Making Your Car (and Bike) Ethanol-Safe

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I wrote recently about the damage done to older (carburetor-fed) vehicles by the alcohol-dosed “gas” that’s pretty much replaced the real deal.

See hereethanol lead

Alcohol, in addition to impairing your judgment and dulling your reflexes, also (in machinery) attracts moisture, hastening rust formation inside the fuel system. Since most older (carbureted) cars and virtually all older motorcycles have steel tanks and steel fuel lines, the formation of rust is accelerated on the inside surfaces. This can wreak havoc as the flakes slough off and are carried down the pipeline.

The second curse of ethanol is its effect on rubber and composites (seals, gaskets and o-rings) that were made when gas was still gas – and not 10 percent alcohol. When exposed to alcohol, these parts become brittle and shrink (causing leaks) and in some cases literally dissolve or chemically react in such a way that a grayish goop forms within the fuel system, eventually clogging small passages such as the orifices in needles and seats and carburetor jets. The result is a not-nice running vehicle, if it runs at all.ethanol carb

So – what to do?

* Avoid the stuff – 

Here is a link to a web site that will tell you how to find gasoline – not 90 percent gasoline – in your area. All states are listed; click on yours to find out what’s available in yours. The upside is you should be able to find 100 percent gas in most states (in Alaska, that’s all they sell). The downside is the stations are often few – and far between.

While it might be feasible to keep your power equipment – and classic vehicles – topped off, you are limited in terms of how far you can drive by how close you are to the filling station. Still, the fact that straight gas is still available is very good news. And there is a growing backlash against ethanol – because even leaving aside problems with older vehicles, burning it will reduce your mileage in whatever vehicle you drive (including brand-new vehicles) because there is less energy content in a gallon of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gas than there is in a gallon of 100 percent gas.

Expect more real gas pumps to crop up – especially if we continue to bitch about (and boycott) the ethanol.

* Use the stuff –ethanol rusting

Ethanol “gas” does not store as well – or as long – as straight gas, so you want to avoid leaving it to age in fuel tanks or even fuel jugs. Try to buy it as you burn it. This is sometimes easier said than done in older vehicles, such as vintage cars and bikes (as well as outdoor power equipment that may sit unused for months at a time).

If at all possible, try to start/run the vehicle for at least 15 minutes at least once a month. That will help. And try to keep the fuel fresh.

Most motorcycles have a fuel tap that you can use to turn off the flow of fuel from the gas tank to the engine. When you’re done riding, turn the tap to “off” and let the engine idle until it burns up the remaining fuel in the carburetors. Then it will just stop running – and you can leave it that way for awhile without worrying about stagnant fuel in the carburetors decomposing the internals. You can do the same with a car – if you install an shut-off valve in the fuel line, ahead of the carburetor. With power equipment, your best bet is to drain their tanks and run the engine until it shuts down.

Adding fuel stabilizer to the fuel is a good idea, too.

* Make your vehicle (and equipment) compatible with the stuff –

Well, to the extent that you can. Which will be determined by your budget – or your abilities.

Or both.

You can, as an example, usually buy an ethanol-compatible rebuild kit for most carburetors. The should include gaskets, o-rings, floats, needles and seats, rubber diaphragms (and so on) made to withstand modern (ethanol-spiked) fuels. Ditto fuel lines – especially the flexible rubber ones.ethanol pump

The biggest job – both in terms of work and expense – is making your fuel tank (and the steel lines that run from it to your carburetor – in a car, at least) less vulnerable to ethanol.

That is, to rusting out from the inside out.

The tank can be cleaned – and then sealed – using products made for this purpose. I recommend Bill Hirsch’s three-step process (see here) which will remove any accumulated gunk inside the tank, then remove/render any remaining rust inert, then coat the entire insides with a tough – and ethanol-resistant – material that sets up almost like ceramic. I have used this stuff in both motorcycle and car fuel tanks and have been very happy with the results.

With a car, you will probably still need to deal with the factory steel fuel lines, which are likely already rusting from the inside out if the vehicle is 30-plus years old and the lines are original. I recommend – when money permits – replacing the original factory-installed lines with reproduction pre-bent stainless steel lines such as those available from Fine Lines (see here) and other suppliers. Check Black Friday Ads 2020 and Rural King Ad These lines are made to the original patterns and are “bolt in” – but the material stands up better (and lasts longer) than ordinary steel.

* Lastly, we can bitch – ethanol_available_miles

Ethanol is a con, a boondoggle, a flim-flam. A con. A gyp. The one ethanol upside – that it is an octane enhancer and so allows modern cars to run higher compression ratios, which allows more powerful as well as efficient engine designs – is arguably negated by the numerous negatives, including across-the-board reductions in fuel economy due to the lower energy content of a gallon of 10 percent ethanol “gas.” Studies have also been done that strongly indicate it takes more energy to make ethanol than you end up with. And that diverting the raw materials (corn stock) has contributed to the rising cost of food.

The bottom line is, if enough of us complain about it, the market – if not politicians – ought to hear us. And respond. Anecdotally, the ethanol-free pump in my neck of the Woods is always busy.

Let’s do what we can to make them all busy.

And let ’em know we’re sick of the corn juice!

Throw it in the Woods? 

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  1. I’ve pasted a letter I wrote to a farm magazine here in Iowa (Wallaces Farmer. Yep, that Wallace {not George}).

    Dear Editor,

    The conservation section of the September issue of Wallaces Farmer has an article out of place. Rod Swoboda’s “Residue to play a big energy role” should be in the “Mining the soil” section, if there was one. There is just one sentence about conservation in the article: “They leave enough residue on the field to protect the soil from erosion.” Nobody who has farmed Iowa soil could honestly say that.

    Farming has become more about forcing a market to exist than providing raw materials for essential uses. This has led to such things as cellulosic ethanol produced from crop residues that, if left in place, enable valuable soil life to survive through the winter and rivers to run clear.

    This September issue features a family that actually leaves a clover stand for an entire season to heal the land injured from farming practices in the same vein as practices needed for cellulosic ethanol from corn fodder. Can you imagine not getting a crop for a year and even bearing the expense of seeding a cover crop because of past negligent farming practices. It’s shameful.

    Further on in the issue is an article on Secretary Tom Visack’s “New era for soil conservation.” This article outlines $1.2 billion of taxpayer money to be spent to ameliorate damage done by farmers who farm the cellulosic ethanol way.

    The soil, that is the lifeblood of the Iowa economy, would benefit best through elimination of all federal involvement. What started out as well-intentioned protections and incentives has become a crony-capitalist boondoggle that destroys the soil and tries to protect it at the same time. Farmers who know the value of soil will farm it in such a way that they can turn a profit with healthy soil for the long haul.

    Sorry to say, Iowa farmers have a long way to go to live up to the praises of the media and politicians who call us stewards of the land.

    Love, Fritz

  2. The truth was somewhere in the middle:

    “a consistent minority of buyers want regular gasoline without added ethanol for various reasons. And a switch by Magellan Midstream Partners, operators of Iowa’s largest pipeline system, will make that a more difficult or more expensive option by mid-September. Magellan has notified Iowa retailers that the 87 octane unleaded regular gasoline, which is the most popular alternative to ethanol-blended fuels, won’t be sent through the pipeline after September 15th.

    Instead, the pipeline company will ship an 84 octane unleaded along with the much-more-expensive 91 octane “premium” gasoline. Petroleum retailers said it would be possible to blend the premium fuel with the lower octane gasoline to create the regular unleaded currently available at the pumps. But doing that might increase the price by 30 to 40 cents a gallon at the pumps. Currently, regular unleaded gasoline without ethanol is about ten cents a gallon more expensive at most stations.

    Eighty-four octane fuel would not be legal to sell “as is” in Iowa because the octane level is too low for vehicles. Retailers would add ethanol to create the E-10 mixture sold to most Iowa drivers now. The octane content of E-10 would then drop from the current 89 octane to 87 octane.” …

    “The change is driven by pipeline customers, including refiners, petroleum traders and petroleum marketers. They want greater flexibility to mix products and more uniformity across states, said Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine. Iowa and Nebraska are among the last states in the country to require a minimum octane of 87, he said, but shipping the 84 octane still allows for the product to be mixed with a higher octane product to reach the required 87. […]

    Only a sliver of Iowa gasoline sales now involve E15 fuel, but if the ethanol-blended product were sold on a widespread basis here it could be a model for the rest of the nation, he added.

    Other parts of the country have already made the change from 87 octane to lower octane gasoline for various reasons, and Shaw expects other Iowa pipeline operators to follow suit after Magellan’s product shift.”…

    “The change also aligns with the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires a mandatory minimum volume of biofuels in the national transportation fuel supply.” …

    • I remember when real gas went up to a $.45 premium at Fleet Farm. Casey’s stayed at $.30 and some convenience stores have backed off to $.25. There’s been that $.30 difference ever since these stories were written. Before that it was $.10, easy choice. Now the mileage trade-off makes the choice a toss-up in our 2006 Honda. We buy real gas on the principle of the thing. Our delivered to the farm gas is the stuff with the premium added to boost the octane.

      • ‘I remember when real gas went up to a $.45 premium’
        I remember when $0.45 bought more than a gallon of premium.
        I also remember the first time it cost me $20 to fill up – and that was a 20 gallon tank.
        I guess I’m getting old. At least I feel that way.

  3. I will not take offense at Eric using my name to mean screwed. It
    isn’t always a bad thing.
    And the tech talk from Jean leaves me scratching my head.
    When Bobby said there is food corn and fuel corn he totally lost me.
    We’ve been growing corn here in Iowa for 34 years. The seed companies
    have developed varieties that do one a little better than the other
    but they occupy the same space and end use is basically the same. Half
    of our corn feeds cattle and half is sold into the commodity market.
    The cellulosic ethanol business is a mini dust bowl in the making.
    Modern crop production already mines the soil (except for a few
    no-tillers). To remove the residue for Poet and others is holocaust of
    the earth.
    Jean gets to the real issue. Don’t force anything on us. But it should
    not be ignored the oil business, through extensive subsidies (front
    door and back door), is using a tool (government) of force as well.
    The most telling fact facing the ethanol proponents is that they don’t
    fight oil business favors (including Middle East meddling). They just
    want to pile on more government, which never makes things better.
    My wife, BTW, bough real gas at one of the 4 out of 5 stations that
    sells it in town last night, at a 30 cent premium.

    • Hi Fritz,

      Just got the Honda operational again. It runs like the proverbial Swiss watch now. Amazing what cleaned/adjusted carbs will do for you!

      My issue is not with ethanol, per se. I’d be fine were it simply one of the various fuels available, and its success or failure dependent on the market.

      Instead, it is forced on us – for the sake of the profits of the various parties involved in its production – and because it serves the agenda of politicians.

  4. I’m Bobby Likis, owner of an award-winning auto service shop in Florida. For 43 years, vehicles of all makes and models have rolled through my doors. More than 200,000 vehicles, in fact. Over all those years and all those vehicles, NOT ONE has sustained “engine damage” due to ethanol. That said and with the best of intention to shed light on science vs myth, I’ll educate Mr. Peters and his readers – point by point.

    Mr. Peters: Alcohol attracts moisture, hastening rust formation inside the fuel system. Since most older cars and virtually all older motorcycles have steel tanks and steel fuel lines, the formation of rust is accelerated on the inside surfaces. This can wreak havoc as the flakes slough off and are carried down the pipeline.

    Bobby Likis: Let’s clear the smoke first and appropriately reduce a mountain to a molehill. There are about 252,700,000 light (non-commercial) vehicles on U.S. roads today. The average age is about 11½ yrs. So most of us drive cars made in this millennium…not made in the ‘70s or before (affectionately known as “classic cars”). I’ll talk about those vehicles in a moment, but first let’s talk about what’s so much more relevant: ethanol and phase separation in cars made later in the 20th century and in today’s 21st century.

    Well, no doubt that ethanol emulsifies and holds water. Yay!! That’s a good thing! In fact, “HOLDING”/suspending/emulsifying water is one of the ASSETS – not detriment – of ethanol to today’s fuel systems.

    Specifically with regard to moisture, a gallon of ethanol suspends FOUR (4) TEASPOONS of water per gallon of fuel before phase separation. On the other hand, gasoline suspends only POINT ONE FIVE (.15) TEASPOON (that’s LESS than ONE teaspoon) of water per gallon before phase separation. So PHASE SEPARATION WILL OCCUR 26 TIMES MORE RAPIDLY WITH GASOLINE THAN WITH ETHANOL! This has been demonstrated hundreds of times (including one demonstration I recently saw by Dr. Andrew Randolph, Technical Director of Earnhardt-Childress Racing), clearly substantiating that gasoline does NOT effectively hold (suspend) water. So with straight gasoline, whatever water is in any tank or atmosphere “phase separates” and falls to the bottom of the tank. In contrast in ethanol-blended fuel, the ethanol will suspend that water during the driving of the vehicle; then, harmlessly carry it through the system to be burned by the engine without affecting the engine in the least. The suspended water, burned by the engine, produces NO harmful emissions. And one more point, at 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent relative humidity, it takes more than 2 months for even gasoline to absorb water. Since ethanol has 26 times the suspension capability of gasoline, it would take literally months and months before any phase separation could possibly take place…if indeed it happened at all with sealed gasoline systems. Today’s sealed gasoline systems are “closed systems,” so not exposed to water intrusion in the first place. So you can clearly see how this is a moot point.

    Now to the 1970’s “back-when-gas-was-gas” time frame. We’re not there anymore, and feeeeew of us drive cars that were made then. Let’s put the “older car” scare tactic in perspective. Here are the stats from my own automotive customer database: In the last 2 years of vehicles serviced & repaired in my shop: .02% (that’s 2/100 of 1%) were made in the 1980s and .003% (that’s 3/1000 of 1%) were made in the ’70’s. Yes, back then, we had horribly running engines in the mid-70s to mid-80s caused by emissions systems that were nothing more than bandaids to meet clean-air mandates. So what does that have to do with now? The old fuel systems and their components were steel and vulnerable to many factors that don’t exist today. Period. OEMs (automakers) have changed and upgraded not only the steel lines, but the fuel system in its entirety since the mid-‘70s. New systems, new materials, new technology. So if you’re still driving a ‘70s automobile, you’ve got a mountain of mechanical problems totally unrelated to ethanol. So can we please stop raising objections to ethanol (E10) that’s been in the fuel supply since the 1980s.

    Re classic cars, so many considerations there: very different fuel systems, different compression ratios, long periods of time undriven. With classic cars, as well, if you’re driving one, you’ve got a mountain of mechanical problems totally unrelated to ethanol. Ironically, most classic car owners – and by nature, enthusiasts – have upgraded their fuel and related systems, so this further reduces the molehill.

    OK, let’s dive right into boats. According to a white paper published from the research and development of Mercury Marine (one of the world’s largest marine engine manufacturers), a fuel system, after the initial transition to E10 fuels, would actually run drier than it did prior to the blended-ethanol being used. With regard to the specific composites, the rubber lines and those sorts of things, I don’t know of any classic car, car or boat that has been stored for a long time with fuel with it, whether that be E10 or straight gasoline that doesn’t oxidize. In fact, Mercury goes on to say that proper storage methods are essential to long term storage whether it’s straight gasoline or ethanol gasoline, period. So that’s a matter of maintenance that is standard protocol for any machine that uses liquid fuel.

    Mr. Peters: Ethanol gas does not store as well – or as long – as straight gasoline…try to burn it as you buy it.”

    Bobby Likis: Not true. Storage has its challenges with both gasoline and ethanol blends. For example, Brunswick (the parent company of Mercury Marine) makes an additive that is a stabilizer for ethanol. But guess what…it’s the SAME stabilizer made for gasoline! Standard storage practices with fuel stabilizers can allow up to a year with no adverse effects from gasoline or ethanol-blended gasoline. And one final point that’s important, I personally own a classic car that has 24+ months of E10 in its fuel tank. The stabilizer in its tank is the SAME stabilizer normally used to stabilize gasoline – with no additional, unique additive added with regard to the ethanol component of the E10 blend (10% ethanol). Gasoline “goes bad” just as easily as gasoline blended with ethanol. So Mr. Peters’s hypothesis is one that I would challenge, and if you had a side-by-side comparison and used the same methodology for storage, you’d be hard pressed to know which one has ethanol in it and which one is straight gas. Those are the facts.

    Mr. Peters: “Studies have also been done that strongly indicate it takes more energy to make ethanol than you end up with. And that diverting the raw materials (corn stock) has contributed to the rising cost of food.”

    Bobby Likis: Inaccurate and outdated. First, “fuel corn” is NOT “food corn.” Two different crops. And, thanks in large part to the investment in farm-related technology, equipment and R&D stimulated by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), crop yields are way off the charts. Twenty-five years ago, an acre of farmland produced 80 bushels of corn. Today, an acre of property produces 171 bushels of corn. That’s more than double the yield from the same farm footprint. Further, only 15% of all corn crops are irrigated. The rest are rain fed. So there’s a myth out there that says you have to spend 15 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol, or that ethanol does not return greater than the cost to deliver. In fact, studies have been conducted by the Department of Energy, the University of Minnesota, and Iowa State University that illustrate that the return on ethanol are in some cases proven 2 to 1 and that includes the cost of diesel for the farmer’s piece of equipment that tills the soil and reaps the harvest. Further, CELLULOSIC ethanol plants are beginning to come online. And recently Quad County Corn Processors (the American coalition for ethanol project in Galva, Iowa) and POET DSM’s project Liberty in Emmetsburg, Iowa, are now making ethanol from rubbish, from corn stalks, from switch grass, from cellulosic materials that were before just a gleam in someone’s eye. That someone was Henry Ford who predicted that fuel would be produced one day from such fodder. So we progress with technology in the development of ethanol…as we progressed with computers, electronics, cells phones, and most things in life, including the safety, design & performance of cars. And as we progress, not only will we see continued lowering of prices of ethanol fuels, but we will also see ethanol that comes from cellulosic materials that heretofore weren’t used. In closing, to educate readers, the ONLY studies that indicate otherwise are directly connected to the American Petroleum Institute, aka Big Oil. Think there’s a conflict of interest there? Big Oil has owned the fuel industry for more than 100 years; I wouldn’t expect them to try and be ok with giving up a percentage of their industry. And that’s really what that’s all about.

    Mr. Peters: The one ethanol upside – that it is an octane enhancer and so allows modern cars to run higher compression rations, which allows more powerful as well as efficient engine designs – is arguably negated by the numerous negatives, including across-the-board reductions in fuel economy due to the lower energy content of a gallon of 10% ethanol “gas”.

    Bobby Likis: That blob if broken into two components is correct. Put a period after “…efficient engine designs” and you’ve got fact. Indeed, car makers are making smaller turbo-charged, higher compression engines that burn cleaner and get better gas mileage than their predecessors…and are doing so directly based on the octane property of ethanol-enhanced fuels (pure ethanol has a 113 octane rating). Even the gasoline companies are capitalizing on the ethanol’s high-octane benefits by producing 84-octane, sub-par gasoline and injecting 10 percent ethanol to get it up to 87 octane to meet the legal mandate at the pump. The ethanol-injection method costs them less than making 87 straight gasoline which is reflected in a lesser price of gas at the pump. Speaking of costs…

    Now on to the rest of the story after the pure fact part. To say that the benefit of ethanol’s high-octane rating is negated by mpg is out of context. The miles-per-gallon measurement of BTUs will be replaced by the miles-per-dollar advantage of engines optimized for the high-octane properties of ethanol, previously discussed. For example, Ricardo Engineering optimized a GM V6 engine 3.2 L for E85 (85% ethanol). Not only did the EBDI (Extreme Boost Direct Injection) engine deliver 3.5% more mpg than the diesel it replaced, the EBDI matched the torque and the horsepower of a 6.4 V8 diesel, which is phenomenal. This is the future, as OEMs and engineering firms design engines using the high-octane and clean-burning assets of ethanol to deliver to the American public cheaper fuels and better performing automobiles now in the 21st century.

    • Hi Bobby,

      You’ve conceded the main arguments I made regarding problems caused by ethanol in older vehicles. I have never claimed they cause mechanical problems in modern vehicles. (Ethanol-blend fuels do result in lower miles-per-gallon, but that’s another matter.)

      There are millions of people who own – and drive (and ride) older vehicles, and for them, the problems discussed are not minor nor the grousing of neo-Luddites. Not everyone wants an EDR-equipped, direct-injected debt albatross around their neck. Some believe (I include myself among them) that the introduction of ever-high concentrations of alcohol into the fuel supply is intended to hasten the demise of the pre-ECU/EDR stuff. If it’s not, it’s a an interesting coincidence.

      The “fuel corn” and “food corn” stuff has been dissected here already. The fact is that resources devoted to “fuel corn” are resources not devoted to “food corn” – which means, higher food costs.

      Bottom line: Why defend ethanol? Who benefits? It is an unnecessary, cost-inefficient fuel that is foisted on the public, not demanded by the market. It is a rent-seeking scam for the benefit of agri-business cartels.

      At least “Big Oil” has a product people actually want – and will pay for without being forced to buy it.

    • “So if you’re still driving a ‘70s automobile, you’ve got a mountain of mechanical problems totally unrelated to ethanol”

      What exactly do you believe comprises this “mountain of mechanical problems totally unrelated to ethanol?” I have not experienced any in my 1970s daily driver.

      I also have absolutely no interest in going into debt to purchase one of today’s overpriced, overly-complex, rolling computer systems masqueradiing as cars. I’m simply not on board with your grand vision of the future, and curse the violent federal thugs who have used coercion to force ethanol crap in our gasoline.

      • Ditto Jason.

        The troof is that any number of vehicles (cars and bikes) from the ’70s can be a daily driver today. Indeed, with a few simple upgrades, you can have almost all the tangible advantages of a modern car without the complexity, cost – and the frustration.

        My ’76 Kz900 Kawasaki, for instance. I’d not hesitate to ride this bike anywhere, including cross country. It is as reliable as any modern bike – arguably, more so. Because if something does go wrong with it, it is almost certain to be something I can deal with myself, with basic tools, in a parking lot. There is no ECU or drive by wire throttle to fritz out. If a cable snaps, it’s both obvious – and takes 5 minutes to fix. Pretty much anything that might go wrong with the carburetors is something that a can of Gumout and a screwdriver can address. The ignition system is simple, rugged and very durable. A modern bike’s is rugged and durable. But if if craps out – look out. I replaced the original points with a breakerless system, but otherwise, it’s just two coils (one for each pair of cylinders) that typically last for decades (the ones on my ’76 are original; that is, they are almost 40 years old), a simple charging system (again, original) and very little to go wrong.

        The engine has no “sensors” – so no worries about weird/intermittent/inexplicable problems. There are no “trouble codes,” no “check engine” flags. There is a tachometer (mechanically rather than electrically driven) a speedometer (again, mechanically driven) and an oil pressure gauge that I added because the bike originally came with just an idiot light for that.

        What else does a bike need?

    • Bobby,
      I’m not normally this terse, but you lose all credibility sounding stupid.

      “The suspended water, burned by the engine, produces NO harmful emissions.”

      Water doesn’t burn, junior.
      Chemically impossible.
      It is in fact the RESULT of hydrogen burning.

      I’ve been guilty of the same “foot in mouth” disease, but soemthign that egregious makes you look like a moron.

      Of note, it takes heat from the combnustion process. Great for cooling the engine, maybe modulating the combustion rate, acts a limiting reagent – but shite when placed in anything made of IRON for those very same reasons.

      See: Rust IS burning. It is a slow-burn, low-thermic reaction of iron and oxygen, and facilitated by presence of water.
      The wrought-iron fence? Rusts in the rain, right?
      Imagine heating the wrought iron with a blowtorch, and leaving the water to rest.

      See for full explanation, I’m not going to paste in the equations and then re-write them for you (subscripts and graphics don’t paste, I have coding work to do, and I still have to install the effing Eclipse here, which is an adventure in and of itself because people who don’t have a clue how software gets developed, are the ones who devise the rules to keep “those evil developers” in line. Testers are actually BETTER than developers, we need to know more. Don’t know if that translates to “real” engineers and QA testers, E.G. Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, electronics, automotive, but it’s true here in software… But that’s a rant for another time.)

      Anyway, the testers who have to write code are running single-CPU, dual-core rigs with Win XP and 3.2 GB RAM, and the machines are now about 10 years old. The three-year WARRANTY ran out in 2008….
      And the PTB here are locking down the hard drive so there’s no “evil user activity.”
      That means you need Admin access to make a directory in the hard drive. And there’s a diktat from Corporate, “THERE SHALL BE NO GODS BEFORE US!” (IE, no one has admin rights.)
      Just another example of how, in order to save the beast from its own stupid, you have to shoot the beast in the feet a few times, then beat it into submission….
      And then the beast kicks you for the trouble.

      Looping back:
      Water BAD in fuel systems.
      And it doesn’t burn, though the heat of combustion will make it vaporise – but it follows a different compression curve, expands differently from CO2, O2, N2, NO, and the several other gasses found in regular atmospheric mixes. By increasing that percentage, you change what the engine is doing, and what will work optimally.
      Hey, if I wanted a steam engine, I’d go buy a steam engine. I want gasoline because it offers superior performance at lower cost, and I don’t want crap like ethanol and water gumming up the works. Nor MBTE, for that matter.
      You want it? YOU buy it. Don’t demand I do so.

      • Jean–

        I’m literally LOL over here…man, I feel your pain! I quit a job in total disgust about six years ago. It was a HUGE Java shop–PROS Revenue Management, ‘cuz I name names.

        Extremely rigid–not quite as insane as what you describe which, by the way, makes me cringe, vomit, and recoil in horror.

        But they would not buy developers hardware. I was team lead over five other developers. Over a period of three months, two of them had catastrophic hard drive failures and you know how that is–it costs at least a couple of days of installing and configuring to get everything back Just The Way I Like It.

        And devs are useless until it’s that way.

        So I suggested that PROS do for my devs what I’d done for myself already–put in two fucking hard drives and MIRROR them!

        But NOOOO, that might cost too much. It’s better to waste two days of a $100K/yr developer’s time. Much cheaper–if you’re an idiot MBA that is.

        Same story with multiple monitors. Study after study has proven that two monitors make devs roughly 60% more productive. Sixty percent!

        But NOOOO, an extra monitor might cost a couple hundred bucks, so it doesn’t make sense to make a $100K/yr developer 60% more productive.

        So Jean–do you hate the title “software architect” as much as I do? To me it’s come to embody the sort of “government of software development”. Guys who like, no, LOVE to call themselves “architect” are the bane of software engineering. Almost always they’re self-aggrandizing little bureaucrats who think they’re above actual code-writing, and can sit around producing elaborate diagrams and lofty frameworks.


        I wrote a fifteen page manifesto detailing all this idiocy and why it would kill the business, and sent it to all the senior executives from the CEO on down, then quit the next day.

        Between all that, and the constant

      • Jean–

        Go contract!

        I deduct my machine expenses. I’m running a six-core 3970X chip at 4.6GHz, 32GB RAM, and two Vertex 4 SSD’s.

        The machine absolutely screams!

        Life is too short to develop on crappy hardware.

        • I want to, but I admit I’m afraid.
          NEed to go looking at incorporation, and I’ve looked at it intellectually, but never pursued it.
          Might be better to look into it more closely, now, and find a foreign holding site as well as a gun-friendly state holding site. Move my hardware offshore and be ready to outlast things there…

          As for computers?
          They’re talking a quad-core, 8 GB box as the base, unless your machine can meet the minimum specs. The Core Duo? Meets the specs, so we’re supposed to run a software development GUI on a vista-certified POS.
          I won’t name names (yet) but it’s one of the “too big to fail” companies in finance, though the only one that was solvent at the time – it was FORCED to “play ball.” They’re very conservative, and excessively niggardly. Being a Dev type? They won’t even give us dual monitors. One of the other guys got an extra somehow, and hooked me up – for the desk, out on the floor- while the boss now demands we stay in the Lab…

          the STOOPID, it BURNS….

          Oh, other note:
          Bitlocker hard drive encryption.
          Beyond Trust access control.
          Voltage Encryption.
          Odyssey Access Client.
          OneSign single sign-on agent.

          ALL running when we start up the machine. I imagine this is why it’s 15 minutes to get a right-click context menu??? (And that’s on the NEW machine, not the Core Duos….)

          Softwaqre Architects I haven’t had issues with. We don’t use them here. (Stop screaming, I know it’s worse not having, than having them. See also, “niggardly.”)
          The ones I knew 10 years ago were decent, but they had done coding. Go figure.

          If incorporation will allow me to run LoadRunner (or similar) tools, I’d be OK with that. But I need a method of getting the license…. It’s several hundred K, I believe. Even if I go to Silk instead, it’s still not cheap, and most people won’t understand the differences, nor the utility of either. I might as well use cURL and draw up a make-believe report…. Lots of Pretty Graphs, make them think it’s ALL ok….

          Maybe I should just get back to development? I used to be good… Mgith make a go again, and I always felt I was accomplishing something.

          • Do it, Jean.

            Contract gives a whole lot of what I call “flexibility” with taxes. All legal of course.

            I’ve been using Fitnesse. Hard to set up but a fantastic integration testing tool.

            Man–development in Texas, Houston in particular, is a very hot market. C’mon down, bring yer guns and yer liberty.

  5. come goyim. blessed are the cheesemakers, enjoy your interest free financing for the first month my fine khaveyrim, free teevee, sports, music, online news, free trade, and open borders, if you win you get a fiddle made of gold, it’d probably way a few hundred pounds and sound terrible, but if you lose, Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav you’re still the man of the house, while I am only a mouse…

    It’s all just General Semantics

    • The Jews are correct. Most Goyim are cattle. Interesting that most fuuuhhhhhhhhtttttttttball fanatics are not of the tribe.

      We could learn.

      I know I have.

      • The most mystifying thing for me is the team names and the colors. The striped shirts and the whistles and the penalty pantomimes. Making them play on green carpeted cement.

        It’s almost like the more evolved classes are mocking everyone involved, to seeing how ridiculous they can make the gladiatorial classes behave before waving their hands and commanding them to mindlessly crash into each other for 3 1/2 hours.

        the pigskin menagerie used to be fun in the early 70s. Seems like they’ve been infiltrated by the Social Justice Warriors oy vey. Probably given an offer they couldn’t refuse.

        The vultures are really going at them now. Maybe they’ll bankrupt them all and bail them out. That way they can set their agendas directly without any middlemen.

  6. I just wonder what the Congress gets out of all of this?
    Because this is a blatant betrayal of the American Car Owner.
    I would like to know who approved not having regular and premium gasoline in any state.
    They might have a little bit more opposition than they realised. Namely all of us that keep older vehicles running instead of buying/leasing new vehicles every 4 or 5 years.
    I know as late as 2007, they had vehicles not setup for ethanol. That means even if you have the vehicle payed off it is useless.
    There was also a time when most of the electronics came from a small factory in China. That factory put out defective capacitors. That is why a lot of computers and TVs suddenly quit working after as little as 2 years. What that means is that any car with more than about 50,000 miles is likely to have massive electric problems as the capacitors cook on the onboard computer systems.
    The government bureau that keeps track of all of this is not keeping up with it.
    So a 2006 and 2008 truck are likely included in a recall while a 2007 is not.
    Just like a Ford Thunderbird has a hydraulic motor in the transmission that costs close to 2,000 to fix as it suddenly fails on the highway and you have no where to go in 70 mile per hour traffic. That too is being ignored.
    So I suggest that the bureau ignoring all this is also ignoring any problems they find with ethanol fuel. But I suggest that the customers out there are very well familiar with government corruption in the auto industry. It has been going on for the entire history of the automobile.
    They traded their reputation as horse traders and thieves for one in automobiles.
    I have little say in what they do. What say I do have is voting with my wallet. So everytime I get a vehicle that is less than what it should be, I eliminate them from my list of possible vehicles I will buy in the future.
    My little Honda Accord that I inherited from my Dad is close to failing after many years. (It is a 1997 with about 115,000 miles on it.) So the decision is to put it in the hands of a good automobile mechanic or buy new. Right now the decision is going the way of the mechanic because I simply do not see a good selection out there and they are all over priced.

  7. Here in Arkansas, it’s next to impossible to find pure gasoline, and if you do find a station, their prices are always 10 cents or more a gallon higher than the others.

  8. There is one good thing about ethanol or methanol, they make great fuels for ultra lightweight camping stoves…


    But trying buying a bottle to put it in? Most camping fuel bottles will state they are for petrol and NOT alcohol. Lately I’ve just been using an old plastic vitamin bottle which seems to be holding up, but it certainly drives home how this stuff eats seals that work on normal petrol.

  9. Maybe the parts suppliers can learn from the brazilians. They use much higher percentages of ethanol. Maybe you motorists with older cars should start a letter writing campaign to parts suppliers who make parts that come in contact with ethanol. Ethanol can attack metal and plastics and this is what Eric is seeing.

    The feds are really hateful, spiteful small minded antagonists. Scum of the earth.

    • I’ve become convinced that they know full well the negative effects of ethanol. That the object is to accelerate the demise of older vehicles this way, in order to “nudge” (Cass Sunstein) people into new cars, which are both more amendable to control as well as more debt (for most people, who must finance) and this is necessary to keep the Fed-based system operating.

      • I put “pump gas” in a plastic bottle 5 years ago and it melts it….how could they not know? Oh, I realize bureaucrats don’t do shit and have no idea of fuel past the credit card and the nozzle in their SUV or luxury car but everybody else knows, like people who actually cut their own grass(the lawn, the lawn) or firewood or fuel weedeaters(no, no, pigweed, sunflowers, dandelions).

        I read about S. Americans using any old growth that’s available and making ethanol. That sounds like it could be a good thing when it’s all you can afford or make and you don’t have the govt. in your pants certifying every mod you make. And then I think of Brazil killing off the old Beetle cause it’s “unsafe”, as if they give a shit.

        • As I get it,ethanol is what caused the plastic gas tank on my old Lawnboy pushmower to spring an unrepairable leak. It’s a Very common $50 thing.

          I’ve been wondering if ethanol is going to spring a leak in the plastic gas tank in my snowblower, too.
          Halfway through the season, no doubt.

          And I wonder if that in turn will cause more problems with the motor?

          I also wonder if ethanol affects enduro motorcycle plastic gas tanks.

          Imagine if all the older snowblowers, chainsaws, lawnmowers and such will need repaired or replaced,… that’s the broken window fallacy of economic stimulus in action, eh?

          But I shouldn’t worry about it though, right? I mean, the Central Banks are going to be giving cash straight to The People for these kinds of things, right? That’d fix things.

          That’d fix things.

          Is Cash-For-Clunkers II going to be the Central Banks giving cash directly to people to buy new OBD III complaint cars?
          Just an ugly thought I had.
          …front door bailouts for the automakers, too.

      • I am of the same opinion. Can’t force you to crush ’em? Ruin ’em! I already lost one carb on a ’66 CB160 Honda and one on a 4 stroke weed eater. My Bultaco fiberglass tank would delaminate If it wasn’t already coated. I live in the heart of the oil boom area of Texas but can’t get anything but adulterated gas.

        • I wonder why, in Hampton, Iowa, in the number one corn state, 4 out of 5 stations carry real gas. While in that hotbed of secession talk, Texas, you can’t get the real thing. One tiny reason to love a state.

          • I’m tellin’ ya, fritzgroszkruger. I don’t know it for a fact, but I have every reason to believe the gov-nahs have signed on to have real gas banned in both Arkansas and Iowa. …Staring now, for 87 octane.

            All I can say is, my favorite gas station to buy real 87 octane gasoline has stopped selling it and there’s a big Fat sticker on the 91 octane pump handle spigot which says “No Alcohol” …There’s Not one on the spot where I used to get 87 octane and the station managers told me it was because they couldn’t get any more.

            Yeesh, I feel like the time I was trying to tell people the gooberment was going to attach themselves to your tax returns and put leans on your house if you didn’t pay your Obama tax and some guy chimed in, “No he’s not! That’s not true! You’re lying!”
            On top of that, it’s staring to look like they’re encouraging couples to get divorced. Crash and burn,… and burn some more?:

            “Sadly, it’s fair to say some people will see some unexpected, unpleasant surprises on their tax returns next year.”

          • Oops, “Staring now” Ha! Yeah, might as well be, ‘starring’.

            What I meant to say was, “the gov-nahs have signed on to have real gas banned in both Arkansas and Iowa. …STARTING NOW, for 87 octane.”
            97 octane is early next year.

            “They” don’t put out fliers on the gas pumps for this sort of thing, ya know. Or, as Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, Surprise!!”

            And, you won’t NEVER see it on the front page of your local newspaper rag.


            One day you pull up to the pumps and there’s this little yellow baggie on the pump handle indicating the gas is empty…. and it stays there. … Until a new gas comes along.

            In the background, ‘The Eagles’ are singing,”Just another New kid in town.”

          • Also, one teeny tiny nit pick, RE: “While in that hotbed of secession talk, Texas, you can’t get the real thing. One tiny reason to love a state.”

            NEVER, “love” A State.
            Love the People trapped in that state, but Never, “love The State”.

            And, from the looks of things, from The Trend, every state is going to be Just Like NY state (or, L.A.) at the rate things are a going.

            Fuck, ‘The State’!
            Bastards ruling from On Top like a stack of Yurtle’s Turtles.

        • Yup.

          One thing you can do is clean/coat your tank. I use Bill Hirsch’s three-step process (cleaner, prep and sealer). It will help.

          But fairly regular (every three years or so) carburetor disassembly and cleaning is probably necessary now. I had my ’76 KZ900’s carbs completely apart just six years ago and they were severely rusted/gunked up when I opened them up last month, notwithstanding that the bike is stored inside and ridden once a month at least.

          Previously, it took years of neglect (as in, being parked outside for ten years and not run once during that time) for that kind of thing to happen.

        • tolemo, me too. And I spend my waking hours making petroleum happen, only to be thwarted at the pump.

          There used to be a time i loved Texas, the individual spirit of the people, the sheer get it done philosophy and was proud of the people who stated it even though history is written by the victors.

          I must have gotten a big dose of it…..from my dad. Eavesdropping on a conversation with other people you might hear my mother say “Please don’t tell him he can’t do that”, in reference to me. That was a common thread and I was as stubborn as both my parents to some nth degree.

          I was proud to be in a “free” land(and it was back then for nearly anything but rustling). The geography was great and the people who built it were too(not speaking of lawmakers). The rare LEO was someone local who most likely was having some bad ranching woes and about the only thing they cared about was rustling and large scale stealing of other sorts. Homicide was rare and they treated it like the mostly private thing it was with charges never being pressed even though everyone knew mainly what happened.

          So what the hell happened to that state, a place you could freely go anywhere from the mountains to the prairies to the ocean with nary a worry even though you’d be doing 30 mph above the supposed speed limit and drinking whatever you wanted?

          1980 and the Reagan era sent in millions of yankees since they knew how to do everything better. It’s gotten much worse and will continue with holier than thou govt. bureaucrats dictating speed limits on interstates and defining what is passing and just hanging out in the inner lane for truckers(truckers, to the last person, want nothing more than to never have to move from the outside lane.

          Austin is the shithole(nuthin but yankees) of the state and when a group wanted to declare Austin to be a separate country, the rest of the state said “good deal, it can’t happen too soon”.

          Helot, I feel your pain. My big green cutting friend is sitting idle due to some “fuel” problem”. I’m guessing it’s the carb finally eaten up. I love that old Lawnboy like a son.

  10. Look at the bright side. There are probably a lot of people who have learned that “everything government touches turns to shit” through this and other similar fiascoes. The imposition is not without costs, from the ruling class point of view. Lost legitimacy hurts…

  11. I’m lucky to live near the coast so my nearest ethanol free gasoline is just a stone’s throw away from my house. For a few years, I was very lucky as one of the employees rode a very nice Harley so I’d always look for that Harley as he worked weekend mornings. I would drive up in my ’97 Miata and whip out my little plastic adapter to get around the issue of the pump nozzle being too large to fit and commence filling. He was always so cool about me doing that too as that was the gas he ran for his bike. Well, he quits the job, and his soup nazi replacement yells at me through the speaker that I was not allowed to put this wonderful pure gasoline in my car. I’m now relegated to driving up in my F150 and filling my gas cans with it to take back to the Miata.

    I’m sad for you folks in the corn belt having ethanol free gas get banned by your bought and paid for politicians. I have heard so many nasty tales of what ethanol gas has done to my power boating and small engine using friends.

    In one case, a relative of mine had the ethanol dissolve the fiberglass resin in the built in fuel tanks of an older boat he was restoring which ended up causing him some serious issues. Luckily, he was not 3 miles from land when his motor failed to crank as he never made it from the boat ramp for his maiden voyage. I warned him about using ethanol gas in that boat too, but what would I being a former chemist know about ethanol.

    This ethanol in gasoline boondoggle is the poster child for the rampant corporatism that is strangling our society. Whenever I hear these boobs talking about forcing 15% ethanol onto us I always go into heart palpitations as this concentration will cause even more issues for an even broader class of fuel systems.

    • pd, even though there’s a refinery around every corner here in Tx. and a huge amount goes for military use, no ethanol free gas has been around for years…..years I tells ya!!.

      It’s all a boondoggle for competing Reps’ and Dem’ to get that ag vote. Cotton and soybeans follow that Roundup vote in most of Tx and corn for ethanol in the rest. Everybody in congress votes for more subsidy so they don’t look like the bad guy, i.e., the responsible guy.

      The neocons are howling for war with Russia. I hope they get it…..good and hard since Russia will know instantly when a nuke is launched and the return fare will be headed you know where. Of course they all think they’ll be down in their luxury bunkers with their slaves/servants. Actually, I’m not too hot on this scenario since I’m right in the middle of underground missiles, B-1 bombers and every damned thing you can think of including the largest military base in the US. Dick, the Cheney will be a mile down….nearer to his horned buddy…..and they’ll both be smiling.

  12. Most airplanes currently burning 100LL could use mogas if they would leave the ethanol out of it. In addition to the noted problems, ethanol laced fuel is prone to vapor lock in any airplane other than a high wing, gravity fed fuel system. 100LL also is loaded with lead and mogas would reduce the lead pollution. Avgas runs $5.50- $7.00/gal so there would be a big savings to pilots.

    • Mogas can be used where 80/87 octane was originally spec’ed out, and only after a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) has been granted. 100LL is necessary for higher compression and fuel injected engines to reduce the likely hood of knocking.

      But not to worry, AOPA and industry have been working to replace 100LL with an unleaded version of avgas. This is good news for those of use that worry about developmentally challenged people and democrat voting blocks.

  13. Studies have also been done that strongly indicate it takes more energy to make ethanol than you end up with.

    That’s ambiguous. In one sense, of course it takes more energy in than you get out, or you could get perpetual motion. It doesn’t need any particular studies to show that.

    However, what most such claims are stating is that it takes more fossil fuel energy in than you get out, so you would be better off just adapting the fossil fuels to get liquid fuels directly. But that claim is definitely false, since it only works like that if you are foolish enough to make ethanol that way (which is what they are currently doing in the U.S.A.). It’s false because there are lots of ways to get ethanol fuel with little or no fossil fuel input, for instance using crop rotation and green manure rather than artificial fertiliser made with fossil fuels (or using that but making it with nuclear power or hydro-electricity instead), using gasified crop waste rather than fossil fuel to power farm equipment and ethanol refining (which they do right now in Brazil), and so on.

    I did look into the economics of alternative fuels, and I did find that there was one narrow niche for fermented fuel made from crops: biobutanol, as it is a straight drop in replacement for petrol without the engine conversion and performance issues. Even that would only make sense as a transitional measure while making proper arrangements since it is even worse for needing crop inputs and pushing up food prices. The proper, permanent arrangements are synthesising hydrocarbons from coal or natural gas (or even from rubbish crops or crop waste that don’t cut into food production, if it were practical to collect those – but that’s really only practical for farm equipment and processes, though), ideally using nuclear power or hydro-electricity to power the synthesis rather than the coal, natural gas, rubbish crops or crop waste.

    • You’re right, PM – thanks for the clarification.

      In the U.S., the process is especially inefficient because it relies on corn stock. In Brazil, where sugar can is abundant, they use that as the base – and (apparently) it is energy (and cost) efficient to produce relative to gasoline.

      • Eric, we may be paying attention here in Louisiana. They are beginning construction on ethanol plants which use bagass, the left over canes and leaves from sugar cane. From what I read, it is supposed to be easier, and uses less energy to produce the ethanol.

        • We’ll soon find out. Several states, including Kentucky if memory serves, have legalized hemp production.

          If the market will bear it, the market will get it…unless idiot gubment steps in.

          I suspect it will not compete with petroleum. No biofuel is economically viable; the only one that’s close is Brazil’s sugar-cane ethanol but I think it’s still subsidized.

  14. I used to work in the print industry in the 90’s, and we used ethanol to slow down the drying rate of the alcohol based inks that we used in our process. It worked good for that, and also helps explain why it is not a very good fuel source for internal combustion engines.

    One of the old geezer executives of the company said that he used to sneak a drink of it every once in awhile.

    • I work for a company that makes medical research equipment. Using 90% ethanol for sterilization is considered a ‘legitimate’ purpose by the gunverment, and we qualify for exemption from the alcohol taxes. But for the amount we use it’s not worth the hassle to do the paperwork. So every few months someone goes to the liquor store (Owned by the County here in the People’s Republic of Montgomery, Maryland) and buys 1/2 dozen bottles of Everclear, or equivalent. Since we have paid the tax, it would be ‘legal’ to consume it. But why?

    • Rick, the same guy with the Z worked in the biology lab supply in the sub basement of a big university. He had to dole out 95% ethanol to the faculty and students and they had to sign for it all. The TABC would check his 55 gal drum now and again to make sure the records and the amount matched. They must have allowed for quite a bit of loss since we hit that baby hard. There was a 6.5 oz Coke machine just outside the main door. We’d drink a bit and then top it off with ethanol, nothing more or less than Everclear. Lots of things to have fun with there. 6′ glass tubes with cork stoppers that fit them perfectly. Push in these large biology needles in the stoppers and you had a dead accurate blowgun for the 40′ hall outside. The seal was good enough we had to use pliers to get the needles out of 2X4’s.

      I guess the P2P was gone from printing in your day. That became a major source of contention for those in the printing business and the DEA and BATFE during the 80’s when a friend owned a large printing company that did lots of color billboards.

  15. I recall hearing somewhere that a better solution than ethanol was METHANOL (with an M; that’s wood alcohol). If I recall, it takes a lot less energy to make, can be made from everything from natural gas and coal to garbage, and isn’t as hard on engines.

    Anyone out there know anything about that?

    • All the alcohol conversions require a fair amount of energy to produce. You have to keep the yeast or bacteria alive, that takes heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. Then you have to distill the resultant “beer” to remove the excess water and keep the alcohol by bringing it up to a near boil and cooling the vapor (think of a moonshine still and you’ll get the idea). In the case of petroleum there’s enough energy in the gasoline to cover the energy used for production. In the case of ethanol, it’s just a slight advantage. With cellulose based stocks it goes negative quickly.

      That’s not to say the process don’t produce a valuable product, just that I don’t want to waste it on the highway. Interesting that antifreeze was once largely methanol, but because of it’s toxic properties has largely been replaced by other chemicals.

      • Methanol – not just for breakfast anymore. During Prohibition, the gunverment subtly encouraged bootleg whiskey to be tainted with methanol, resulting in blindness, brain damage and death.

    • Methanol has less energy content than ethanol and is more harsh on fuel system components (most methanol racers use a top lube for this).
      Where ethanol has 76,000 BTU/gal, methanol contains 57,000 BTU/gal.
      It is also more hydroscopic than ethanol (absorbs water more readily).
      It does make a great race fuel and is nice as a supplemental injection to keep detonation/preignition in check (water also works for this purpose).
      A purpose built motor will make excellent power and run cooler on either methanol or ethanol.
      One of the major expenses with alchohol as fuel is the drying process. A few years back I saw this article where he basically adds two strokes (to a conventional 4 stroke motor) and uses water injection to cool the chamber and generate an additional power stroke.
      Not exactly the most practical design but it got me thinking, what if you used a hydrous alchohol fuel to the same effect (in a 4 stroke setup)? Cheaper to produce the fuel (less or no drying process) with virtually no carbon build up and may not even need a radiator……

      • No, that trick wouldn’t work for thermodynamic reasons. That six stroke system is running a less efficient down stream low temperature process off the waste heat from a more efficient up stream high temperature process, so getting more overall efficiency than just dumping the waste heat (but probably less energy per stroke, i.e. less power). It’s the same principle as generating electricity with a gas turbine and also with a boiler and steam turbine running off its exhaust. If you just watered the fuel, you’d get less efficiency as it would handle all the same energy, but all of it in a less efficient low temperature process, just as you would if you took the gas turbine out of the electricity generation and boiled the steam by burning gas directly.

        • Well, maybe. Seems I’m not the only person to have this idea.

          from abstract; “The practical consequence of burning hydrous fuel was reduced exhaust temperature. This negative consequence, coupled with the desirable consequence of increased mass flow rate, did not appreciably affect the net exhaust heat rate. Reduced peak temperatures lead to exhaust NOx reductions. In conclusion, this study reveals that ethanol with proof as low as 140 behaves as a practical fuel and is recommended as a means of increasing the economic return when using ethanol as fuel in situations where increased volumetric consumption of the fuel is acceptable.”

          Didn’t read the full thesis (yet) but it appears they did not test in an engine….

          Sounds like a job for Dirtybob.

          • I didn’t mean that there couldn’t be other advantages, just that watering the fuel down in a conventional engine wouldn’t make it get the additional energy of that six stroke. It could well run cooler with lower emissions and valve fouling, but that’s not what the six stroke is mainly about – and watered fuel wouldn’t do what that does.

          • That’s just what they do with gas turbine electricity generation. Unfortunately, the added bulk and weight makes car performance too much worse for it to be practical (the problem is even worse if there are condensers as well).

      • DBB, I can address that last question. In the 80’s I had a highly modified SBC in an El Camino that produced around 400 HP with the small valve heads and a custom ground cam designed to make it’s real power starting about 3500 rpm. It would fairly scream on the long haul and got pretty good mileage, think 12mpg at around 110-120mph depending on altitude. One reason besides the reworked distributor was the alcohol/water injection system on it. I still have the system though it hasn’t been used in decades. It had some weird plastic type of tank that held the methanol/distilled water mix and sensors hooked to a very limited “brain” that worked off the load, rpm, timing advance, etc. to inject that mixture as the load increased so the initial timing could be bumped up to a greater number for low-end torque and not resulting in pre-detonation at high loads running a 10:1 compression ratio, something hard to do back then. It worked quite well up to the point it quit working, something to do with the controller I never fixed. You could see the bright red reservoir behind the grille when approaching or in that brief period you got to see it in your rearview. That was my version of adding power via alternative means back then. I have the name of it on the tip of my tongue…dammit. There were many things such as that tried back then.

        Of course there was no way to use nitrous for continuous operation and the super-chargers of the era weren’t efficient at all. A small group of people, Banks being the foremost in producing turbo systems, were catching on back then. If I had only bought my wife a “wife only” car back then I could have tried twin turbo’s other people had such good success with. Of course, titanium alloy rods back then were $1500 set so building an engine to produce over 1000 hp was expensive beyond what most people would spend for a street engine. Ak Miller was about the only person I knew who built turbo engines for anything but a SBC and he, like Fritz, used many a 292 for that platform. I suspect a 292 turbo with a good intercooler would have worked well for a truck engine but Ak made them mainly to race and some for street cars. Not many people here will remember Ak or the vehicles and engines he built……so well.

        • Can’t say I am familiar with AK Miller either. Also not accustomed to seeing meth/water injection on a naturally aspirated motor, but I can see the advantages, esp. if dynamic compression is high (i.e. smallish cam for the static compression ratio) and/or fuel is of marginal quality.

          • DBB, the cam wasn’t small by any means, just custom ground by Lunati specifically for that engine. The advantages were many in that initial timing was higher than normal and the distributor was built to accommodate not only higher rpm but advanced timing throughout the off-idle to maximum power rpm(7200 in 1st and dropping 2-300 rpm in successive gears. All this was in response to having NO lead. I upped the ante by using Moroso octane booster in addition to the meth/water injection. I experimented with this engine since fuel was extremely expensive in ’80 when I built it(premium going for $1.40 and up at that time). The larger valve heads may have not penalized me at the speeds I ran but like I say, it was experimental. I used a big block converter(700rpm), the standard SBC(1200 rpm), the Vega model(who knows? It would rev to about 5600 rpm in every gear before winding out and shifting. I had that converter for a very short period, it sucked). I built a much hotter engine with the angle plug heads for a friend in his ’78 Z-28 with an aftermarket converter that stalled about 3500 rpm and that bad boy would turn it on.

            A friend in his 400 TA was about to race him going FM 2222 out of Austin and they both left the last light hard. A state trooper gave chase to the obvious faster car. Once home, the TA guy said something about the trooper going after the Z guy to which he replied Really, I didn’t notice. One nice thing about Z’s is you could stick all the TA suspension parts under them and have less weight. If you matted the fuel feed at 70mph on that car it would pull the passenger window out of the door gasket. Nothing subtle about that car with under the fenderwell headers collecting into 4″ lake pipes that turned out in front of the rear wheels. There might have been some sound deadening but it was hard to tell.

          • @ Eightsouth (below)

            wasn’t trying to say anything about your cam (don’t know enough about the motor combo to even guess), just using that as an example.

            not really following you on the timing business though. Not too hard to set up a distrubutor. Larger cams like more initial timing for better idle, up to the point where you just lock it out (not usually for street cars tho). Most gen 1 sbc motors like about 36 deg. total advance (at WOT) all in between 2500 and 3000 rpm.

            My understanding of the lead additive in fuel was that it protects the valve seats (for stuff prior to the very early 70’s) but wasn’t aware it had any effect on ignition timing.

          • DBB, you just said it, lead protects the valves and so does reduced ignition temps you get from less timing, less initial as well as total advance. While you are correct that most SBC’s had a total timing of 36 degrees, this created a problem with hot ignition systems, higher compression ratios and more valve overlap and esp. with higher initial and total timing for performance reasons….so you use methanol/water injection to cool the charge allowing more timing and less heat so the higher timing gives you more power but it comes with a price of higher charge temps that give you pre-ignition. BTW, GM addressed this problem, and it was a big one for trucks using propane, of valve warpage with sodium filled valves. They were the only company to do this for decades. Get a light truck out in the heat on propane and work it hard and propane will warp the valves but not on sodium filled valve engines. On that engine I used sodium filled swirl polish stainless valves. Of course each type of part in that engine weighed within a tenth of a gram of the other and the heads were cc’d within a half cc on each combustion chamber. Each valve spring assembly was buffed and shimmed to exactly the same spring pressure. Well, you get the idea. I can’t/won’t build an engine without a set of O’Haus triple beams scales or the equivalent and con rods that are stress-relieved with exactly the same head intake runners matched to the manifolds, pistons weighting exactly the same, etc. etc. Since it’s no big deal, I shot-peen the rods too that increases the strength. I use only internally balanced cranks and for the most part, forged steel. I consider a crankshaft windage tray a must also. I can’t help but say something if someone is installing a head without the correct torque sequence and don’t want to even consider whether they’ve chased the bolt/stud threads and used sealer/neverseize. It takes me a long time to put an engine together.

  16. This is a very real concern of mine because sometime in the next few years I want to purchase an RV. Specifically, I want a GMC RV, a beast built in the 1970s from the ground up to be an RV, not built on a truck chassis. It uses the same front-wheel drivetrain that the Eldorado and Toronado. You might remember seeing one as the EM-50 from the movie Stripes. But if this ethanol silliness continues they’ll all likely be dead by the time I’m ready to buy.

    The nice thing about ethanol in fuel is that it is an easy answer to “why are you a libertarian?” I get very tired of trying to get people to believe that government f***s up everything it touches, yet when presented with ample evidence (in the case of the corn subsidy), they usually will just blow off the question (“Yea, but still”) or try to make the case that the alternative would be chaos (“So you want to live in Somalia then?”). No, I don’t want to live in Somalia, I just don’t want food to be diverted to transportation fuel. And I certainly don’t want my stolen wages to pay to maintain the diversion.

    One of the leading factors in the “Arab spring,” aside from CIA and State Department instigators, was a spike in the price of food overseas. But would Washington halt the ethanol program and get that food into the food supply, stabling prices? Nah, better to let the poor bastards starve. Serves ’em right for being born in Egypt…

    • Hi Eric,


      I am now keeping close track and monitoring, so I can report what happens. The ’76 Kawasaki’s fuel system is now completely clean (and the tank has been treated/sealed). We’ll see how long it lasts.

    • Somalia, of course, is the classic example of a country suffering from the interference of too many governments. For a brief period, it’s voluntary system of The Islamic’s Courts Union was successful in providing a disputes resolution system, often cited by the Statist filth as the Sine Qua Non of the government.

      Couldn’t allow that of course- No central government to coerce or bribe so when Washington wasn’t murdering Somalis on their own, they paid the Ethiopians to do it

    • I must be living right. I love to pile on but mostly because of the government intrusion. The substance itself can be dealt with individually if not for them. I bought a 1963 Chevy 3/4 ton with a 292 back in 1978. Still have it and us it. Although watching the front wheels go round made my wife dizzy so we got a ’99 Ford.

      We used gasohol for years before starting to hate it for political/economic reasons. The crap gas never caused a problem.

      • Hi Fritz,

        A factor is almost certainly the materials within the system (e.g., floats, o-rings, gaskets). Some materials are more resistant to ethanol than others.

        Minimally, however, any engine built pre-ethanol will meed to have its carb re-jetted (richer) to accommodate the leaner E10 “gas.” That’s an absolute fact.

        It’s also a fact that ethanol alcohol attracts moisture, which necessarily increases the chances rust become a problem. I can attest to this from years of personal experience (others can chime in here).

        • The construction of this pickup is sloppy and heavy. To me that might mean the carb is designed to work under less than ideal conditions (I did replace the little bronze filter in the carb inlet, though. But nothing else.). Luck could be a factor. Karma. I’m a terrible businessman and well off anyway. This pickup has hauled 75,000 head of hogs to market not to mention all the other chores. I would buy a new one in a heartbeat.

          Do you suppose some of that gasohol got on the cab floor?

          Is it OK to put this in the text,

          • Hi Fritz,

            You’re welcome to include the link in your “handle” – no worries there. But please not in text unless it’s a specific reference related to a point you’re trying to make.

          • Fritz, don’t know which pickup you mean but it would apply more to a newer one than an older one. The carb on a 292 only has a piece of gasket material holding the half together and everything in it is bronze or cast iron with the float being some brass type of alloy that’s not affected by much of anything, so, you have a carb on this vehicle that is fairly much immune to nearly anything. The Ford is designed for ethanol so it should be ok. Try a Ford that’s 10 years older with a carb and let me know how that works out….or a later GM with an 0-ringed carb and rubber diaphragm. 10% ethanol will destroy either of the components in the latter two vehicles I mentioned. BTW, wanta sell that 63? A 292 with an original carb and a good oil filter is the next thing to bullet-proof. We used to use C-60 Chevy’s with a tag axle and tandem axle trailers and tote 80,000 lbs. They were not fast but they’d do it forever. Same for some of the old Ford’s too. Their 342 CI truck engine would go over 300,000 miles pulling bigass loads. i know, I saw one do it for nearly 340,000 miles before needing an overhaul. Don’t try that with ethanol laced no lead gas though.

  17. The states of Arkansas and Iowa have banned straight gas. They are no longer producing the 87 octane gasoline, and 91 octane will be banned for sale in early 2015. At least that’s what I understand to be the case, per the guys at the station which sells it.
    I assume Missouri is the same.

    The corn lobby is getting its way.

    • It has been almost impossible to find ethanol free gas in southern Missouri. There are a few stations starting to carry it though, especially around some of the little lakes where the outboards are getting eaten alive by the crap. The one ethanol free gas pump in my area always has a line.

      From what I understand, there is no more capacity for ethanol production. It is maxed out. I have read articles stating that the 15% blend mandate, which was supposed to go into effect in 2012, has been postponed indefinitely.

      This is one of those areas that libertarians can find allies in environmentalists as ethanol is contributing to green house gases (according to EPA reports), and consumes a lot of fresh water to produce (10 – 12 gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol). The only people still pushing for ethanol are the corn lobby, and the politicians that they own.

    • Here in Iowa the station without real gas is the exception. 10% crap gas has gone from 89 octane to 87, like real gas, however. Real gas costs about $.30 more.
      The ethanol proponents don’t like complaining about favors the oil business gets. They’d rather pile on more mandates ect to make it fair. The energy independence bs is really big here so our boys don’t have to invade oil rich countries so we can run to the convenience store for a pack of smokes.

      This civilized nation is really caveman days with nice clothes and soap.
      BTW, there are plenty of “illegals” here and they are better citizens/workers than the natives by far. They are learning from example, though. Their culture will be destroyed as well.

      • fritzgroszkruger wrote, “Here in Iowa the station without real gas is the exception. ”

        Not anymore.
        The rules are changing.
        At least that’s what the gas station manger told people when the station stopped selling the 87 octane real gas.
        Better look again.

        • That’s how it was today. Are you in Iowa?
          I can hardly believe we still have a choice in the land of ethanol worship.
          We raise corn and feed half of it to cattle. People shrug when I use the term “ethanol fascists.”

          • From what I can tell, when the station tanks are empty, that’s – it! – for 87 octane real gas. No more, no mas, fin-et’O, basta.

            In Arkansas and Iowa, anyway.

  18. I’m confused, that a graph of ethanol used in our gas and the price we pay for fuel sure paints an interesting picture.

    An op-ed from May 1, 2002 warned the legislation that is requiring ethanol might create an additional 10% increase in price.

    An internet search indicated California fuel ethanol use was very minor and with a pump price of about $1.37 per gallon of regular CA CARB fuel.

    Fed EPA told CARB’s board Chair to use 5.6% and the fuel price went up.

    More time passed and the Arnold crew went for 10% and the price goes up.

    We now are at 10% and considering 15% and the price has gone from about $1.37 to $3.50.

    The California Government regulators say we use about 14 billion gallons of fuel per year.

    So if the price has changed over $2.– in a decade the ethanol laced fuel price increase may be about $40 Billion per year. Is it time for Governor Brown to request a waiver from EPA?

    Does California use 1500 gallons of water to grow corn to produce 1 gallon of GMO corn fuel ethanol? Does California water providers check for ethanol in the supply water for public consumption? Should California request a waiver of the “Wallet Flushing” ethanol mandate so fuel ethanol ozone is in federal EPA compliance?

    CAPP contact: Charlie Peters (510)-537-1796

      • There is nothing more tedious than people who WHINE about “illegal” immigration. Where did your ancestors come from, Garysco? If they’re not Native American, then you’re a hypocrite.

        We’ve got Big Brother watching our every move, taxing us to death, and making enemies all around the world, and all you can think to do is bitch about “illegals”. Pretty pathetic.

        • No problem with people from anywhere in the world–I came here from South Africa.

          BIG problem with people coming here and immediately attaching themselves to my rapidly-draining financial udder, then voting to take my guns and further enslave me.

          THAT’S the problem–not their origin, their INTENT.

        • I was born here, so were my ancestors for many generations,
          I am sure that if traced back to neanderthals your relatives certainly lived in caves elsewhere.

          • RE: “I was born here, so were my ancestors”

            That’s why I always check off the box that says, Native American.

            …When I have to.

            I mean, I don’t know anyone I’m related to who lives in Europe, or Asia, or anywhere else, just here.

            Anyway, The problem is Not with people coming here and immediately attaching themselves to my rapidly-draining financial udder,… it’s Not Even their Intent. The problem is, the ability the Powers That Be give them, and the whole army that comes to enforce it all.

            Also, well said, JdL
            I wished more People saw it that way too.

            • Hi Helot,

              The rational objection to immigration in the current context (i.e., the nature of the government we’re stuck with) is that it encourages immigration for the wrong reasons (i.e., freeloading) and represents a very real threat to whatever remains of our dwindling liberties, both civil and economic.

              As a purely realpolitik matter, I concur. It is insane to have open borders (or even partially open borders) and a welfare state.

              What would happen if you were to place a sign in your front yard that read, “Free Room and Board, Help Yourself”? And made it known that anyone who wanted to could simply come in, plop down on your sofa, help themselves to the contents of your fridge, avail themselves of your car – and so on?

              The situation is the same WRG to immigration in the current context.

              The problem is – as always – the redistributionist violence of government. Take that out of the equation and the problem evaporates.

              If people simply wish to travel from A to B (across these fictional things we call borders) for any peaceful reason, well, they have every right to do so.

              What they do not have the right to do is shove their hands in anyone else’s pockets.


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