline and was able to run long enough, you could have sustained cylinder, piston and ring damage. The extent of which would have to be determined. First, do as Mla suggested by cleaning out the carburetor bowl and having a test run.

 
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09-11-06, 05:33 PM   #4  
Abrasive??? How so?

 
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09-11-06, 07:42 PM   #5  
I'm w/ Arex,Puey What kind of abrasive is in kerosene???
Mike

 
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09-11-06, 07:44 PM   #6  
I think it is more or less the fact that it has little lubrication qualities.


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09-11-06, 08:00 PM   #7  
But doesn't gas have even less lubrication. If it was in the crankcase I'd be worried but not in the upper cylinder area.

 
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09-11-06, 08:10 PM   #8  
I really don't know. As far as I know, gas does have additives to provide a little upper cylinder and valve guide protection. Not as good as the lead that used to be in it, but better than nothing. Kerosene doesn't have any additives for use in a combustion engine like that.

This is just basically an educated guess. I'm not an expert on gas or kerosene. I wouldn't have thought kerosene would hurt an engine either, but I don't know. Puey said it, and he usually is right about things, so my guess is there's something to it.


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09-11-06, 08:46 PM   #9  
from here: http://www.repairfaq.org/filipg/AUTO/F_Slick_502.html

Many of the older, better-known oil treatments on the market do not make claims nearly so lavish as the new upstarts. Old standbys like Bardahl, Rislone and Marvel Mystery Oil, instead offer things like "quieter lifters," "reduced oil burning" and a "cleaner engine."

Most of these products are made up of solvents and detergents designed to dissolve sludge and carbon deposits inside your engine so they can be flushed or burned out. Wynn's Friction Proofing Oil, for example, is 83 percent kerosene. Other brands use naphthalene, xylene, acetone and isopropanol. Usually, these ingredients will be found in a base of standard mineral oil.

In general, these products are designed to do just the opposite of what the PTFE and zinc phosphate additives claim to do. Instead of leaving behind a "coating" or a "plating" on your engine surfaces, they are designed to strip away such things.

All of these products will strip sludge and deposits out and clean up your engine, particularly if it is an older, abused one. The problem is, unless you have some way of determining just how much is needed to remove your deposits without going any further, such solvents also can strip away the boundary lubrication layer provided by your oil. Overuse of solvents is an easy trap to fall into, and one which can promote harmful metal-to-metal contact within your engine.

As a general rule of thumb these products had their place and were at least moderately useful on older automobile and motorcycle engines of the Fifties and Sixties, but are basically unneeded on the more efficient engine designs of the past two decades.

 
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09-12-06, 03:07 AM   #10  
The simplest way to demonstrate this is to take a sample amount of gasoline, kero and diesel between your index and thumb and rub your fingers. You'll feel the "grit" of the kero between your fingers as you rub. It works along with diesel in such engines due to the fact that diesel is so slippery and has great lubricating qualities. Straight kero would spell disaster in a diesel engine as it would in an air cooled, aluminum bore/piston engine.

 
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09-12-06, 04:06 AM   #11  
There is very little difference between kerosene and diesel....mainly the sulfur content that acts as a lubricant. A diesel engine will be quite happy running on kerosene but a power loss will result....similar to the power loss (about 30%) when comparing #1 diesel to #2 diesel. Since I doubt the lawnmower ran very long on kerosene, there is little chance any damage was done; once the kero is drained, fresh gasoline put back in, and the engine is started there will probably be a little smoke for awhile but no harm will be done. An oil change would be recommended though after running for about an hour or so just in case a quantity worked its way past the rings into the crankcase. A lot of truckers and heavy equipment operators working in arctic climates will run kerosene in their engines if #1 diesel is not available....watch the Discovery Channel for the Yukon truckers....they all talk about kerosene in their engines and while acknowledging a power loss, are unconcerned due to the low speed operation of their rigs.

 
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09-16-06, 04:32 PM   #12  
Posted By: mla2ofus If it has a bowl type carb,remove the bowl to empty out the kerosene. Remove spark plug,put a couple of teaspoons of gas in cyl and crank it over w/o spark plug.This should thin out any kerosene in combustion chamber. Install new spark plug and try to start it. I doubt anything was hurt except the spark plug.
Good luck,
Mike
Well, I'll remember to use kerosene next time I mow my lawn in sub-zero temperatures, but other than that, you got it right. I flushed the carb, repaced the spark plug and it started up first crank. Thanks.

BTW, I later found out that my neighbor had that kerosene sitting in the can for 15 years!

 
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09-16-06, 09:13 PM   #13  
As long as it still turns over OK, you may not have any real problem.

Get the kerosene out of you gas tank and put fresh gas back in.

Check your plug to see if it's fouled. Clean or replace if it is.

While the plug is out, crank the engine several times and let any residual kerosene in the cylinder blow out.

If you can get to the carb to remove and clean it, do so. If it's one of those that's difficult to get to, Blow it out best you can with compressed air.

Give the cylinder a squirt of starting fluid, put the plug back in and the ignition wire on it, and go through your normal start routine.

 
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09-17-06, 05:16 PM   #14  
Glad you got it going again without any damage.
Mike

 
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