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I have a couple of 5 gallon cans of diesel that are around 2-3 years old. I realize that's too old to just dump in the tank, but also that's over $50 worth of diesel where I am. I have read that there are additives that can "refresh" that fuel and make it usable. If so, I'm all for it! Is this fact or internet fantasy? Any input or advice appreciated.
 

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I have a couple of 5 gallon cans of diesel that are around 2-3 years old. I realize that's too old to just dump in the tank, but also that's over $50 worth of diesel where I am. I have read that there are additives that can "refresh" that fuel and make it usable. If so, I'm all for it! Is this fact or internet fantasy? Any input or advice appreciated.
As long as the fuel doesn't have algae or smell like turpentine you should be ok to use it.. I've seen old Detroit engines fire up on 20+ year old diesel fuel just fine
 
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Visual test, use a clear glass container that is clean and dry. If the fuel is crystal clear and passes the smell test, it will be ok. Biodiesel is added to ULSD to improve lubricity and placate the agricultural-industrial complex. Biodiesel is just a fatty acid methyl ester, a compound which has much greater affinity for water. Its methyl moiety is methanol, the simplest primary alcohol which fully dissolves in water.
Water enters diesel from vapor in the air so half full containers are the worst as daily thermal cycles draw humid air in where it is trapped. So you must also look for any haze which is water and oxidized fatty acid. Not good for injection pumps and systems.

Water haze will not settle out, typical refining methods include vacuum distillation or dessicant like 3A molecular sieves. The latter requires filtration as dust from these zeolites is highly abrasive.
The solution to pollution is dilution. But if you use it, use it fast. Corrosion is a time dependant formula. Red fuming nitric acid as a rocket fuel oxidizer was stored in aluminum tanks, just not very long..inhibited red fuming nitric acid fared a bit better..

Ok, chemistry lesson over. And Lets Go Brandon!
 
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