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Roger Gunkel

Red Diesel...At last the facts!

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Roger Gunkel    61

Hi all,

 

As many of you are aware, there has been considerable claim and counter claim regarding the quality of Red diesel, its relationship to road diesel and efficiency when used in the available boat heating units.

 

I thought that rather than listening to general speculation, some well informed and some heresay, I would contact a major company, in this instance Shell, to get clarification. Today I received replies by email from Andrew Morris, Customer Service Lubricants Advisor, Shell Business & Technical Team, to a number of questions put to him.

 

The emails are available if required, but I have cut down the reply to present those areas that we are interested in.

 

Firstly, Red diesel, heating oil and gas oil, as far as Shell are concerned are the same product and comply with the specification BS 2869 Pt 2.

 

Road diesel and a specialised low sulphur heating oil conform to BS EN 590 which is the same as European spec DIN EN 590.

 

Eberspacher in particular reccommend BS/DIN EN 590 for their heaters, however in communnication with MAFFI, they have stated that the content of red diesel has changed.

 

I put this question to Shell who stated quite unequivocally that at one time Red diesel was in fact identical to road diesel with a red marker added for tax identification purposes. Changes in Goverment requirements for more stringent standards for road diesel have meant that sulphur levels have been lowered, along with other modifications to road diesel. However and most importantly, Red diesel/heating oil/gas oil has remained exactly the same. Andrew Morris has kindly confirmed that this has certainly been the same for at least 10 years!

 

As far as I can see, this would mean that any product that has been marketed in the last 10 years as suitable for running in the Marine Leisure market, should be perfectly able to do so on the available fuel. If these products, whoever the manufacturer, stipulate a requirement for BS/DIN EN 590 fuel, then they should quite clearly and openly be sold with a warning that performance is likely to be degraded when used with red diesel.

Blaming fuel outlets for passing off heating oil as red diesel, or claiming a reduction in the quality of red diesel for burning problems is clearly absolute nonsense!!

 

Comments appreciated!

 

Roger

Edited by Roger Gunkel

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alan_fincher    1,822

Hi all,

 

As many of you are aware, there has been considerable claim and counter claim regarding the quality of Red diesel, its relationship to road diesel and efficiency when used in the available boat heating units.

 

I thought that rather than listening to general speculation, some well informed and some heresay, I would contact a major company, in this instance Shell, to get clarification. Today I received replies by email from Andrew Morris, Customer Service Lubricants Advisor, Shell Business & Technical Team, to a number of questions put to him.

 

The emails are available if required, but I have cut down the reply to present those areas that we are interested in.

 

Firstly, Red diesel, heating oil and gas oil, as far as Shell are concerned are the same product and comply with the specification BS 2869 Pt 2.

 

Road diesel and a specialised low sulphur heating oil conform to BS EN 590 which is the same as European spec DIN EN 590.

 

Eberspacher in particular reccommend BS/DIN EN 590 for their heaters, however in communnication with MAFFI, they have stated that the content of red diesel has changed.

 

I put this question to Shell who stated quite unequivocally that at one time Red diesel was in fact identical to road diesel with a red marker added for tax identification purposes. Changes in Goverment requirements for more stringent standards for road diesel have meant that sulphur levels have been lowered, along with other modifications to road diesel. However and most importantly, Red diesel/heating oil/gas oil has remained exactly the same. Andrew Morris has kindly confirmed that this has certainly been the same for at least 10 years!

 

As far as I can see, this would mean that any product that has been marketed in the last 10 years as suitable for running in the Marine Leisure market, should be perfectly able to do so on the available fuel. If these products, whoever the manufacturer, stipulate a requirement for BS/DIN EN 590 fuel, then they should quite clearly and openly be sold with a warning that performance is likely to be degraded when used with red diesel.

Blaming fuel outlets for passing off heating oil as red diesel, or claiming a reduction in the quality of red diesel for burning problems is clearly absolute nonsense!!

 

Comments appreciated!

 

Roger

Roger,

 

I have studiously kept out of this debate, until now, on two grounds.

 

1) I don't have a diesel heater, so am not affected.

 

2) What I thought I knew about diesel and gas oil in the past seemed to be at odds with much of what I've been reading in posts, so it's good to see from an official source that what I thought was the case, actually is.

 

In a former life, I was involved in computer projects for oil accounting at BP Oil storage and distribution depots. The systems I was involved in specifying, writing and supporting dealt with all the bulk products held at those terminals, including diesel and gas oil. (And incidentally in those days many terminals were joint BP / Shell, with common stock held in the same tanks for both companies, so the situation HAD to be the same for both!).

 

I can unequivocally say that the answers you have received from Shell are totally in line with what I assumed the situation to be. Specifically in the past, road diesel ('DERV') and gas oil were one and the same product. The situation where they have grown apart post-dates my involvement, and, as you say, must result from the need to reduce sulphur in road diesel.

 

In the past the gas oil / road diesel (DERV) was in most terminals stored in the same tank, and the marker dye was only injected into it, if required, at the point that the tanker was being filled at the gantry. Only depots not having this injection equipment at the gantry actually held marked product in tanks at the terminal, (which was unusual then).

 

So as you say, once upon a time, it was all the same product, (plus or minus the marker dye, of course). Road diesel being different is a more recent innovation, but as this happened well after I was involved, I couldn't tell you when it occurred.

 

I note we have a former BP tanker driver on here - perhaps he knows!

 

Regards,

 

Alan

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ChrisPy    15

 

I note we have a former BP tanker driver on here - perhaps he knows!

 

I have been delivering 500,000 barrels of BP oil every day for the last 2 months but I don't know what colour it is because our pipeline hasn't ruptured yet.

 

............ I don't suppose that is much help. :cheers::)

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Pirate    0

I used to be a BP Tanker driver, I do know that about maybe 6 or 7 years ago, Gas oil (red) started to smell much stronger and in my view a sweeter smell than Derv, and also seemed to be a more browny red (however it did vary a little from week to week) and Kerosene used to be quite clear untill then, now Kerosene is far stronger smelling and also with a strong yellow tint to it. (there are however different grades of Kerosene)

I was told it was something to do with EU Regs.

I`m afraid I`m no expert, but I definately can see and smell the difference nowadays

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dor    270

Well, this is pretty much as I thought it was.

 

Many of you know I asm a fan of the gas Alde boiler for as number of reasons. What I find remarkable is that, in view of the huge number of complaints, boat builders still install diesel boilers.

 

Even NBW did a piece on the poor reliability of Eberspacher boilers a few years ago now, and yet they still get away with bullsh!22ing their customers that their product is fine for use on boats.

 

Perhaps it is time now for trading standards to get involved, as Eberspascher and others are clearly misleading their customers.

 

Meanwhile I would recommend anyone to fit an Alde. Ok, they may be a bit expensive to run compared to a diesel one, but if you have to buy DERV to get them to run, I suspect they will work out cheaper. Especially as you can just turn them on when you want them, and turn them off when you don't. Doesn't upset them at all!

 

PS: excellent customer service as well - ring them up, speak to an engineer who will talk sense to you.

Edited by dor

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Roger Gunkel    61

Even NBW did a piece on the poor reliability of Eberspacher boilers a few years ago now, and yet they still get away with bullsh!22ing their customers that their product is fine for use on boats.

Hi Dor,

My Hydronic 5 is now working again as of yesterday and I will be updating my report thread shortly for a full report.

 

The Eber will run on red diesel, but the problem is it will coke up comparatively quickly as my experience and others has shown. There has been a constant reluctance to face up to the problem and be open about it.

If potential buyers know of the problems and the circumstances that may help to extend the running on red diesel, then a balanced and informed decision can be made.

 

There has been a big smokescreen put up regarding the fuel and I hope that honesty can prevail to the benefit of all.

 

Roger

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NB.BELLE    0

I have not had a reply from Shell or BP yet, but I have from Texaco. It may interest you to know that Texaco's comments re. red diesel add up to pretty much the same as those given to Roger Gunkel by Shell.

 

On the Eber front - I am still waiting for a reply to the questions I emailed to them on 27 June 2006. Next email will be going to their lords and masters in Germany. Cheers, Chris.

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Henhouse    57

The Sulphur in the diesel which we used to get was in the fuel as a lubricant for the injection pumps on internal combustion engines. ( In much the same way as the lead which used to be in petrol was added to prevent valve seat recession )

 

The advent of environmentally friendly fuels has led to both lead and sulphur being replaced with less polluting additives. ( Interestingly there has been a marked increase in the incidence of asthma being diagnosed in all age groups. - Even though modern engines are far more economical than their predecessors )

 

In the early days of testing low sulphur fuels in commercial vehicles, one major european manufacturer suffered an alarming failure rate of injection pumps. There was general concern amongst all. Though this was overcome.

 

The overiding important factor is that for presssurised rotating mechanical pumps where the fuel is also the lubricant, that fuel should contain a suitable additive to perform the task.

 

When compared to a 12 litre 400+ horsepower truck engine, the average central heating system is very low tech.

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Roger Gunkel    61

When compared to a 12 litre 400+ horsepower truck engine, the average central heating system is very low tech.

 

I'm on my own log in now!

 

What I was going to say was simply that if the central heating systems are low tech, I'm surprised that there seems to be a problem running them efficiently on Red.

 

Roger

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The Sulphur in the diesel which we used to get was in the fuel as a lubricant for the injection pumps on internal combustion engines. ( In much the same way as the lead which used to be in petrol was added to prevent valve seat recession )

 

The advent of environmentally friendly fuels has led to both lead and sulphur being replaced with less polluting additives. ( Interestingly there has been a marked increase in the incidence of asthma being diagnosed in all age groups. - Even though modern engines are far more economical than their predecessors )

 

In the early days of testing low sulphur fuels in commercial vehicles, one major european manufacturer suffered an alarming failure rate of injection pumps. There was general concern amongst all. Though this was overcome.

 

The overiding important factor is that for presssurised rotating mechanical pumps where the fuel is also the lubricant, that fuel should contain a suitable additive to perform the task.

 

When compared to a 12 litre 400+ horsepower truck engine, the average central heating system is very low tech.

 

Hi as i have said before high tech 400 hp tractor engine runs ok on the red

David

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Amicus    1

Whilst not into "horn blowing" :cheers: my post of Jan 31st 2005 said

 

 

 

"I'm no x-spurt on this subject, but, :D the way I read this over the years is, once upon a time DERV and RED were the same stuff, then things started to be done to DERV to alter the impact on the environment, so that today we have two distinct products, red, much like it used to be, and DERV with the low sulphur, etc. and stuff added to replace the sulphur, which the injection gubbins needs as a lubricant."

 

 

nice to be vindicated :)

 

http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php...findpost&p=7532

Edited by Amicus

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Maffi    126

Hi all,

 

As many of you are aware, there has been considerable claim and counter claim regarding the quality of Red diesel, its relationship to road diesel and efficiency when used in the available boat heating units.

 

So the questions I would like to have answered now are:-

 

When was the hydronics 10 put on to the market?

 

When did they start advertising it as suitable for narrowboats?

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anhar    0

So the questions I would like to have answered now are:-

 

When was the hydronics 10 put on to the market?

 

When did they start advertising it as suitable for narrowboats?

Hello Maffi

 

I raised a question for you somewhere on the forum a few days back about your boat but I don't think you answered. Have you considered a system other then Eber for it?

 

regards

Steve

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Roger Gunkel    61

So the questions I would like to have answered now are:-

 

When was the hydronics 10 put on to the market?

 

When did they start advertising it as suitable for narrowboats?

Good question MAFFI, I also think that although Eberspacher have rightly received a lot of stick and bad press on this subject, but I am sure many people would like an official response from other manufacturers on exactly what their position is regarding their products and red diesel rather than a conspicious silence.

 

Roger

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Loddon    216

Good question MAFFI, I also think that although Eberspacher have rightly received a lot of stick and bad press on this subject, but I am sure many people would like an official response from other manufacturers on exactly what their position is regarding their products and red diesel rather than a conspicious silence.

Allthough not in writing, I have been told by Mikuni that they do work on red and should work on biodiesel as well. Im now up to 4 years with no failures that were due to red and it runs every day.

However as I have said many times before they have to be fitted correctly.........

 

 

J

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Hello everyone,

I live on a barge in France and I stumbled into this forum looking for info on problems a friend of mine is having with an Eberspacher Hydronic 10. So far I have amassed a lot of really great info and am now browsing through the rest of the Canal World site and finding it fascinating. Thanks to you all for all the great info and ideas on the Eberspacher and many many other things.

 

One thing I would like to reiterate is the note from someone who said to go to the US site for eberspacher information. www.espar.com - (seems like they can't find the umlaut either and gave up on the whole eberspacher name as too difficult.) Having said that their site is full of good downloadable technical stuff if you haven't sworn off the eberspacher’s completely by now.

 

I was also wondering why no-one has mentioned anything other than Webasto or Eberspacher heaters. I swear by my Kabola CH - it runs on red diesel like a dream (and can be converted to kerosene I believe)and can heat my 24m barge to boiling point in under 20mins. I can get any spares I need and can service it myself (clean out once a year) and the only problem so far was a faint high pitched whistle which I fixed with the help of one of the 2 company owners (yes owners!) over the phone at 7:30PM last Thursday night.

 

cheers and keep up the great work.

Edited by seismic gypsy

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blackrose    607
Hello everyone,

I live on a barge in France and I stumbled into this forum looking for info on problems a friend of mine is having with an Eberspacher Hydronic 10. So far I have amassed a lot of really great info and am now browsing through the rest of the Canal World site and finding it fascinating. Thanks to you all for all the great info and ideas on the Eberspacher and many many other things.

 

One thing I would like to reiterate is the note from someone who said to go to the US site for eberspacher information. www.espar.com - (seems like they can't find the umlaut either and gave up on the whole eberspacher name as too difficult.) Having said that their site is full of good downloadable technical stuff if you haven't sworn off the eberspacher’s completely by now.

 

I was also wondering why no-one has mentioned anything other than Webasto or Eberspacher heaters. I swear by my Kabola CH - it runs on red diesel like a dream (and can be converted to kerosene I believe)and can heat my 24m barge to boiling point in under 20mins. I can get any spares I need and can service it myself (clean out once a year) and the only problem so far was a faint high pitched whistle which I fixed with the help of one of the 2 company owners (yes owners!) over the phone at 7:30PM last Thursday night.

 

cheers and keep up the great work.

 

Hi, if you do a search I think you'll find a few threads talking about Kabolas, Hurricanes and various other diesel heaters. Nobody here much likes erbaspachers (even me & I've got one!) or Webastos for that matter.

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Driffman    0

I too have a Kabola (B12 pressure jet I think) and while it was expensive to buy it has never missed a beat in 3 years, running it on gas oil.

Only downside is cost of servicing, I had it serviced last winter by the company who supplied it as I couldnt find anyone local and the bill came to over £500 (I nearly died) as I had to pay for the service engineers travelling expenses.

I'd be very interested in learning how to service it my self or at least finding an engineer in the Yorkshire area.

 

Dean

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pagan witch    0
Hi, if you do a search I think you'll find a few threads talking about Kabolas, Hurricanes and various other diesel heaters. Nobody here much likes erbaspachers (even me & I've got one!) or Webastos for that matter.

 

I like Eberspachers. :D

 

I am of the personal opinion (so no flames if anyone disagree with me please) that if you have a product that contains any degree of 'active' parts then sooner or later you are going to need to service it.

 

I'd like to draw a few parallels :-

 

My new Citroen car - (and the one before it) has service intervals of 12,000 miles, which as I train driving instructors and fleet / company drivers doesn't tend to take me long. To do this it must go to a garage who charge the leasing company a pretty hefty whack each time.

 

My computer benefits from a defrag from time to time.

 

My boat engine appreciates new oil, fuel and air filters.

 

So why are people surprised when a diesel heating system needs looking after ?

 

I now know enough about my Eber Hydronic to undertake its' regular service needs (which boils down to a de-coke and brush out of the cumbustion chamber) and can do the job from end to end in about an hour at a parts cost of around £15 (for the new glow pin I choose to put in each time rather than wait for failure).

 

The problem with Eberspacher's perceived lack of reliability I think stems from the fact that when it stops it stops - you don't get much of a warning and they are neigh on impossible to get any information out of - as the need to get the American (or in my case a partner who can read German) proves.

 

However annoying it might be I am in favour of a system that protects both itself and me from potential danger by refusing to work if it thinks it shouldn't. Eberspachers will shut down or refuse to start for a long list of reasons, all of them safety related - like flame failure, the glow pin not working, the power supply being too high or low, the blower not working at the correct speed . . . the list goes on.

 

All of that said I can not condone Eberspachers apparent suggestion that most of the problems are to do with the quality of the fuel - which as the original post stated is a real non starter.

 

And that said, I have recently started using 'Fuel Set' as an additive as suggested on Eberspacher's site. Whether it has made a difference I can't say yet.

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chris w    0

The difference though with a Webasto is that they are dead easy to strip down and service oneself, if needs be, with easy access to spares and telephone help in the UK. They also don't seem to mind running on red diesel.

 

Chris

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denboy    2

:D Slightly off topic watched top gear going to the north pole and they were running the toyotas on a mixture of deisel and avtag(basicly kerosene)wonder if boat engines would work on that type of mixture ive run my diesel reflex on kero and it does run fine in fact a lot hotter anyone got any thoughts

 

the avtag was to stop the diesel freezing

Edited by denis boyle

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denboy    2
You do not want to put AVTAG in your fuel tank. It is not kerosene.

during my time in the army with harrier suport i was told that it was it is a kerosene with an additive called naparth me thinks memorys getting old dodnt seem to hurt the toyotas mind you nothing does

Edited by denis boyle

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