Aquarium heater in diesel tank?
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    mike01's Avatar
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    Aquarium heater in diesel tank?

    A buddy of mine had his fuel gel during our last cold spell, so he put an aquarium heater in his tractor's diesel tank and set it to the lowest temp (I think 40F?). He said he waited a while until the heater cooled to the fuel's temp before plugging it in, then left it on overnight and by morning the fuel was 40F (or whatever it was set to) and all the wax had been melted back into the diesel.

    So...this seems too simple. A 20 dollar heater can solve all of your fuel concerns?

    There has to be some reason reason why this is a bad idea. Doesn't there?
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    The only heaters of that type I have seen are glass tube.
    My concerns would be;
    Normally used in an environment where there is constant circulation and lack of this may lead to "cooking" the element?
    If by chance glass fractures cleaning the fuel tank would be a bit o work.
    If by chance the glass fractures you would have live electric power immersed in a flammable fluid.

    Was the heater he used not made from glass?
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    mike01's Avatar
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    I don't know, they make "explosion proof" quartz heaters that are supposed to be much stronger than glass.

    Also, they are on a thermostat, so if the fuel around them reaches the preset temp, they shut off.
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    Pedals2Paddles's Avatar
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    Seems to me that fuel in the lines and engine are far more vulnerable and the heater would do little if anything for that.
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    mike01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedals2Paddles View Post
    Seems to me that fuel in the lines and engine are far more vulnerable and the heater would do little if anything for that.
    Unfortunately I have quite a bit of experience with gelling. The engine never just dies outright and doesn't start back up. It starts, runs for a while, and then can't run at higher RPMs, and then dies. You can, in my experience, always start it again (maybe this is different for super low temps), even if only for a little while. So if the fuel in the tank is say 50F, that fuel will get into the filter and gradually warm it and melt whatever is gelled or frozen there.

    I mean...it worked for my buddy, and I trust what he tells me, so I know this works. The question is...will it blow up your tractor.
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    ejb69's Avatar
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    Aquarium heaters are meant to be used in water. It’s possible the sealant used to make them may not last long in diesel fuel .
    Eric

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    mike01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejb69 View Post
    Aquarium heaters are meant to be used in water. It’s possible the sealant used to make them may not last long in diesel fuel .
    That's what I was thinking. But diesel isn't particularly corrosive, is it?
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    steveontheridge2's Avatar
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    I really like people who think outside the box.
    Get a bucket, put some diesel in it, set it outside, and do a trial run for a couple of days.

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    There are companies that make immersion heaters for diesel tanks and that's essentially what you'd be doing with an aquarium heater.

    The only issue I see is that it isn't made for that sort of use. You'd have to take the cap off your tank every time you want to use it and slide it in. Then take it back out every time you want to use the tractor. Aquarium heaters aren't really meant to be bounced around like that . They get installed and left in place for months on end. It'd be pretty easy to break/crack that glass with all that moving around. As long as you're extremely careful with the handling I guess it could work.
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    Torpedo heaters work pretty good for unthawing things. I have a 390,000 btu unit that you could blast at a tractor and warm every square inch of it up.
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