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Old 12-18-2007, 11:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ethanol Carb

Both of my carbs were gunked up with "stuff from the ethanol". At least that's what the mechanic said. He cleaned the carbs, got it running again, and advised me to use fuel stabilizer "every now and then" to keep the jets clean.

However, it's still a little "missy" with a little throttle, just below the main power band. It idles OK, and revvs OK, but in the middle, the mixture isn't quite right.

Is there anything I can do about this? Will time and fuel stabilizer do the trick?

Don't know what it's like outside of New England, but "everything with a carb" has been gunked-up by the ethanol out here. This includes a couple lawn mowers, and some other stuff I run.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Always a good idea to put fuel stabilizer in anything that sits for a while (for me a while means ~1 month) this includes mower, snowblower, motorcycle, etc.. they can all get gunked up. Make sure that stabilizer gets run thru the carbs too (whole fuel system) before parking it.

Tim
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Ethanol Carb

Quote:
Originally Posted by goog49
Don't know what it's like outside of New England, but "everything with a carb" has been gunked-up by the ethanol out here. This includes a couple lawn mowers, and some other stuff I run.
Ethanol is a solvent and helps keep the carburetors clean. However, it can still contribute to dirty carbs. One way is if the gas supply tanks are not clean. Ethanol can clean them up and carry the gunk to your vehicle. Gas stations are supposed to have filters to reduce this.

Another way is if your area is switching from MTBE to ethanol. When a vehicle is parked for a while with both MTBE and ethanol in the gas, a tar-like substance can form and plug up small parts of the carbs. Boat owners have often reported this when their boats sit for long periods.

If you don’t ride much, find a gas station in your area that you know has been selling E-10 for a while and fill your bike at that station only. Ask the owner or manager how often they change the filters. It wouldn’t hurt to change the fuel filter on your bike also.

E-10 has not been a problem in my area except for my old Triumph. All street legal vehicles in the US have been made to run on E-10 since about 1980.
I gota admit I did not like E-10 at first, but then again, I did not like it when they first started taking tetraethyl lead out of the gasoline.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One thing to remember is that ethanol is hygroscopic. It carries water with it, and attracts water from the air. If you have water in your fuel system, it will help carry it out. But, it also causes the fuel to ever so slightly conduct electricity. This will (over time) cause electrolytic reactions in the fuel system where dissimilar metals touch. Brass and aluminum to name an example. It will slowly rot your carb from the inside out, but it will take a long time. if you keep an eye on things and keep things tuned regularly, it shouldn't be a problem, but it does still happen just the same.

--Justin
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubes_rock
One thing to remember is that ethanol is hygroscopic. It carries water with it, and attracts water from the air. If you have water in your fuel system, it will help carry it out. But, it also causes the fuel to ever so slightly conduct electricity. This will (over time) cause electrolytic reactions in the fuel system where dissimilar metals touch. Brass and aluminum to name an example. It will slowly rot your carb from the inside out, but it will take a long time. if you keep an eye on things and keep things tuned regularly, it shouldn't be a problem, but it does still happen just the same.

--Justin
That's where adding something like Marvel Mystery Oil is helpful.
It has some lubrication characteristics that help prevent the
electrolytic reaction.

The few times I've used E-85, the only thing I've noticed is a slight reduction of power.
I ran it in the truck once and it ran fine. It felt like I hung a 300lb weight
on the nose of the truck, but it had no running problems.
Same with the bike... it just didn't have the pep that it had on regular.
It wasn't a drastic power loss by any means, but it was noticable.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The lack of power makes sense. Gasoline is about 125,000 btu/gallon and E10 is 120,900 btu/gallon. 5,000 btu/gallon difference would make things feel a little bit sluggish. Also, you might want to verify this for accuracy, I think ethanol's flame speed is slower, so it takes a little longer to develop power in the cylinders. This might be more noticeable in a short stroke engine than in a long stroke one.

What is interesting is that ethanol by itself (E100) is 84,400 btu, or only 2/3 as powerful as gasoline per gallon. Distilling it to make that gallon takes 33,000 BTUs, so a gallon of ethanol (discounting planting, harvesting and fermenting the corn) yields a net 54,400 BTUs/gallon. I'm sure that planting and harvesting alone require more than that, so I have to ask, why are we taking a crop that could be used to feed people and turning it into a fuel that uses more gasoline and diesel fuel produce that it conserves?

Meanwhile, I'm reading a news article about people in Mexico starving because of a corn shortage. Guess what!?!? The shortage was caused because the corn is being diverted to make ethanol, and every gallon of ethanol produced required over a gallon of petroleum to make it.

I'll get off my soap box now, but it bugs me when I read about people having trouble with their engines because of ethanol, when ethanol isn't even a fuel we should be considering.

--Justin
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubes_rock
The lack of power makes sense. Gasoline is about 125,000 btu/gallon and E10 is 120,900 btu/gallon. 5,000 btu/gallon difference would make things feel a little bit sluggish. Also, you might want to verify this for accuracy, I think ethanol's flame speed is slower, so it takes a little longer to develop power in the cylinders. This might be more noticeable in a short stroke engine than in a long stroke one.
Yes, it does burn slower than gasoline.
However, it also has a higher psuedo octane than gasoline.
If the engine is designed to run on it, it can run and produce
as much power as gasoline.
Because of the increased "octane" (if you will), you can run higher
compression ratios, more timing advance, and even forced induction easier. Those things can help make up for the inherent power loss.
All things equivalent though, yes, alcohol is a less power producing fuel.
It also burns very cold.

I personally think we should all be running nitromethane!
Too bad it's $45 a gallon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubes_rock
What is interesting is that ethanol by itself (E100) is 84,400 btu, or only 2/3 as powerful as gasoline per gallon. Distilling it to make that gallon takes 33,000 BTUs, so a gallon of ethanol (discounting planting, harvesting and fermenting the corn) yields a net 54,400 BTUs/gallon. I'm sure that planting and harvesting alone require more than that, so I have to ask, why are we taking a crop that could be used to feed people and turning it into a fuel that uses more gasoline and diesel fuel produce that it conserves?

Meanwhile, I'm reading a news article about people in Mexico starving because of a corn shortage. Guess what!?!? The shortage was caused because the corn is being diverted to make ethanol, and every gallon of ethanol produced required over a gallon of petroleum to make it.

I'll get off my soap box now, but it bugs me when I read about people having trouble with their engines because of ethanol, when ethanol isn't even a fuel we should be considering.

--Justin
You got it!
Wanna know something else interesting? All this talk about Biodiesel
and people making their own Bio-diesel fuel?
Technically, running bio-diesel in a street vehicle is illegal.
It's not enforced yet, but I look to it being enforced in the near future.
Bio-diesel isn't all it's cracked up to be... AND, making it at home and
using in for street use is by-passing paying road tax.
It won't be long before the government starts cracking down on the bio-diesel stuff and starts making people pay tax on what they make or
starts fining the hell out of people who are doing it.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litnin
Quote:
Originally Posted by tubes_rock
The lack of power makes sense. Gasoline is about 125,000 btu/gallon and E10 is 120,900 btu/gallon. 5,000 btu/gallon difference would make things feel a little bit sluggish. Also, you might want to verify this for accuracy, I think ethanol's flame speed is slower, so it takes a little longer to develop power in the cylinders. This might be more noticeable in a short stroke engine than in a long stroke one.
Yes, it does burn slower than gasoline.
However, it also has a higher psuedo octane than gasoline.
If the engine is designed to run on it, it can run and produce
as much power as gasoline.
Because of the increased "octane" (if you will), you can run higher
compression ratios, more timing advance, and even forced induction easier. Those things can help make up for the inherent power loss.
All things equivalent though, yes, alcohol is a less power producing fuel.
It also burns very cold.

I personally think we should all be running nitromethane!
Too bad it's $45 a gallon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tubes_rock
What is interesting is that ethanol by itself (E100) is 84,400 btu, or only 2/3 as powerful as gasoline per gallon. Distilling it to make that gallon takes 33,000 BTUs, so a gallon of ethanol (discounting planting, harvesting and fermenting the corn) yields a net 54,400 BTUs/gallon. I'm sure that planting and harvesting alone require more than that, so I have to ask, why are we taking a crop that could be used to feed people and turning it into a fuel that uses more gasoline and diesel fuel produce that it conserves?

Meanwhile, I'm reading a news article about people in Mexico starving because of a corn shortage. Guess what!?!? The shortage was caused because the corn is being diverted to make ethanol, and every gallon of ethanol produced required over a gallon of petroleum to make it.

I'll get off my soap box now, but it bugs me when I read about people having trouble with their engines because of ethanol, when ethanol isn't even a fuel we should be considering.

--Justin
You got it!
Wanna know something else interesting? All this talk about Biodiesel
and people making their own Bio-diesel fuel?
Technically, running bio-diesel in a street vehicle is illegal.
It's not enforced yet, but I look to it being enforced in the near future.
Bio-diesel isn't all it's cracked up to be... AND, making it at home and
using in for street use is by-passing paying road tax.
It won't be long before the government starts cracking down on the bio-diesel stuff and starts making people pay tax on what they make or
starts fining the hell out of people who are doing it.
litnin,

We fooled around with a couple of alcohol motors in a DIRT car. Very finickey! There was some extra power due to the latent heat of alcohol allowing for more fuel to be introduced and some torque gains but all in all we decided the problems with maintenance and the unpredictibility make it more problems than it was worth. Getting it warmed up was a real problem.

Alcohol IS for drinking....using our food for moving metal down the road is just plain retarded....IMHO.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubes_rock
The lack of power makes sense. Gasoline is about 125,000 btu/gallon and E10 is 120,900 btu/gallon. 5,000 btu/gallon difference would make things feel a little bit sluggish. Also, you might want to verify this for accuracy, I think ethanol's flame speed is slower, so it takes a little longer to develop power in the cylinders. This might be more noticeable in a short stroke engine than in a long stroke one.

What is interesting is that ethanol by itself (E100) is 84,400 btu, or only 2/3 as powerful as gasoline per gallon. Distilling it to make that gallon takes 33,000 BTUs, so a gallon of ethanol (discounting planting, harvesting and fermenting the corn) yields a net 54,400 BTUs/gallon. I'm sure that planting and harvesting alone require more than that, so I have to ask, why are we taking a crop that could be used to feed people and turning it into a fuel that uses more gasoline and diesel fuel produce that it conserves?

Meanwhile, I'm reading a news article about people in Mexico starving because of a corn shortage. Guess what!?!? The shortage was caused because the corn is being diverted to make ethanol, and every gallon of ethanol produced required over a gallon of petroleum to make it.

I'll get off my soap box now, but it bugs me when I read about people having trouble with their engines because of ethanol, when ethanol isn't even a fuel we should be considering.

--Justin
tubes_rock,

I am with you on the ethanol...I've heard all kinds of arguments presented as to why we should be using it...the only one that has any merit, I think, is the point that the farmers can make more money growing corn for fuel. They don't have to worry about the corn being 'fit for human consumption'. They can fertilize with anything that'll make it grow, put anything that resembles corn through the processors and don't have to worry about what it looks like, and not worry about a lawsuit because they poisoned thousands of people.

In a nutshell that just about sums up ALL of alcohols positive points!
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The corn typically used for making ethanol is so low grade that it's only fit for use as livestock feed or animal bait, ideally.

Now what do you guys think about the cellulose thing? Take the part of the corn plant that's left after the edible portion is removed and process that into fuel... Yeah, maybe it takes more coal to make the steam to run the distillation, but you can't put coal in your gas tank, can you? Screwing with the food supply is stupid, but looking at using something that is just being thrown out or burned anyway? Sounds worthwhile to me.
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