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Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule


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Old 12-07-2009, 11:12:13 AM
Don Naismith Don Naismith is offline
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Default Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

By MARK LONG
NEW YORK—

Boaters and small-engine-industry groups are worried their concerns about engine damage will be overlooked as the Environmental Protection Agency considers allowing as much as 15% ethanol in the nation's gasoline.
Since fuel with an ethanol content of up to 10% has been introduced across the U.S. in recent years, boaters have complained of problems. Now they are lobbying the EPA to test the effects of ethanol on small engines—in addition to the testing being done on car and truck engines—as the regulator weighs increasing the ethanol content.
"We don't have the science on it," said Margaret Podlich, vice president of government affairs of the Boat Owners Association of the United States. "We don't know what this will do to marine engines."
Backers of allowing additional ethanol in the fuel mix cite reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, the possibility of job creation, and the need to meet a federal mandate to increase use of biofuels.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:34:10 AM
Don Naismith Don Naismith is offline
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

No surprise that the ethanol industry introduced the E15 proposal in an effort to increase profits.

The ethanol industry, already under siege from food companies blaming biofuels for rising grocery prices, are now seeing their profit margins crushed by falling prices for their product. Compounding the problem, many environmentalists -- who recently seemed to be in ethanol's corner -- have turned against the corn-based fuel.

Ethanol nirvana was achieved in 2006 when corn cost $2 a bushel and oil was pushing $70 a barrel. Since mid-2006, however, the price of corn has more than doubled, to $4 a bushel (it hit $7 last spring), while the price of oil is back to approx. $70 after some wild gyrations. Even worse, all the new ethanol plants that have come on line have created a glut. Consequently, even though the price of oil has soared 107% since February, ethanol has barely budged, rising only from $1.95 to $2.07 a gallon. "Many ethanol projects find themselves unable to support the debt load taken on at flusher times, making restructurings or bankruptcies inevitable,"

Reporting for duty in ethanol's counterattack: Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general and former NATO commander, who signed on in February as co-chairman of an upstart ethanol trade group called Growth Energy. Clark, 64, has fully embraced the private sector since ending his run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

At Growth Energy, Clark has lobbied against efforts in California to hold ethanol accountable for deforestation in Brazil, he's pushed back against claims that diverting corn to ethanol drives up food prices, and he's spoken out in favor of a Growth Energy proposal to increase the maximum allowable ethanol blend in conventional gasoline to 15% from 10%.
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:46:14 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Thumbs down Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

E-10 crap fuel is already causing problems in the small engine industry. The first and biggest problem is fuel degradement. E-10 , in an unsealed container, loses 50% of its burning capability within 30 days, even less if exposed to sunlight. After 60 days, it will become a corrosive agent, that will destroy carb parts, and jam fuel passages. The alcohol in the fuel is hydroscopic - that is, it absorbs water. As it does so, it alters the fuels ability to burn. The next problem is the amount of alcohol itself. Stihl Saw has now issued alcohol detection meters to all of its dealers. When a saw is brought in for service, the fuel is immediately tested for alcohol content. Is the fuel exceeds the 10% limit, the warrenty is immediately voided. The only recourse the owner has is to provide receipts, and call the local authorities about the excess alky in the fuel. If the fuel is tested at the station, and the alky exceeds the 10% limit, the state can fine the owners, and the fuel supplier, and the machine owner may be able to sue for damages and penalties. You may laugh at this, but it becomes a serious issue, not only for small engine owners. Alcohol degrades rubber in the fuel system. Most older autos will still work on E-10, but long term exposure will degrade fuel pump diaphrams and fuel lines, over long term exposure. A typical example is the Pulsa-jet diaphram in B&S engines. Average life on gasoline used to be 10 years +. Now with E-10, one season or possibly less. Now comes the big issue. The feds are NOT monitering exactly how much alcohol is actually being injected into the fuel being sold today! Not only that, they are pushing E-85 for use in the near future. The problem lies in the monitering as it is. At my son's shop, which deals with hundreds of machines in a week, they have encountered alcohol contents of up to 27% , in engines brought in for work. At 27% alcohol, and 40 to 50 to one oil mix, you might as well put straight fuel into your engine! That much alky destroys any lubricity that the oil would have made for the surfaces inside the engine. Rubber system componants are destroyed (seals, hoses diaphrams etc) The destruction of lubricating componants in the fuel cause metalurgical damage to aluminum parts (the metal degrades due to adverse chemical reactions), and it causes the metal parts to contact due to lack of lubrication. In short, the engine burns up! One way to fight the alcohol problem is now being tried: pre-mixed 2 cycle fuel, for home use (NOT marine) It is a specially prepared fuel, with a guarenteed shelf life of 2 years after opening. Cost? - $5.99 a quart + tax!

If you think you have problems now, with the E-10, just wait until E-15 comes along. Even 4 cycle engines will begin having lubrication issues, as though they don't already have flat tappet issues due to government meddling in oil content! Alcohol readings may exceed 30%! Right now, the industry does NOT need alcoholized fuel. There is actually a glut of gas, due to the fact that the economy has slowed to the point that people for the most part, are not doing a lot of recreational driving.
Andrew
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:26:41 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

"Even 4 cycle engines will begin having lubrication issues, as though they don't already have flat tappet issues due to government meddling in oil content!"

I must be missing something here... The engines I have seen torn down after many hours of use look better running the newer oils. Number one oil related engine fatality is just not adding/changing the oil often enough.

I think the real answer here for small engine manufacturers and aftermarket parts producers, is to put out replacement parts (Hello! Money making opertunity here!) that can handle sitting in rancid gas.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:27:04 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Yes go to 15% E and what all is the savings to the environment going to be NONE.

What it will do is use more oil for oil changes because of cyl wash down.
How does this help save the environment????????

Food prices up + more fertilizer needed, now you have run off of fertilizer in to creeks an rivers.
And this?????????

Oh don't for get because it is not stable you have to add more additives to it to make it work & they are worse that plane old gas.

Sorry but the GOV. is way out of line on the save the environment BS.

Not saying we don't need to do something but this is not it....

End of
And my .02
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:08:45 PM
Ed Radtke Ed Radtke is offline
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

With the viscosity of the fuel being raised by the alky,fixed jet carbs are going to run lean and then you know what happens.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:24:41 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

i vote we all go to av gas save us a world of trouble
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:49:52 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Andrew: you speak the same language I do. I run a small engine shop and also see the problems you speak of on a daily basis.

Dale; Al Gore wants us to cut down. He wants us to use less. He wants us to CONSERVE. Now....go online and look at the house this jamoke lives in. I could'nt afford to heat two rooms in it! Then look at his SUV's.. .OH Ya....There's more than one...He's also got a nice private jet that waits at his beck and call to whisk him to any environmentality he desires. Conserve? Funny word coming out of the mouth of the Liberal I call Captain Planet....But then, this has nothing to do with E15. Or does it? You do with less while I have more is the true basis of Communism.

I noticed over several years since alchol became part of our fuel, a phenomenon called "white rust" in fuel tanks, carbs and even in the intake tract of some small engines. This is the corrosive leftovers caused by ethanol and fuel additives. Anybody else here seen it? It can plug a Tecumseh carb quicker than a pinch of dirt. Once it starts it never stops. I have sold lots of carbs & parts because of this. In some cases my customers are adamant about doing end of season drain out of fuel systems only to find white rust has formed over the winter. Its a proven fact that ethanol can hinder lubrication. I have seen the proof in service schools for more than one mfg'r. Gasoilne is not immune to the effect either. Ethanol will get under the "skin" of the metal and react with oxygen when it is exposed to it.

Okay, just my E2 cents worth.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:57:20 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

I will confirm the white residue found in carburetors that have had ethanol fuel used in them. Reminds me of the white scum you find around an alkaline slough or alkaline patch in a field. Makes no difference if the fuel is drained from the gas tank and engine run until it quits before storing over winter, the white fuzz will permeate the carburetor from residual gas left in the carburetor bowl. It is necessary to remove the bowl from the carburetor and flush any remaining fuel from it. I'm experimenting with pouring enough WD-40 into the gas tank afterwards to fill the carb to see if that will help prevent the formation of the white corrosion.

To remove that white crap from your carburetor, I've found CLR works pretty good.

Of course the best solution is to avoid the use of ethanol fuel in the first place.

Bill
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:40:14 AM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Little tip to those of us stuck with ethanol. A little Marvel oil in the fuel goes a long way to retarding the "white rust". Just a little insider tip.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:20:15 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

I'm no chemist but I was wondering if this might work to remove the "alcohol" from our "gasoline". If you were to mix water with the gas would the alcohol which is soluble in the water seperate out when the mix settled. You could then drain off the water/ alcohol mix (maybe a petcock installed in the bottom of the mixing can) and the remaining gasoline would then be alcohol free. Not sure what you would do with the leftovers - maybe just let it evaporate? Four gallons of gasoline or sixteen quarts, which at 10% alcohol should contain 1.6 quarts alcohol add one gallon of water (filling a typical 5 gallon gas container) mix and let settle, drain off 5.6 quarts (or a little more) and the remainder should be almost alcohol free. Just a thought or am I out in left field as the alcohol remains soluble in the gasoline?
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:55:20 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Sounds like might be worth a try! You could probably distill the waste water product and add the distillate to your favorite mix!!

Bill
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:00:57 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Change is hard. I am not sharing my views on this subject, just rolling with the punches...

It is hard to find gas today that doesn't contain any ethanol. A better way to handle it is to find work arounds. The soap box wont lift you high enough to change to many green hat wearing peoples opinions (in powerful positions).

Yes, the Jet needs to be opened in relation to the percentage of ethanol content. It's a lower BTU output thing with ethanol.

I second the MM oil treatment. how many out there are also adding lead substitute into their soft seated old engines??? Same type of issues arose during the period when lead was being forced out of gas. The fix was lead substitute. But not many use it today...
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:30:45 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Any pre WW2 engine should NOT need lead, as it wasnt in common fuel. Most of the valve seat materials we use today came from the 1920's and 1930's when lead wasnt in use. In the late 40's and 50's engine manufacturers realized they could lower the cost of an engine by going with cheaper materials as long as there was lead in the fuel. The lead comes out of fuel, and we are right back where we started! Most of the "lead substitutes" were heavy in phos and other metals, until the EPA mandated that they be "metal free", now they are little more than oil. Marvel works.....marvelous. Engineering tested, mechanic approved.
-Aaron

P.S. careful on removing the ethanol. Fuel blenders use it as an octane booster in place of more expensive additives, so removing the ethanol from 87 octane may put you in around 70. Not a big deal for low compression engines, just dont mix up gas cans and put it in a higher compression OHV engine like a Briggs Intek. May not be happy.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:41:54 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Anyone who thinks this has anything to do with "saving the environment" is crazy. The environmentalists do not have enough clout to make that sort of a change. Money is power in Washington, because money means bribes for politicians and salaries for lobbyists. Where is the money that is pushing the EPA to increase the ethanol content of gasoline? The corn companies that stand to profit from this. If we were all burning E100, they would be as happy as can be, because they would control the fuel supply, and have a huge income off of it.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:04:22 PM
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Thumbs down Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Some small engine manufacturers are coating their carbs with an alky resistant material. They still get gummed up with the crud that forms in the tank though. Biggest problem is if you use carb cleaners to clean out the passages, you remove the protective coating, and the alky destroys the carb in short order! Most carbs made nowdays have no adjustments, due to government air polution regulations. A change in fuel means a carb replacement.!

As for non alky fuel - it is out there. Avaition fuel does not have it. most high test fuels do not use it, or if they do, it is at a reduced rate. Some marine gas does not use it either.

As for oil, it is a well known fact that government medling has reduced some componants in gas engine oil. (molebdynm-disulfide, I believe). This reduction has resulted in excessive flat tappet camshaft wear. B&S twins, and singles over 8 HP have had camshaft wear issues, as well as the major US auto engines that do not use roller cams and tappets. GM for one installs an additive in new vehicles, at every oil change, in order to combat the problem. In other posts here on the Stak, it is noted that several well known engine rebuilders have had cams wipe out in less than 5,000 miles. Most rebuilders are now using diesel rated oils, that are not covered by the government action, as the oil companies have not figured a way to replace the lubricity lost by the removal of the additive. Any time you see 'energy conserving' on an oil can, the oil causes more wear than the 'old' oil. Yes, engines run cleaner than they used to, but that is NOT the function of the oil. It is due to the use of fuel injecters, and new combustion chamber designs that make more effecient burning of fuel create less carbon and residue to contaminate the oil in the crankcase. Autos in the 1960s needed an oil change every 2000 miles. Today's engines use 7500 up to 25000 mile intervals, depending on driving conditions.

As stated above, more alky in the fuel will lead to greater cylinder wash down, and wear on 4 cycle engines. The feds want to eliminate 2 cycle engines by 2012 anyway, so what better way than to force the public to use a fuel that cannot be used without destroying the engine to begin with?

On a side note; the recent 'Cash for Clunkers' federal project did NOT remove clunkers from the roads! It was NOT intended to remove ailing or worn out autos and trucks from the roads. The vehicles taken off the roads had to pass emissions tests and inspections. It took mostly perfectly good running vehicles, and removed them from road inventory, making thousands of vehicles unsalvageable or not available to keep other older cars on the road. It forced people to buy new autos, most of which were, by the governments own admission, only marginally more effeceint than the vehicles removed. The Cash for Clunkers was one of the Feds greatest boondogles, besides the bank bailout. It did virtually nothing to create a cleaner environment.
Andrew
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:37:38 PM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Yes, and all of this is being done at our expense. Just think of all the money the government has thrown away lately, and you will get an idea of how over taxed we are. With more and more taxes and burdens on businesses, how do they expect to create the jobs they promise?
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:42:07 AM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Mackey View Post
Some small engine manufacturers are coating their carbs with an alky resistant material. They still get gummed up with the crud that forms in the tank though. Biggest problem is if you use carb cleaners to clean out the passages, you remove the protective coating, and the alky destroys the carb in short order! Most carbs made nowdays have no adjustments, due to government air polution regulations. A change in fuel means a carb replacement.!

As for non alky fuel - it is out there. Avaition fuel does not have it. most high test fuels do not use it, or if they do, it is at a reduced rate. Some marine gas does not use it either.

As for oil, it is a well known fact that government medling has reduced some componants in gas engine oil. (molebdynm-disulfide, I believe). This reduction has resulted in excessive flat tappet camshaft wear. B&S twins, and singles over 8 HP have had camshaft wear issues, as well as the major US auto engines that do not use roller cams and tappets. GM for one installs an additive in new vehicles, at every oil change, in order to combat the problem. In other posts here on the Stak, it is noted that several well known engine rebuilders have had cams wipe out in less than 5,000 miles. Most rebuilders are now using diesel rated oils, that are not covered by the government action, as the oil companies have not figured a way to replace the lubricity lost by the removal of the additive. Any time you see 'energy conserving' on an oil can, the oil causes more wear than the 'old' oil. Yes, engines run cleaner than they used to, but that is NOT the function of the oil. It is due to the use of fuel injecters, and new combustion chamber designs that make more effecient burning of fuel create less carbon and residue to contaminate the oil in the crankcase. Autos in the 1960s needed an oil change every 2000 miles. Today's engines use 7500 up to 25000 mile intervals, depending on driving conditions.

As stated above, more alky in the fuel will lead to greater cylinder wash down, and wear on 4 cycle engines. The feds want to eliminate 2 cycle engines by 2012 anyway, so what better way than to force the public to use a fuel that cannot be used without destroying the engine to begin with?

On a side note; the recent 'Cash for Clunkers' federal project did NOT remove clunkers from the roads! It was NOT intended to remove ailing or worn out autos and trucks from the roads. The vehicles taken off the roads had to pass emissions tests and inspections. It took mostly perfectly good running vehicles, and removed them from road inventory, making thousands of vehicles unsalvageable or not available to keep other older cars on the road. It forced people to buy new autos, most of which were, by the governments own admission, only marginally more effeceint than the vehicles removed. The Cash for Clunkers was one of the Feds greatest boondogles, besides the bank bailout. It did virtually nothing to create a cleaner environment.
Andrew

Its not Moly that the EPA wanted out of the oil, it was the Zinc ash and Phos. Zinc is a cheap detergent and anti scuff additive, but dirty as heck. Other additives are better, but more expensive. I wouldnt say modern oils cause more wear at all, they just dont support the obsolete flat tappets in SOME engines. In fact for overall health of the engine, the newer oils are much nicer, and YES they are cleaner for emissions by not poisioning the catalysts. I for one am glad to get away from the older cheap oils. Throw a little marvel in your 15% fuel, richen it up and no worries.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:08:17 AM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

To add to the above post about oils, that is the reason why I use the Briggs and Stratton oils in every small engine I own or work on. The oil has not been changed because it doesnt have to meet any requirements (none of the engines it is intended for have catalytic converters). The briggs strait 30wt oil is a very good oil.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:19:23 AM
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Default Re: Small-Engine Makers Voice Worry As EPA Weighs New Ethanol Rule

but briggs oil is expensive and hard to get. That is the only problem with stuff like that special oils like that can be hard to get and cost more than a typical collector. I wish there was an oil that was sold out there geared for antiques like cars trucks engines etc etc etc
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