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Old 04-24-2006, 06:54 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia
Posts: 315
How long can you store diesel ?

How long can you keep diesel in a sealed container before it goes bad ?

I am thinking about buying a big storage tank and filling it up with diesel to have a reserve just in case.

I'm wondering how often I will have to use it up and refill it to keep it fresh enough to use ?
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Old 04-24-2006, 08:03 AM
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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
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With conditioners added several years easily I would think but you have a problem if there is some contaminate oor additive that does not store well in what you buy. I have seen it run engines with fuel that is ten years old with no aparent change but that may be the exception. Your bulk buying would probably be consumed in the first year so can visulise no problem but remember there is summer fuel and winter fuel if you live in an area that gets cold in the winter to consider. Less energy in winter fuel so you would not want to burn it in the summer. The economics are probably against long term holding of the fuel anyways. But by buying bulk for ongoing use, say 1000 gallons,you might get a better than pump price and that may help. Also good containment vessels are not cheap either for large gallonages.
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Old 04-24-2006, 08:06 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 32,702
i found some in the basement of my office building (2550 gal) that had been sitting for forty or fifty years. it was dry and clear. we used it in my friends off road equipment. no problems.

take a sample, if it is clear and not milky it is prob fine.

tom w
[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual. It still needs upholstery redone...I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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Old 04-24-2006, 08:13 AM
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50 years !

OK I'm set.

I was thinking about keeping like 50 or so gallons as my family's own personal emergency reserve.
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Old 04-24-2006, 08:52 AM
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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
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Fifty gallons no problem at all. Buy winter grade fuel and use it up every christmas and refill containers until next christmas again. Make it a rittual if your thought is just for an emergency supply.
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Old 04-24-2006, 08:54 AM
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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Well I'm in Georgia, I think we get the same diesel year round.
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:52 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Delaware
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when i brought my 240d back to life earlier this year it had fuel from 2002 in it and it started right up
1977 MB 240D 4 speed 144K - Nearly Perfect
1984 MB 300 TD wagon - 188K - new project
2014 Honda CR-V 70k - Wife's DD
2018 Ford F-150 5.slow 7k - My DD

1979 MB 280E 90K - Sold
1983 MB 240D 238K - Scrapped
1984 MB 300D 347K? - Sold
1987 MB 300E 5 speed 258K - Scrapped
1991 300TE 5 speed 276k - Sold
1993 MB 400E 130K - Sold
1995 MB E320 - Sold
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Old 04-24-2006, 10:10 AM
Registered Diesel Burner
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northern Virginia
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Usually, a larger tank and a cooler location will do better.

So, a 500 gallon underground tank will successfully store fuel longer than a 5 gallon can in the full sunlight.

With a 50 gallon tank, at least kept in the shade, I think you could go five years no problem if the tank is kept full to minimize water condensation.

1982 300D at 351K miles
1984 300SD at 217K miles
1987 300D at 370K miles
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Old 04-24-2006, 10:24 AM
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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
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Gatorsblue, while your experience is typical there are some instances where the diesel fuel sitting around has gone bad. Perhaps not very common but when presented with a diesel with old fuel that will not start It never hurts to introduce some fresh fuel just in case. Suspect the innability of some diesel to store well might be an additive package introduced at the refinery in those cases. Needless to say also bad or contaminated fuel can be obtained at service stations. Good habit also to only fill at large volume places. I have had infrequent trouble over the years. Many times bulk carriers carry other fluids and do not clean their tanks out properly before taking on diesel fuel. They dare not do that with large gallonage places and the tanker is usually only used to haul diesel and gas to them. Small gallonage places might be treated differently and in the late fall may still be selling summer fuel until they have to fill again. In fact one small garage sold me summer fuel in the dead of winter once. Spent most of the day getting the car ungelled over that. Water in the fuel also pops up sometimes in larger quantities than normal.
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