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Thread: E85


  1. #1

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    E85

    Have heard of E85 auto fuel sold in various states. Am curious as to the ratio of gas to ethanol. I just assumed it was 15% ethanol, but have seen other posting that say it's 15% gas. Anyone know for sure? Thanks , red

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    downunder's Avatar
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    RE: E85

    Well I'll be darned...I would have sworn E85 meant 85% petrol but not according to this web site.
    http://www.co.hennepin.mn.us/vgn/por...326437,00.html

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    RE: E85

    Thanks for the reply. Did a Google and found lots of info. Certainly seems like a good idea. Iowa report , states we produce two billion gallons of it a year, and you can drink it ) Good luck, red

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    RE: E85

    Indeed E85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline and some guys here in Sweden run 2S glow engines on E85 with good results. I used it myself recently to run my Saito.72 with acceptable result provided that the on-board glow was lit all the time(no nitro off course) High speed needle was screwed in 1/4 of a turn and power seemed to be about the same as with methanol. Although it was a cool night I could not detect any tendency to overheating of the engine. Used 22% oil (11% ML70 + 11% castor) but still the engine smoked much less than with 18% oil in methanol.
    According to experts here the E85 fuel must be handled with care since the vapours are very EXPLOSIVE, much more so than with pure gas where the head space vapour is saturated. Still an interesting alternative since E85 price is about half of methanol (Sweden)and with less consumption fuel cost will only be a fraction of that of methanol with nitro....... But please be careful out there.......Cheers/Harald
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    RE: E85

    e85 in my area is about $1.00 cheaper then regular old 87/89 octane gasoline, it would be great to burn it!

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    RE: E85

    Damn, you guy really beat me to this one. I just found out about this E85 stuff, and was excited about being the first person to suggest running it in a glow engine. We need to get some more reports on how this stuff runs in our engines.

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    RE: E85

    There was some website I went to last week that had the list of E85 compatible vehicles. There was currently only 10-15 cars,but they say more to come.

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    RE: E85

    E85 Ethanol 85% > Got it?
    Glow Head Brotherhood #15

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    RE: E85

    According to experts here the E85 fuel must be handled with care since the vapours are very EXPLOSIVE, much more so than with pure gas where the head space vapour is saturated.
    Poppy Cock. It is less explosive than gasoline. Also less energy.
    Glow Head Brotherhood #15

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    RE: E85

    Sport Pilot: whatever "Poppy Cock" means - fact is that E85 vapour is explosive at normal ambient temperatures which gas and diesel vapours are NOT...Regards/Harald
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    RE: E85

    Ok we have two statements which are diametrically opposite. Can someone give some documentation to support either statement? Given the extensive experience with E85 in Sweden, and not knowing any better, we should pay attention. However, still need documentation. I have looked around some and not come up with anything.

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    RE: E85

    OK, from a very quick google search..
    Ethanol has a flash point of 17C (62.6F) with an autoignition point of 425C (797F).
    Gasoline has a flash point of 45C (113F) and autoignition of 246C (475F).

    Flash point just means that any vapours above the liquid will burn away (if ignited) but not cause a continuous fire.

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    RE: E85

    Actual data! What does it all mean? I suppose that vapor from E85 would flash at a lower temperature than pure gasoline vapor and would heat the gasoline part of the vapor up to autoignition. So E85 vapor might in fact be prone to ignite at a lower temperature than pure gasoline vapor. Is there like a eutectic mixture of vapors, I wonder? I have no ego stake in this, so flame away.

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    RE: E85

    Sure thing, here is one of my sources but unfortunately it is in swedish, I have not yet found this clearly explained in english. Sport Pilot (and downunder) are correct if you only talk about pure ethanol but apparently it is the E85 mixture which is problematic. So much so that a special "flame lock" should be installed in swedish fuel station equipments for pumping E85. This is to prevent a fire to travel down into the E85 cistern.
    http://www.srv.se/templates/SRV_Page____14874.aspx
    A warning is also given that an E85 fire is harder to quench than a "regular" gas......fire is but the exact reason is not given.
    Hope this helps guys and BTW I have now milled the crankcases of one Saito.56(-1.0mm) and one Saito.72(-0.5mm) to make them more 0%nitro and/or E85 compatible. Aiming for a compression ratio of about 13/1...waddayathink downunder..??......Cheers/Harald

    PS..found a reference in a swedish source to "SAE Technical Papers Series 950401" but I was not authorised to download it myself...[:@]...maybe someone else out there can help...DS

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    RE: E85

    The E85 cars can actually run on 100% Ethanol.
    The reason they add 15% gasoline to it is for starting purposes. Pure Ethanol is hard to start in the cold weather. (You guys in Sweden should know this!).

    In Venesualla, all of the cars run on 100% Ethanol. (It's hot down there!)



    Ethanol is 100 octane but it is true it does have less energy, gal per gal ( or Liter per Liter ). so gas milage with E85 will be lower than pure gasoline. Depending upon where you are in the world, prices for E85 may be the same or a little lower than regular gas. However, you need to consider the reduced milage.
    The advantage is that it reduces the amount of oil that is imported and supports local farmers.

    I don't know why an E85 fire would be so different that gas. In fact, you can put out and alcohol fire out with plain water! It is much more safer that regular gas.


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    RE: E85

    Okay, here's the plan I've been toying with for the last few weeks. 85 percent denatured alchol (denatured alcohol is mostly ethanol with some methanol mixed in to make it poison) plus 15 percent Ozark Trail camp fuel (about 55 octane I think) to produce "HomE85." Hopefully there will be enough methanol to help sustain glow. I fly mostly unthrottled controlline so if it can sustain glow at WOT thats good enough. Because of higher energy per unit, mixture should be much leaner so I anticipate needing more lubrcant per ounce of fuel. I think I could mix my "HomE85" with 30 percent castor to produce 1/2a fuel -- a little less oil for some larger engines. What do you guys think?

    On another subject, learning that most engine starting fluid contains a good percentage of heptane instead of being pure ether has me wondering if some percent of lower octane gasoline could be substituted for ether in homebrew model diesel fuel?
    Sticks and tissue and real light glue, a couple of good rubber bands and whew!!

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    RE: E85

    ORIGINAL: canardlover
    Aiming for a compression ratio of about 13/1...waddayathink downunder..??
    Ithinkit'dbe just about right for methanol but I'm not so sure if you used the E85 because ethanol won't tolerate as high a compression as methanol although I'm not sure quite what it'll handle. But it's simply a matter of experimenting with shims to raise or lower the cylinder to change the compression.

    Wayne...I'd definitely start with the 30% castor for the reason you mentioned. It's the rate of oil flow through the engine that's important and not the total oil in the fuel. I found that out when I got an ST G51 for CL stunt. It overheated on 20% all castor and had me stumped until I realised I was only using about 60cc of fuel for a 6 minute flight. I upped the oil to 25% and the engine was transformed...absolutely rock steady

    There's a fair chance that the engine will keep running on that fuel because there's a guy in South Africa who uses model diesel fuel in his glow engine for stunt. He starts it with the glow powered up then lets the engine run for about 30 seconds to fully heat up then disconnects the power.

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    RE: E85

    I've seen one of the South African guys fly a glow engine on model diesel fuel at one of the Vintage Stunt Contests in Tucson. I've also ran a couple of K&B 4011's on Davis 1/2A fuel on the bench, as you described. One ran fine after short glowplug warm up. The other needed the battery connected else it would uncercompress. Different thickness head shims I think.

  19. #19
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    RE: E85

    Hi downunder, many thanks for your comments, the reason I tried E85 was pure curiosity and inspiration by many 2S users "up here" in Sweden who use it with success. But basically I milled the Saito cases to get rid of the nitro and/or the OBGD on methanol fuel.
    Another drawback with E85 (apart from safety) is the unpleasant smell...[:'(]...having the stuff in the back of your car or in the shop - always eager NOT to unnecessarily disturb my "government".......you know.!
    But you say that ethanol will not tolerate the same (high) compression as methanol and I wonder why because according to my books they have almost identical octane numbers..!?!? OK, the 15% gas part will lower it but very, very little so I wonder if you can elaborate a bit on that remark....thanks.
    Wayne_C, I think you are right to add more oil since your needle setting will become leaner and people here say that their 2S engines run hotter on E85....Castor oil.?..absolutely......I just love them beans...!
    Jim, yes your "eutectic parable" seems most fitting, it appears the E85 mixture has a wider temperature interval within which it is explosive as compared to its pure components.

    Cheers/Harald

    http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/whatis_eth.html

    (see the 116KB pdf file at the bottom)



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    RE: E85

    Heres the deal ,GM has the most cars that run on E85. Ethanol has been run in RC engines but is more expensive and doesn't work as well as methanol. Ethanol 's price is subsidized by the goverment for now. E85 is more dangerous. It takes less temp to ignite it and have you ever seen a race driver on fire with alcohol, thats the problem you don't see the flames during the daylight. The 15% gas will make it a little more visable flame.
    Hey Buddy -That was the most spectacular crash I\'ve ever seen , That rolling cart wheel with parts slinging out was cool...

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    RE: E85

    Downunder,
    I don't know where you get your information but gasoline's flash point is -20 degrees F which I believe is about -29 degrees C. I think you quoted the flash point of diesel fuel. The only thing more dangerous about ethanol is that it burns with so little energy, the flame is so dim that you cannot see it during the day. Not much brighter in indoor lighting, only when the lights are dim is it easy to see. However this should not be a problem with a mix.

    Whenever there is a change in industry, the saftey Nazi's are hard at work. They always claim that the change is more dangerous, thus you need them, their regulations, and their products. Don't buy this, its just job security for safety specialists. Do your research. Don't wait for others to post or give you the information, it may not happen, especially with politics.
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  22. #22
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    RE: E85

    ORIGINAL: Sport_Pilot
    Downunder,
    I don't know where you get your information but gasoline's flash point is -20 degrees F which I believe is about -29 degrees C.
    I remember when I was doing that post the figure I gave didn't seem right but it what was on the web page I was checking. I've just been doing another search and figures for gasoline are all over the place, anywhere from -1C to -65C! Most sites say -40 so I'd go along with the majority

  23. #23
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    RE: E85

    Actually being a distallate not a single chemical, and with summer and winter brews. The actual flash point probably does change from tank full to tank full. IE all over the place.
    Glow Head Brotherhood #15

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    RE: E85

    I have been running all of my glow engines on E85 for about 3 months now. The cost of Methanol became too high for my thin wallet. E85 is a poor fuel compaired to methanol, but for a sport pilot who doesn't need the full power of methanol+nitro it is managable.
    For successfull operation you need to use a very cold plug or a good 4 stroke plug. The ideal would be a cold 4 stroke plug. Remember that a hot plug means less platinum and a cold plug means more. The catalytic effects of ethanol are les than methanol so you need more platinum. Also the 15 to 30 % gasoline added (in Colorado they add up to 30% gas in the winter to help starting) adversly effects starting and general running for a glow engine. I found that a Duratrax gold plug or a thunderbolt 4 stroke plug (#115490) work well and don't stress my thin wallet. The Fireball brand and Fox brand plugs work very poorly. An OS R5 cold plug is not as good as the Duratrax gold and costs more. Cold starting (sub freezing) is very difficult, using a prime of pure methanol helps alot. The power output is much less than when using methanol without nitro (nitro is too rich for my thin wallet, so I never use it), typically 500 to 1000 rpms less, but run times are almost doubled. I also use only 10 perecnt oil, and can use a smaller fuel tank to save weight. I only use synthetic oil, as caster becomes like glue in my engines in cold weather (I store all my flying stuff in an unheated shed). I use 13 ounces of Morgan fuels green heavy Kart oil per gallon. It is cheaper than caster oil and I have never had a problem with engine damage (I used the same mix when I used methanol as the fuel). In the hot summers I add 5% water for cooling when using methanol, but since I have only been using E85 this winter have not tried it with the E85. Glow plug sensitivity is severe with the E85 in most engines. I have some OS FP .25 engines that run fine even using a standard OS8 plug, but everything else requires 4 stroke or cool plugs. Using an older engine designed for little or no nitro seems the best bet. I would be interested in hearing the results of others using engines different than mine. I have super tigre .45 engines, and they run poorly on E85, the OS FP .25 runs well, but the .40 not so good. I have a thunder tigre .45 that runs nicely, having better needle valve operation, but those are the only engines I currently have. I want to buy some .60 engines to get some more power for my .40 planes now that I use E85 and would love to hear how each brand runs before stressing my ever thin wallet.
    The E85 costs about half of what pure methanol costs here, so I intend to stick with it until I have solutions to all the problems. Another good thing about E85 is it's lack of toxidity compaired to methanol. I have the 30% gasoline version of E85 now, I hope the 15% summer blend solves some of the problems in a few months.

  25. #25

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    RE: E85

    In my last post I made a typo stating that "glow plug sensitivity is severe". I should have said that the needle valve sensitivity is severe. Very touchy needle valve adjustments are the the biggest problem with E85. In fact I notice that an overly rich setting causes dead sticks just as much as overly lean, unlike methanol which is far more sensitive to lean than rich setting.
    Good luck and let us know what you discover in your tests.


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