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Old 07-25-08, 08:55 AM   #1
Siu Blue Wind
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Ethanol fuel

This thread came to thought with the "bad gas" thread posted by Manbearpig. But I didn't want to jack his thread so here ya go.

There is a new Ethanol gas station opening up near my work and some with the newer cars are very excited. They say that it is much cheaper than gasoline and that we could get more miles to the gallon. They were talking about some sort of converter for the older cars but said that my truck should be able to take it no problem.

I asked a couple of mechanics - one said he was not sure if Shorty would do well on it, because it is new in our area for passenger trucks/cars. Another said that he is not knowing if it would be good. Another said to call the dealer. When I called the dealer, they said to call the customer service people, which consists of a bunch of office people who said to call the dealership.

Does anybody here know? I'm just kind of curious, but it's not like I'm gonna go run out and fill him up with this stuff in a jiffy. I'm kinda skeptical on something "new" like this.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:00 AM   #2
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Ethanol made from corn is a such a waste. Will only work as long as it is subsidized by the Govt. Takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than you get back out of it. Losing proposition. Do not support the industry any more than you have to, please.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:03 AM   #3
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what jeff said.

right now it's made with corn. Guess part of the reason food prices are so high. I think ethanol made from switchgrass is more efficient, but no one is doing that commercially.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:05 AM   #4
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The price of corn is going up like crazy. So corn and dairy products are going up like crazy.


^

beat me too it.

Stick to fossil fuel, dinosaurs died so we could drive cars. Don't let it be in vain.

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Old 07-25-08, 09:09 AM   #5
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Check the owners manual for your truck. It will tell you if you can use E-85 (aka "Flex Fuel").

If it doesn't say that, don't use E-85 blend.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:10 AM   #6
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An interesting read

http://www.businessweek.com/autos/co...427_493909.htm
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:11 AM   #7
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What they said.

If you don't give a crap, check with Dodge about it. My Uncle bought a Dodge diesel in 2005? and wanted to use biodiesel, but Dodge would have voided the warranty. Since Shorty isn't specifically rated for ethonal, it may be fine to use but may not meet Dodges standards for warranty work.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:26 AM   #8
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I am waiting to see if I get hired at a new ethanol plant (I'll be able to bike comute) I know from camp stoves ethanol has about 60% of the btu potenial that gas has . it is also hard on standard Orings and seals and uncoated aluminumn. There were people in the 70's making it at home out of grass clippings.they had to put a kit in there carb. to burn it I don't think we should be betting the farm on corn ethanol to get us out of the energy crunch . I do think it could be part of the solution. and the more people working in manufacture of it, the more chance of someone making a break through in making it a viable source of energy . to do that you will have to think outside grain only . a set up that could use what ever we had and abundance of at the time and the ability to switch to another source quickly would make it a viable source of energy IMHO
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Old 07-25-08, 09:34 AM   #9
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I agree that corn ethanol still has a lot of problems, but I think it could be valuable in places like southern California. Cars run on ethanol pollute less, and vehicles here are responsible for 70-80% of the smog.

Maybe if all vehicles were mandated to run on ethanol, only ethanol fuel was available, and the price of ethanol more closely reflected its true cost, it would make a difference. Petrol gasoline is government subsidized as well, it's just in higher demand and has better infrastructure.

To the OP...check out http://www.change2e85.com/servlet/StoreFront for some conversion kits. I'd be skeptical as well. If it ain't broke...
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Old 07-25-08, 09:38 AM   #10
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I agree that corn ethanol still has a lot of problems, but I think it could be valuable in places like southern California. Cars run on ethanol pollute less, and vehicles here are responsible for 70-80% of the smog.
...
Go read the article I linked to in post 6 and see what you think about the "cleaner" aspect of ethanol, or read this: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18162493/
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:44 AM   #11
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I hope your area firefighters have the training and special extinguishing foam required
for putting out ethanol fire. The usual methods don't really work.

Article here:
http://www.currentargus.com/ci_8371726
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Old 07-25-08, 10:41 AM   #12
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I wouldn't use it, unless if it was like 40% less in cost per gallon. I forget the numbers, but most vehicles lose something like 20% fuel economy running on the stuff, if not more. And make less pedal-to-the-metal power.

Granted, some cars are getting properly designed for flex-fuel, but most merely "tolerate" the stuff.
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Old 07-25-08, 10:42 AM   #13
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I think you actually get worse mileage Siu IIRC.
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Old 07-25-08, 10:47 AM   #14
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I think you actually get worse mileage Siu IIRC.
I think the hope is that the reduced price compensates for the reduced efficiency.

Check this out, carbon *negative* biofuels *and* prairie restoration (more buffalo to eat!), but oh dear from crops that are not subsidized:

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conten.../314/5805/1598
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Old 07-25-08, 10:52 AM   #15
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You have to adjust it down to dollars/mile in order to compare ethanol vs. gasoline. The actual energy-content is less than gasoline due to fewer hydrocarbons per gallon (all those oxygen atoms are HUGE). The stoichiometric ratio is about 11:1 for ethanol vs. 14.7:1 for gasoline, so you have to dump in more ethanol per engine revolution. These two factors combined gives ethanol roughly 50% the gas-mileage as gasoline. Then compare that to the price and it's probably a wash or worse.

The main benefit I see in ethanol is it's very knock-resistant. You can run very high compression-ratios like 15:1 with it or crank up the turbo to 20psi+. Then you can regain some of the lost fuel-consumption. But without these types of modifications to your car to take advantage of the of ethanol's features, you're better off sticking with gasoline.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:04 PM   #16
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I'm in Iowa so this becomes some kind of political hot button. Most of my farmer friends won't use it because of the less efficiency. In Iowa, Nebraska and a bunch of the midwest, the blend is 10% alcohol. Ethanol burns at a cooler temp than gasoline so there is less energy there, which is what DannoXYZ was saying. My cars get 10 to 15% lower efficiency with it, so at even 15 cents per gallon lower price, my price per mile is still less without it. If we are burning 10 to 15% MORE fuel than with straight gasoline, how is that creating fewer pollutants?

Right now the plants being put together in the US have a production ratio of about 2.5-2.7:1 fuel produced to dino fuel used in the manufacturing process. That's not acceptable. It should be 4.5:1 ratio at least and there are ethanol plants that will do that, but they aren't being built in the US. The US market doesn't like efficiency.

Now vegetable oil in diesel application IS very workable.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:22 PM   #17
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Politics aside...

As a general rule, if your car was not designed to use e85, DO NOT USE IT. Most likely, your seals will dry out, your fuel pump and injectors may not be up to the task of providing enough fuel, and your ECU will not be able to properly adjust timing for it.

People that put e85 in a car that wasn't designed for it are idiots, or at the least, ignorant fools.

And your fuel economy will be much worse.

However, you CAN modify your car to run on it. It takes more than just a "converter". You need to have an intimate knowledge of fuel flow rates, injector sizing, compression, boost from your turbo, (if applicable) ignition timing, and you should replace the requisite seals.

Don't do it.

Now, if your car is designed to use either e10 or e85, go for it. Just expect your mileage to go down.

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Old 07-25-08, 01:42 PM   #18
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Okay guys. Thanks for the info. That was enough to freak me out. You all know how much I love that truck to do anything to hurt him. Doesn't seem the benefits outweigh the negatives, also in regard to manufacturing it.

I guess that's what I needed to hear after everyone at work (who really don't know) was getting all hyped up about it.

Gasoline for Shorty, it is!
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Old 07-25-08, 02:50 PM   #19
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Okay guys. Thanks for the info. That was enough to freak me out. You all know how much I love that truck to do anything to hurt him. Doesn't seem the benefits outweigh the negatives, also in regard to manufacturing it.

I guess that's what I needed to hear after everyone at work (who really don't know) was getting all hyped up about it.

Gasoline for Shorty, it is!
If Shorty could talk this is what it would say.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:12 PM   #20
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What they said.

If you don't give a crap, check with Dodge about it. My Uncle bought a Dodge diesel in 2005? and wanted to use biodiesel, but Dodge would have voided the warranty. Since Shorty isn't specifically rated for ethonal, it may be fine to use but may not meet Dodges standards for warranty work.
Really? Biodiesel voids the warranty? What total BS.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:14 PM   #21
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Really? Biodiesel voids the warranty? What total BS.
He was really bummed out about it, too.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:22 PM   #22
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On the motorcycle forums, I read a lot of messages about how ethanol in gasoline is causing problems with the fuel systems and some engine problems. The primary issue seems to be softening of fuel lines, fuel tanks, gaskets and problems with some carburetors. Virtually all the gas pumps I have seen in the Seattle area have a sticker saying that the gas may contain up to 10% ethanol, but no one can ever tell me the actual percentage.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:22 PM   #23
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Just run it on BD and when it needs work drain it and fill it with real diesel. It won't hurt it. But it will still need real diesel to start when it's cold.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:27 PM   #24
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Best use for ethanol is in cocktails. Not in tanks.
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Old 07-25-08, 04:09 PM   #25
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On the motorcycle forums, I read a lot of messages about how ethanol in gasoline is causing problems with the fuel systems and some engine problems. The primary issue seems to be softening of fuel lines, fuel tanks, gaskets and problems with some carburetors. Virtually all the gas pumps I have seen in the Seattle area have a sticker saying that the gas may contain up to 10% ethanol, but no one can ever tell me the actual percentage.
Seattle/Tacoma area was required to use 10% ethanol in winter months from 1992-1996:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/special/oxy2.html

Since then it's been optional but I don't know how often it's available <10% so I would assume it all does.

There should be more here but I'm not finding it:

http://www.pscleanair.org/default.aspx

Here it is:

http://www.pscleanair.org/regulated/reg2/reg2.pdf

min EtOH = 2.7%
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