Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Farmall C, Super C Tractors, 200 & 230 1948-1958

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Brandon Webb
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Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Postby Brandon Webb » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:02 pm

Found a C that they are calling all fuel. The owners manual shows a distillate and a kerosene version. I guess I always thought they were the same thing. Would there be a suffix on the vin to show it's an all fuel or similar optioned tractor? I know they have higher compression heads, different manifold with heat shield, and a different carb.

What exactly was distillate? Like coal oil? Moonshine? lol Something you cannot get anymore? We have a Farmall M and O-4 orchard that are all fuel that I have never tried to run on anything but gasoline. I assume these fuels were way cheaper than gasoline or offered with some farm tax exemption.

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Re: Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Postby Urbish » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:14 pm

I've always understood distillate to be a crudely refined product that is similar to, but less 'clean', than modern day kerosene. Definitely not moonshine! It was more of a 'light' fuel oil. Either way, I don't believe you can get distillate anymore. For what it's worth, distillate tractors had lower compression heads to reduce pre-ignition.

In the case of the Farmall H and M, if there's no suffix after the serial number, that indicates a distillate engine. "X1" after the serial number indicates a high compression head (gasoline). I'm not sure if the C followed the same convention.

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John *.?-!.* cub owner
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Re: Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:40 pm

Back in the 40s and 50s distillate was about half the price of gasoline, but on a pound basis did the same amount of work. A distillate tractor had 2 fuel tanks a small approx. 3/4 gallon one for gasoline, and the normal tank was for distillate. They also came with a set of radiator shutters that could be closed to warm the engine faster and keep it warm if only doing light work. IN addition the manifold was different with a shroud around it so that heat from the exhaust manifold would warm the intake manifold.

To start one you opened the drain petcock on the carburetor and drained the distillate fuel out of carburetor and fuel lines, screwed the load and idle needle valves in a little, then and opened the valve on the gasoline tank, and closed the radiator shutters. Once it was warmed up you closed the gasoline valve, opened the distillate valve, and readjusted the carburetor. If you were only doing light work such as pulling a lightly loaded wagon, etc. you left the shutters closed or partly closed to keep the engine temperature up. If the engine cooled too much it would start to miss and die, and the starting procedure had to be done again. If you were going to be working it hard the shutters would be opened all the way. The distillate engines can be run on straight gasoline and will do fine, my Dad's 41 H I have was a distillate tractor that has run many more hours on gasoline than distillate.

Distillate engines had lower compression than gasoline engines, mainly due to the larger cavity in the heads. If you want more horsepower, a gasoline head will bolt right on in place of the distillate head, and you can get thinner sleeves and domed or Fire Crater (IH brand) pistons to raise the power. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think the modifications increased horsepower by about 10 to 15 percent. Of course you could not burn distillate or kerosene afterward.
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Re: Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Postby v w » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:08 am

As I understand it distillate was a by product of refining not usable for other products. When a different refining process was introduced there was no need to make it. If you have the correct set up try kerosene. I don't see any reason why it should not run. Dad had a 39 H and while I am not old enough to remember it on distillate I do remember the tractor. In about 1943 during an engine overhaul (oops) M&W pistons and sleeves were installed, see John's post. Dad said he simply switched back to gas a few minutes before shutting down the engine making a restart easy. In 2010 I spoke with the man who bought the tractor in about 1985, he had 5 or 6 H's and was not aware of the engine modifications and when told said "That's why it will outpull the other H's". I do know that in low gear it would pull 3-14"s. I wanted to buy it but was told it had been sold. :( Vern

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John *.?-!.* cub owner
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Re: Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:15 pm

v w wrote:.......engine modifications and when told said "That's why it will outpull the other H's". I do know that in low gear it would pull 3-14"s. I wanted to buy it but was told it had been sold. :( Vern
Dad's was the same way. In good bottom ground it would pull 3 14s, but in the rocky clay here would only pull 2 16s. Of course it had fluid in the tires and 3 sets of wheel weights, so traction was not an issue. One of the happiest days of my life when members of this forum surprised me by presenting me with that tractor, all painted up and running again. I had given up hopes of ever getting it back and running, until several of the members bought it in pretty sorry condition , fixed it up, and gave it back to me.

Before
in the weeds..jpg



After
EJ and EJP.jpg
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Re: Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Postby AL Farmall Boy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:27 am

John *.?-!.* cub owner wrote:
v w wrote: One of the happiest days of my life when members of this forum surprised me by presenting me with that tractor, all painted up and running again. I had given up hopes of ever getting it back and running, until several of the members bought it in pretty sorry condition , fixed it up, and gave it back to me.


When was this john? Is it documented here on the forum? Awesome story!
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John *.?-!.* cub owner
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Re: Distillate and Kerosene Engines

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:14 pm

AL Farmall Boy wrote:When was this john? Is it documented here on the forum? Awesome story!
It used to be on the site, but I think that section may have been deleted in one of the upgrades. The project started in the summer of 2005, and the tractor was presented to me as a surprise at Cubarama 2006. Cub Bud, his Dad, and Russ Leggittt (deceased member), did the labor, and 40 different members provided money and parts to get the project done while keeping it a secret from me for over a year. I can provide the original story if Dennis or Barnyard or one of the other moderators want to put it back on the forum.
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