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ChevelleSS_LS6 10-02-2004 12:56 AM

Ethanol Fuel

All of the info looks good; high octane, clean burning, etc. but how would us hotrodders convert our old iron to run on that stuff? And where would we get ethanol? How much does it cost?

Aha, yes, 113 Octane Ethanol means we can build up engines with 11.0 compression ratios without worrying much about knocking and pinging.:)

tm454 10-02-2004 06:45 AM

I have run it with no problems or mods to my engines.
I have never heard of making changes to the engine to accommodate the ethanol but there may be a trick or two I haven't heard yet.


Rat Rods Rule!

firestone 10-02-2004 12:37 PM

The ethanol that you would run in a street car would be E85. It is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. I think it is a really good idea. As far as what needs to be done to accomodate your motor, it mainly has to do with rubber parts that werent made for ethanol drying out. My main concern on an older motor would be the carb. As far as where to get it, there are several gas stations that carry it around the US. If you do a little searching on the internet, I am sure you could find a gas staton in your area that has it. It is usually quite a bit cheaper than regular fuel, but it burns about 30% faster because you can mix it at a higher ratio than regular fuel. That is why it makes more hp aslo. Not many people know this buy many new cars are automatically designed to run on E85 they are called "felxable fuel vehicles". Also all government cars, at least in Nebraska, run on it.


coldknock 10-02-2004 01:47 PM

Some decrease in mileage can be expected unless you jack up the compression and take advantage of the higher octane rating.

More cylinder pressure will raise the engines efficiency up to help compensate for the lower energy released from the E85. It won't offset the entire loss but it would help.

I can see no reason why an engine couldn't be built to take full advantage of the fuels higher knock resistance and be just as efficient as a gas burning engine.


jimfulco 10-02-2004 10:21 PM

It's corrosive to the pot metal that carburetors are made of.

ChevelleSS_LS6 10-02-2004 10:56 PM

aren't carb parts made of brass, and isn't alcohol corrosive to it? Well that's what I thought. Maybe I'm wrong.

If they built cars to run off straight E85, we could have 11.0:1 compression commonplace again:)

Rhansen 10-03-2004 07:29 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I researched this for a paper last semester (persuasive paper on the advantages of E85) and found that the conversion is not too difficult, though I didn't address the conversion in my paper. There is a lot of information available on the topic and several universities have done E85 conversions successfully. Basically the mixture needs to be enriched (for max power - lean limits are similar to gasoline) and you can run more advance. Engine temps are lowered and cold starting becomes more difficult. One of the conversion projects used a MSD 6 box to overcome the cold start issue. E85 is agressive towards certain plastics and non-anodized aluminum (Edelbrock said my 1406 is compatible with the fuel). I also found out that the old "high test" gas contained a large amount of ethanol to raise the octane, so I would suspect that most of the old muscle cars would only need a jetting change. A quick search will turn up lots of info (including materials compatibility).
Attached is a (poorly formatted) text file of my paper if anyone is interested.

coldknock 10-03-2004 08:07 AM

That was absolutely beautiful Rhansen. When do get to see that put to good use, like educating the general public? It would be nice to have an E85 option at every pump.


Simo 10-03-2004 08:37 AM

down here in aus ethenol was used in pump fuel for a while , a lot of late model cars had engine problems , my old v8 loved it ..
must have a tad more compression , they dont have it now,(so they reckon)..

?? is it corrosive..

Simo from aus...

Rhansen 10-03-2004 12:38 PM

Another good link here - gives good info on materials compatibility.

johnsongrass1 10-03-2004 06:08 PM

Where's 4jaw?

He's full of .....this kind of infomation:mwink:

firestone 10-03-2004 07:58 PM

Rhansen, I did a feasibility project on the use of E89 also. That is kind of a weird coincidence. Where do you go to school? I am a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.


Rhansen 10-04-2004 04:29 AM

I'm going to a community college for now - to get some math out of the way. I'll most likely end up at Iowa State to finish out my degree.
Need to hurry it up so I can build my 12:1 CR daily driver (ethanol fueled of course). It will probably get 8 mpg and 2 tires every oil change:thumbup:

tnoftsger 10-04-2004 06:03 AM

GM also uses teflon coated fuel lines to prevent the alcohol from attacking the steel fuel lines. They also provide a different computer, with a wider tuning capibility to switch back and forth between E85 and regular gas. Tuning is drastically different.

1BAD80 10-04-2004 07:31 AM

The blend of the ethenol (corn alcohol) is normally 10% with gas.
Its been in Mich. for years and still is.
The postings kinda reads that some are thinking of using it in a higher percentage. Feds want 15% ethenol in the future.
The jetting and amount of ethenol with compression must be considered.
The more alcohol, the more needed to burn almost twice that of gas.
The mix at the pumps does not need any jet changes.
Its all in the combination of parts used to build the motor, a 12:1 can be built to run on 93 octane pump gas.

As quoted from the site given:
Keep this in mind when designing an ethanol powered vehicle:

"Even after all the top brains have figured out everything on paper and failed to make it work, they still have access to tons of diagnostic equipment and large chunks of money to find out "why not?" Normally, Detroit doesn’t put things on the market unless most of the bugs have been ironed out. This ironing out process has so far taken over 80 years for the gasoline engine."[10] - Michael H. Brown, 1981.

All looks good on paper, just like desiging of the cars.
What looks good on paper does not work all the time in real life.
89/93 octane gas with ethenol is still a 89/93 octane burn rate.
my $.002 cents worth. :thumbup:

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