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Old 06-08-2012, 08:55 PM   #1
Mike Dodd
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Default PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Yesterday we bought two 300-gallon plastic-in-metal-frame tanks that originally held glycol aircraft de-icing fluid. We plan to use these to store diesel fuel for our BX-2360 and a diesel generator.

The tanks have low side outlets with PVC ball valves and 2" pipe-thread fittings. I would like to plumb these two tanks together with 2" schedule 40 PVC pipe and fittings, terminating in a tee and reducer to 1/2" pipe nipple. A vinyl tube will be clamped on the 1/2" nipple, and the other end of the tube will have a similar 1/2" nipple, a ball valve, and a short nipple, to serve as a filler spout for a gravity-feed system.

Are there any problems with using PVC for diesel fuel? A Google search turned up everything from "no problem" to "only a fool would do this."

Thanks for any definitive information.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

err on the side of caution of "only a fool would do this." : ) I have no other advice on this subject....sorry
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

I think it will be fine...but do you really need 600 gallons of fuel?

I think I read somewhere also that they used some non-standard threads on these tanks so check that carefully as well.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

I have the exact same container, I am going to use it as sprayer for fertilizer. Why don't you take the PVC in question and put it in a small container of diesel fuel for a month or so to see if it has any adverse effects. Also, I would use sch 80, because it is thicker.

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Old 06-09-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Just a question? I used to use the semi-clear white ones for water in my garden and trees and such and used to get green algae growing on the inside. I was told to use a solid colored one to eliminate the algae.
I have noticed even some on here who have made their own rain water collection systems use a solid color. Just a thought.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Diesel stores well compared to gasoline, but it would take a LOOOONG time to get through 600 gallons with the BX. Hopefully you are using the generator a lot, too?

One suggestion is to avoid tying the two tanks together. That way if you develop contamination in one tank, you may still have good fuel in the other.

Also, it's usually a good idea to have the pick-up line a few inches above the bottom of the tank, to help avoid draining contaminants that usually accumulate at the bottom of the tank over time. These look like they drain at the very bottom of the tanks. So it might also be smart, to install some kind of pre-filter/separator in the filling line so that you don't have to rely on the tractor or generator filtering system.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

I work with oil tanks a lot, and I wouldn't use vinyl tubing as a equalizer. Either hard piped with swing joints, or 1/2" soft copper line along with ball valves and flare fittings with a little extra line to allow for any settling. I also would top feed the supply line with a dip tube about 2" off bottom from one tank, as the equalizer will let the tanks both be at the same level. Also try to keep the tanks out of the sun as it will cause sludge due to *condensation, so a treatment program is really a good idea too.
* Many tanks are available today that are plastic, but they are covered to protect them from the elements.
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Old 06-09-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

600 Gallons is alot of fuel for that BX and a generator. I only go thru about 100 gallons a year with my B. And thats using it alot. Also there is a problem with those tanks. If you are going to store outside, they could gel up (unless you put additive in them) plus it will grow algea inside of them. As for plumbing onto them, standard pipe thread connections will work on them, but I know alot came thru with quick disconnect fittings as well. But like mentioned before, you have to worry about the sludge build up on the bottom. I use a 30 gal drum for my fuel and I use a standard drum pump to get it out. After about 5 years, the bottom is black (its a white/clear drum) Next time before I fill it up, I am going to agitate the drum with a little fuel in it and try to get out what I can.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dodd View Post
Yesterday we bought two 300-gallon plastic-in-metal-frame tanks that originally held glycol aircraft de-icing fluid. We plan to use these to store diesel fuel for our BX-2360 and a diesel generator.

The tanks have low side outlets with PVC ball valves and 2" pipe-thread fittings. I would like to plumb these two tanks together with 2" schedule 40 PVC pipe and fittings, terminating in a tee and reducer to 1/2" pipe nipple. A vinyl tube will be clamped on the 1/2" nipple, and the other end of the tube will have a similar 1/2" nipple, a ball valve, and a short nipple, to serve as a filler spout for a gravity-feed system.

Are there any problems with using PVC for diesel fuel? A Google search turned up everything from "no problem" to "only a fool would do this."

Thanks for any definitive information.
If this is an OLDER diesel set generator...you may want to read this...
http://www.stowerscat.com/pdf.asp?id=130

Long Term Storage Considerations
•Generally diesel fuel is consumed 90-120 days after refining.
•Generally accepted shelf life of diesel fuel ≤ 12 months.
Fuel stored >12months after receipt by the end user is classified as long term storage fuel by ASTM D975 and increases probability of quality failure.
•Although ULSD is a more stable fuel, long term stored fuel must be monitored.
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Last edited by Upper5Percent; 06-09-2012 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Unless you are a doomsday prepper or getting the fuel is a real PITA I would not consider doing this. Way to many risks for very little reward.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:55 AM   #11
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

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Originally Posted by evo803 View Post
Unless you are a doomsday prepper or getting the fuel is a real PITA I would not consider doing this. Way to many risks for very little reward.
In fact, one of the factors for setting up the fuel storage is emergency preparedness. A solar power system is another factor, as is a manual deep-well water pump.

We want the diesel generator available to supply power when the grid is down and the solar system can't meet the power demand.

We've decided to keep only one tank, so we'll be storing a maximum of 250-300 gallons.

I called the local fuel distributor, and he doesn't see any problem filling a plastic tank with PVC fittings. He'll check further and call me back.

Question: Can/should I store just 100-150 gallons of fuel for normal tractor/generator use, and add more only if it looks like society is about to collapse? I know about adding anti-microbe solution.

We'd like to have some backup fuel. No sense in having the tractor and generator if there won't be any fuel for 'em after a couple of months.

Question: The Yanmar diesel generator is new, so there shouldn't be any problem with low-sulfur fuel. However, the oil distributor mentioned high-sulfur fuel. Which should I get?

Thanks again for the insights.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Paint your tank black to slow down the growth of mold. Try and put the tank on the north side of a building or make a "shelter" for it to keep direct sun light off it. try to use the fuel often. If you have a diesel pick up use the fuel in the truck once in a while to "rotate" the fuel supply..
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Instead of high sulphur diesel fuel I would add 2 stroke oil to the diesel at ~1:200. That should be more than sufficient for any lubrication of inside parts.


Can't find the link at the moment where the testing was done.

7

edit: found it

http://rivrdog.typepad.com/files/cop...-version-3.pdf
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:45 AM   #14
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Dodd View Post
In fact, one of the factors for setting up the fuel storage is emergency preparedness. A solar power system is another factor, as is a manual deep-well water pump.

We want the diesel generator available to supply power when the grid is down and the solar system can't meet the power demand.

We've decided to keep only one tank, so we'll be storing a maximum of 250-300 gallons.

I called the local fuel distributor, and he doesn't see any problem filling a plastic tank with PVC fittings. He'll check further and call me back.

Question: Can/should I store just 100-150 gallons of fuel for normal tractor/generator use, and add more only if it looks like society is about to collapse? I know about adding anti-microbe solution.

We'd like to have some backup fuel. No sense in having the tractor and generator if there won't be any fuel for 'em after a couple of months.

Question: The Yanmar diesel generator is new, so there shouldn't be any problem with low-sulfur fuel. However, the oil distributor mentioned high-sulfur fuel. Which should I get?

Thanks again for the insights.
I would try an figure out what an emergency supply amount is roughly.

What is the longest time you have been without power and how much fuel did the generator use ? The longest time one winter for me was 11 days @ 12 gallons per day. Also figure in oil & filter for change every 100 hrs.

If the answer is a 7 days then I would add that figure to how much fuel your tractor would use running 10hrs day for the same period, I am figuring on storm cleanup etc. If you have a diesel truck add an amount for going out of the area or state to pick up food and water etc. The total of those should be a good place to start.

The second tank you should use for clean water , in case your ground well becomes contaminated.

As for storage I would build a small shed that housed both tanks. I personaly would not want anyone seeing and knowing of my fuel/water supply. In times of emergency groups of people can get pack mentality quickly.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:01 AM   #15
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Default Re: PVC pipe for diesel fuel tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by evo803 View Post

The second tank you should use for clean water , in case your ground well becomes contaminated.

As for storage I would build a small shed that housed both tanks. I personaly would not want anyone seeing and knowing of my fuel/water supply. In times of emergency groups of people can get pack mentality quickly.
All very good advise..
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