The Mystery of the Missing Zippo Fuel.

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Whalehead King
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:19 pm

I was going crazy until I figured it out. Why, all this week, have I been refilling my Zippo twice a day, sometimes three times? A fill normally lasts a few days, 4-5.

I use Zippo (TM) brand lighter fluid.

I kept replacing the flints. They were worn down because I kept flicking the wheel trying to get a light and coming up sparks and eventually not even that.

I checked the wheel. Was it gunked up with the natural oils of my soft hands?

Then, I figured out the cotton reservoir was dry. Why? What is going on here?

I'll tell you.

It's been about a 100 degrees Fahrenheit the past couple of days. You know what I mean: 98 in the morning, 99 by 10:00, 100 at noon, 102 at 1:00, 101 when the sun goes down. The humidity has been remarkably low, 45-55%. It doesn't get much lower than that here. Even with the temperatures where they are, the humidity makes it bearable. My theory is that the zippo fuel has been evaporating more quickly in the heat than it otherwise would during cooler months than THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER.

I'm no chemist, but, I don't think the humidity effects the evaporation rate of zippo fuel (unlike H2O). I thinks it is purely the heat that has been making my zippo fuel disappear. It's either that or The Borrowers.
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houtenziel
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:28 pm

I've had that problem with my zippo too. In the summer it'd be completely dry in a day. A friend of my mom's told me that when he was in the Army, they used to put a wide rubber band around the seam on the lid to keep them from evaporating. I tried it with one of those fat rubber bands they put on broccoli or asparagus at the grocery store, and bam..problem solved.

Edit: a section cut out of an old bicycle tube also fits nicely.
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Bamarick
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:27 pm

Dang! I recently bought 2 new Zippo lighters from Walmart and neither is keeping fuel in them for any length of time so I guess that's the problem I'm having as well. Now riddle me this; I used a Zippo lighter for many of my Cigarette smoking days until I finally lost it. I've lived in Alabama all of my life except for my 4 years in the AF which kept me in hot places except for the 6 months I spent in New Mexico which was mostly during the winter. I can't ever remember the fuel evaporating. Could it be that lighter fluid is now made with a different process that it once was?
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houtenziel
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:09 pm

Bamarick wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:27 pm
Dang! I recently bought 2 new Zippo lighters from Walmart and neither is keeping fuel in them for any length of time so I guess that's the problem I'm having as well. Now riddle me this; I used a Zippo lighter for many of my Cigarette smoking days until I finally lost it. I've lived in Alabama all of my life except for my 4 years in the AF which kept me in hot places except for the 6 months I spent in New Mexico which was mostly during the winter. I can't ever remember the fuel evaporating. Could it be that lighter fluid is now made with a different process that it once was?
Here's a question I have for both of you.. are you using Zippo brand fuel, or Ronson? I have also noticed that Zippo brand fuel evaporates twice as fast as the Ronson branded stuff. I am not sure what the formula difference is, but there is definitely one because it smells pretty different too.
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Bamarick
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:53 pm

houtenziel wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:09 pm
Bamarick wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:27 pm
Dang! I recently bought 2 new Zippo lighters from Walmart and neither is keeping fuel in them for any length of time so I guess that's the problem I'm having as well. Now riddle me this; I used a Zippo lighter for many of my Cigarette smoking days until I finally lost it. I've lived in Alabama all of my life except for my 4 years in the AF which kept me in hot places except for the 6 months I spent in New Mexico which was mostly during the winter. I can't ever remember the fuel evaporating. Could it be that lighter fluid is now made with a different process that it once was?
Here's a question I have for both of you.. are you using Zippo brand fuel, or Ronson? I have also noticed that Zippo brand fuel evaporates twice as fast as the Ronson branded stuff. I am not sure what the formula difference is, but there is definitely one because it smells pretty different too.
Yes sir I'm using Zippo fuel.
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Surlywill
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Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:37 pm

I’m in Arizona and all summer it’s in the 90s with low humidity. With my armor Zippo I can go 3 days without filling. Regular zippos last a couple. Usually I give whatever Zippo I’m using for the day a good 5second dose. I use naphtha that you can get at home depot for about 8 bucks a qt. Supposed to be the same as zippo lighter fluid. Sure smells the same.
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ncrobb
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:27 am

Coleman’s lantern/stove fuel works great and lasts a little longer for me in NC and TN.
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Bamarick
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:11 am

Way back when, and I mean way back, we "cool" fellows used English Leather Cologne in our Zippo Lighters :awesome:
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avid
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:25 am

my zippo is gonna blow up

I fuel it, then whenever i flip the lid and light, the inside of the lid catches flame for a bit and it's a ball of fire, so i never put in too much fuel at one time

this is my oldest zippo that has never gone back for restoration, it may need a different wick, not sure at all

i use mostly Ronson fuel
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houtenziel
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Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:17 am

avid wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:25 am
... it may need a different wick, not sure at all

i use mostly Ronson fuel
This reminds me.. I bought a Zippo with a pipe insert not too long ago, and the wick was a little low so I went to adjust it. Had my trusty needle nose pliers out ready to struggle with it. It was basically free to move in the wick channel with no resistance. My old zippo was seriously difficult to get the wick through, which makes me think maybe the larger wick hole is letting stuff evap more?
I am not sure why I keep buying Zippos, since I only use matches for the pipe.. :lol:
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