If you can read this, you need to enable Java in your browser to see our menus
 

Fuels 2- Gasoline is no longer gasoline

This article is an addendum to my previous fuel articles

As an owner of a powersports product, you need to be aware of a few things regarding fuel in TODAYs World. First and most important today, Gasoline is NO LONGER GASOLINE. It is, using the 1970's term, "GASAHOL". The increasing mandate by the EPA and the CARB in California is for more and more ethanol to be added to the fuel supply. Their logic is that this will help to reduce GHG [Green House Gas] Emissions. A Little tidbit on their flawed logic:
1. Myth: GHG or Green House Gas is something that is actually negative and can be manipulated by man- Unproven science-Slippery Slope here
2. Plants Thrive on these as they absorbe GHG's and produce oxygen- Fact

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to assess the feasibility of using intermediate ethanol blends in the existing vehicle fleet. In June 2009, the California Air Resources Board announced changes to its reformulated gasoline regulations and predictive model to ultimately allow for the greater use of ethanol. On August 29 2009, CARB finalized the rule to allow higher ethanol blends, stating that all fuel sold in California must be compliant with the new CARB Phase 3 standards after December 31, 2009.

California is Currently pumping E-10 fuels

If you own a Powersports product manufactured before 2012 with a carburetor, a lean fuel mixture will cause an engine to run poorly if at all. Symptoms include:
1. The engine is very difficult to start cold
2. Engine won't Idle or will have a surge or missfire at idle
3. Part throttle stumble on acceleration
4. Runs better with the choke part way on

Starting in the late 1980s, engines equipped with carburetors were calibrated more toward the lean side of the ideal A/F mixture needs of the engine so the vehicle could pass the tighter exhaust emission standards that were just coming into existence. The factories continued the leaning out of carburetor mixtures throughout the 2000's and continues today on carburetor equipped engines, however- and this is where the problems start- the already lean mixture settings from the factories DID NOT take into account the addition of Ethanol in the fuel and now your factory carburetor jetting is no longer capable of allowing the engine to run as intended.

Furthermore, carburetors are not very smart. From the factory, they’re calibrated to run on one kind of fuel and optimized for a specific altitude and cannot make adjustments on their own, like modern electronic fuel injection can. Engines that were built even just a few years ago, before ethanol, were calibrated to run on straight gas. Ethanol has extra oxygen in it, which throws off the air/fuel [A/F] ratio, making the engine run too lean. Lean engines run hotter and have what are called drivability problems —hard starting and poor running. Simply put, this means if the A/F mixture was lean with non-ethanol unleaded gasoline it will be even leaner with today’s ethanol gasoline blends. It is possible to recalibrate a carburetor to tolerate E10 and perform as it should.

Theoretically, the ideal stoichiometric A/F (Air/Fuel) mixture- the chemically ideal mixture of air and fuel that is required to provide a complete burn- for a properly tuned engine running on pure gasoline is 14.7:1; that is, 14.7 lbs. of air to 1 lb. of fuel. However, because of operating losses in the induction system due to intake runner and cylinder wall wetting, plus the fact that fuel may not fully vaporize in the combustion chamber, a 14.7:1 A/F mixture is often too lean for actual operating needs. A more realistic light-load, cruise A/F mixture for a stock carbureted engine running on reformulated unleaded gasoline is in the 14.1:1 range. The A/F mixture always varies from cylinder to cylinder, therefore we tend to tune the average A/F mixture slightly on the rich side to avoid engine misfire in the leanest cylinder. It is possible to target an A/F mixture leaner than 14.7:1 for maximum fuel economy but this will lead to driveabilty problems if any one cylinder is
leaner than the others. If your product is a single cylinder engine, it may not run at all. The power mixture we target for maximum horsepower is in the 12.2:1 – 13.5:1 A/F range, depending on the engines intended use and its combustion chamber design. We use a 4 gas exhaust analyzer to determine where the fuel sytem/engine is calibrated and to help determine the engines optimal settings.

You can complicate these mixture setting requirements further as follows:
1. Modifying Exhaust systems
2. Modifying Air Box/Air Filter
3. Internal engine changes like camshafts, big bore kits, compression ratio changes etc.
4. Changes in operating altitude
    And last but not least:
5. Improper Storage

We are also seeing an increased number of units that were "broken" and put away "wet". This complicates the "return to service" procedures as we will have to
1. Clean the fuel system
2. Diagnose and correct the issues that occured which caused the unit to stop running and enter storage in the first place
3. Recalibrate the unit for today's Ethanol

Also, Fuel Storage is seeing a huge decrease in the amount of time the fuel can stay fresh. We are seeing a decrease from Months to Weeks. When a unit comes home from our shop after the fuel system has been prepped for "return to service" and Ethanol Calibration, It must be be put into service immediately and have at least 1 full tank of gas and Engine Med RX (a Yamaha fuel system cleaning product) run through it. Residual compromised fuel will linger in the "nooks and crannies" of the fuel system and will immediately begin to damage the work performed. I have a theory that this is due to the cellulose/ starch base of corn ethanol used in the United States. Like any Organic compound, it can continue to deteriorate and is accellerated by the already present degradation of the residues of the original fuel left behind during the cleaning process. We call it "Fuel Mold"

We DO NOT warranty this.


Happy Riding!
Dr Jay