Can I Burn Tractor Hydraulic Oil In My Diesel Engine?-Pros And Cons

In machinery and engines, the topic of using alternative fuels or substances is a common discussion. A specific question that stands out is can I burn tractor hydraulic oil in my diesel engine

Short Answer:Can I Burn Tractor Hydraulic Oil In My Diesel Engine?

The short answer is yes, but it is not recommended. Hydraulic oil is not designed to be burned in a diesel engine and can cause a number of problems

Because It is thicker and has different additives than diesel fuel, which can damage the engine. Burning tractor hydraulic oil can also produce harmful emissions.

  • There are some cases where it may be necessary to burn tractor hydraulic oil in an engine, such as in an emergency situation. However, it is not something that should be done on a regular basis.

What Exactly Is Hydraulic Oil, And How Does It Function?

Hydraulic oil is a non-compressible fluid used to transmit power in hydraulic systems. It also lubricates moving parts and cools the system.

Hydraulic oil is pumped through a system of pipes and valves. The pressure of the oil moves pistons and other parts, which transmit power to the actuators of the system.

What Is Diesel Fuel And How Does It Burn?

Diesel fuel is a combustible fuel used in diesel engines. It is made from crude oil and burns in the combustion chamber, where it is ignited by a spark plug.

What Is Diesel Fuel And How Does It Burn?

The heat from the combustion process causes the diesel fuel to vaporize and expand, which creates pressure in the combustion chamber. This pressure forces the piston down, which in turn turns the crankshaft.

Difference Between Hydraulic Oil And Diesel Fuel

  • Combustibility: Hydraulic oil is not combustible, while diesel fuel is. This means that hydraulic oil cannot be burned to produce heat or power.
  • Viscosity: Hydraulic oil is typically more viscous than diesel fuel. It’s bulkier and slower to move because of this.
  • Flash point: The flash point of hydraulic oil is higher than the flash point of diesel fuel. This means that hydraulic oil will not ignite as easily as diesel fuel.
  • Ignition temperature: The ignition temperature of hydraulic oil is higher than the ignition temperature of diesel fuel. This means that hydraulic oil will not burn as easily as diesel fuel.
  • Additives: Hydraulic oil contains additives that help to prevent wear and tear on the components of hydraulic systems. Diesel fuel does not contain these additives.
  • Application: Hydraulic oil is used to transmit power in hydraulic systems. Diesel fuel is used as a fuel in diesel engines.

Compatibility Factors to Consider

It is important to carefully consider the compatibility factors and risks before using hydraulic oil as a fuel.

  • Viscosity: A fluid’s viscosity is a measurement of how resistant it is to flowing. Hydraulic oil is typically more viscous than diesel fuel, which means that it flows more slowly. This can affect the performance of the engine, and it can also increase the risk of clogging the fuel system.
  • Chemical composition: Diesel and hydraulic oil have different chemical compositions for different uses. Diesel fuel is made for effective diesel engine combustion, whereas hydraulic oil is for lubrication and hydraulic power transfer. Chemical variations can cause incomplete combustion and unwanted byproducts when burning hydraulic oil in a diesel engine.
  • Ignition characteristics: The ignition characteristics of a fuel refer to its ability to ignite easily. Diesel fuel is more easily ignited than hydraulic oil, which means that it may be more difficult to start the engine when using hydraulic oil as a fuel.
  • Combustion efficiency: The combustion efficiency of a fuel is a measure of how much of the fuel is converted into energy. Hydraulic oil has a lower combustion efficiency than diesel fuel, which means that less energy is produced from each unit of fuel.

Advantages Of Using Tractor Hydraulic Oil

Here are some of the potential advantages of using tractor hydraulic oil as an alternative fuel:

  • Reduced costs: Hydraulic oil is typically less expensive than diesel fuel. This can save money on fuel costs, especially if the hydraulic oil is recycled or reused.
  • Decreased environmental impact: Hydraulic oil burns cleaner than diesel fuel, producing lower emissions of harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. This can help to improve air quality and reduce the risk of climate change.
  • Availability: Hydraulic oil is widely available, and it can be stored for long periods of time without degrading. This makes it a more reliable fuel source than diesel fuel, which can be more difficult to obtain in some areas.
  • Ability to burn at high temperatures: Hydraulic oil can burn at high temperatures, making it a good choice for engines that operate in hot environments.

What Are The Risks Of Burning Hydraulic Oil In My Diesel Engine?

Engine damage: Hydraulic oil is thicker and has different additives than diesel fuel, which can damage the engine. The additives in hydraulic oil can clog the fuel filter and injector, causing the engine to run poorly or not at all. The thicker viscosity of hydraulic oil can also cause the engine to overheat and warp the cylinder walls.

Emission problems: Burning hydraulic oil can produce harmful emissions, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Air pollution and respiratory illnesses may result from these emissions.

Tractor Emission problems

Fire hazard: Hydraulic oil is flammable, and there is a risk of fire or explosion if it is not handled properly.

Reduced engine performance: Burning hydraulic oil can reduce the engine’s power and efficiency. This can make it difficult to start the engine and can also lead to decreased fuel economy.

Incomplete Combustion: Hydraulic oil and diesel fuel have different combustion characteristics. Hydraulic oil’s higher viscosity can lead to poor atomization and incomplete combustion. This can result in inefficient energy conversion, reduced power output, and the production of harmful emissions.

Carbon Deposits: Burning hydraulic oil can result in carbon buildup on engine components, including the injectors and combustion chambers. These carbon deposits can hinder proper fuel injection and airflow, leading to decreased engine efficiency and increased maintenance requirements.

Wear and Tear: Hydraulic oil lacks the same lubricating properties as diesel fuel, which could lead to increased wear on critical engine parts. Over time, this can cause damage to engine components, reducing the engine’s lifespan and necessitating costly repairs.

Reduced Lubrication: Hydraulic oil is designed for hydraulic systems and does not provide adequate lubrication for diesel engines. Using hydraulic oil can lead to increased wear and tear on engine components, such as piston rings and bearings, significantly shortening the engine’s lifespan.

Clogged Fuel Injectors: Hydraulic oil can clog fuel injectors, disrupting the proper delivery of fuel to the engine cylinders. This can result in incomplete combustion, reduced engine power, increased emissions, and even engine damage.

Damaged Seals: Hydraulic oil can damage seals in the engine’s fuel system, leading to leaks and loss of fuel pressure. This can cause fuel starvation, engine malfunctions, and potential safety hazards.

Harmed Hydraulic System: If the mixture is reintroduced into the hydraulic system, it can contaminate and damage components, compromising the overall performance and efficiency of the hydraulic system.

How Much Hydraulic Oil Can I Mix With Diesel Fuel?

It is not recommended to mix hydraulic oil with diesel fuel. Hydraulic oil is thicker and has different additives than diesel fuel, which can damage the engine. The additives in hydraulic oil can clog the fuel filter and injector, causing the engine to run poorly or not at all. The thicker viscosity of hydraulic oil can also cause the engine to overheat and warp the cylinder walls.

How Much Hydraulic Oil Can I Mix With Diesel Fuel?

The amount of hydraulic oil that can be mixed with diesel fuel without causing damage to the engine depends on a number of factors, including the type of hydraulic oil, the type of diesel fuel, and the condition of the engine. However, it is generally recommended to avoid mixing any hydraulic oil with diesel fuel.

Emergency Mixing Ratio

If mixing hydraulic oil with diesel fuel is absolutely necessary, the following ratio should be adhered to:

  • 1 part hydraulic oil to 10 parts diesel fuel

This ratio should only be used as a last resort and for a short duration. Prolonged use of this mixture can cause significant damage to the engine and hydraulic system.

If you are seeking to improve the lubricity of diesel fuel, there are specialized fuel additives available that are designed to enhance lubrication properties without compromising combustion efficiency. These additives are formulated to be compatible with diesel engines and can provide the desired effects without introducing the risks associated with mixing hydraulic oil.

User Experiences:

User Experience 1: Many owners of diesel-heavy equipment have adopted the practice of adding approximately 1/4 cup of transmission fluid per 150 liters of diesel to their vehicles or machinery. This practice is intended to maintain fuel pump lubrication and keep the engine carbon-free. The user is curious about whether this practice is a genuine benefit or just a myth. They’re also unsure whether ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) or type F fluid is more effective for this purpose. 

The user’s concern for their aging diesel fuel pump, which carries a substantial replacement cost, they intend to start adding transmission fluid to their refills in an attempt to enhance pump lubrication. They plan to use about 25ml of ATF for every 55-liter fill-up.

User Experience 2: One individual, typically uses Marvel Mystery Fluid in their diesel, but they found themselves with a supply of relatively new hydraulic fluid (about 6 months old) that they were looking to utilize. While they are aware that others use hydraulic fluid in newer vehicles, they are interested in the experiences of people in this community. Soundguy usually donates their used engine oil to those with “used garage oil heaters,” but the clean state of this hydraulic fluid prompted them to explore its potential benefits. With fuel costs adding up, they’re considering experimenting with this hydraulic fluid, even if thinned out, to see if it could be a cost-effective option.

User Experience 3: A user inquires about the viability of using clean hydraulic fluid mixed with diesel as a fuel source. They specify that they are not referring to used motor oil or contaminated hydraulic fluid. The user has encountered discussions suggesting that a mixture of clean hydraulic oil and diesel, potentially up to a 50/50 ratio, could be used as fuel. They’re seeking input from others in the community who may have attempted this approach and are interested in learning about the outcomes and effectiveness of this fuel mixture.

In my opinion, I wouldn’t aim for a 50/50 mix. Perhaps a couple of gallons added to 50 gallons of diesel. I have a story about my old ’78 Scout II that seemed to enjoy some diesel in the tank – it ran very smoothly and quietly :ashamed: (it’s a long story). Keep us posted on your experiment’s outcome!!”

I’m intrigued by the idea. As my hydraulic oil change is approaching, I remember how it looked nearly new last time. Recycling it doesn’t seem to save much, but if I were to burn it in the tank… :licking: 

I’d suggest giving it a try. You’d probably find out fairly quickly if the engine can handle the mix, and then you could share your findings with us. As others have pointed out, buying new oil is quite expensive.

What Are The Alternatives To Burning Hydraulic Oil In My Diesel Engine?

Diesel Fuel Additives: Specialized diesel fuel additives can enhance lubricity, improve combustion efficiency, and even address emissions concerns. These additives are designed to work with diesel engines and are formulated to provide specific benefits without compromising performance.

Premium Diesel Fuel: Opt for higher-quality diesel fuels that already contain additives to improve engine performance and reduce emissions. These fuels are often available at fuel stations and are designed to meet stringent industry standards.

Natural Gas Alternatives:

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): LNG is derived from natural gas and liquefied at lower temperatures, making it easier to store and transport. It offers a cleaner-burning fuel option, reducing emissions in comparison to diesel engines.

diesel fuel additives

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): CNG is a clean-burning fuel produced from natural gas. Stored in compressed form, CNG is a practical alternative to diesel fuel, contributing to reduced pollution and emissions.

Using kerosene: Kerosene is a petroleum-based fuel that is similar to diesel fuel. It can be used in most diesel engines without modification, but it is not as clean-burning as biodiesel.

Using waste vegetable oil: Waste vegetable oil can be converted into biodiesel or used directly as a fuel. It is a less expensive option than biodiesel, but it may require some modifications to your engine.

Electric and Hybrid Solutions:

Combining emission-free operation with versatile efficiency, electric and hybrid vehicles offer sustainable alternatives. Electric Vehicles (EVs) utilize stored electricity to eliminate diesel fuel usage, while Hybrid Vehicles integrate electric motors for shorter distances, collectively reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

Important Note:

It is important to note that there are some challenges associated with each of these alternative fuels. Biodiesel can be more expensive than diesel fuel, and it may not be available in all areas. CNG and LNG require special infrastructure for storage and refueling, and they may not be available in all areas. Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles can be more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles, and they may have a limited range.

What Happens If You  Accidentally Mix Hydraulic Oil With Diesel Fuel?

Accidentally mixing hydraulic oil with diesel fuel can lead to a range of issues. The combination of these two substances, which have distinct properties and purposes.

When hydraulic fluid, known for its oil-like thickness, is mixed with the thinner consistency of diesel fuel, it causes the hydraulic fluid to become less viscous. This change can disrupt hydraulic systems by increasing fluid compressibility, potentially leading to operational issues.

Accidental mixing of hydraulic oil with diesel fuel can lead to the failure of components like gaskets, seals, diaphragms, and o-rings within the system’s wetted parts and issues such as incomplete combustion, resulting in reduced engine efficiency and increased emissions. 

Additionally, engine performance can decline due to the improper combustion process. This mixture may also lead to carbon deposits forming on engine components, contributing to wear and potential damage over time. It’s important to be cautious and take immediate steps to rectify the situation to avoid long-term complications.

What Happens If You  Accidentally Mix Hydraulic Oil With Diesel Fuel?
Source: Quora

Users Experience:

Adding hydraulic fluid to a diesel tank might not be a major issue, as the engine is expected to burn it like regular diesel fuel. The user shares instances of using automatic transmission fluid and hydraulic fluid in diesel tanks without apparent problems. This experience suggests that oil-based fluids should be burnable in the engine.

If the hydraulic fluid is mineral oil-based, refilling with diesel should suffice. However, if it’s not mineral oil-based, there’s a concern about potential damage to rubber seals in the fuel system. Most hydraulic fluids are mineral oil-based, but exceptions exist.

If this accidental mixture occurs, it’s advisable to:

  • Disconnect the battery cables to prevent the engine from starting accidentally.
  • Drain the hydraulic oil from the fuel tank.
  • Clean the fuel filter and injector.
  • Replace the fuel filter and injector.
  • Reconnect the battery cables.
  • Fill the fuel tank with diesel fuel.

Can I add 30W oil to diesel?

I’ve mixed 30W oil with diesel in some trucks and tractors to dispose of it, but it doesn’t seem to boost mileage. I pour filtered used 30W motor oil into diesel bulk tanks, estimating around 20 gallons of 30W oil per 1000 gallons of diesel. The diesel darkens, but it’s not a great lubricant. Previously, waste oil was common in big rigs with sturdy injection pumps, unlike modern sensitive ones. For better lubrication, two-stroke-cycle oil at 1:400 ratio works better.

Hydraulic oil in crankcase

e Hydraulic oil should not be used in the crankcase of an engine. The crankcase is the part of the engine that contains the engine oil. Hydraulic oil is a different type of oil and using it in the crankcase can damage the engine.

Diesel in hydraulic skid steer

Diesel should not be used in a hydraulic skid steer. Hydraulic fluid is a different type of fluid and using diesel in the hydraulic system can damage the system.

Gasoline in hydraulic oil

l Gasoline should not be used in hydraulic oil. Gasoline is a flammable liquid and can cause fires if it comes into contact with hot hydraulic components. It can also damage the seals and gaskets in the hydraulic system.

Conclusion:

In short, using tractor hydraulic oil as a substitute for diesel fuel in engines is not advisable. The differing properties between the two can result in poor combustion, reduced performance, heightened emissions, and possible engine damage. To ensure optimal efficiency, longevity, and environmental compliance, it’s best to stick to approved fuels recommended by the manufacturer.

Video Guide:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you use 15W40 as hydraulic oil? 

No, you should not use 15W40 as hydraulic oil. Hydraulic oil is a specialized fluid that is designed to be used in hydraulic systems. 15W40 is a type of motor oil that is designed to be used in engines. The two fluids have different properties and using 15W40 in a hydraulic system can damage the system.

 Why hydraulic fluid can be dangerous? 

It is a flammable fluid and can be dangerous if it is not handled properly. Hydraulic fluid can also cause skin irritation and burns if it comes into contact with the skin.

Can you mix transmission oil with diesel? 

No, it is not a good idea to combine diesel fuel with gearbox oil. Transmission oil and diesel are two different types of fluids and mixing them can damage the engine. Transmission oil is a lubricant that is designed to be used in transmissions. Diesel is a fuel that is designed to be used in engines. Mixing the two fluids can cause the transmission oil to break down and the diesel to clog the fuel filter.

What type of hydraulic fluid is used in a Kubota tractor? 

Kubota tractors typically use a type of hydraulic fluid called HGO. HGO is a synthetic hydraulic fluid that is designed to be used in Kubota tractors. It is a high-performance fluid that can withstand high temperatures and pressures.

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