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Diesel engine in model construction – you should consider this when it comes to fuel

Diesel engine in model construction

Diesel engines in model construction are not operated with diesel. However, they are offered as small diesels or model diesels because they are compression-ignition engines like real engines. You will not be able to operate these engines with only diesel from the gas station.

Worth knowing about model diesel engines

Some of these engines are self-made or converted by special companies. You can also buy a conversion kit .

You do not need a starter battery for these engines. You can recognize the engines by the fact that there is a knob or a screw on the cylinder head instead of a glow plug. Compression is reduced via this screw as soon as the engine begins to warm up after starting.

If you want to install a diesel in a model vehicle, you usually also have to replace the hoses, because the fuel must contain ether. This dissolves many plastics and silicone. The hoses in model making are mostly made of this material. Hoses from hospital supplies and from real cars are no problem. All seals and hoses must be petrol-proof, then they can also cope with ether.

The motors run slower and have better lubrication. Because of this, they tend to last longer if you don’t make a mistake with the fuel.

Fuel for diesel in model construction

As you can see from the diesel fuel calculator  , the engines run on a mixture of ether, petroleum, castor oil and an ignition accelerator. They are just called diesel engines because they work on the same principle as the engines invented by Rudolf Diesel. Remember, the fuel was named after the inventor because the big engines run on it, not the engines after the fuel.

Ether already vaporizes at -0.5 °C, so it is necessary for the engine to ignite. Keep it in the freezer compartment of the fridge or, even better, in the chest at -18°C. Use a metal bottle as a container.

Castor oil is used to lubricate the engine. This lubrication is common in model building.

You can also use white, uncolored lamp oil instead of kerosene. Diesel from the gas station is also possible in an emergency, but it is not as flammable. It can also contain additives that damage the engine.

Ignition accelerators are commercially available as diesel boosters for RC models. The mix isn’t disclosed by the manufacturers, but 2-ethylhexyl nitrate is said to have the same effect. To be on the safe side, you should buy the accelerator from a model shop.

Since the diesel engines also run without the accelerator, there is a view that this can be dispensed with. In this case, the engine runs with retard and heats up faster. The loads on the bearings increase and the motors can break. You can also buy ready-made mixtures for diesel engines in model shops.