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Ethanol test, youtube engine teardown

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' at netrider.net.au started by Envy-t, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. #1 Envy-t, Jul 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    Came accross this via the LS1 and Holden forums. Very interesting indeed.

    According to these boys, Ethanol does very little or any damage to a standard engine not designed to run on it.


  2. Might have a bit more credibility if it:
    A) Wasn't produced by the American Coalition for Ethanol
    8) Wasn't claiming that ethanol somehow magically reduces fuel pump wear and makes fuel lines last even longer :?
    C) Was using something other than a low-tech American V8 - many of which would probably run on just about anything.
    D) Wasn't claiming that there's some correlation between the colour of spark plug ceramic and the corrosion on the back edge of the valves :?
  3. The issue has NEVER been teh actual engine being damaged directly by ethanol, rather the ancilliary equipment and fuel delivery system.

    Regards, Andrew.
  4. Did you catch Top gears BMW last night the ethanol in the enviro-diesel done a good job on there seals ..
  5. Had the carby in my 86 323 getting wrecked by United 94RON E10 fuel. Needed a complete rebuild.
  6. This is a typical Americanisation of something. They want to be seen as the leaders of this technology, but use an example of an engine that would run on morning fresh ffs! I have never doubted the affects that ethonol has on rubber seals, fuel lines etc.

    I was just leading on from the debate that was raging in my thread about +10 ethanol in my bike. Being a pure form of wood type alcohol, which is widely used for cleaning, I suspect it would CLEAN the insides of the bike a little to well.
  7. The thing with Ethanol is that in itself it is not a bad fuel, but teh only way to go about it is to follow Brazil's lead, and that is a massive fuel crop, heavily subsidised by the government.
    Then you just legislate a complete ethanol fleet, and everything is built to deal with it from day one.
    Then you have to decide if you want to massively reduce your food crops for your fuel crops, driving up teh price of food......
    Of course, Brazil also has a great climate for year round rapid growth of crops, and teh temperate climate also tends to greatly reduce any problems with water contaminated fuel.......
    Anything else is half assed and will result in failures. It may not be tomorrow, but eventually components WILL fail.
    All it's going to take is a few cars catching fire and ethanol will not be everyone's friend anymore.......

    Regards, Andrew.
  8. yea but look at the drivers (clarkeson) Im sure E10 is hardly noticable in a slightly used motor, i run it on my 94 camry and it keeps on going, dont put it in my bike, maybe if toyota made a bike you could use it.

    chicken strips are for loosers, mine are showing :LOL: wonder if any guys rub them out with sand paper???
  9. Especially considering that in the case of bio-diesel ethanol/methanol is actually a contaminant left over from processing so is only in low concentration.
    It's actually a common problem with converting cars to bio-diesel, even though you'll find plenty of people claiming it doesn't happen :roll:.
  10. For what its worth both my 1998 Honda VFR (currently 175,000K) and 2001 Holden Commodore Acclaim V6 (150,00K) have both been run on E10 for the last 18 months (almost 2yr for the bike) with no obvious ill effects. Both do 25,000 -30,000K a year. In the Commodore I notice absolutely no difference and the bike has the Honda lean surge on full throttle at 4000 - 5000 increased to annoying levels in winter (due to cold air being more dense?), no noticable difference in summer.
    Fuel consumption difference is not obvious on bike but is 2 - 3% higher in the car.
    Why did I do it, curiosity and I work in primary industries research and biofuels is one area I cover. Holden state that my car is suitable for E10 but Honda dont (state fuel system calibration reasons, not incompatability with materials)
  11. Well, to be fair, in many cases it may not happen to them.

    I dunno about commercial biodiesel, but in the amateur field there can be huge variations in the quality of the product from producer to producer (interestingly, some of the nicest and most trouble free stuff I've seen has come from the most primitive production facilities). Combine this with the variation in the vehicles it can be used in (I'd have a hard time believing that a 1960s Land-Rover, a late '80s HiLux and a modern, hi-tech passenger car would have a great deal in common) and it's perfectly plausible that users will have widely differing experiences.
  12. Yeah I've seen that too. One example was a farmer that had been making his own biodiesel for decades and had fine-tuned the mix simply by trial and error. It is however very easy to make a mistake when separating out the glycerol if you're using the popular method of adding methanol/ethanol.

    Interesting side note is that with all the talk of how great bio-diesel is for the environment everyone seems to be quiet on just where the 100ml of glycerol that's produced with every litre is going. There certainly isn't that high a demand for glycerol, especially as an impure waste product.
  13. My understanding (and bear in mind that I haven't really gone anywhere near formal chemistry for 24 years) is that glycerol is pretty harmless and can basically be tipped on the ground with no ill effects. I could well be wrong though.
  14. Yes that would be the general view of things from 20 odd years ago. ;)
    Environmental people these days though tend to get a bit upset if you go dumping several tons of anything in one place however "harmless" it might be - and trying to disperse it over a large area has its problems too.
    Not really a problem now - but if bio-diesel became more widespread that's going to create a lot of glycerol to try and get rid of. If the US for example switched entirely to bio-diesel that'd create some 250 million litres of glycerol....per day :shock:.
  15. JD, in so many words, what's bio diesel and how do you make it?

    Redbruce, you haven't had any problems so far with the ethanol fuels. That's not to say that degradation isn't occuring/hasn't occured. There's never been any doubt that it will burn alright. Are you confident your fuel systems are ok?
  16. After a few seconds of research, I've found the solution to having so much glycerol: Eat more margerine.

    A lot more margerine.

  17. Short-chained alkyl esters produced by the transesterfication of vegetable oils.
    Or more simply you take any sort of veggie oil and combine with alcohol (usually with some sort of catalyst to speed things up). What you end up with is a milky looking liquid which if left to stand will settle out into a layer of bio-diesel and a layer of glycerol. You then wash the diesel with water to remove residual alcohol - then dry it to remove the water.
    Fairly simple in theory, but can be tricky in practice. Especially if you're trying to make the process continuous.
  18. Which is, presumably, one of the reasons why amateurs, who almost invariably work in batches, have been succesfully producing some pretty good biodiesel for years, whilst commercial operations where continuous processing is desirable, continue to have problems. That and the fact that amateurs are not obliged to meet any recognised standards and generally slip under the environmental radar :wink: .

    Personally, being a mechanical engineer, I'm much more taken with the direct use of vegetable or animal fats. Then the whole issue goes from being one of chemistry and the use of some fairly toxic/caustic substances (methanol and sodium hydroxide), to being one basically of filtration and heating to reduce viscosity. Much easier for me to understand :grin: . And no nasty waste products apart from the filter residue which, assuming you're using uncontaminated cooking oil, you can feed to the dog, who'll love you for it and will never again suffer constipation :LOL: .
  19. Yup, there's also the time factor. A commercial operation is under pressure to produce as rapidly as possible, whereas the home producer can allow far more time for settling/separation.
    Straight oil is simpler but doesn't work well in cold conditions and/or with a cold engine which can make things tricky. You can also get problems with carbonisation especially with impure waste oils.
    There is potential though, last time I was in Malaysia there was a stock-standard Mercedes-Benz doing the rounds of the country using nothing but palm oil - both as fuel and as engine lubricant. Even though Malaysia has oil reserves they figure they're best kept for things other than cars - and will also become increasingly valuable as world oil reserves are depleted (I bet the US is wishing they hadn't have used all their own oil reserves up during the 60's).
  20. True enough. Hence the need for heated tanks/fuel lines etc on straight oil systems, and either starting on diesel or putting up with lengthy waiting times while things warm up. Less of a problem in most of Australia than in, say, Europe though.

    I've sometimes wondered whether the carbonisation issue is entirely down to the fuel. The thing is, a lot of the information on the subject is, again, coming from amateurs who haven't really done much controlled, repeatable testing. Most converted vehicles are not exactly in the first flush of youth and may be suffering from problems such as worn/dirty injectors and low compression anyway, which would inevitably exaggerate any problems stemming from the fuel.

    I'd argue that I'd expect an elderly, worn engine with a suboptimal conversion and driven gently on short trips to produce very different results from a new or near new engine that regularly gets a good highway thrash. I'm only aware of a very few tests that compared apples with apples and I seem to remember them beng inconclusive. It's a few years since I went through my chip fat diesel enthusiasm period though so memory is hazy and new material may be available.

    The Merc is interesting. It was commonly held, amongst straight oil enthusiasts, that Mercedes diesels were, at least at one time, designed to function on straight oils with no provision for heating. Maybe it wasn't just an urban myth :wink: . As for vegetable lube oil, I luuuurve the smell of Castrol R in the morning =P~ .