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Using E10 in a Blackbird - Any Issues?

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by mjt57, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. On the way to work on Tuesday I had to fill up. The servo that I pulled into sold only Ethanol based fuel. So, I put ten bux worth in.

    When Exx fuels were introduced to the market there was all this hoo-haa over how bad it is. However, a few years on and I've heard nothing about actual damage to engine components occuring.

    Just wondering if anyone here who has used it, or who uses it regularly in their bikes have had any problems, particularly Blackbird owners.
  2. The major concern would be what it does (chemically) to all the internal parts of the fuel system. Pumps, rubber lines, diaphragms...

    Manufacturers routinely used to just go "DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES..." because they hadn't tested it. Do you remember the lady whose kawa sprang a fuel leak under the tank at the Melbourne practice day thing, and had her bike burn to the ground? That's the worst case. Figuring out later whether Eth-based fuel contributed to the perishing of the rubber ... matter of opinion.

    My feeling would be that if you have to use it, then use it, but work out how much you need to get to the next fuel stop and put that (plus a small safety margin) in it and then fill up with 98 when you can. Keep below half throttle (revs shouldn't mean anything - torque / cylinder pressure may mean something if it pings) and don't leave the E-fuel sitting in the tank for 6 months. Use it up and refill with the good stuff.

    I can't see that getting you into any trouble at all.
  3. I wouldn't leave a vehicle standing for months with E-fuel anywhere in the system and, on the occasions I've had to use it (crossing the Barrier Highway through NSW) I noticed a big increase in fuel consumption. OTOH, I found it impossible to make the engine (Ural, so old school aircooled bike with primitive combustion chambers) pink on the stuff, whereas it's quite eager to do so on regular ULP if the weather is anything more than Siberian.

    On a modern vehicle, I wouldn't expect any immediate problems from normal use. Don't forget, pretty much all the bikes we get are also sold in the USA where some truly dreadful witches brews are sold as "gasoline" so something as recent and widespread as a 'Bird should be OK.
  4. I've had the opposite observation. Must run 95 on the 'Tona. I don't mind running a tank of e10 through occasionally. In fact I used to find on carbied bikes it would clean up the running a bit.

    Despite this I find the e10 95 will ping (bloody pommies) before std 95 at temperature.

    about 5% worse in fuel economy for me.

    But yeah I don't mind the stuff. Most of negative press about the stuff was sponsored by oil companies.
  5. at the local United servo it's more than 5% cheaper so that's a win for me. I'll use E10 every time in the car which is rated for it. don't use it in the bike though.
  6. How is that a win? Wouldn't that be a draw? :)

    Haven't tried it in the bike, won't touch it in the car, turning a potential food source into a less efficient fuel than we have now is a bit f*cking stupid, I think.
  7. It's more or less cost neutral. Compared to 92, it's about 5% cheaper, but returns about 5% less fuel economy. Net result - zero.

    Compared to 92, it's less likely to ping. It usually has an octane rating of about 95, but may be higher. It will run fine in anything that runs on 92, it should be fine in anything that runs 95 (should - there's a servo near mine that sells '95' that pings in my 14, and I suspect what the b@stards are doing is selling E10 without a label.) It's only likely to be a ping type problem in stuff that will only run on 98. That usually isn't the issue - it's what it does to the fuel system, and that it goes off with time, more and quicker than ordinary petrol.

    Even if it can be provoked into pinging, all you need to do is not use the throttle hard. Revs won't hurt, but big cylinder pressures might. Don't lug the motor and don't use it hard until you have good fuel in it again. It isn't hard, and it sure beats walking.
  8. I think it's heat related on the 95. The cracked petroleum 95 seem to be more resistant to heat variation in pinging, whereas the petrols achieving 95 through the use of ethanol seem to not handle the heat as well.

    Just my observation on my bike that needs 95
  9. The blackbird manual states only use up to 10% ethanol or 5% methanol.

    Theyd have to be pretty sure nothing would go wrong since manufacturers are usually quite strict about warranty issues.

    At least, over the warranty period.
  10. Good point. While they were talking about using bio-waste, plant off-cuts, stubble and such for it, it made a kind of sense. But as soon as you start turning soil for the specific purpose of growing things like corn, to turn into fuel - you've jumped the shark. You've crossed the shoe-event horizon. Stupidity has reached critical mass and implosion has begun.

    There's our answer then. We have a winner.
  11. Now now. Think of all the corn syrup that won't have to be put into US food products when the same crop subsidies go into fuel sources :p
  12. There is a couple touring the world in a Guzzi outfitt,they were in Queensland a month ago with a section of one of the Guzzis head melted away,and they had been using E10 since arriving from Kiwi.Its a heavy weight gadget and air cooled so take from that what you will.
  13. Could just be the result of working a Guzzi hard (and sidecar tugs work very hard) with the limited maintenance that life on the road can enforce.
  14. Sounds like something else at play? Late timing, making the fuel burn after the exhaust valves?
  15. They had some trouble in Kiwi engine wise as well,crazy gadget,it had a fabric roof over the bike was well as the boat.Mybe timing issues but it had been around without problems else where.Anyway after getting a 2nd hand head for Mario in WA they stopped using the vegi juice,so I hear
  16. i can tell you for a fact if your fuel system isn't ethanol safe it WILL chew out the plastic components.
    this isn't second hand scare-mongering over something i read on the interwebz, my company stopped making fuel hoses entirely because we couldn't source ethanol safe materials.
    and no, i'm not poo-poo-ing ethanol, those yanks we love to hate have been using e85 as a race fuel for a few years now, not to mention e85 being the norm in brazil. but, they got their shit sorted long ago
  17. Ok love threads on this topic. I could have chosen any of the posts up 'till now to quote but the food versus fuel debate (let alone the misguided stupidity comment) won me over.

    Firstly, I have run E10 - 30 blends in my "98" VFR for over 150,000K now. Guess what, nothing has exploded, dissolved or failed to start. Almost all that has been posted here is heresay rather than experience. That includes fuel consumption. The reality is in my experience over that time that E10 has been demonstrated to affect fuel consumption by less than - 2% in the bike(and only -5% in my 2001 Commodore). Given the price differential that works out even or better $ economically. Honda quote "calibration" reasons for not recommending E10 for my bike, not material incompatibility, as do many manufactures. On that front full throttle up a hill in cold conditions will occaissionaly produce lean surge with the E30 mix. Not noticed any ill effect with E10.

    Why, well I can get ethanol from work to experiment with, my occupation is as a professional scientist (basically curious and trained in objective scientific design), I am also interested in engineering principals (too many engineering mates I guess), and love a challenge.

    Bought the VFR in 2001. My work projects at the time included looking at the potential impact of bioenergy on Victorian agricultural systems, and in particular benefit the rural economy. So philosophically if I am not prepared to give it a go, why should the market.

    Secondly, biofuel in Australia is not yet made from dedicated fuel crops, let alone as an alternative to food crops on prime ag land. If you are going to make these general statements at least check out your facts. Proposed 2nd gen liquid fuels in Australia will continue to use organic waste rather than sending it to landfill . New technologies will enable conversion of municipal waste (cheaper than primary produce at this stage) in addition to waste cooking oils, sugar production waste, ag by product and food crops that fail food standards.

    Next gen energy cops are likely to be grown on marginal land unsuitable for productive (economic) food use. This also offers potential for remediation of degraded land (of which we have plenty).

    In the end the food versus fuel debate is an economic one. Farmers (or any other commercial business) will invest where there is a return. If we keep paying food prices that in many cases are at or below cost of production, it is possible farmers will turn to energy crop production on prime ag land. They are entitled to a reasonable return on investment too. That is something we can influence with our spending choices.
    • Like Like x 1

  18. Id eat soylent green if it meant i could still ride.
  19. So a percentage of grain and sugar crops being grown here hasn't been sold to ethanol producers, and largely due to government subsidies?

    You might argue that these aren't "dedicated fuel crops", but just because it's the same crop as grown for food doesn't alter the fact that land and resources used for food production goes to subsidised ethanol production.

    Also: http://www.globalsubsidies.org/en/research/biofuel-subsidies-australia
  20. Thank you for taking the time to answer, Red.

    As long as it stays biological and plant waste, I don't have a problem with it. If you can produce it from plants that help rehabilitate marginal and saline land, I'm all in favour. Farmers will of course grow what puts their dinner on the table. And politicians and the politically active will throw wildly emotive and unfounded claims around like confetti. We are what we are.

    I have a nightmare. Every significant increase in human technical know-how has been accompanied by experiments in higher intensity agriculture. With a very few exceptions, they work for a while and then fail. When they fail, it usually results in the destruction of arable land, by salinity or soil erosion. What happens next is perfectly natural, but it isn't pretty or pleasant. It's happening in East Africa at the moment, and I thank Dog I'm not there to see it.

    So far these little problems have tended to be restricted to a particular biosphere. Those cultures which had the transport capacity to span multiple biospheres ran out of time for other reasons, before they could suffer (or induce) a perfect storm. I don't think we should bet that we're always going to be that lucky, and I don't think we should bet that science is always going to save us.

    I do think we should give careful thought to arranging the system and the economics so as to encourage people to do the things they need to do if we are all to survive and prosper. Those with the capacity to grasp the broader issues should at least pay attention to the debate. People don't make good long term decisions when they're living in a state of emergency, or facing re-election in 3 months.

    I think we should be very careful to preserve arable land. Once it's gone, it's hard to get back. And once the price of food starts to go up, and people start to go hungry, it's very difficult to insist on measures to preserve the land which also limit productivity. Like fallow. It's a greasy slope.

    If you can make me bio-fuels that don't endanger the land - I'm with you 200%.