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USE IN AUTOMOTIVE ENGINES














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Ethanol Use in Automotive Engines

1. Will the use of ethanol void my car's warranty?

Certainly not! When the use of ethanol began in 1979, most automobile manufacturers did not even address alcohol fuels. As soon as each manufacturer tested their vehicles, they approved the use of a 10% ethanol blend. Today, all manufacturers approve the use of ethanol, and some even recommend ethanol use for environmental reasons. Many manufacturers do recommend against the use of methanol (wood alcohol).

2. Will ethanol work in fuel-injected engines?

Absolutely! Ethanol never contributed to burning or fouling of port fuel injectors. Fuel injectors are manufactured to very exact tolerances, so it takes a very small amount of deposits to affect the efficiency of an injector. Components of gasoline, such as olefins, have been identified as causing deposits that result in fouled injectors. Since ethanol burns 100% and leaves no residue, it cannot contribute to deposit formation. Since l9S5, all ethanol blends and nearly all non-ethanol gasolines have contained detergent additives that are designed to prevent injector deposits. These detergents have been very effective in alleviating this gasoline problem.

3. If I use ethanol, do I need a gas line anti-freeze?

No! Gas line anti-freeze contains alcohol, usually methanol, ethanol, or isopropyl, which can be used up to a .3% level in your car's fuel tank. All alcohols have the ability to absorb water, and therefore condensation in the fuel system is absorbed and does not have the opportunity to collect and freeze. Since an ethanol blend contains up to 10% ethanol, it is able to absorb more water than a small bottle of isopropyl, therefore eliminating the need and expense of adding a gas line anti-freeze.

4. Won't ethanol burn valves?

Ethanol will not burn valves. Ethanol burns cooler than gasoline. Many high-powered racing engines use pure alcohol for that reason.

5. Will ethanol hurt my older engine designed for leaded gas?

No. The concern about older engines came about because of the lead phase-out. Lead oxides that were formed during combustion provided a cushion that reduced wear on non-case-hardened valve seats. Therefore, it is the absence of lead, not the presence of ethanol, that is of concern.

6. Does ethanol lead to plugged fuel filters?

Ethanol can loosen contaminants and residues that have been deposited by previous gasoline fills. These can collect in the fuel filter. This problem has happened occasionally in older cars, and can easily be corrected by changing fuel filters. Symptoms of a plugged fuel filter will be hesitation, missing, and a loss of power. Once your car's fuel system is clean, you may note improved perforrnance.

7. Why do some mechanics say not to use ethanol?

A mechanic who says not to use ethanol does not have correct information. There is very little information available for mechanics on fuel formulation, so when there appears to be a fuel-related problem with an engine, some mechanics will immediately ask if ethanol has been used. The only reason ethanol is suspected is that in many states it is the only gasoline component other than lead that has an identifying label. In North Dakota, New Mexico, and Idaho, ethanol proponents have offered a $100 reward to any customer who can document damage from ethanol to his or her car, and so far no one has ever collected.

8. Do we still need leaded gasoline? Why not?

The availability of tetra-ethyl lead in gasoline is practically non-existent today. There are additives available to replace the "lubrication" value of lead for older engines, but studies have shown that they are only necessary when an engine is operated under heavy load or very hot conditions.

9. Can ethanol be used in diesel engines?

Ethanol does not mix well with diesel fuel, but there are currently two applications for ethanol with diesel engines , a complete replacement of the diesel fuel with pure ethanol, and an injection method. In the injection method, vaporized ethanol is injected into the air stream after the turbocharger where it replaces about 25% of the diesel fuel. Early results show increased power, similar mileage, and greatly reduced toxic emissions.
















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