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Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

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Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Smilodon on Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:34 am

Been out working on the bikes the last couple of weekends.  The weather has been miserable as usual for summer in Florida (rainy and hot).  However, one advantage of the rain is that it drops the miserable temperature down to "somewhat miserable", and with a few fans blowing, I can do something motorcycle related by working on the vintage iron.

Last weekend it was the old Honda (still haven't sold it yet).  The wife and I took it for a ride a month or so ago, and the clutch started acting up.  Gee, wasn't that why I bought a new bike in the first place?

Who knew you had to check the fluid in those clutch reservoirs every 20 years or so?  Seriously, whatever was in there had turned bad and was coloring the sight glass, so it looked like the level was fine.

So, we had to stop at a hardware store and try to clean it up and put some fluid in it.  It worked good enough to limp home, but need a full flush, so I did that.  While I was at it, I flushed the cooling system as well, as I couldn't remember the last time I did that.

So, emboldened by my relative success, I decided to roll out the old Suzuki and crank it up.  It has been mostly in storage, as I have taken to riding with the wife on the street and the occasional track day when I want to ride harder.  That'll have to do until I can move somewhere with worthwhile riding roads.

Well, in spite of my careful storage, the exposure to the ethanol-laced fuel around these parts, combined with the storage had deteriorated seals in the carbs to the point that they just provided a way to redirect the gas from the tank to the floor.

I am very experienced at taking Mikuni's apart, having to do so fairly frequently to clean out the idle jets which also don't like the ethanol.  So, I could get the carbs off the bike and opened up pretty quick, but as to this (new) problem, I was kind of over my head.

So, with some phone tech support from Dad, I was able to work on diagnosing the problem, which turned out to be rotten seals in the needle seats.  Fortunately, I had the original (smaller) carbs handy, and they were nearly brand new.  So, I swapped some parts.  Had to fabricate a setup to test the leakage off of the bike, as it took more than a few tries to swap all the right bits.

So, that's two bikes running again for a while.  Fortunately we have a nearby source of non-Ethanol gas that I can use for the non-fuel injected stuff at least.

Smilodon

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Silly Olde Fart on Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:56 am

Ah, yes, I know the problem. Several years ago I bought a year 2000 Suzuki SV650 from my little brother (Neddy) and gave it to my daughter. After a year or so she decided that it was a bit too big for her to handle easily and bought a CB400SF.
My daughter's husband took over the SV but other than a round trip to Scarborough (550mls) for the Oliver's Mount Gold Cup and occasional trips to work, the bike had little use.
With a two years old son and twins on the way, my daughter sold the CB and I BOUGHT back the SV. (They needed the money).
As it was suffering bad starting and fuel leakage into the front cylinder, I overhauled both carbs and fitted a fuel tap kit.
All of the brass bits in the carbs had turned green and both of the little spring-loaded "titties" in the float level valves were stuck, one out and one in. One pilot/slow running jet was completely blocked with hard green gunge.
All fixed fairly quickly with the aid of my little ultrasonic bath.

I then had thoughts about by vintage Ariel with its cast brass carb. Yep, it was in bad condition and even the threaded brass neck ring of the fuel tank had turned green!

Alcohol has a bad effect on engines, if left to fester. I have some model aircraft glow plug engines that run on methanol rather than ethanol. For these, the manufacturers recommend draining all fuel out of the engines, if not being used for a time, and passing through just oil. This stops the bearings and steel pars rusting.

I read somewhere that it is possible to remove alcohol from fuels by pouring in a small quantity of water (NOT in your bike fuel tank), keep the contents "all shook up" and the alcohol will combine with the water and settle out at the bottom.

If you are smart, you can then distill the ethyl alcohol out of the water and . . . . . . !Shocked 

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Smilodon on Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:11 am

I'm a little surprised.  You have ethanol in your fuel over there?  We are required to have 10% ethanol in all of our over the road fuels (minus diesel) over here, and it's killing infrequently used engines with carbs (lawn mowers, outboard motors, generators) and old stuff like my Mikuni-clad bikes.

They are trying to increase it to 15%, but that will require "blending" pumps, as some stuff will simply not run on it.

Just the fuel left in the hose from the previous user will probably cause an old bike problems!

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Silly Olde Fart on Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:47 pm

The UK generally has up to 5% ethanol but not in all pumps. There is legislation to increase the amount up to 10%.
However, there are pressure groups to try to restrict this, or eliminate ethanol inclusion in fuels, particularly from the historic vehicle clubs and associations. The stuff has a bad effect on some GRP tanks and some steel tanks lining/sealing products. The "Green" movement also is having second thoughts about saving the planet by reducing consumption of non-renewable hydrocarbon fuels. The pressure on third world counties to produce the ready cash crops for alcohol production is having a significant effect on world food production. Natural forests are still being cleared for such crops.

After all of that, I still think that METHANOL and CASROL R is the way to go cheers 

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Steady Eddy on Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:05 pm

Castrol R mmmmmmmmmmmmmm yes please , Oh ye Cris meant to tel you I went back to Niarbyl where we had our lunch that day at the end of the TT with some friends and had a meal and there was basking shark in the bay , in a dead flat sea that was a first for me never seen them before ,

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Smilodon on Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:08 am

Silly Olde Fart wrote:The UK generally has up to 5% ethanol but not in all pumps. There is legislation to increase the amount up to 10%.
However, there are pressure groups to try to restrict this, or eliminate ethanol inclusion in fuels, particularly from the historic vehicle clubs and associations. The stuff has a bad effect on some GRP tanks and some steel tanks lining/sealing products. The "Green" movement also is having second thoughts about saving the planet by reducing consumption of non-renewable hydrocarbon fuels. The pressure on third world counties to produce the ready cash crops for alcohol production is having a significant effect on world food production. Natural forests are still being cleared for such crops.

After all of that, I still think that METHANOL and CASROL R is the way to go cheers 

Well, sorry to hear that.  I thought we were the only stickees for that particular piece of experimentation, what with us being the big corn growers and all...

Of course, all you said is applicable over here, just with a huge multiplication factor.  It has impacted world corn prices dramatically.  The (for the time being) wealthy can absorb the food price increases, but not those who need the food the most.  

The other thing we have over here (with all that corn growing) is very powerful lobbies for keeping things status quo (or increasing it even more).

I can verify that Mikuni needle seat seals are definitely in the category of "completely ruined" from the Ethanol gas.

I wonder if swapping/finding/buying these parts from a newer model bike with equivalent carbs would have alcohol resistant rubbery bits?

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Silly Olde Fart on Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:21 pm

I forgot to mention that I later replaced the Float Needles an sets as a good measure. The seating "O" rings had rotted although the Viton shut-off tips were fine.

However, having criticized the system, I have to disclose that I have an elder brother in Papua New Guinea (Aged 76 and still working Rolling Eyes ) who has a palm oil plantation. The product is sold for the production of bio fuels. Embarassed He has admitted that it is an easy life as he just sits back and pays others to harvest the crops.

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by j.p. on Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:40 am

We lived in an Ontario farming community that was heavily into corn and soybean (soybean fixes the earth destruction corn does the prior wear). There was a huge lobby to bring in an ethanol plant (heavily subsidized) to use up and stabilize excess corn production capacity. Seemed like a great idea (easy starting in winter for one thing) until it was proved that it actually took MORE regular fuel to grow, harvest, process, and ship the damn ethanol than you would get from the plant. Eventually people lost interest after great cost overruns, and the plant site would make a nice parking lot now.
In the meantime, we learned to drain everything and pass a little oil through the little holes and ports. Nova Scotia just uses good old gas, so only the regular worries about stabilizer for winter storage.

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Smilodon on Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:21 am

Wait... SOF has an older brother too?! Shocked 

There is finally starting to be a little backlash on the ethanol stuff. Not to remove it entirely (which would be nice), but to at least provide a reasonable outlet for non-ethanol stuff for those applications that require it.

Living on the coast, the boat folks are being hammered really bad as well, and are pushing the more reasonable attitude.

It is also slowing the "more ethanol" push as well.

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Beesa on Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:05 pm

Chris, didn't I see the other day that the regime wants to INCREASE the percentage of ethanol in our gasoline? Wow, that really makes sense, just like the rest of their socialist ideas....

Beesa.

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Silly Olde Fart on Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:00 pm

Once I have mastered the art of extracting the ethanol, it will have two good effects.

1- Reduce corrosion in the bikes Very Happy 
2- Serve me well on my way to complete my brain damage. drunken 

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Re: Alcohol Has Better Uses Than Fuel

Post by Smilodon on Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:43 am

Once they get the amount up enough, the gas part will just be a "trace" element, and you can just drink up! geek 

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