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Author Topic: With today's fuel prices is a seperate fuel tank for the generator worthwhile?  (Read 3798 times)
belfert
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« on: May 07, 2006, 03:18:46 PM »

My generator could burn off-road diesel to save the road taxes.  I'll be lucky to put on 100 hours a year.  Is a seperate tank to save on fuel worth it?

I have no idea what a fuel tank might cost.

Brian Elfert
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NCbob
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2006, 03:42:11 PM »

It's uncanny tht you should ask that question Brian,  because I am wrestling with almost a similar problem....in that whoever installed the diesel generator in my bus didn't put the pickup tube down far enough in the main tank and I run out of fuel for the generator at about 2/3rds of a tank (100 gallons).  I'm thinking about installing a day tank for the genset which would allow me to either use 'off road' fuel or allow a gravity feed from the main tank.  Since it's a major operation to remove the fuel tank from an MC5 I can't help but think that...for me...that's the way to go.

FWIW

NCbob
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belfert
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2006, 04:14:03 PM »

It's uncanny tht you should ask that question Brian, because I am wrestling with almost a similar problem....in that whoever installed the diesel generator in my bus didn't put the pickup tube down far enough in the main tank and I run out of fuel for the generator at about 2/3rds of a tank (100 gallons). I'm thinking about installing a day tank for the genset which would allow me to either use 'off road' fuel or allow a gravity feed from the main tank. Since it's a major operation to remove the fuel tank from an MC5 I can't help but think that...for me...that's the way to go.

If the only reason for an extra tank would be because the pickup isn't long enough in the main tank, why not just make sure you have enough fuel in the main tank?  Surely you can't be using 50 to 100 gallons for the generator at one stop.

2/3 does seems a little short.  I'm thinking 3/4 of the tank for the generator if I use the main tank.

Brian Elfert
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2006, 04:25:48 PM »

Hello Brian,

Another reason to think about a seprete tank, About a month ago on a trip to western P.A., I was running my gen. through the night and it was a constent
thought about how much fuel I would burn. Well, Upon our departure, my fuel guage was below 1/4. The gen used about a 1/4 tank the whole weekend,
about 29hrs running. Boy, I wished my gen was running a seperste tank the weekend! Because I was about 45mi's to the nearest fuel stop.
I would rather run dry in a gen tank, than have an option to transfur more from the main tank if needed. I know I made my pick up tube 2inches shorter
than the engine pick up but, that still doesn't tell me whats left! So, Thats on my to do list Too!

Nick-
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2006, 04:38:05 PM »

I think you might find it difficult to find off road fuel. I know I have never seen it available in my part of the country. The only way the oil drillers get it is to have bulk delivery to the drilling rigs.
Richard
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belfert
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2006, 06:02:27 PM »

I think you might find it difficult to find off road fuel. I know I have never seen it available in my part of the country. The only way the oil drillers get it is to have bulk delivery to the drilling rigs.

I can get off road diesel down the street.  There is a fuel distributor with a retail station there.  The retail station has racing gas, off road diesel, and kerosene plus maybe some other stuff.  I think I could fill up at home and have plenty of diesel for the generator.

Brian elfert
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Kristinsgrandpa
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2006, 06:19:40 PM »

Only you know the fuel consumption per hour, the difference in the price of off road as compared to road use taxed in your state, and only you know how much you use your genset.

One thing for sure, off road fuel is cheaper and sooner or later you will get your money back.
 I didn't intend to use it but with the price of fuel, I'm going to now.

Off road fuel is available everywhere as # 2 home heating oil, it's the same as # 2 diesel. I've been using it for years.

Ed.
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DrDave
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2006, 06:36:39 PM »

Offroad today was $2.70 a gallon and On Road was $3.06 a gallon.
the clerk said I was lucky getting mine today because by tuesday it goes up
again by another $0.15 a gallon. (Valero )

I found another station with $2.90 a gallon but conveniently the bus won't fit into
the parking lot. Must be some of that "Premium Diesel" I did top off my Isuzu NPR
and found out that I get 18 mpg with that amazingly ugly box truck.( Citgo )

This was at a Valero station west of Daytona. ( Valero is also a refinery ).

My trips are usually 2 to 4 days and within 150 miles one way. even with the generator
running for most of 3 days I still usually burn a combined 70 gallons or so out of the 140 that the tank holds.
I shut down the generator usually if I am going to be out of the bus for a while. A quart here and there saved
is better than none...

I used 58 gallons doing the Brooksville Rally round trip and generator. It was still hard to part with that $180 anyway...


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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2006, 06:56:37 AM »

I built a 40 gallon tank to run the generator and AquaHot.  The two major reasons for doing that have been mentioned above (no problems with main tank usage, and the ability to use off road.  I also have it plumbed so that it can be a supply tank to engine in an emergency (electric fuel pump installed in the system).  One last reason for the tank is the ability to keep good fuel mileage information and to use the electronic fuel consumption data from the engine ECM in place of the non-working fuel gauge.

In our area, the off road is about $.25 cheaper as I recall.  I have a source a few miles from the house.  I am not sure I can get the bus into the pump, but that is not a problem, as I can use portable containers.

Now that the bus is running, and all of the water lines are charged, I will have to keep the bus temperature above freezing all year.  With all of the water filters, fridge ice maker, and washing machine, there is no way to winterize the unit -- besides we will be using it quite a bit in the winter.

While that AquaHot has an AC heating source, I don't think it will have enough heating capacity in very cold temperatures.  I hope to have some heating in place for the shop by next winter, but I will still have to run the AquaHot on diesel part of the time and the red fuel will help a bit on the cost.

Bottom line, I think an auxiliary fuel tank is the only way to go!
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Jim Shepherd
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2006, 07:05:35 AM »

Only you know the fuel consumption per hour, the difference in the price of off road as compared to road use taxed in your state, and only you know how much you use your genset.

One thing for sure, off road fuel is cheaper and sooner or later you will get your money back.
 I didn't intend to use it but with the price of fuel, I'm going to now.

Off road fuel is available everywhere as # 2 home heating oil, it's the same as # 2 diesel. I've been using it for years.

Ed.

I do not know where you live Ed, but home heating oil is not available here (WV) to the best of my knowledge. Everybody uses natural gas if available, otherwise propane. Number 2 diesel may be available in some areas, but I have never seen it. It really does not get cold enough here to require it.
Richard
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« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2006, 08:17:12 AM »

In Tennessee we have farm use fuel that is not taxed as road usage.  However, I am not aware of just "off-road" use different.  You have to sign a form stating you are using the fuel for farm use.

Danny
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belfert
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2006, 08:38:18 AM »

Any ideas how much an second fuel tank would cost? I suppose it depends on how fancy I want to go.

It probably wouldn't be worth it at much over $100. $100 would take 400 gallons or so to break even.

Brian Elfert
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kyle4501
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« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2006, 09:56:12 AM »

My suburban has a 42 gallon gas tank & fits between the frame rails behind the rear axle. If you can locate one at a salvage yard, you may get a good tank for cheap with the fittings & fuel gauge built in. Mount it to the bay ceiling for the gravity feed & enclose it to make it purty.

Just a thought,
kyle4501
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Ace
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2006, 10:02:32 AM »

Here you can see that I used a fuel tank from a Peterbuilt truck that started out being too big as it was for my waste tank. I cut it down to fit my bay and thought it would be a shame to waste the short piece that was cut off so I made it a fuel tank used exclusively for my generator. As for off road fuel? The only place I have seen it near by is when we travel into Alabama but due to the size of my tank, I never need it when I'm there! Go figure!

Yes these are the Aluminum tanks that caused all the controversy about a year or so ago when I fabricated  and installed them and to this day they have worked flawlessly. No Rotting, No leaks, and the hanging installation I did has yet to break loose and bounce them down the interstate killing innocent people. To add, the aluminum was easy to work with and they saved a lot of weight over mild steel! My fresh water tanks are plastic which are housed in plywood, FWIW!

Ace

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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2006, 11:25:58 AM »

Here you can see that I used a fuel tank from a Peterbuilt truck that started out being too big as it was for my waste tank. I cut it down to fit my bay and thought it would be a shame to waste the short piece that was cut off so I made it a fuel tank used exclusively for my generator. As for off road fuel? The only place I have seen it near by is when we travel into Alabama but due to the size of my tank, I never need it when I'm there! Go figure!

Yes these are the Aluminum tanks that caused all the controversy about a year or so ago when I fabricated and installed them and to this day they have worked flawlessly. No Rotting, No leaks, and the hanging installation I did has yet to break loose and bounce them down the interstate killing innocent people. To add, the aluminum was easy to work with and they saved a lot of weight over mild steel! My fresh water tanks are plastic which are housed in plywood, FWIW!

Ace


I'm surprised you didn't polish them Ace!
Richard
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
Ace
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« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2006, 12:00:47 PM »

I will when I get me one of those "roundtuit" things!

Anyone know where I can find one?

First things first Richard! Still working on the inside and that's going slowly! As you see, we don't even have a ceiling yet but everything we do have is working!

Ace
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2006, 12:04:44 PM »

I will have to say you have done yourself proud! And I am proud of the way you are doing it.
Richard
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2006, 02:53:50 PM »

"Off-road" fuel can be found at most big truck fueling locations.  It may be known as "refer" or non-highway tax fuel.  Drivers do not have to pay the road tax on the fuel that is used for their refirgeration units.  They have a separate tank on there trailer.  I filled up last night in Albuquerque and the pump selections included highway fuel, non-highway fuel, or both.  bill
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2006, 10:00:06 PM »

On the bus I just purchased, the previous owner added two auxiliary tanks to the forward bay of this 4106. The black one on the right is an additional 160 gallon fuel tank. The aluminum one on the left is a 40 gallon generator tank. He used to travel to Mexico to fill up because diesel was very inexpensive there. I am going to remove the black tank to recoup some bay space. I like the way the aluminum tank is up against the bulkhead. It is out of the way.

Barn Owl
« Last Edit: May 08, 2006, 10:10:42 PM by Barn Owl » Logged

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Burgermeister
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« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2006, 10:27:46 PM »

Revisionist history Ace,

It wasn't the aluminum tanks that caused the problem, it was your response to valid questions that generated the "controversy"

JohnTNG had comments about the installation and you blew up when I asked you to simply tell him how you mounted the tanks rather than argue with him about it. I in fact supported you, giving you credit for probably "doing it right" , but you reacted as if I had insulted you.

This isn't something you can argue about, Ace, because I saved all the posts!

Drop it and keep it dropped and it'll pass in to busnut folklore, keep revising history and I'll hold you to the true facts.

Time will tell all. JTNG didn't say the tanks would rot out overnight, just that they'd go faster than SS or plastic.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2006, 02:55:25 AM by Burgermeister » Logged
Ace
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« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2006, 05:02:09 AM »

AHH...

It wasn't JTNG that did ALL the flaming so go back in your archives and read it all. True he added his nickel but it was certain others that just had to add their 2 cents. Well you see what it got them (him)? Proof is in the pudding or in this case MY coach!

What I would really like to know is how can people come on sites like this and tell other people that what they have done or will be doing WON'T work after they see it's already been done and working fine?

What this hobby has is way too many computerized bus nuts. I'm still waiting to see these conversions these so called know it alls have and have them show their own work in progress. Someone that has done all they claim to have done OR is in the progress of doing should be proud to show their stuff and how they did it. I know I am!

I read all the time that they just went out and purchased a stick and staple JUST to travel in. Where's the friggin bus conversion? To me these blow hards are just that! Wannabee blowhards!

Suitable for printing

Ace
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ghanson
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« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2006, 11:58:06 PM »

I'll chime in here....I went to a truck salvage yard and bought an old square stepside 50 gallon fuel tank for my genset, and it fits nicely in the bay.  I had a fuel pickup made that goes right to the bottom of the tank, (we measured and re-measured), and the reasons for doing it that way are this:

1)  I want to keep them seperate.   I know exactly what the bus burns, and exactly what the genset burns.  When I fill up, I usually know (almost) exactly what it's going to take as I check the logbook and do the mental math.

2)  Genset can't run me out of fuel.  Don't want surprises.

3)  Didn't want to mess with the bus fuel system.  Bus works:   leave it alone.

4) Off road is available where I live, but I often can't find it on the road.  That's okay.  It's not worth looking for it, but if you find it,  you     find it.

5) Chicks dig seperate tanks.  Okay, I'm making that up.  They don't really care.  It takes up bay space, but that's the only downfall I can think of.

FWIW

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