Some questions for the oldtimers.

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by motorbikemike45, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. When I was young and mowing the family lawn we had a Cooper Clipper, then later a B&S engined self-propelled reel type lawn mowers.This was in the 50s and the compression ratio on those old single cylinder flat heads was probably in the range of about 4.5:1 or 5:1 and they would run on the lowest octane gas. A local heating oil dealer sold something called "white" gas for less than half of what gasoline went for. We used it in the mowers and the Coleman lantern we used for camping. It was as clear as water and had very very low octain. When I asked the dealer what it was, he said it was drip gas, a liquid that was seperated out of natural gas at the well head. My uncle claimed it would ruin an engine because it was corrosive, but we ran those two mowers for many years with no problems except the usual wear and tear.

    My questions;
    1. What do they do with "drip gas" today, and is it still available?
    2. If it is still available, would there be any problem running old or low compression engines on the stuff?
    3. Could "drip gas" be what Coleman sells as Coleman fuel?

  2. Martin 1940D28

    Martin 1940D28 New Member

    ? for old timers

    Hi Mike, I well remember all you say, I've got about 4 years on you and recall that the "Amaco" gasoline was the unleaded gasoline of the "1950's", or before, to my recollection, to be used in Coleman lanterns and camp stoves. I couldn't afford a Coleman until the early 1960's, but we had an older camp stove from the 1930's and 40's, (forgot the brand name, think it was "American Kamp Kook" that required "White Gas". Gosh how many meals we cooked on that little 2 burner stove. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories. Martin 1940D28
  3. My pleasure, Martin 1940D28.

    Amoco was a premium, high octane gasoline that was super refined by The American Oil Co to give high octane without the tetraethel lead every other oil company added to their gas to raise octane. Oddly, they added lead to their lower octane regular gas, I suppose to hold the price down to be competitive. Their Amoco unleaded premium cost only a penny or two more than the others high octane premium gasolines. The father of a friend of mine owned an Amoco station. I remember when he tore down the stove bolt six cylinder engine of their Chevy for new rings, bearings, and a valve job. We "helped". The car had 230,000 miles on it and he'd used nothing but Amoco unleaded premium in it since new. The tops of the pistons looked new, with no carbon build-up, showing the machine marks and were still shinney.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  4. hammer5312

    hammer5312 Member

    Well having had a parent who worked for a refinery....I asked him and he said in essence it is a by-product of a leaky natural gas well head. If the temperature is hot out, then the stuff evaporates, cold enough outside and it is a liquid that could be collected.
    So to answer #1, yes it is still available today prolly expensive as can be...
    #2 prolly not, Dad said they used to run the Model A's on it...
    #3. Having worked as a lab tech at Drip gas is not Coleman fuel. Coleman fuel is also known as "Naphtha" and they are different. He said that drip gas has more of the high ends and is explosive....Naphtha has a higher flash point and higher boiling point...

    That concludes our Chemistry lesson for the day....:jester:
  5. Thank you, hammer 5312. I'm always happy to learn, so the lesson is appreciated.

    Some of the real cheapskates in the little town I grew up in ran their older cars on the drip gas, but they had to start them on regular gas, poured into the carb. Once running, they were good to go. Part of the cheap price was because no motor fuel tax was paid on drip gas. Like today when some people run their diesels on kerosene or #2 heating oil.

    Naptha is commonly used as lighter fluid for Zippo type cigarette lighters and in the dry cleaning industry. I had no idea Coleman fuel is naptha.
  6. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    to the best of my knowledge, there was no unleaded gas in the 50's & 60's.
    car engines of ther era required leaded gas to lubricate the valves, and valve seats. without lead in the gas the valvs would be ran "dry" causing pre-mature failure.
    This is exactly why you see lead additives in the stores today because people like me still own drive and ride things from the 50's & 60's.
    the lead in gasoline was used as a lubricant.
  7. hammer5312

    hammer5312 Member

    oh and don't use leaded gasoline for your Coleman Appliances......for that matter don't use E-85 either.....well I guess you could but you'll kill that appliance faster than you can blink....and you'll have to go buy another...

    Some of the testing I did when I was at Coleman was on liquid fuel appliances...and yeah I still use my dad for explanations on fuel related matters. The way he made the drip gas sounds it was really light...pretty much the top end of the scale....if you knew where the well's were, you could go collect it....sounds like it was nasty stuff...
  8. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman Active Member

    Oh yea...I remember buying "white gas" from Amoco for my Coleman (lamps and stoves) when the Coleman fuel was unavailable. Colman fuel has a additive made for the regulator on the stoves.
  9. motorpsycho;

    Amoco did make an unleaded premium gasoline in the 40s, 50s, and into the 60s. It was refined to have a higher octane. While most oil companies added tetraethyl lead to their gasoline's to raise octane and to preserve valves and valve seats. The lead deposited onto the valve and seat and acted as a "cushion" to prevent the valve and seat from hammering into each other, bare metal to bare metal, as the valve closed and to act as a sort of very thin gasket surface to help seal the valve to the seat and thus not allow cutting from blow-by when the valve was seated. Today, with unleaded fuels, manufacturers harden the valve seat much harder than the head material and make valves from harder material.

    At one time Buick had a system of valve operation in which the valve was rotated slightly at each opening to allow for better wear and sealing. I believe nearly all makers use a similar system now.

    Tetraethyl lead is not the only chemical that can be added to gasoline to preserve the valves/seats. I'm fairly sure Amoco added something to their premium gas for this purpose, it just wasn't tetraetyl lead and it seems it wasn't as hazzardous to breath.
  10. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    I remember that my dad owned a 1932 Model A John Deere tractor (started it by opening the stopcocks on the two (big) pistons, pulling the side-mounted flywheel until she started, then closing the stopcocks.)

    It had an auxilary tank the size and shape of a large canteen, that was intended to hold gas for starting, if you wanted to run it on alcohol or kerosene. We used as the emergency tank (if you ran out in the field, switch over to the emergency tank & get it back to get filled up) It could probably be used if you were running 'drip gas' in the main tank, too.
  11. Chris Crew

    Chris Crew Member

    We called it "white gas" and lots of outboard motor manufacturers recommended it (or at least lots fishermen used it--maybe because it was cheap.) We bought it at AMOCO stations. Years later in the landscape business, we usually got that to mix for the 2-cycle mowers, but if we were low on gas and there wasn't an AMOCO nearby, we went for the regular leaded. Didn't seem to make much difference, but I was young and didn't own the machinery;-)