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Anyone use a hydrometer for fuel testing?

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Anyone use a hydrometer for fuel testing?

 
  #1  
Old 12-08-2006, 11:30 AM
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Anyone use a hydrometer for fuel testing?

I've been using a hydrometer for fuel testing for a few years now. I'm not always as consistant as I should be but I have not heard anyone here mention using one. Over the last few years I have been blow away at how many times I have pulled up to a station and seen totally unacceptable specific gravity readings. Here is a link to an article from the Engine Manufacture's Association regarding acceptable levels of Diesel fuel. http://tdiclub.com/articles/Diesel_Fuel_Guidlines/

It tells how the SG reading effects fuel efficiency and engine power. Its really a pretty easy thing to do and the effect on gas milage and power is amazing when you get good fuel. I know I've seen 2-4 MPG swings when using barely acceptable fuel as opposed to good fuel.

Just curious if anyone else does this. F250-Newbie did some research on another thread and found some good info
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/5...ml#post4196658
 

Last edited by rad1026; 12-08-2006 at 11:42 AM.
  #2  
Old 12-08-2006, 12:37 PM
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Hey rad... I'm glad to see you elevate this issue as a separate thread. I also did an FTE search yesterday and found minimal references to the use of a hydrometer. Given the obvious and documented impact on fuel efficiency, I personally believe that this is an area that may have been overlooked and is very worth some serious discussion.

We could all benefit. However, there is a real issue between testing, and then choosing to do something about it. I suspect that the practicalities and logistics may be larger than most are willing to buy into.

All the same, I going to give you some rep points for bringing up what I consider to be a very much overlooked issue.
 
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Old 12-08-2006, 01:39 PM
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I know and understand that it is a PITA sometimes to test fuel and I don't do it 100% of the time. Especially if I'm on the road and running low on fuel, I'll just go to a reputable station or truck stop. But I have pulled in to a Love's and found terrible fuel, paid the .20 and moved on to the Flying J down the street. For the time and energy it takes its definately worth it. Especially when you consider the cost of fuel these days and the effect on MPG.
 
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Old 12-08-2006, 04:08 PM
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I'm gonna keep bumping this because I can't believe that all the work and money that people in here put in to their trucks and they will complain about bad gas and nobody has spent the money on a hydrometer to test their fuel before they put it in their machine? This just doesn't make sense. This is the food for your baby, how can nobody even be concerned about what they are putting in it?
 
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Old 12-08-2006, 10:08 PM
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Whast you're describing is exactly what I was thinking about earlier this afternoon after reading your first post. It sorta seems like dressing up your favorite child in all kind of nice, expensive, fancy doodads, and then feeding them chicken scratch and wondering why they have a fit ever so often.
 
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Old 12-09-2006, 12:07 AM
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What are you using to put the fuel into for the test?
 
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Old 12-09-2006, 01:46 AM
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Where do you get a hydrometer? I am interested in this. I probably wouldn't test the fuel everytime i fuel up but i use mostly the same station and would test their fuel every so often and maybe the fuel of the other stations around town. Can you describe how you test your fuel? Sorry don't have any idea on how to do any of this and am interested. Thanks
 
  #8  
Old 12-09-2006, 01:04 PM
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Hey, Rad... I was wondering the same thing, and I've been considering what options exist ever since yesterday.

Here's what I've been thinking so far.

First, hydrometers are sensitive to breakage, being made out of thinly extruded glass. Therefore, you're going to have to keep it in something so that as your truck bumps and grinds and rattles and bags around, it doesn't get broken.

I'm planning on using some PVC pipe with foam pipe insulation for my protective container (fused in place bottom with a screw-on top). The foam insulation would have to be both around and on the top and bottom of this container.

For the clear "testing chamber", there are several options. I don't want to carry one of the typical labratory glass cylinders due to breakage potential. Therefore, my first choice will be the bottom portion of one of those clear candy cane tubes that are ever-so-popular this time of year. My second option, if the first one doesn't work out (due to potential bad chemical reactions resulting in a clouded tube), will be to purchase a short clear pvc nipple and insert it as part of the protective container so that it has a clear window as part of the structure (these seem to be available for $2-$5 each, depending on the diameter) . Clear mailing tubes are another option, and there are several sources for them online.

Chime in Rad... what are you using?
 
  #9  
Old 12-09-2006, 01:13 PM
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Hey ponch... look up in the first post in this thread. Rad referenced our earlier thread on this same topic near the bottom of his comments.

For convenience, though, here's the info again, complete with a few updated comments on the correct testing ranges for these hydrometers:

For any of you who are interested in the fuel testing approach with a hydrometer, I did a little looking online, and found the following.

- Need an API hydrometer that measures from 29-41 degrees for No.2 Diesel, and 41-50 for No.1 Diesel (there are some hydrometers that will cover a range from 30-50 with a single unit, even though the measurement accuracy suffers a tad).
- These are available with or without built-in temperature indication (although temperature affects density and specific gravity in general, it does so much more for gaseous compounds than for liquids or solids... therefore, the temperature option is not necessarily critical)
- I have found these units at multiple lab supply centers, and they range from $10-$42 each, depending on size, brand, and marketing strategies
- they are available in 7-1/2 inch, 13 inch, and 15 inch models

Here are a few links (I'm inclined to purchase from W.L.Walker):
http://www.novatech-usa.com/s.nl/it.A/id.3061/.f ($30.50, w/ temp)
http://www.wlwalker.com/sites/WLW/s...bgroupid=HYD7CF ($19.17, w/ temp)
http://www.wlwalker.com/sites/WLW/s...ubgroupid=HYDIN ($28.95, w/ temp)
http://vwrlabshop.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_0009295 ($42.63, w/ temp)

and finally,

http://www.wlwalker.com/sites/WLW/s...ubgroupid=HYDPF ($10.39, no temp)
 
  #10  
Old 12-09-2006, 01:23 PM
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Hey guys... I just tested those links, and the wlwalker links aren't working correctly. However, if you go to the http://www.wlwalker.com home page, you can still see the hydrometers and get to them using the linnks on the left hand side of their home page.

Personally, I like the 7.5 inch one that is ranged from 30-50, which will cover both type1 and type2 diesel. It is model #32248, and sells for $19.17 plus shipping. It's listed under the link for "7.5 inch Combined Form Hydrometers."
 
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by F250-Newbie
Hey guys... I just tested those links, and the wlwalker links aren't working correctly. However, if you go to the http://www.wlwalker.com home page, you can still see the hydrometers and get to them using the linnks on the left hand side of their home page.

Personally, I like the 7.5 inch one that is ranged from 30-50, which will cover both type1 and type2 diesel. It is model #32248, and sells for $19.17 plus shipping. It's listed under the link for "7.5 inch Combined Form Hydrometers."
Interesting subject.. something I would like to do. What hydrometer readings are we looking for.. or does it come with instructions. I was thinking if your engine starts running alittle rough, a person could take a sample from the fuel bowl or tank and check to see if it is the a fuel related problem..
 
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Old 12-11-2006, 12:14 PM
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I've been gone all weekend, glad to see some people chimmed in on this. I'll get the manufacturer name off my hydrometer and get that put up tomorrow. Mine is a suction type with a floating ball on the inside like the coolant or battery fluid testors you see, so I just carry a little measuring cup and fill that up and then suck it up in to the tube. Its a little more expensive but I bet if we find out who makes these we can find some at a reasonable price.
 
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:09 PM
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I saw a reference to one of those types you have, Rad, and I couldn't find one anywhere. Perhaps your information will help us drive it to a better conclusion, though. I certainly like the idea of the "suction" approach, as it significantly simplifies the entire testing process and assocaited equipment required to get it done right.

Clintbonnie, the way to use a hydromenter is very simple. in the plainest forms, like those I posted links for, you essentially fill a clear tube with whatever fluid you're testing, gently place the hydrometer in it, and read the number at the liquid level. For this to work, though, you have to have a clear tube that is deep enough so the hydrometer "floats" above the bottom of the tube. The proper values are identified in the first link in the first post in this thread (38-43 API degrees, which is not temperature degrees).
 
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:42 PM
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FOUND one!! Boy is it EXPENSIVE when compared to the simpler ones I found earlier.

Here's the link http://www.matcotools.com/Catalog/to...select=&page=2
 
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Old 12-11-2006, 03:07 PM
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More details....

The suction bulb type unit (also affectionately referred to as the turkey bulb tester) comes in two different models from a company called SPX Kent-Moore. Their direct telephone number is 800-328-6657.

I talked to the technical folks there at Kent-moore a little while ago and got the lowdown on these units.

The more expensive model is J-38641-B, and sells for $101.33. It will ship on Dec. 20, or sooner. Reads to 1/20th of a unit.

The cheaper model is J-34352-B, and sells for $64.56. It is available within 48-hours of ordering. Reads to 1/10th of a unit.

The difference between the two is a simple matter of accuracy. The cheaper unit was developed for fleet drivers and agricultural folks who just wanted to make sure that they didn't get too much water in their diesel. The tech guy said that it would probably be more than adequate for the type of use we've been discussing here.

However, given that I can get a setup for $10-20 with a more basic unit (one that floats in a cyclinder), I personally can't justify a turkey bulb unit for $40-50 more.

Hope you guys benefit from this info.
 

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