Ethanol Fuel - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2006, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Ethanol Fuel

Seeing as the gas crisis is a topic of discussion with many people I am looking to get some credible and good information on using ethanol for fuel. Any credible articles would be nice. Also some questions, can ethanol run on existing cars, if so is modification needed, I believe some cars would need new fuel lines or something like that. How does the milage of ethanol compare. Is engine performance hendered, improved or left alone. Are high revs or high compression ratios affected. How about emmisions. I am just looking for information as I think ethanol should be used for now, seeing as hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are not currently viable for the nation at large that ethanol would give us self reliance on our farmers instead of foreign oil and would allow people to keep their vehicles as fuel cell and hydrogen start to become mass market.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2006, 02:59 PM
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Gasoline with up to 5% ethanol is sold in US for years. Not every state has it. I remember filling it up into my MB in Texas.
No need for modifications at small percentage.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2006, 07:36 PM
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Hello Happy,

All California gas is now 10% Ethanol. It contains less energy, so my Benz uses more of it for equivalent performance. On the plus side, it does a great job of cleaning injectors.

As part of a solar energy project at the U of CO at Boulder in 1980, the senior ME class built a solar-powered distillery that made 95% pure Ethanol from Sugar Beet beer. We called it "Solarhol." I ran some of it in a 1961 Oldmobile F-85 V8 sedan after installing larger jets in the carb. The Olds was sluggish on Ethanol. It is possible to get high performance out of Ethanol fuel, but you'll need to raise the compression ratio to about 17:1, like the indoor dirt track race cars do. They use the stuff so the exhaust is clean enough for indoor venues.

Oh, one more experience with Ethanol, also in 1980. I visited Brazil for a conference and three of us hired a taxi to take us up to the Jesus statue above Rio. It was a VW bug converted to Ethanol. We had to get out and walk a quarter mile when the bug just couldn't make the last grade.

My conclusion is, drink the stuff, don't burn it. Natural gas is a more feasible, cheaper alternative to gasoline.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2006, 09:41 PM
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Yes, I just saw a notice at the 76 gas station here at Orange County "gasoline dispensed here may contain Ethanol"

Don't know what percentage it is.

1983 300SD (250K Miles) ==>Astral Silver on Black MB Tex;
2002 ML500 (120K Miles) ==>Silver on Black Leather Interior:Sport Pkg;

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 12:40 AM
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Cars with gasoline engines have fuel systems and engines that are designed for gasoline and therefore perform best on a strict diet of gasoline. Having said that, some gasoline systems and engines can tolerate small quantities of some other flammable volatiles and impurities without too much harm. Additionally, some gasoline systems and gasoline engines can be modified to run on alternative fuels and fuel mixtures at some expense to the owner.

Whether one would want to experiment with one's expensive Mercedes is entirely up to one's intelligence, commonsense and depth of one's pockets!

This is what DaimlerChrysler AG has to say about the use of Ethanol in Mercedes Benz vehicles on the Mercedes Australia website:

DaimlerChrysler AG. recommends that your vehicle be operated on fuel containing no more than 10% ethanol. Use of fuel with an ethanol content higher than 10% may result in engine malfunction, starting and operating difficulties and materials degradation. These adverse effects could result in permanent damage to your vehicle. Purchasing your fuel from a reputable supplier may reduce the risk of exceeding this 10% limit or of receiving fuel with abnormal properties. It should also be noted that when using ethanol blended fuels an increase in fuel consumption can be expected due to the lower energy content of ethanol.

The "permanent damage" scares me!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-29-2006, 05:00 PM
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I tried using it and my mileage dropped about 3-4 mpg so it was not a savings at all
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