Ethanol fuel problems - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 12 Old Mar 4th, 2010, 8:11 pm Thread Starter
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Question Ethanol fuel problems

Has anyone actually tried and had problems with ethanol added fuels? The debate is strong and some of the evidence is alarming to say the least.
It would appear that it is a very strong solvent and has a particular affinity for fibreglass resin (motorcycles tanks, etc.) and absorbs water like motorcyclists absorb beer. It is said to have a storage life of 2-3 weeks!! Details below in the links.

I recently did a long trip in my car and after always using E10 fuel, I decided to use normal unleaded this time for the trip and I found I travelled further on each tank of fuel. A European racing team tested ethanol added fuel and found that they used up to 15% more fuel for the same performance. They could still go fast, but they had to push the throttle harder to achieve it. I think I can safely concur.

Issue No. 40 of Australian Road Rider had a good article pointing out the hazards relating to bikes.
Also I heard that to produce enough ethanol to run the American cars, they would have put 94% of the US soil under grain production! Seems fair?

Some very interesting reading can be had at the following
http://www.fuel-testers.com/ethanol_...dvantages.html
http://www.daybreakfishing.com/ethanol-fuel.html
Search the net for the file BIO_Sub_20_FCAI.pdf which is a Victorian state government document

Thought provoking
Col

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post #2 of 12 Old Mar 4th, 2010, 9:38 pm
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Agreeably enough, Ethanol does take more energy to produce.........the 'heat' in the production of Ethanol comes from natural gas...........strange;.......less carbon footprint during the production phase but really quite expensive;...........as far as power is concerned.........it is akin to pouring sand down a rat hole............The farmers here in the states just love the subsidies these crops provide.............another item that adds to the cost of the fuel...........as far as I am concerned, it's a no-brainer..........use un-leaded fuel where ever possible.....

Before long we'll all be using it exclusively just because politicians will mandate it.........Se la gere...................
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post #3 of 12 Old Mar 4th, 2010, 10:50 pm
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Ethanol has a lower energy content than unleaded petrol so for a given volume of petrol with say 10% ethanol, the resulting km/l will be less than using 100% unleaded. Ethanol also increases petrol's ability to absorb water so an E10 blend will hold more water in solution than a 100% unleaded. The 10% threshold has been adopted to minimise the impact of both the above issues with most if not all manufacturers accepting this to have no tangible detrimental effect on engines or components.

All this is really a non issue in Australia though as the NSW government has already legislated that as of July 2011 all unleaded fuel sold by primary wholesalers must contain at least 10% ethanol. All other states have either legislated the same or have legislation currently under review.
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post #4 of 12 Old Mar 5th, 2010, 5:29 am
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Tried it.. for the last 3 years at least! and no problems that I can attribute to the fuel so far....
unless the fat lady smoking after being on the side-stand could be blamed on it.
I guess I'll see what the mechanics say after she gets her 60,000k overhaul in a few months!

Chris
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post #5 of 12 Old Mar 5th, 2010, 7:36 am
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

While ethyl alchohol is miscible with gasoline...it is soluble in WATER!

That's right...ethanol attracts water like sh!t attracts flies. Yes it will burn but provides much less energy per unit volume than petroleum gasoline...thus poorer gas mileage. And it's affinity for H2O makes it a major corrosive for fuel systems and throttle bodies.

I only burn it when I have no other choice. Other than that avoid it like the plague.

The republic was healthy until Congress discovered it could tax the producers then leverage those funds to buy the votes of the freeloaders.


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post #6 of 12 Old Mar 5th, 2010, 7:59 am
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Pretty much any vehicle will tolerate up to 10 percent alcohol in the gasoline. You will get in trouble fast if you use E85 (85 percent) or one of the other high content blends in a vehicle not designed for it. Flex vehicles have fuel components designed to resist the corrosive action of the alcohol mix. They also have a computer system to adjust the timing curve and fuel/air mix to match the percentage of alcohol they detect. I have owned two flex vehicles and they run very well on E85, with great horsepower. You get more horsepower from alcohol because it has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline. The negative impact comes from the fact that a gallon of gasoline contains more energy than a gallon of alcohol so that equals lower mileage. I typically lost between 10 and 15 percent on my mileage with E85. So the bottom line for me was great horsepower and lower mileage.
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post #7 of 12 Old Mar 5th, 2010, 12:53 pm
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

I have been watching alcohol fueled Nascar for a decade or two and they do just fine with it, but they design engines for it now.

As to Gasahol, living in Illinois, I have used it in every vehicle for a long time. The only time I see gas without 10% ethanol in it is on trips out west.

The LT gets perhaps 1 MPG more without straight unleaded fuel. Yes, that would be nice, but the LT spends most of its time within 500 miles of home and its all gasahol.

You talk about alcohol absorbing water in the fuel system like it was a bad thing. Having not had to spend a cent on gasoline deicers in 20 - 30 years. Which in northern IL means that alcohol in the gas is doing its job. Alcohol prevents ice crystal formation too.

Speaking of winter, winter gas in the US is more volatile than summer gas, and I get worse gas milage in my car in winter than when the denser, summer gas comes along. I unfortunately do not get enough riding done in December - March to really tell what the impact is on the bike.

As for alcohol gas lasting in the tank, I have never noticed. The tank on the LT has no problem with 10% alcohol, but in the fall, I put Sta-Bil in my generator, lawn mower, snow blower, LT and any other gas fueled machine. The stability of gas in carbs, fuel injectors, etc. as more to do with its tendency to carmelize in small tubes and plug them up. Of course, Sta-Bil is part alcohol, and it keeps water from corroding the metal parts in all those motors.

As to the cost of producing it, yes, ethanol from corn is expensive. But its US corn, US natural gas, US electricity versus millions of fewer dollars of imported gas, and stretches US gas reserves too.

Somehow, Brazil seems to do much better than we do, but they have sugar beets and other sources that are less costly than corn.

Plus the subsidy keeps farms going too, which is not a bad thing.

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post #8 of 12 Old Mar 5th, 2010, 1:21 pm
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

So why not convert all the internal combustion engines in the US to all natural gas? Safer, cleaner, and energy efficient. New fields now opening in North Dakota, Penn., and Upstate New York. The technology of production from these tight sand and shale formations is no longer a secrete.

Just looking for some feed back here, not trying to rankle feathers................
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post #9 of 12 Old Mar 5th, 2010, 10:42 pm
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Natural Gas, like Hydrogen gas, has its problems too. It needs a very well sealed fuel cell type tank, that will not leak or rupture in a crash. "Oh, the humanity!!!' Hindenburg syndrome.

But it is possible I guess. Although few things burn with the intensity and cleanliness of hydrogen. But like anything else, too much of a good thing can be and explosion.

Interesting thought though. I think it may be Honda that is testing hydrogen fueled cars in Ca.

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post #10 of 12 Old Mar 7th, 2010, 12:39 am
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Like WildBil, I use 10% ethanol in my LT all the time. And like he said, not much choice here in corn country. I still get 48 to 52 mpg. Usually closer to the 52. I haven't heard much of anybody getting much better mileage than that on a regular basis using any other fuel.
As far as subsidies go....don't get me started on that. I have a brother and a nephew who bring in big bucks on subsidies, even when they have bumper crops.
They hate this joke: You know the difference between a farmer and a 747?
Answer: The 747 quits whining when it touches the ground. I mean they HATE that joke, and I love telling it!

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post #11 of 12 Old Mar 9th, 2010, 6:37 pm
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Pretty good joke! You must be good at ducking where you are from. I went to U of I in C-U back in 71-75. Met my wife there and lived in Mahomet for about five years before we had kids and moved up to the Chicago area so we could afford them.

I have not been down around Pesotum since then. Brings back memories just thinking about the area though.

Pre-2004 LT's seem to get 48 -52. I ride mostly two-up and sometimes with loaded cases. but its still 42 - 44 for me. Does not matter much what type of gas, although the posted speed limit seems to be higher where the straight gas is pumped. Well, I sure am glad to be back on the road. I thought the ice was never going to go. Still lots of snow here, but not on the drive or the streets.

I know spring is about 3 weeks closer to you than me.

Funny thing. When I was writing computer code at U of I, it was mostly done on cards, and they joke each fall was to come back to see DCL's newer and faster card reader; it was a mortal sin to ever let it run out of cards to read.

Two years back when I was at the BMWMOA annual in Gilbert, WY, I was sitting listening to the music and met one of the on-site IBM techs who keep the hardware running way back then. Small world some days. Take care.

Bill

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post #12 of 12 Old Mar 10th, 2010, 11:18 pm
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Re: Ethanol fuel problems

Hay Razmataz,

You know how a farmer doubled his income?????

He puts up another mailbox

--Thats OK I don't care--
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