Alcohol vs gasoline

BeSafe

Super Anarchist
7,996
1,300
If you follow her channel, you know this lady is a great small engine mechanic.
and by telling people about this brand, she hurts her own business for repairing various units.
Thanks for the reference - I added her to my youtube lineup. I loved how she just listened to the sequences, and would diagnose the issues - like watching a good music teacher.. "you're rushing.....there... better".
 

warbird

Super Anarchist
16,605
1,356
lake michigan
This isn't rocket surgery. If the octane is too high or too low for the engine then it will foul/carbon or detonate/overrun. If I had an old war horse like her Stihl, I wouldn't use the 92 octane of the Trufuel, it was built for probably closer to 86 octane. And to my memory of those older engines, they have rubber seals that are not as sensitive to the ethanol anyway.

Trufuel is made for the newer engines with synthetic seals, neoprene flaps and such, the kind of materials that get eaten alive by ethanol. My small engines run better on it than gas from the pump, but they are newer engines and all two strokes. (I run my two-stroke snowmobile with gas pump gas, as well as two dirtbikes, both four-strokes.) So far, the Trufuel has given me plenty of power, and I have not had to rebuild any of the small engines. I do have to rebuild the Polaris sled and the Honda XR-500, but that mostly has to do with both of those machines being run like raped apes.

Also, older engines were designed for somewhat lower octanes because of the way gasoline was stored in vented tanks, until the more recent unvented tanks that @Pertinacious Tom hates, he had a whole thread on his Normy-based disdain for unvented tanks. With the vented tanks, the more volatile (lower vapor pressure) components of the gasoline boiled off first, which left the higher vapor pressure stuff in the tank, and those older engines were designed to run reasonably well on fuel from a vented tank filled at the beginning of the summer. But obviously, new untented tanks and those unvented Trufuel bottles keep roughly the same volatile ratio after months of storage than as new. (Though there is degradation as they are repeatedly opened and closed, as she noted in her video with absorbing the water.) These newer two-stroke engines are built to a narrower fuel burn because they can be ... fuel tends to stay fresher these days.

I don't know the compression ratio or year of her Stihls in the video, but it is tough to do a side-by-side comparison like that even with engines of similar builds. And that isn't the point anyway ... the enemy of small engines is what ethanol does to the components, and in some states (like mine) getting ethanol free fuel at the pump is nearly impossible, so we use the canned fuel.
Another reason to use canned fuel. Convenience. A 2stroke snow blower uses a quart or 2 of premix at my daughters house each winter. I never would have thought of stooping so low as to buy "canned premix" but with this I can run over, pour some in and clear her walk and not hve 1/2 a gallon left over going bad all summer.
 

Coastal_Fox

Member
247
102
New England
On an tangent:
Whenever i use my alcohol stove i always wonder why alcohol wasn't used as a fuel a lot sooner. It's not like we couldn't make alcohol very early on.
Only thing i can think is maybe it was because since you had to make fire to light it anyway, might as well just use a fire.
But it would have been a lot cleaner in the kitchen and for lighting i think.
 

Pertinacious Tom

Importunate Member
62,105
1,890
Punta Gorda FL
I didn't watch the video but the price tag is enough to scare me off that Tru fuel stuff. No ethanol 90 octane gas was up around five bucks a gallon, down some now, but still way better than 18.
 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
26,635
3,742
Suwanee River
On an tangent:
Whenever i use my alcohol stove i always wonder why alcohol wasn't used as a fuel a lot sooner. It's not like we couldn't make alcohol very early on.
Only thing i can think is maybe it was because since you had to make fire to light it anyway, might as well just use a fire.
But it would have been a lot cleaner in the kitchen and for lighting i think.
Alcohol stoves were/are popular in some places. Trouble is, they have a nasty habit of exploding if not properly maintained.
I had one, and it was great.... Took longer to boil water than the propane stove, but it was much less expensive if you weren't in a hurry.
The other problem (Until I built a still) was finding decent alcohol to burn in it. Vodka doesn't do it.
 

BeSafe

Super Anarchist
7,996
1,300
Vodka doesn't do it.
Yea, the alcohol really has to be over 100 proof (50%) to burn effectively. Most vodkas are mandated to be at least 80 but there's not much incentive to go higher.

A lot of old-school alcohol burners used 70-91% isopropyl alcohol cause it was cheep and easy.
 

Coastal_Fox

Member
247
102
New England
Alcohol stoves were/are popular in some places. Trouble is, they have a nasty habit of exploding if not properly maintained.
I had one, and it was great.... Took longer to boil water than the propane stove, but it was much less expensive if you weren't in a hurry.
The other problem (Until I built a still) was finding decent alcohol to burn in it. Vodka doesn't do it.
I use my backpacking stove on the boat, because i have a fear of propane building up in the bildge.
Its basically a cup that you fill with fuel and light, with pin holes around the outer edge to spread the flame.
Depending on the fuel, you can get some pretty good performance out of it. Acetone for instance will burn very hot and can boil about 6 cups of water in about 5 min, but its sooty so i dont use it often. Isopropyl is also leaves soot. Normal denatured alcohol takes a bit longer to boil, but burns a lot cleaner.
If you want a fuel that burns fairly clean, hot, and that you can swig while waiting; Everclear works very well, but it's an expensive choice.

But i was mostly wondering why they didn't use it as a fuel during like Medieval and Roman times in that post.
 

Blue Crab

benthivore
16,225
2,618
Outer Banks
This stuff has worked just fine for the last 10 years in my Origo stove. It's in the paint dept. It does take a bit longer to warm stuff. Maybe a couple of minutes. No pressure, no explosion. I try not to sweat the small shit like a couple of minutes. I buy a gal, decant into quarts for handling and storage.
1662382786101.png
 

Coastal_Fox

Member
247
102
New England
This stuff has worked just fine for the last 10 years in my Origo stove. It's in the paint dept. It does take a bit longer to warm stuff. Maybe a couple of minutes. No pressure, no explosion. I try not to sweat the small shit like a couple of minutes. I buy a gal, decant into quarts for handling and storage.
View attachment 539037
Thats exactly what i use.
You would think for a container thats basically yelling at you about how flammable and dangerous its contents are, they would make it a little easier to pour haha. I divi it up into squirt bottles.
 

Coastal_Fox

Member
247
102
New England
This is your stove on acetone btw.
For when you want it hot and you want it now.
Took 4 min to boil water, but like i said, you have to deal with cleaning some soot off the pot. I would say outdoor use only.
... Even though the pic is obviously indoors. "Not as i do" as they say haha.

IMG_20220828_171843441.jpg
 

billy backstay

Backstay, never bought a suit, never went to Vegas
may want to rethink that.




If you follow her channel, you know this lady is a great small engine mechanic.
and by telling people about this brand, she hurts her own business for repairing various units.


She's telling everyone to avoid the Trufuel brand, saying it gets her a lot of business, but some of the other pre-canned gas-oil mix products are okay.
.
 

Blue Crab

benthivore
16,225
2,618
Outer Banks
Not specifically, no.
Hahaha ... I meant there would be no acetone or other experimental burning in my marine Origo stove which is attached to the boat on gimbals and in use for 41 years and looks like new. I am willing to learn from others' mistakes. Small boat sailing doesn't have to be camping out and no pressure means no explosions. One fuck up on the dock can ruin a lot of other people's lives. Happens pretty often as I suspect you'll be finding out.
She's telling everyone to avoid the Trufuel brand, saying it gets her a lot of business, but some of the other pre-canned gas-oil mix products are okay
I'm surprised, surprised I tell you, that Mike has bought into the high dollar premix juju. Doubtless he can explain it in some satisfactory way to him but my 70+ years of running 2 stroke engines has been pretty successful with my own blends of non-ethanol and oil. It really isn't rocket surgery. Now we have electric stuff which saves the day for most people but the actual secret to keeping 2 strokes easy to start is starting them often.
 

BeSafe

Super Anarchist
7,996
1,300
But i was mostly wondering why they didn't use it as a fuel during like Medieval and Roman times in that post.

Ethanol comes from fermenting sugars. The maximum alcohol content from natural fermentation is 12-15% depending on the yeast and takes weeks. In order to make alcohol that is flammable, you then have to remove ~ 50% of the water - getting the alcohol content up above 50% - by distillation. That requires a lot of heat.

You have to take something valuable (clean water and sugars), prep and store for weeks (which uses up space), then use something else of value (wood or charcoal/coal typically) to clean and ultimately distill the product.

Short answer, it was just too expensive to bother as a heat/light source.

Oil lamps, candles, and rushlights were quicker and easier.
 

mikewof

mikewof
45,639
1,210
This stuff has worked just fine for the last 10 years in my Origo stove. It's in the paint dept. It does take a bit longer to warm stuff. Maybe a couple of minutes. No pressure, no explosion. I try not to sweat the small shit like a couple of minutes. I buy a gal, decant into quarts for handling and storage.
View attachment 539037
The Origo stoves seem to take so much longer, but then I timed it once and it was only a minute or so, as you mentioned. I decided that it seemed so much longer because they are dead silent.
 

mikewof

mikewof
45,639
1,210
I'm surprised, surprised I tell you, that Mike has bought into the high dollar premix juju. Doubtless he can explain it in some satisfactory way to him but my 70+ years of running 2 stroke engines has been pretty successful with my own blends of non-ethanol and oil. It really isn't rocket surgery. Now we have electric stuff which saves the day for most people but the actual secret to keeping 2 strokes easy to start is starting them often.

That is the point, I can't find ethanol-free too easily around here in regular octane. It was at many pumps in Wyoming and Idaho, but not state.

I use Trufuel in my small two-strokes, like the chainsaw. My big two-strokes, like my Fuji 488cc get regular fuel. But those older big two-strokes are built much tougher than the new tiny ones. If I could get ethanol-free like you get, I would use it, but I can't, so I don't.
 

billy backstay

Backstay, never bought a suit, never went to Vegas
That is the point, I can't find ethanol-free too easily around here in regular octane. It was at many pumps in Wyoming and Idaho, but not state.

I use Trufuel in my small two-strokes, like the chainsaw. My big two-strokes, like my Fuji 488cc get regular fuel. But those older big two-strokes are built much tougher than the new tiny ones. If I could get ethanol-free like you get, I would use it, but I can't, so I don't.

Aren't you in Denver? I was surprised to find how many places in CT sell ethanol free gas, mostly small shops that specialize in 2-stroke landscaping tools. Google search for Denver found this.... Good luck!

 




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