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Ethanol-free gas


guzzidude
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Ethanol acts as an oxidizer in fuel which accelerates any deterioration, blended fuels have been going bad on me much quicker then unblended for 30 years. The problem is getting worse as percentages of ethanol are going up. When I first started my career, it was normal to just park a recreational vehicle(bike, ATV, boat, etc) over the winter with fuel in it and it would be fine come spring. in the 1990s fuel in a motorcycle tank took about 3 months to turn bad, and the fuel in the float chamber(s) would be good for around 6 weeks. These days fuel will have turned in about 6 weeks, and a lot of small motors lacking hot ignition systems can't even start up on gas that's been sitting for 3-4 weeks. All modern cars inteded for the USA market or other markets where ethanol is mandated have been alcohol compatible since the first EPA mandates required manufacturers to make ethanol compliant vehicles due to the mandate for ethanol blending of fuel stock. When we would convert a race motor to alcohol, we changed so many things in the fuel system, otherwise it'd be dissolved away in short time. I have done exactly as you described for the benefit of clients back when we could get ethanol free fuel in Florida.

 

Ethanol is a great fuel, but its no magic bullet.

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Ethanol acts as an oxidizer in fuel which accelerates any deterioration, blended fuels have been going bad on me much quicker then unblended for 30 years. The problem is getting worse as percentages of ethanol are going up.

 

...

 

Ethanol is a great fuel, but its no magic bullet.

No magic bullet, true - what is? To get closer to magic bullet territory I'd like to have a high compression direct fuel injected engine with optional spark ignition to be able to run on anything from molten lard to wood gas. A diesel engine with an added spark plug, really. Maybe one of the Dneprs in the barn will be so equipped if I manage to get my hands on a suitable cheap diesel engine.

 

Ethanol does not oxidize itself, so the higher the ethanol content of the fuel, the fewer problems you'll have. Apart from cold start problems the best mixture would probably be as close to 100% ethanol as possible, in practice that'd mean 9x% ethanol with water making up the rest since ethanol likes taking up moisture from surrounding air - just like diesel, but in the latter case the water ends up in a puddle on the bottom of the tank where it will cause rust if the tank is not protected. Ethanol can corrode aluminium and iron. It softens some plastics which have been used in older fuel systems. Modern fuel systems are ethanol-resistant (here in Europe, I assume the same goes for the rest of the world).

 

If you point your favourite search engine or librarian at the subject you'll find an afwul lot of data, much of it hearsay. There is some objective research in the field but it is drowned in the flood of statements by ethanol-proponents and naysayers which makes it hard to find 'the truth'. The best way of finding out is trying...

 

Compared to crude oil derived petrol I see only advantages in using cellulosic ethanol - it is a relatively clean fuel (burns clean, is not poisonous, does not pollute the ground water if spilled) which can be produced from what now is considered a waste product (straw, leaves, corn husks, chaff, etc) to be used in current vehicles without the need for major conversions. Food-stock based ethanol shares the former advantages but often leads to rising food prices because of speculation and resource competition.

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YAFU Your story about leaving the fuel out all winter is counter to the experiences we are having. The examples of screwed up motors are legion here. I will keep it short with first hand experience. I have a couple boats one a small Jon with a nice little 9.8 4 stroke Johnson on it the other has a 40 Honda. Both these motors have given me years of TROUBLE FREE service till now. I really was not concerned when ethanol replaced all other options at most stations. Long story short I preasently have the 9.8 carb apart and am going for round 2 with carb cleaning bucket tring to get the crap out of the smaller passages.When I pulled it apart it had crap in it that looked like fat, rusting water and runny poop. Thanks ethanol.

On the 40 I have an external fuel filter system not unlike an oil filter. I changed the filter out yearly as part of my maintenance program. About 8 months after the use of ethanol fuel began my motor started to run very poorly. One day she ran fine, when I took her out a week later she ran like crap. When I got home and started trouble shooting I took the filter off and it was completly full of nasty crap. 8 months of ethanol use was more than the filter could take, on regular fuel the fuel in the filter looked great after a full years use. Presently the idle jet is screwed up in the middle carb and it will have to be removed to clean the crap out.(not a fun chore thanks ethanol)

I have not had problems with my truck other than loosing 3 to 4 mpg but that fuel gets used up pretty quickly.

I am all for finding and using alternative fuels but the cause in not helped in the least by sugar coating things. We have saying here "Don't ###### down my back and try to tell me its raining"

 

RAL

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YAFU Your story about leaving the fuel out all winter is counter to the experiences we are having. The examples of screwed up motors are legion here. I will keep it short with first hand experience. I have a couple boats one a small Jon with a nice little 9.8 4 stroke Johnson on it the other has a 40 Honda. Both these motors have given me years of TROUBLE FREE service till now. I really was not concerned when ethanol replaced all other options at most stations. Long story short I preasently have the 9.8 carb apart and am going for round 2 with carb cleaning bucket tring to get the crap out of the smaller passages.When I pulled it apart it had crap in it that looked like fat, rusting water and runny poop. Thanks ethanol.

On the 40 I have an external fuel filter system not unlike an oil filter. I changed the filter out yearly as part of my maintenance program. About 8 months after the use of ethanol fuel began my motor started to run very poorly. One day she ran fine, when I took her out a week later she ran like crap. When I got home and started trouble shooting I took the filter off and it was completly full of nasty crap. 8 months of ethanol use was more than the filter could take, on regular fuel the fuel in the filter looked great after a full years use. Presently the idle jet is screwed up in the middle carb and it will have to be removed to clean the crap out.(not a fun chore thanks ethanol)

I have not had problems with my truck other than loosing 3 to 4 mpg but that fuel gets used up pretty quickly.

I am all for finding and using alternative fuels but the cause in not helped in the least by sugar coating things. We have saying here "Don't ###### down my back and try to tell me its raining"

 

RAL

You have bad experiences with low-ethanol blended fuel. The can I left outside was filled with the summer-variety of E85, which has around 85% ethanol in it (the rest is petrol and some additives, winter-E85 has around 70% ethanol/25% petrol/5% additives to ease cold starts). I do not have experience with storing medium-blended ethanol fuels (anything between 5% and 70%, really, as all petrol here contains 5% ethanol). It is very much possible that lower-blended ethanol mixtures deteriorate faster. As stated, a 100% ethanol fuel would in principle have a nearly indefinite shelf life as long as it is kept closed. My can of E85 survived for about half a year outside under almost worst-case conditions (container only half full, frequent large temperature gradients, plastic container) without obvious 'fuel rot'. A can of petrol under similar conditions would have deteriorated more.

 

I'm now looking for lubricants which mix well with E85 to be able to run the chain saws and other small 2-strokes on E85. Especially for the chain saws this would be a good thing since E85 burns much cleaner and hence smells less than petrol. I don't want to use castor bean oil as that leaves a sticky mess. I also don't want to use any of the exorbitantly priced specialty oils. Maybe vegetable saw chain oil works?

 

That ethanol-blended fuels can cause fuel filters to 'fill with crap' is true, but it is not really the fault of the ethanol. The 'crap' was deposited in the fuel system by petrol, and is dissolved by ethanol. The fuel filter does what it was made for and catches the stuff before it ends up in the engine. This 'crapping up' of the fuel filter(s) will continue until all the petrol-deposited crap has been dissolved by the ethanol, after that the fuel system should stay crap-free. The exception to this 'rule' is when the 'crap' is actually the fuel tank liner (or the fuel tank itself...) which is being dissolved by the ethanol, as happens on my Ural. The inside of the tank was partly painted with some orange paint (maybe an old lead-based anti-rust coating) which does not withstand ethanol. I keep on finding flakes of the stuff in the fuel tap bowl. Once all the crap has been dissolved I'll reline the tank with something a bit more stable, until that time I'll keep on cleaning out the sediment bowl and filter regularly. I assume you're using standard metal fuel tanks on your boats? I've read - but again, only read, not experienced - reports about older single-wall glassfiber tanks giving problems with ethanol, possibly caused by the resin leaching out into the fuel. I have only used metal tanks with outboard engines though so I have no experience here.

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  • 3 months later...

I'm not hung up on the issues of ethanol based gas... What I worry about is trading one limited fuel source for another. Ethanol is not a completely guilt free product; especially if it comes from a crop or plant based source. Unless the plant material I'd composted and put back in the ground (which we can't do when you make ethanol with it) we deplete the soil and then have to add fertilizers to fix it. Now we are talking about runoff and other issues related to the use of and production of the fertilizer. A lot of the experts are saying that the alge based ethanol is the most Eco friendly...

 

BMW has been saying that they will not honor the warranty if gasoline with more than 10% ethanol is used.

 

Dave

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I'm not hung up on the issues of ethanol based gas... What I worry about is trading one limited fuel source for another. Ethanol is not a completely guilt free product; especially if it comes from a crop or plant based source. Unless the plant material I'd composted and put back in the ground (which we can't do when you make ethanol with it) we deplete the soil and then have to add fertilizers to fix it. Now we are talking about runoff and other issues related to the use of and production of the fertilizer. A lot of the experts are saying that the alge based ethanol is the most Eco friendly...

 

BMW has been saying that they will not honor the warranty if gasoline with more than 10% ethanol is used.

 

Dave

 

 

 

Interresting read up guys......

 

Food should be used as food.

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$0.02

I don't usually get involved in these things... but,

Living very close to an ethanol production facility [corn],

and having "produced" some ethanol product myself!

I wonder how in the world anyone can economically produce the heat necessary to make the darn stuff??

Willing to bet my Dnepr that if they had to produce their own "fuel" from the product, then there would be None left for the consumer!

In other words, It takes more fuel to make it, than is produced... Based on Experience!

Rant Over!

RP

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I know some facilities are experimenting in the south west with alge pools and condensed (focused) solar panels that essentially do all the heating and required energy transformation using the natural abundance of the sun to both quick grow the alge naturally and cut power consumption for processing. Actually a very nice natural process. But your right about how much could they really produce on a large scale.

 

In the end we have to remember matter in neither created or destroyed... If we are making a liquid fuel we have to process something, somehow and that always takes from to get. The only true source of free energy is the sun and we still have to deal with storage devices, which require chemical components that require natural resources and power to produce.

 

In the end we have to pick and choose our fights. I ribs a bicycle. Lot to work to balance the horrible gas mileage I get in my Wrangler. I don't feel so guilty that it burns so much because I'm probably using less gas than 60 or 70 percent of motorists in fuel efficient cars (not a Prious or anything).

 

 

$0.02

I don't usually get involved in these things... but,

Living very close to an ethanol production facility [corn],

and having "produced" some ethanol product myself!

I wonder how in the world anyone can economically produce the heat necessary to make the darn stuff??

Willing to bet my Dnepr that if they had to produce their own "fuel" from the product, then there would be None left for the consumer!

In other words, It takes more fuel to make it, than is produced... Based on Experience!

Rant Over!

RP

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ya, the world was better place when everyone rode horses and we didn't have to worry about this. They mow your grass and fertilize your crops. why did we ever get away from that?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't read every reply on this thread but I do know this. I work at a refinery in the Pacific Northwest. My job is to blend the gasoline components into a subgrade, regular or super. We do not have ethanol blending capability so our regular and super unleaded gasoline is ethanol free. We do ship a subgrade down the Olympic Pipeline that may or may not have ethanol added to it at a later date. Long story short, if you buy 76 gas in premium or the midgrade in the Pacific Northwest, there's a very good chance it's ethanol free.

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