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Old 04-20-2008, 02:36 PM
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Default Converting a vehicle and/or small engine to run on pure ethanol....



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I have a long family history of making the stuff.

Personally I think you have to be an utter moron to want to drink it but thats a topic for another post.

How hard is it to convert a car or even a truck to run on pure ethanol? Are we even allowed to do this in the US? Last I heard it had to be denatured with 15% gasoline.

What about converting a lawnmower or chainsaw to run on pure ethanol?

I'm looking for specifics such as how it is done, not the blind liberal BS that say oh yes you can do anything...lol. I want to know how to do it not just that it can be done.

Thank you for your time.
Old 04-20-2008, 03:09 PM
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I had to this point only considered running cars and such on grain alcohol - small engines had never entered into my thought process. I am now very curious to know if this is a reasonable modification. In the meantime, here is an article regarding the use of a 10% ethanol blend with a variety of small engines: http://www.ilcorn.org/Ethanol/Ethan_...l_engines.html
Old 04-20-2008, 03:32 PM
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Depending on the car, nothing is necessary normally. Some cars and trucks will need the carb re jetted one or two sizes larger, computer controlled cars seem to adapt on their own to the more octane of alcohol, but some will require a eprom re-flash (available from tons of performance companies). Most small equipment requires the carb to be adjusted and re jetted, nothing more. Most cars are just fine running on alcohol, no parts break more, or wear out faster, no fuel line issues and no catalytic converter issues.

There are some cars that dont like alcohol but in my experience 99% of them will run perfect with 190 proof spirits. To be honest their is no real "guide" to how this is done, it is an experiment every time. Some engines will require a little more "tuning" than others, it is a seat of the pants type thing, because it is so new.

If you are trying to start converting cars and trucks and equipment around the house, here is how to start.


1) Start small, the smallest engine you have is normally the cheapest to test on.

2) Start with a 50/50 mix of alcohol and gas, then move down the percentage of gas until it is either pure alcohol or runs really terrible. That is the starting point for "conversion"

2A) If it runs good on 190 proof pure, check the plug(s) after 15 minutes run time, then every hour until 2 hours run time is reached. If the plugs appear normal, conversion complete, if not check "2B" below

2B) Anything less than "pure" or 190 proof and runs bad. Check the plugs for a "lean" condition (most likely). Now you must adjust the jet size on the carb, start small sometimes a tiny change is all that is needed. Normally one full jet size is plenty to richen up the fuel air mixture. You can drill them out, normally a #57 drill bit works on most small engines.

3) Monitor engine temp (both on gasoline and alcohol) it should be reduced at the exhaust outlet on the motor, as alcohol burns cooler. If it is hotter than gasoline it is running lean

Once you have completed your first "test" engine you should now start to understand the alcohol fuel system and its characteristics, we now need to try something larger. Maybe a twin cylinder lawn mower? Perfect.

1 and 2 are the same exact steps, just doubled for the spark plugs, also on larger engines test operating temp on gasoline and alcohol, alcohol should run cooler, unless it is in a lean condition which will cause excess heat. Most twin cylinder engines use two pipes connected to feed the exhaust to the single muffler, do not check muffler temp. Check the exhaust temp on each connecting pipe. One cylinder may run leaner than the other.

If everything is in spec and running, conversion complete.

By now after playing around with small engines you should be able to "convert" any engine you feel like, just remember to start with mixed fuel and test from there.
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Old 04-20-2008, 04:43 PM
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small engines run just fine used to race gocarts had a 5 hp briggs that ran on methonal just dubble the jet size and keep the temp up on the moter or the methonol will condence back to liquid and run out the tail pipe!
Old 04-20-2008, 05:43 PM
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Keep the good info coming fellas.

Ethanol is the answer I think.

This crap about it causing food shortages is a lie.

It takes 33 bushels of corn to produce 100 gallons of ethanol but the 33 bushels doesn't disappear. When the starches in the corn have been converted to alcohol, the corn will have lost 17% of its weight, meaning 17% of its weight was starch. Those 33 bushels can then be dried and fed to livestock.

Corn that has had the starch removed is actually healthier for cows and pigs. It normally takes 8 pounds of corn to produce one pound of pork and 8 pounds to produce 2 pounds of beefs, but when the starch has been removed, it only takes 7 pounds of corn to produce a pound of pork and 2 pounds of beef.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:45 PM
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learn smthing new thanks
Old 04-20-2008, 08:36 PM
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Basically all you need to do is increase the fuel pressure 10-15% or so if its fuel injected, or use bigger jets if it has a carb. Getting it tuned to the perfect air/fuel mixture is a another story. Too rich and it will get bad gas millage ,too lean and it can burn the pistons up.
Old 04-22-2008, 06:52 PM
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With ethanol,

Just remember that it is ACIDIC. It will sysimatically eat any material in the fuel system that is suseceptiable.

In Brazil, Dak-Dak's ( Dak-Dak is aus slang for volkwagen bettles, listen to one take off and you will know what I mean), which have been redesigned to run on pure alcohol, use nickle plated carby componets.

The other alternative is to use stainless steel...
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:47 PM
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you want to watch mixin that stuff with a 2 cycle oil it tends to seperate when mixed
together
Old 05-13-2008, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha43au View Post
With ethanol,

Just remember that it is ACIDIC. It will sysimatically eat any material in the fuel system that is suseceptiable.

In Brazil, Dak-Dak's ( Dak-Dak is aus slang for volkwagen bettles, listen to one take off and you will know what I mean), which have been redesigned to run on pure alcohol, use nickle plated carby componets.

The other alternative is to use stainless steel...
I just came in to attest to the fact that flat-4 VW's will run on pure ethanol. Hadn't tried it long-term, though - good to know. Lots of pot metal on those engines. I can see why it could be an issue.
Old 01-02-2013, 06:01 AM
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digging around in old threads, has anyone tried to get a car running on 90% - 100% alcohol recently? i am very interested in the long term possibilities, perhaps as a generator fuel?
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:05 AM
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I think you have to run a colder plug too.
Old 12-29-2013, 02:15 PM
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Digging this thread back up again. Anything new?

Id imagine it wouldn't be the best idea to test this out on a 2 stroke.
Maybe a better first step would be to make some ethanol because buying it would be cost prohibitive.
Old 12-29-2013, 02:22 PM
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Some quick numbers… a bushel is 8 gallons. So 33 bushels of corn to make 100 gallons of ethanol is 264 gallons of grain.

It is good that you can reuse the grain for livestock. You would need a large operation to run a car off this stuff. I have no idea how much acreage it would take to grow that much corn. Running a hybrid with ethanol might be a good idea. Small engines for lawn mowers, chain saws, etc seems doable. A 50cc scooter gets around 100mpg, so those 33 bushels of corn would be good for 10,000 miles of scootering.
Old 12-29-2013, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.K View Post
Some quick numbers… a bushel is 8 gallons. So 33 bushels of corn to make 100 gallons of ethanol is 264 gallons of grain.

It is good that you can reuse the grain for livestock. You would need a large operation to run a car off this stuff. I have no idea how much acreage it would take to grow that much corn. Running a hybrid with ethanol might be a good idea. Small engines for lawn mowers, chain saws, etc seems doable. A 50cc scooter gets around 100mpg, so those 33 bushels of corn would be good for 10,000 miles of scootering.
I have cut 150 bushels an acre a few years. Sometimes a bit less
Old 12-29-2013, 04:01 PM
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Saw this on an episode of Modern Marvels:
The estimated ethanol yield for switchgrass is 1150 gallons per acre and corn is 354 gallons.

That sounds about right from what deb.usa just said.

Ill have to check out switchgrass a bit more, but its more drought tolerant than corn. Im not sure if its as easy to make ethanol from it though.
Old 12-29-2013, 04:30 PM
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Default Dad's Old 1949 John Deer Small Farm Tractor

Came with a bunch of attachments. It also came with a complete separate stainless steel gas tank, different steel fuel lines, a separate carb and a thick phone book size manual on how to easily modify the tractor to burn 80% to 90% corn alcohol.

Apparently all one had to do was slightly modify the mag timing, (forgot which way) and install all the alcohol related gadgets and then just start plowing or whatever. Burned much more alcohol than gasoline. You could also run the thing on

gasoline to start it, then switch over to a blend of gas and kerosene or #2 diesel. Had a cool two cylinder horizontal engine and an exposed huge flywheel. The manual even had an application form to send to the ATF to make corn alcohol. HB of CJ (old coot)
Old 12-29-2013, 06:57 PM
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ethanol is TERRIBLE for traditional engines, that's why everyone hates the stuff. To run it you need a system designed specifically for it, which isn't really available in the US. The second problem with ethanol in the US is where we get it from. South America uses ethanol because they grow sugar cane which can not only be grown year round but also has a very high turn around rate for crop harvesting. Corn on the other hand can only be grown during one period and takes extremely long to harvest, thus it's only supplemented up to 10% in fuels up here.
Old 12-31-2013, 06:22 PM
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We do have cars factory optimized for E85. I presume the engineers know what they're doing. I have not owned one of these, but all of the gas stations around here have at least one E85 pump.
Old 01-03-2014, 12:38 AM
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Go to Amazon and look up Alcohol can be a gas and Browns alcohol motor fuel cookbook, that should get you the answers you need.
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