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  1. #1
    weirdo
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    Bad bottle of HEET?

    Is it just me?

    I`ve been using yellow HEET in a "cat can" stove for about two years worth of weekend tours now, so I`m pretty familiar with it (at least with how it usually acts in my own stove). Normally, I get a mostly blue flame that burns clean and doesn`t leave any visible residue on my pot or in the stove.

    A few days ago, I ran out of fuel mid tour and bought a new bottle from a hardware store that I passed by. The bottle looked just the same as always, but the first burn was really ugly- mostly orange flame with hardly any blue, and it left my pot covered in soot and gummy blobs in the bottom of my stove . It did seeem to get my water more or less the same temp as I expected with my measured dose of fuel, but... yuck! I didn`t want to spread that sooty mess over all my other gear! My first thought was that I must have inadvertantly dropped something into the stove before lighting it, so I scrubbed all the soot and stove gunk away and packed it up until next burn. Next time, I happened to notice that the fuel had a strong yellow tint (still smelled the same), not clear. I double checked the bottle looking for "New And Improved" or something, but found no evidence of that. I lit it again in my newly cleaned stove and got the same dirty flame and the same sooty pot and goopy stove. Well, okay- I just left it dirty and wrapped everything up in a plastic bag after use for the remainder of that trip.

    When I got home, I dug around and found an old bottle with a little bit left in it. Comparing the two bottles side by side, the only difference I can see is in the date code. Looks like two different printers, so they might have come from different plants, but that`s about it. The partial bottle has been open for several months, maybe even a year. Just to see if I was nuts, I measured out a shot (clear, as always), lit the stove, and boiled a cup of water. Clean and no problems. Tried it with the weirdo bottle and the nasty yellow colored stuff sooted and gunked again. Has anybody else experienced a bad bottle of yellow (the bottle, not the liquid) HEET? Maybe it comes from different bottling plants with slightly different product? Could it be that the bottle I bought just sat for a REALLY long time in that store? I`ve bought it from little gas stations before, where I expect the product turn over was very slow, and never got anything different from any other time.
    Last edited by rodar y rodar; 09-05-11 at 02:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I would think that they would have to keep the product formulation the same to avoid a variety of issues. I would purchase another bottle and see what it looks like. Try for a different lot number. If it is the same yellow garbage I would shoot and email asking them if the formulation has changed. It is possible that a bad batch got through. I work in a variety of industrial settings and it isn't unheard of for a bad batch of chemical to get past QC on occasion.

    Aaron
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  3. #3
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I would think that they would have to keep the product formulation the same to avoid a variety of issues. I would purchase another bottle and see what it looks like. Try for a different lot number. If it is the same yellow garbage I would shoot and email asking them if the formulation has changed. It is possible that a bad batch got through. I work in a variety of industrial settings and it isn't unheard of for a bad batch of chemical to get past QC on occasion.
    Thanks, Wahoo. Maybe I will send off an email as long as I can be sure it doesn`t sound like I`m being extra whiney about my two Dollar investment. I`ve also worked with food products where the lot numbers and bottle codes are carefully tracked, so I`m sure that could help them demystify the situation for me. One odd possibility occured to me since I posted. According to the alcohol stove guru who put up the Zen Stoves website, isopropyl alcohol is:

    "Found in drug, food and general stores (HEET in red container). Rubbing alcohol is generally only 70% alcohol and won't work in many stoves. Alcohol with 91% or greater alcohol content will work, but will leave a sooty residue on your pot and brown water in your stove."

    Hmmm.... Sounds familiar.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I wonder if they put the right batch in the wrong bottle? It would almost be worth buying one to see. Also check the MSDS sheet, it will tell you what it looks like and what it is supposed to contain. FWIW the Red bottle is 99% Isopropanol the Yellow bottle is 99% Methanol.

    Aaron
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    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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  5. #5
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    Considering that it is meant for a gas tank, I assume that they would already be aware if there was a bad batch that burned dirty. It might just be old and has been contaminated by it's plastic container.

  6. #6
    weirdo
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    Game plan (mostly just for curiosity):
    1. Buy a bottle of red IsoHeet and see what it looks like.
    2. Email the mfg to see if there`s a shelf life, and if so, what are the results of old age on a bottle of their stuff, and is the date code top secret, or would they be willing to share.

    Oh, number 0.5- go to bed. I work nights, and Monday (Tues morning) always leaves me zonked, so the rest has to wait.

    Wahoo, does MSDS really give color/appearance? I don`t remember ever seeing that info on them, but to be honest, ours are mostly just dust holders and decorations for the saftey inspections.

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    Methanol is hydroscopic,it will absorb huge amounts of water from the air.Water doesn't burn so well.

    I'm guessing the cap was not sealed well and it has absorbed water.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Some MSDS will list the physical properties of a given product. Most of ours do, one of these days they might just standardize them...but I am not holding my breath. I have the indescribable joy of having to maintain our MSDS files, we currently log over 350 different types of chemicals, trying to get the office staff to provide the correct ones to the field guys is all but impossible.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  9. #9
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    I usually only buy HEET in a pinch. Why not go with denatured alcohol from the hardware store? Isn't it cheaper than HEET in the end?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
    I usually only buy HEET in a pinch. Why not go with denatured alcohol from the hardware store? Isn't it cheaper than HEET in the end?
    Denatured alcohol usually comes in gallon tanks or similarly large sizes. The reason that alcohol shines as a fuel for bike touring in NA is that the total system is lightweight and simple. You never need to carry much of it because you can buy a bottle of HEET to last you a few days and then buy another. This offsets its low energy density compared to other fuels. If you pick up a hardware store sized container of denatured alcohol you end up lugging more weight than you would with a whitegas stove.

  11. #11
    sniffin' glue zoltani's Avatar
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    I almost always find quart containers for denatured alcohol, which fit just fine in my 1L trangia fuel bottle....though I lost that 1L bottle, need to pick up a new one.

  12. #12
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Dang people. Heet is gas-line antifreeze. Using it for stove fuel is off label use. The manufacturer has no obligation to support its use as such. Buy denatured alcohol that's use is labeled for stoves.

  13. #13
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    Considering that it is meant for a gas tank, I assume that they would already be aware if there was a bad batch that burned dirty. It might just be old and has been contaminated by it's plastic container.
    But since both are gas line antifreeze additives with slightly different properties, it's doubtful that anyone would see difference in that use. OTOH, there's a noticeable difference in a stove between the red and yellow bottle Heet. The red behaving as the OP noticed. I'd guess that his product was mislabeled.

  14. #14
    weirdo
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    Thanks, all, for the responses.

    Booger1: "I'm guessing the cap was not sealed well and it has absorbed water."
    Most likely cause, I think. The company`s FAQ says it has an indefinite shelf life when sealed, if seal is broken, apparently not.

    Zoltani: "Isn't it cheaper than HEET in the end?"
    What Dan said. It`s cheap enough no matter what- I like the little bottles for convenience.

    Big Aura: "Using it for stove fuel is off label use. The manufacturer has no obligation to support its use as such."
    I agree with you here 100%. Yes, it`s off label use, and I don`t expect my money back- just want to find out what`s going on and hopefully avoid a rerun. I have no gripe with the company and will continue to buy that procuct no matter how it turns out.

    I did send off an email to the manufacturer (Gold Eagle) this evening. I used the "comments" box on their website, and immediately got an email response that appears to be from that company requesting me to "reply and send" some kind of file that showed up in order to get my message to the CSR or tech suppoert team there. The whole email sounds kind of phishy to me, and I`m not very hip with electronig fraud games, so I think I`m going to just retype my whole question/comment thing again from my own email. Hope I get time later tonight.

    EDIT: Ah! I just got the "real" response from G.E. It looks like that funky email really was some kind of outside hanky-panky. The real response was an automated notice that they received my message and an actual person will answer me soon.
    Last edited by rodar y rodar; 09-07-11 at 03:43 AM. Reason: additional information

  15. #15
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    Sooty flames can usually be cleaned up by adding a few drops of water to the fuel before you light up.
    I found a huge variety of alcohol concentrations on my Euro tour. The hottest was some German rocket fuel that boiled over in a Trangia and spilled burning alcohol over the wind-shield melting a small section. Fortunately I dont cook in a tent and I would advise you never to cook in a tent with untested fuel.

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Cool, I already got an answer from Gold Eagle- very forthcoming of them, IMO. I`ve had second thoughts about buying a bottle of Red just to compare against. No matter what exactly happened, since nobody else here seems to have run into the same problem, it must be a very uncommon fluke, and I really don`t want to figure out how to deal with/dispose of another bottle that I`m not willing to use in my stove. Here was the response from the G.E. rep:


    Brian,

    Thank you for your comments and questions.

    Our records indicate that the production run G060 28201-F WO63971 was
    filled correctly as yellow Heet.

    We did run our Red Iso-Heet after the Heet run that same day and it is
    possible that a small amount of Iso-Heet was filled into a small number
    of yellow Heet bottles at changeover as your comments below indicate
    that you have Iso-Heet in the yellow Heet bottle.

    We do have a formal flushing process implemented to prevent this type of
    occurrence. We will review the process again with our Manufacturing
    staff as a preventative for future production runs.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Best Regards,
    Scott Fisher
    Gold Eagle Co.
    Quality & Compliance Manager

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    I found a huge variety of alcohol concentrations on my Euro tour. The hottest was some German rocket fuel that boiled over in a Trangia and spilled burning alcohol over the wind-shield melting a small section.
    Yikes!

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