More on Ethanol blends and what the DIYer needs to know.

A quick update on an earlier post. News of a new article in progress on remote start kiss standby generator for non DIYers.

I am building a custom standby generator for a typical American family in suburbia. (not DIYers), this is more an experiment, and I have put a lot of research into the project. Yesterday, I finished the design on the remote decompressor that can be activated remotely by a simple switch or microprocessor. The Starter will turn the engine over without the use of the decompressor, but why strain the starter and shorten it’s life? This site will provide information on what the more typical American family needs in the way of a reliable back up generator to satisfy their needs. Will they remember to perform routine tests? We’ll see…expect video of the install, including the transfer switch and kitchen power quality monitor, all KISS engineered as reasonable. Manual start for backup? Yes!

After a trip to one of our largest outlets of small boats and outboard motors, I ruled out ethanol blended fuel all together. I strolled by the outboards and noticed that a smaller horsepower unit was $8000.00 dollars. I talked to the guy at the service counter, and asked him about the use of Ethanol blends, he replied “smart boaters will use this fuel for no longer than 30 days”.  I stopped to think about a good used outboard, and the likelyhood that used units that cost a fortune new would depreciate quickly, there’s a big chance of extensive damage to the internals with this fuel when it ages, and who wants to gamble that the previous owner cared to protect the engine?  

If you are forced to use this fuel, I think it is prudent to have a portable tank, you will have a very positive fuel shut off, and run the float bowl dry after every use. But what to do with the fuel after the run? I suggest you pour it back into your car, and burn it. It may be a good plan to keep your vehicle full of fuel and engineer a way to borrow fuel from the vehicle when required. We can hardly call our generator a ‘stand by’ with this plan, but it’s better to have one that has a better chance of running when you need it right?

Back to our Suburbia standby unit, this will be a small air cooled diesel, and there are some that claim to meet the current  EPA emissions standards, but that may be mighty temporary. the house is more ideal for a smaller backup unit as the larger appliances are natural gas including the kitchen stove. This may be God-sent as we are forced to develop our many natural gas resources here.  Phil P. and others have made really nice generators out of the new crop of two cylinder small liquid cooled engines, they have names like CAT, Kubota, and more. Not doubt, these are a good choice, but they add a little more expense to the project. 

When we study ethanol blended fuel, it is something we must buy fresh to make use of.  If we looked for a comparision in food, it might be a bunch of bananas, put them in the fridge, or on the counter and their days are numbered, eat them or toss them. My point is it’s simply not a good fuel to rely on IF you wish to have some independence. One last note, There are few fuel vendors that service the fleets, and if you know a trucker that buys fuel from these vendors, you might ask about mo-gas. This stuff is not ethanol blended, and will stay in a tank a lot longer.  Fact is.. if you use the ethanol blends in a number of snowmobiles for instance, you have no need this fuel if you want to operate without damage to parts.  Don’t advertise the fact you can still get it… the Greenies might work hard to make it illegal just because they know you shouldn’t be out there messing up the snow in the first place, frightening the wildlife and all.      

If you buy diesel fuel from the pump, add a quart of ATF for every 20 gallons, add a biocide and place it in a plastic tank with the vent closed and in an insulated shed out of the sun, I’d expect it to have excellent compatibility with a mechanical injeciton pump and to be useful for 10-20 years. keep it cool or at a stable temperature, keep the moisture out. The ATF is added to increase lubricity, and some have corrosion protection, we add it to protect the injection pump.

One thing to consider, we want to run our standby generator at least once a month to run the moisture out of the crank case and to assure that we don’t etch the crank pin or other important surfaces, coating everything  with an oil that has anti wear additives and anti corrosion properties is key.. (don’t use the new EPA recommended stuff unless you want to replace the engine more often.)  If we consider ethanol, we need fresh fuel each time.

A question we need ask.. What’s stopping the EPA from banning all diesels? Our current crop of politicians have granted the EPA ‘King Like’ powers. It may be a reason to consider buying your small diesel today VS trying to buy one later.

But some will ask, where do I get a two bearing generator? I’ve been asking that myself lately. Winco is out there, it’s American owned, and they make smaller 2 bearing generators. Might be worth a look?

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4 Responses to More on Ethanol blends and what the DIYer needs to know.

  1. Paul Martoccia says:

    As a landscape contractor I have experienced the results of ethanol blends in my small engines. Hard starts, less power. The most troublesome have been the two cycle engines which seem to run hotter with ethanol blended fuel. I have been using a “synthetic blend” two cycle oil but will be switching to 100% synthetic thanks to info I either read here or in follow up research inspired by what I read here. Thanks George.

    I just saw an add in a trade mag I get which my be of interest to some here. VP racing fuels is marketing a 94 octane ethanol free gasoline developed specifically for use in small engines. It is available in sizes from quarts to 54 gallon drums. Also available premixed with 100% synthetic two cycle oil 40:1 and 50:1. The website doesn’t let you place orders and they don’t have any dealers listed yet so I guess this must be a brand new product. I have no idea what the price point is over the E10 street gas I’ve been forced to use here in NJ.

    • George B. says:

      Paul, since you need twice as much Ethanol to do the same work, you will run leaner and hotter when you add ethanol to gasoline. Engines can be jetted to run the mixture, but as you know EPA approved carbs are tamper proof and adjustment proof. If it runs lean and hot on ethanol fuel, you can’t even drill out the main jet to compensate, as you can’t get to it! If the carb is optomized to run on ethanol blends, it’ll run rich on the VP racing fuels..

      Smarter people know the average person wouldn’t get inside the carb to make adjustments, so why carb and EPA didn’t allow adjustments is beyond me.. only answe is they are static planners,and for some reason they have too little capacity to anticiapte changes and the need for adjustments to compensate for what they do to us next!

      I’ve heard people bitch about synthetics in two strokes, I’ve had good luck with my use of it. check with a trucker in your area,truckers who buy fuel from fleet vendorsd often have access to mo-gas.. this is unleaded non ethanol blended.. likely exactly what your business needs. If you find a fleet fuel outfit, might be worth buying there for your business, truck(s) and small equipment.

  2. John says:

    Winco itself may be an American company – but they don’t seem to wind there own generators. I have a PTO 40-1 sitting in my bay at work, and it’s a Mec Alte.
    Not saying they all are Italian – but this one is.

    I priced out the 11 & 12kw 2 bearing units they have (ES11?), and they’re NOT cheap.

  3. homealone777 says:

    Myself; I think the new carberators being left without adjustments was on purpose. The oil companys had to know we’d have to have a fuel to run our small engines. Grass has to be mowed; Trees have to be cut; Generators have to run, among other things. So now I hear somebody’s offering ethanol free gasoline; But at what price? If that door swings open that way I’m sure it’ll cost a lot to take care of you’re lawn! I live in the country, but in the city; It’s mandatory to keep you’re grass up to thier standards…$$$$ Who wins?

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