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  1. #1

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    I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    I live in Vanuatu (South Pacific) Ihave just been to the only fuel importer here, and they don't sell Methanol.
    I have been reading as much forum content as possible, however I can't seem to find out what I need to know.

    Here are my options I can buy 100LL AVGAS (is this suitable?) I can also buy Diesel (Mazut) and Unleaded (Benzine)
    I can buy metholated spirits which should be around 85% ethanol (I am led to believe). I am also led to believe if I add the normal 20% of castor oil to this I may be able to run this with a hot glow plug.

    Copied Elsewhere on this forum >>>>>>> Ihave done some limited testing using E85 and 20% castor. So far Ihave not seen any reaction with the silicone fuel lines and the fuel works fine in glow engines except the need for a very hot plug.
    Q. I Cannot get E85 here, I am unaware if they add Methonol or Ethanol to existing fuel here

    Copied Elsewhere on this forum >>>>>>>>>I have run glowplug engines on commercial model diesel fuel. Keep the plug hot for about 20 sec and they should keep running.

    Q. Is this to say you can run a glow engine on Diesel??????????

    Copied Elsewhere on this forum >>>>> castor is typically between SAE40-50.
    On the note of castor oil will any synthetic oil SAE40-50 do for a model engine??????

    I am also led to believe that if you don't use Nitro in a glow engine it might be the case that you need to increase compression for the lack of Nitro, which means taking out the shims in the head. Will it still run anyway????

    No nobody else here runs models unless they are electric!!!!

    Mike.


  2. #2
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    This may sound like a stupid question, but why not just install a gas engine? The AVGAS will certainly run well on that. There are a number of gas engines now in the 15cc and way larger cc range that are affordable.
    With airplanes, keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Idon't think the Gas engine thing would work with a Traxxas Tmax 3.3!!!??!! would it?
    That is the vehicle in Q, I brought it over thinking Iwould find a way to run it. I have been living here for many years so thought why leave it collecting dust, so brought it over.

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Guys , check this place out ! It is a beautiful island "near" Australia where it is currently sunny summer time ! Mike, good luck, maybe there is a way to do it but check out HobbyKing you might be able to get an electric vehicle for a reasonable price.

  5. #5
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Mike has an RC car with a 3.3cc engine (yep, I just finished reading your post in the RC car section). Methylated spirits would be your best bet to try because it's usually 95% ethanol (drinking alcohol) with the rest usually methanol to make it undrinkable and then it can be sold as a cleaning fluid . Ethanol won't give as much power as methanol but who cares if you're just bashing around . The only possible problem is keeping the glow plug hot. Normally it glows all the time because it reacts with methanol and, although a lot of guys say it works well with ethanol, I've never tried it myself. I believe you've got some Castrol M castor and that's ideal so mix it at a 4:1 ratio (20%) with the metho. You can't use auto type synthetic oils because they won't mix with alcohols.

    Model diesel fuels are what was used in some glow engines and that's entirely different to the diesel fuels used in cars or trucks. Avgas is just a type of petrol and that won't work in glow engines either. As far as compression goes without nitro, don't worry about it because all engines run quite well without nitro. They just don't make quite as much power, mainly because compressions are optimised for nitro. You could take out the head shims but that doesn't give a worthwhile increase in compression so just leave it as is.

  6. #6

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Yes Vanuatu is a beautiful country, everything is green the locals here are both happy and friendly. Could seem like a Utopia if it it wasn't for corruption and a few others!
    For reference to American interests WW II had the US with a major Air Base on Santo one of the norther islands. Back then Vanuatu was called the New Hebrides (it is a group of islands), the movie "South Pacific" and Bali Hai originated.

    I have been here for around 9 years started a couple of electric cars, a couple of electric model planes originally, then coaxial heli's, I gave up from being shot out of the sky by interference which seems prevelent on every frequency, and no luck on 40hz 27mhz or any other! Be fine sometimes take a plane off and you can just see it get to 30 meters away and everything goes haywire. Only do that so many times before you give up. Once I was prepared to invest in 2.4ghz I started on Trex 450's as I bought a 2nd hand package deal as the new price on a Spektrum was almost as much. Without continuing on too much of a diatribe! As a result of 2.4ghz and electric power there are a few guys here who fly once a week together.
    I never brought the Tmax over simply because it was glow powered, but I figured how hard could it be. I am in a mid life crisis returning to the fun things I used to do as a kid!
    The novelty is doing something different, not that I could run an electric.
    So thanks for the Advise Ray & Downunder

    There are cleaning supply/distributor places here (because of the resorts) I guess I could try them for the Methanol cleaning fluid!!
    I'll let you know whether I come up with something!

    I do have a question though if Metho (Methylated Spirits) is 95% (85%?) ethanol, what is the 0ther 5% and why doesn't that 5% make a difference.
    Response from Loktite401 (Ray)
    >Well the modern "metho" is 95% Ethanol but the other 5% is likely to contain some methanol just to make it unpleasant to drink and to give you a headache. While I've never drunk it myself I'd imagine it to be a fairly bland liquid compared with the >complex and interesting tastes of say a nicely blended Scotch.
    Do you know whether the other 5% is methanol?

    Mike.

  7. #7
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    The other 5% is methanol (which is poisonous) and makes the ethanol/methanol blend non-consumable. Methanol will dissolve the optic nerve and create permanent blindness. The 95% ethanol / 5% methanol blend is also called "denatured alcohol".
    With airplanes, keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    It is telling a story but because I have had locals work for me here, I stopped storing Metho in the shed. I had a 2 bottles that appeared as if they were consumed, as there was certainly no other use for them.
    To me that sounds like it goes along with going underneath the car for a high on the back pipe!!! Although I am yet to see that done here, although I was told by a friend it happens in aboriginal communities in Australia, that and the Metho. So if Metho is straight alcohol, that is like 100% alcohol, people then buy it for a cheap fix.

    I dont' know whether you remember, "The Gods must be crazy" where the guy gets out his vodka? when the ultralight runs out of fuel, and runs the engine on that! Maybe not so far fetched after all?

    Mike.

  9. #9
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    I teach chemistry and physics ... trust me ethanol & methanol are completely different substances. "All alcohol", yes, chemically speaking, but a deadly combination.

    When I was Lab Tech at the hospitals, we treated alcoholics. They would try to suck on the used isopropanol swabs we used to clean patient's arms before we drew blood. Yep, you guessed it, the alcoholics would get very sick. The only drinkable alcohol is ethanol. Period, the end. Elsewise sickness follows and blindness or death is typically close at hand if behavior is continued.
    With airplanes, keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.

  10. #10

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!


    Okay, they have Castor Oil here medicinal $13USD (equivalent) for 100 ml Ouch.... I bawked at that.
    I searched ebay, in the US is cheap enough but all the places I asked say that you can't post intercontinental.
    That's funny of course as all the health food shops do for castor oil!
    Australia is quite expensive  for post.
    Ebay has this from the UK
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1-Litre-CASTOR...item2c58a93b73

    Equates to around $38 (USD/Aud) delivered   and is cold pressed.

    Interestingly enough they have Methanol here, found some at one of the cleaning shops but at equivalent of $40Aud/USD for 1 liter I kind of bawk at paying that!
    The Metho (Methylated spirits) which isn't in stock by comparison was only about $7 a litre.

    If both are almost the same for the alcohol, is there any difference in running either in a glow engine?

  11. #11
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Mike,
    This is copied from an Aussie newsletter so it can't hurt to email him and ask if he can send the oil overseas and the cost of postage. He's been advertising for a long time now. As far as running an engine with ethanol v methanol, ethanol runs at a much leaner setting than methanol (different air/fuel ratios) so I wouldn't skimp on oil if you try methylated spirits. I'd use 25% oil myself to be on the safe side.

    "Castor oil for sale!
    Highest quality first pressing de gummed.
    $45 for 5 litres (due to a price increase from my supplier)
    (including container) + P&H
    $10 in Victoria
    $15 SA, TAS & NSW
    $20 QLD, WA & NT

    Ph Ken 03 9398 8244
    Email: combtkid@hotmail.com
    "

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    I've ran HEET that's a gas treatment to remove water from gasoline in an OS 25 fp with 20% castor oil. It ran good though with out the aid of nitro the idle was not as good

  13. #13
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!


    ORIGINAL: downunder

    Mike has an RC car with a 3.3cc engine (yep, I just finished reading your post in the RC car section). Methylated spirits would be your best bet to try because it's usually 95% ethanol (drinking alcohol) with the rest usually methanol to make it undrinkable and then it can be sold as a cleaning fluid . Ethanol won't give as much power as methanol but who cares if you're just bashing around . The only possible problem is keeping the glow plug hot. Normally it glows all the time because it reacts with methanol and, although a lot of guys say it works well with ethanol, I've never tried it myself. I believe you've got some Castrol M castor and that's ideal so mix it at a 4:1 ratio (20%) with the metho. You can't use auto type synthetic oils because they won't mix with alcohols.

    Model diesel fuels are what was used in some glow engines and that's entirely different to the diesel fuels used in cars or trucks. Avgas is just a type of petrol and that won't work in glow engines either. As far as compression goes without nitro, don't worry about it because all engines run quite well without nitro. They just don't make quite as much power, mainly because compressions are optimised for nitro. You could take out the head shims but that doesn't give a worthwhile increase in compression so just leave it as is.

    If the methalated spirits have some methanol then perhaps just a hotter plug will work. OS has an engine designed for ethanol, perhaps the glow plug they use on that would work.
    Glow Head Brotherhood #15

  14. #14
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Since you're at sea level and not competing.. I would suggest forget about Nitroit gives more punch
    Get the Castor oil and Metanol to worry about.. why not import from NZ or Aussieland (since you cite corruption).. afew bucks should get anything inthe country
    Regards
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    Patrick

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  15. #15

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Okay, Promised to post an update so here I am.
    Got my castor oil in from the Uk, and bought Methylated Spirits and  hot glow plugs that were ordered all arrived.

    * Engine for the first time is really hard to start
    * Tried three different types of "hot" glow plugs
    ( Bottom line is it will just run when  the glow plug power plug thing is kept on soon as it is off, it will die.
    Sometimes on an idle I could keep it runing but add power and die
    * Mucked around with numerous fuel settings for ages but didn't seem to make any progress, other than making it easier to keep running after a sputter.

    So I have ordered a couple of long reach hot glow plugs to see whether this makes a difference.

    *If there is a more suitable plug let me know, I am only going what I can find off ebay under ; (super, hot, turbo) glow plug -medium -p4 -p5

    Bottom line I think is I might need to fill up a bottle of racing fuel and post to myself next time I go back.

    When I was a kid  I would mix Racing A and Castrol M together no Nitro and planes ran fine on that.

    Perhaps the metho I purchase is not 95% ethanol, it doesn't say percentages?
    Maybe I should be trying a different brand of metho.

    Incidentally I talked to a guy here who said he had a friend of his in Australia who used to run his model plane of Metho, because it was cheaper than paying for racing fuel, so it obviously can work.

    Michael.


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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Oh, I did some investigation on Methylated Spirits, it is certain that the biggest sale here is for personal consumption.

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    If this is true I bet ya'll got people dropping like flies around them parts.......cant live long on poison.........!

    dang that is crazy...! that stuff will blind and kill...........how many more times does this have to be said here........?

    Oh My.................!



    ORIGINAL: MickMack

    Oh, I did some investigation on Methylated Spirits, it is certain that the biggest sale here is for personal consumption.
    Welfare to the able bodied is like giving shelled nuts to a squirrel, he gets lazy & soon looses will to provide for himself!

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    many years ago in outback Queensland and Northern Territory a favourite cocktail of some indiginous inhabitants used to be the "white lady":

    2 parts methylated spirit;

    1 part milk powder.

    Stir and serve.

    PS

    I DO NOT recommend anyone to try this. Permanent blinding, kidney failure and death are effects.

    Methylated spirit is now dyed blue here.

  19. #19

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    *
    Sorry fiery, but I believe that to be INCORRECT. Methylated Spirit, labelled95% Ethanol,as sold in supermarkets and hardware stores is CLEAR.It is KEROSENE (Paraffin) which is dyed BLUE...

    Regards, RossG
    radial1951
    _____________

    ORIGINAL: fiery

    Methylated spirit is now dyed blue here.

  20. #20
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    If it helps any, the medicinal castor oil works fine for model airplane fuel. It is the same as the stuff you buy for engines, except less likely to be unsanitary. But it is important to get the 100% pure castor oil that has no additives, coloring or sugar in it.

    Denatured alcohol works, but there is usually not enough methanol in it to keep the combustion running with the engine. Now some brands that have more methanol in them would work.  Yes methanol is a dangerous poison and denatured alcohol should not be ingested for reasons already mentioned.

    You could use a cold glow plug and fabricate a connection setup so you can leave the glow plug lit all the time by the glow plug ignitor battery. You can use one of those single sub C nicad glow starters to good effect here too. Keeping the glow plug lit up by the ignitor would solve the problem.
    One could also use one of those on board glow plug ignitor units as they vary the current to the glow plug to help prevent burnouts too.

    Club Saito #722, Sig Kadet Brotherhood #80, GlowHead Brotherhood #14,
    AMA # 928076

  21. #21

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    I guess there are ways to make it work!!! However the easiest way is just to run it the way it was intended.
    Although even running under a lit coil wasn't superbly reliable!
    I think at the end of the day they are just designed to run with nitro, even if it is only 5%
    I figure I will just have to find a way to get some over here......
    Nobody coming on a P&O cruise boat that is willing to bring some over for me!!!!
    I figure that would be the easiest way.
    I know somebody previously mentioned putting some in a booze bottle and taking it over in airline luggage, but even if it is 1 in a 100 or a thousand of getting caught, it is a very awkward situation to be in if that were to happen.

    Mick.

  22. #22
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    I checked out your country, looks pretty cool. Don't they have methanol at the hardware store? It is often used for thinning stuff like shellac I think. That is what I use. I would assume there is some kind of paint store or hardware store there. There is a population of 30,000. It is like an average city anywhere else. I have heard 3% acetone helps with idling and making things more docile. Haven't felt the need to try it myself.
    Glow Head Hood # 7

  23. #23

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Have tried Metho (Metholated Spirits) with the castor oil. which on the label from memory states 95% (at least 95% ethanol)
    Just will not run properly. When I was in Australia ran perfectly on 20% nitro.
    Perhaps the Tmax engine for reliability runs lower compression and designed to run a higher nitro amount for reliability?????
    Either way simply will not run reliably without nitro it seems.

  24. #24
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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Ethanol doesn't really work as glow fuel.  Methanol is what is needed.  I think it is likely better to send it though the mail or something.  At $40 a litre in the stores, I am sure you could do better even with shipping.  Maybe a 5 gallon pail.  We pay about $7 to $10 a gallon for hardware store methanol here.  I don't buy 5 gallon pails because it soaks up moisture and I fly mostly .049 to .15 planes so I don't use much in a year.  Having said that, I read somewhere here that people were using diesel model fuel in the glow engines, starting with the glow plug, and then removing the connector.  In Canada it is pretty hard to get diesel because ether is controlled.  (meth labs)  But ether in the spray cans works.  (the stuff for cold starting cars and trucks.  I guess there is no problem with that where you live)  Otherwise there are diesel conversion heads but they are not likely made for the dune buggies.  If you want someone to bring some on a cruise ship, I would volunteer  if you pay my way :-)      If you need more compression just take out the head shim.  As long as there is .010" left you should be ok unless you burn out plugs. 
    Glow Head Hood # 7

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    RE: I live in a country where I can't get Methanol, any ideas for how to run a glow engine!

    Davis Diesel has a diesel conversion kit for the traxxis 3.3. Costs $160.

    http://www.davisdieseldevelopment.com/price_list.html

    I don't think they use normal diesel. Kerosene is used, but mixed with other stuff that I don't remember. Check it out.


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