Ethanol killing small engines

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by bamabikeguy, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    Dad had an Amoco station back in the 70's-80's, we had guys drive from a way over yonder to get Amoco white in their pickup trucks. I knew a small engine retailer who warned me way back when about the dangers of ethanol, especially in 2 cycles.

    So my brother says he saw a report, about this specific subject, on CNN.

    I searched, but couldn't find the video....maybe THIS is the report he was talking about.

    Ethanol hurting mowers, helping local repair shops | TuscaloosaNews.com | The Tuscaloosa News | Tuscaloosa, AL

    I only use name brands, Standard 87 or 89 octane in the three stations in neighboring towns and major intersections.
     
  2. jasonh

    jasonh New Member

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    interesting.

    I don't think I've seen a name brand station around here that doesn't say ethanol is added :(

    Bummer.
     
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    Shell seems to be the most constant, most widely available. I have to go check BP again, they seem to have a NEW high-falutin name for some additive one of my customers noticed yesterday.

    Went to get a gallon of Standard this morning, so I'm sure about my main sources here at the house.

    Noticed Conoco is selling the good stuff in the two bigger towns 30 miles away.
     
  4. Ilikeabikea

    Ilikeabikea Moderator
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    There's a good way to check for alcohol. Take a baby food jar and put small amount of water in it. Take a magic marker and mark where the water level is in the jar. Then add some gas, put on the lid and shake it well. After it sits awhile check and see if the water is still at the mark. If it is no alcohol. If the water level is above the mark then it has alcohol in it..........................
     
  5. jasonh

    jasonh New Member

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    hey good tip!
     
  6. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    Another suggestion is to find your local chainsaw dealer, or small engine repairman. Loggers are especially particular about what they put in the Stihls and Husquvarna's.

    With folks coming around for demo rides, I use about 2 gallons of 50:1 mix a week. But in the slow times, I never let pre-mixed fuel sit around for longer than 3 weeks, put unused oil/gas in the car and mix up a fresh batch.

    I would just guess that rule of thumb would be doubly important when you are mixing 20:1.
     
  7. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    FORGET BP- 15 mile roundtrip shook my memory of exactly what they are calling it, but British Petroleum is now selling corn juice.
     
  8. jasonh

    jasonh New Member

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    I'll have to check Shell and Conoco after I'm out of gas. I don't usually fill up my car at those places because they're so expensive. Conoco charges a big premium for premium gas - like 50 cents per gal extra instead of 20 like most places.
     
  9. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    I've use the lowest, 87 octane for a long time now, in fact, it was advised I quit burning 91, because the lower octanes were the manufacturers rec...(something technical about the explosion temperature).

    About a 10 cent difference for Chevron over Jet Pep here in the southeast.

    But note what the news article says about a shutoff valve, so if you have to use ethanol, it all burns off and none sits in the carburater, affecting that diaphram while it sits there overnight.
     
  10. jasonh

    jasonh New Member

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    I have to use premium because I have a turbocharged car. The higher octane helps to prevent preignition due to higher cylinder pressure. And yes, 87 is more efficient in a normal low compression engine.
     
  11. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    Well, I had a bummer of a day checking on the ethanol situation.

    Went on a 75 miler today, stopping at Texaco, Phillips, Exxon stations on the way in....apparently there was some June 30 2008 target date, EVERYBODY is switching.

    So I went to the Chevron distributor, Howard Oil Co., had a 20 minute talk with the owner, heard a lot of the technical aspects, but no one is happy about this. Chevron is still moving the last of the old "pure" stuff.

    But he gave me the low-down on discount brands, how their mixing/blending techniques are primitive and mostly on site, while the majors are doing it at the depots.

    The discounts use a "low gas blend", (*something that starts with an "R"), get down to around 84 octane, then raise the octane with the alcohol. But there is nothing precise about the mixing, the top part of a tanker truck might be different than what comes out of the bottom.

    And he said the pumps now have a complicated/delicate hydrofilter, where a few tablespoons of water captured in the filter shut the pump down, and there is a $10 fee to clear the filter. This puts pressure on the stations to get the tanks inspected. That is what he has crews running around doing, inspecting tanks and calibrating hydrofilters.

    He recommended I go talk to the Stihl dealership, so I went to Greenmasters and asked what the loggers are going to do.

    His advise was 1) Use the majors, because the octane is guaranteed.
    2) Don't mix big batches, and don't use old mixed gas because the oil/gas seperates. One month would be the absolute maximum, but using it up inside of 2 weeks is better.

    He knew of no stablizing additive that really did anything.
     
    #11 bamabikeguy, Jul 15, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  12. jasonh

    jasonh New Member

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    bummer.

    What about high octane race gas from real gas stations? I'm talking like the 110 octane stuff. Wonder if they have to mix corn in with that...

    Your bit about the discount stations...that makes sense....last time I filled up at a Shamrock my car wasn't as powerful and I got crap for mileage - exactly what my car's computer does if you put lower octane in. Nuts.

    If I wanted to run my car on corn, I'd go get a diesel and run it on biodiesel. Jerkwad feds. Anything to make a buck, right?
     
  13. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    Final ethanol inquiry

    On the way back to Arab yesterday, I passed a local tree trimming company setting up, so on the return, I stopped to ask about how they handle the situation with the 2 cycle chainsaws.

    They said it is all about not letting it sit too long, but if YOU DO mix big batches, there is one type of 2 cycle oil mix (mind goes blank, either Craftsman or Homelite) that has a stablizer. Like me, they only use Chevron.

    But that is the key difference, ethanol seperates the mix a little faster than old style pure blends, and 2 weeks is the "man on the street" recommended shelf life, no matter what the scientists claim.
     
  14. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    It is official, ETHANOL SUX.....

    I'm in my very first gallon, and things start going hoinky.

    A decrease in power, hiccups.

    Second gallon, and it takes three pulls or more to start, when I had it down to two at the most.

    Washed the air filter Saturday, then Sunday getting the newspaper, it WOULD NOT CRANK.

    Bought a spark plug today, but on a 20 mile run to Arab, that decrease in power was evident.

    I'm still running 87 octane, reckon moving to 89 or 91 will help?

    I use regular Stihl oil, less confusion breaking in new engines for customers, but guess I do an upgrade in that department too.
     
  15. jasonh

    jasonh New Member

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    Yes, ethanol sucks.

    If you had your motor perfectly tuned, there is a chance you could now be running slightly lean. Adding ethanol to fuel just makes you get worse gas mileage. how lame is that. Might need a bit of a tune. Or, 91 could possibly help, but that's not guaranteed.
     
  16. Pablo

    Pablo Master Bike Builder & Forum Sponsor

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    I was going to start a new thread on this, but what the heck.

    I mixed up a batch of fresh no name regular with ethanol (87 octane), with Amsoil Dominator (racing oil) and pure castor oil a little over a month ago. Nice blend, bike went like a moose seeking love. I went through 2 partial tanks on my bike. I left about 3/8 to 1/2 gallon in a plastic gallon can sitting…….I ran my tank very near dry….so Saturday I filled the tank near full. After a few runs up and down my block demo-ing my bike and such with Ghost0, my bike started to run a little funky - I thought it was the expansion pipe I had just shortened! (Tricky - see separate thread). We rode a bit further and my bike was REALLY running like dog stuff smells. So I lengthened my pipe back up and it ran marginally better, but not much…..let it cool down, check the plug (yeah basics first ;) ) and spanning the electrode gap is a big nasty black stringer.

    So after reading this thread I suspected my fuel (and the castor) - I drained the fuel (put it in my car, drove a bunch since, no problems). I made a hearty mix of fuel, Dominator and NO castor. Wound in a brand new properly gapped NGK B6HS. Bike started right up, ran a little rough at first, but as the old fuel left the carb bowl (yes I should have drained it!!) the bike just started to run better and better and better…..problem solved.

    Old fuel with ethanol and castor is not something you want in your engine. Up to 10% ethanol gasoline will work with castor and synthetic oil, if you mix and use it on the spot, but please don't store it.
     
    #16 Pablo, Jul 22, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2008
  17. jasonh

    jasonh New Member

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    Which really kind of sucks, because who the heck wants to mix fuel a half gal at a time? I personally just want to have some ready so I can fill up and go.

    I guess maybe it'd be a good idea to get a 5gal can and just keep gas in it, then mix in a smaller can when the tank needs a fillup?
     
  18. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    I read your reply, jumped on the bike and went straight to see Ralph the Stihl dealer over at Rainbow Crossing.

    A) This Tanaka, and some Stihls, have pre-set carbs, no adjustment allowed.

    B) Stihl recommends mid-grade 89 major brands
    .

    so

    C) Guess I'll do a Pablo, get some 91, concoct some evil brew so the gallon of 87 magically becomes 89 octane.

    or probably better

    D) Throw the whole batch and a half into the car and start over.



    The research goes on !! Thanks Pablo for the input !
     
    #18 bamabikeguy, Jul 22, 2008
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2008
  19. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy New Member

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    Oh, and a big

    F)
    to the gubbmint for reducing my mileage, performance, speed AND increasing my cost at the same time.

    Heckuvajob....heckuvajob....
     
  20. Pablo

    Pablo Master Bike Builder & Forum Sponsor

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    They have trained specialists for this sort of thing.:D


    "Do a Pablo" that's good! :ride:
     

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