Coleman or white gas is the best fuel to use in a Coleman stove but if you run out while camping, you’ll need to find an alternative fuel source. If your car runs on diesel, you might wonder if you can use that in your Coleman stove.
You CAN use diesel in a Coleman stove. However, it will take longer to light because diesel has a much higher vaporization point than white gas. You’ll also need to use your stove outside or in a very well-ventilated area as diesel produces a lot of black smoke and burns pretty dirty.
Diesel also leaves a lot of sooty residue which will eventually clog your generator. So you should clean the stove and fuel lines after use.
Diesel isn’t the best alternative to white gas for a Coleman stove. However, if it’s all you have it can work as a short term solution, follow the correct steps for efficient use.
How To Use Diesel in a Coleman Stove
If I was camping and discovered I’d accidentally left my Coleman gas at home, I would only use diesel as a stove fuel alternative as a last resort.
If you have a kerosene camping lantern, consider using that as an alternative instead.
Here’s how to use diesel in a Coleman stove:
1. Use Your Stove Outside or In a Well-Ventilated Area
Using diesel in a Coleman stove will produce a lot of smelly black smoke so it’s best to use it outside (or in a very well-ventilated area).
The smoke also produces a lot of soot which will land in and on your stove but also on your food so use a pot lid if you can.
If you have access to low octane unleaded gasoline, it would leave less residue on your stove as it has fewer additives, making it a better stove fuel alternative.
2. Fill The Stove’s Fuel Container With Diesel
Fill the fuel canister as you normally would with white or Coleman gas (I like to use a funnel to prevent spills).
3. Light Your Coleman Stove
You’ll need a lot of patience when lighting your stove when using diesel because it has a much higher flash point than white gas. Coleman gas has a flash point of -4℉/-20ºC while diesel’s is about 130℉/54ºC.
If you normally use matches to light your stove, consider using a lighter or blowtorch instead as it will be more efficient.
As the YouTube video below shows, it takes about 5 minutes to get a flame on a Coleman stove when using diesel:
To speed up the process, you could place a little priming paste, denatured or isopropyl alcohol over the generator. This is something people do when using kerosene in their Coleman stove and it works well to prime the generator and gets you burning fuel faster.
If you have a piece of 12 gauge wire and some pliers handy, you could strip the wire, locate the bare copper strand and wind it around the section of the generator that goes above the burner.
Copper is a great heat conductor, and this could help the generator heat up quicker and a flame to emerge faster.
4. Clean The Stove Thoroughly
After using diesel in your Coleman stove, you’ll notice that it’s very dirty. The fuel line and generator will also have a lot of sooty residue and to prevent clogging and inefficiency, you’ll need to clean it before using it again.
Carburetor fluid is great for removing black residue and makes a good engine part cleaner as well.
Contains 100% high-energy solvent technology that helps keep injectors, carburettors, intake ports and valves clean. Quickly dissolves gum, varnish and other fuel residues.