By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.
I was told many years ago that an equipment operator is only as good as the equipment he or she runs. This is true, not only in design, but also in their ability to deal with outside the design circumstance.
Fuels today offer a wide variety of instabilities for two stroke engines. They are formulated, by demand, to cater to the automotive side of engines. Small engines, like your chainsaw, blower and trimmer, are forced to try to burn it and survive.
We recently visited the plant and facilities of B3C Fuel Solutions in Conway, SC. The company has been developing and producing fuel additives for over two years now. They are growing rapidly as their products are impressing and filling distribution channels nationwide. They have the capacity to produce over 40,000 bottles a day of some very amazing fuel additives. I’ve been using, testing and becoming ever more convinced that their products are viable solutions to some present two-stroke fuel problems.
The additives are based on a formulation that is effective in both four cycle and two cycle engines and for both gasoline and diesel combustion. They add special formulations to focus the products to specific needs. Their Fuel Solution products are not a flammable but a combustable additive.
Mechanic in a Bottle for gas and diesel and their flagship Ethanol Shield are their top sellers. More info at www.b3cfuelsolutions.com
Explaining a few things I learned in the visit:
Storage and Fuel
All fuel types begin to degrade, attract moisture and oil mix separates over time. Most manufacturers of two stoke equipment recommend to store fuel in a properly labeled and sealed fuel can or supply tank. Only store for a max of 30 days unless stabilized and always buy 89 or higher octane gas.
Fuels today create or are oxygenated to maintain the light ends, or vapor, that improve its volatility. Ethanol does a good job of meeting this need but in this process however the more vaporizing ability of the fuel the more quickly a given volume can become unstable. Stabilizers are formulated to maintain the mix of petroleum gasoline, the ethanol and the oil additive to the blend.
The oil added for your two cycle will adhere to the petroleum gas but not as well to the ethanol added without some assistance. Some synthetic mix oils do blend better to the ethanol, but additives like B3C’s Ethanol Shield can be a big plus to this process. When the ethanol and gas go through a phase separation (which can happen from just temperature changes), it can leave a portion of your fuel going into your engine without lubrication.
Water and the burn
I heard years ago that all gasoline has some content of water that is contained in its volume. One aspect of water and fuel I didn't understand until recently is what happens when fuel burns in the engines combustion area that has a content of water. Mini explosions take place when the water meets the flame. It spreads the flame like fireworks, sparks and fire going in different directions.
I observed several additives that say they remove water. They did seem to accumulate it in the tests but when burned they popped, sparked, sputtered and almost seemed to explode the water uncontrollably. The B3C products made the water invisible and the mixture burned smoothly with none of the fireworks.
Additives in fuel designed to clean internal parts can have great results in some engines. If they are not compatible with the oil in two cycle fuel however, the situation can be detrimental. Some detergents cause the oil to suspend or not attach itself to the fuel molecule. This attachment is important to your two cycle engine lubrication. Ethanol added to gasoline is a strong detergent. Additives are necessary and important to allow the ethanol to mix and stay blended.
As fuel ages its effective and controlled burn decreases. As the vaporizing ability and octane deteriorates the fuel becomes unstable and is erratic in the engine’s combustion. Fresh volatile fuel offers a controlled, even burn, under the engines compression and fire sequence. As volatility declines the combustion is like mini explosions and causes a hammering on pistons, bearings and other internal parts. This effect is called detonation.
Burn clean, reducing smoke output
In an ideal condition your engine should burn all the combusted fuel and air. Complete combustion properly reduces emissions that you breath and ejected into the atmosphere. Clean combustion also means the interior of your engine is not coated and covered with shellac and or carbon.
I watched several burn illustrations of an assortment of fuels and additives on the market. Most all of them had soot and carbon streaming into the air when the solution was burned. This illustrates what is happening inside the combustion and the exhaust process of your engine. When the B3C products were burned the flame was consistent and long burning with no recognizable smoking.
All in all, I am convince there are products that can help us though the ethanol issues at www.b3cfuelsolutions.com
© Copyright 2011, Forest Applications Training, Inc.