The Corn Lobby Will Kill Your Older Car
They may not
need to ban old cars outright. Instead, theyll just kill them
off quietly by poisoning them internally.
cars built since the early 90s - can stomach the stuff
. They have engines designed to deal with corrosive, ethanol-doctored
gas and peripheral systems (hoses, seals, o-rings,
lines, etc.) made to withstand it. Being computer controlled,
they can also adjust themselves to deal with ethanol-laced gas.
They may not get the best mileage theyre capable of delivering
because ethanol is less energy dense than gasoline
but at least they run ok.
But with older
cars cars built before the early 90s, before widespread
use of ethanol-doctored fuel youve got two problems.
One of them is relatively minor and easily fixed.
more serious and not easily (or inexpensively) fixed.
The minor problem
relates to the older (pre-early 80s) cars static engine
operating parameters. Meaning, they cant self-adjust like
a modern cars computer-controlled engine to compensate for
different fuel type and quality. Theyre mechanically set to
run a given air-fuel ratio, ignition timing and so on all
assuming a given type of fuel. In the case of of early 80s
and older cars, that means regular unleaded gas not mostly
gas and 10 (or 15 or 85 ) percent ethanol.
If the type/quality
of fuel changes, but the engine isnt adjusted to compensate,
it wont run as well it should until it is adjusted
or its fed the original type of fuel it was designed
to burn. If its not adjusted, what typically happens is the
engine runs lean when it is fed ethanol-laced fuels. One result
of that is it will run hotter. This was precisely what was
intended openly when oxygnates such as
ethanol and MTBE were added to gasoline beginning in the late 80s
and early 90s. It was a way to lower the tailpipe exhaust
emissions of pre-computer-controlled car engines because
they could not adjust themselves and in this way, the fuel
altered the operating characteristics (and exhaust byproducts) of
the engines in those cars.
in addition to the noticeable reduction in gas mileage that
resulted was that these older engines were often harder to
start, would not idle as smoothly as they did previously, tended
to stall more and lost some horsepower, in addition to the
drop in gas mileage. An engine thats made to run hotter than
it was designed to run will also tend to wear out faster.
The fix for
this is fairly easy. You (or your mechanic) simply adjust
the carburetor to run richer, alter the ignition timing
and so on. Now the engine will run ok even though it probably
wont give you the gas mileage it otherwise would have
just like any new car force-fed ethanol.
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[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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