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The law of unintended consequences strikes again
Posted by: McQ on Friday, August 01, 2008

Mandates are a wonderful thing, aren't they?
Rick Kitchings has been a small-engine mechanic for about 30 years, and he’s been busier than ever lately.

Recently, a customer came into his shop in Savannah, Ga., with a string trimmer that had barely been used. “It looked like it just came off the showroom floor, but the motor was absolutely shot, absolutely worn out,” Kitchings said.

The owner had fueled the trimmer with an gasoline-ethanol blend, which is becoming increasingly common thanks to a federal mandate to convert to biofuels.
Yes friends, it appears ethanol and 2-cycle engines may not mix well.
Benjamin Mallisham, owner of a lawnmower repair shop in Tuscaloosa, Ala., said at least 40 percent of the lawnmower engines he repairs these days have been damaged by ethanol.

“When you put that ethanol in here, it eats up the insides or rusts them out,” Mallisham said. “All the rubber gaskets and parts — it eats those up.”
Of course backers of the mandated fuel dispute the claims:
The Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for ethanol producers based in Washington, says there’s no evidence that ethanol can damage smaller engines, either.

“Tests completed on lawnmowers, chainsaws, weed trimmers and blower vacs with ethanol fuels showed no engine failures, no unscheduled maintenance and good performance,” the association said.
Mechanics say differently:
But mechanics across the country insist that as gasoline blended with ethanol takes over in more gas stations, lawnmowers and boat motors everywhere are choking.

“They’re starving for gas, because the little needle holes in them are stopped up with the gel that happens when that stuff breaks down,” Mallisham said. “It stops them up so it can’t run.”

Here’s what happens: In smaller engines, ethanol can create a chain reaction of events that end up clogging valves and rusting out small metal parts — including, crucially, carburetors.

“When you mix ethanol with your fuel, you’ve now put a chemical substance in there that’s going to attract moisture, which is going to promote a quicker deterioration of the fuel that you have,” said Bob Magnotti, owner of Magnotti’s Small Engine Service in Roanoke, Va.

In effect, said Doug Ryms, a mechanic at Como Mower Service in Columbus, Ohio, “the alcohol actually dissipates the oil. So on a two-cycle engine, you’re lubricating the engine, but the oil is being pushed away, so it’s actually not lubricating the engine.”

That creates a gummy residue, called shellack, that clogs filters and hoses. And it does no good to follow the rocking-chair wisdom that says you’ll be fine if you drain the tank before you gas it back up.

“People will tell you you can take the gas out of them and it won’t happen, but it’s the residue that does the damage,” Mallisham said.
Personal experience tells me that the mechanics are right on this one. I've experienced the same problem in two 2-cycle blowers and a weed-eater since ethanol has been introduced in the area.

So I wonder, can I send the repair bills to Congress?
 
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Comments
It’s really a sneaky conspiracy between the weed-whacker manufacturers, the Peak Oilers(tm), the Greenhouse Gasheads and the neo-luddites. They want to force you to ditch your power tools and to use a push reel-mower.
 
Written By: CR
URL: http://
I’ve noticed the same problem, but first ..

where can I send my ridiculous new gas can that either won’t open or won’t close when it is supposed to leaving gas all over the place in the meanwhile. I want to stuff it down the throat or up the a$$ of whatever bureaucrat mandated this piece of crap.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
So I wonder, can I send the repair bills to Congress?
Of course, you can send the repair bills to Congress.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
Ne0 - amen...every time I use one I end up damaging the environment by spilling far more gas than I would ever have spilled otherwise trying to get the damn thing to pour.

As for this small engine thing - yes, little did you know Dick Cheney also has stock in small engine/gasket manufacturing, and on the agriculture front, hothouse tomatos.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The Coast Guard seems to believe there is a problem with ethanol. http://www.uscgboating.org/recalls/pdfs/BSC85_1.pdf#Gas
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
The owner had fueled the trimmer with an gasoline-ethanol blend, which is becoming increasingly common thanks to a federal mandate to convert to biofuels.
These aren’t the mandates you are looking for.

The "mandates" are for moving to E10 for the oxygenating requirement. Its been around in the mid-west for over 10 years. You could take all the ’biofuel’ efforts and kill them, burn their bodies, and sprinkle their ashes in the ocean and this would still be happening.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
This is the same government that mandated MTBE to reduce air pollution (too bad about those poisoned wells, but our intentions were good) and the energy saving furnaces with no pilot lights (too bad about the rusted out heat exchangers, but our intentions were good.)

This would be the same group that refuses to fix the Ponzi scheme aka Social Security, one that does accounting in a manner that would send a private company’s officers to prison.

Why am I not surprised? These folks lived through the collapse of the world’s greatest top down economy (the Soviet Union.) Evidently, this time it will be different.

Or not.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://

 
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