testing Fuel for Ethanol...

Submitted: Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 13:25
ThreadID: 7886 Views:2102 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
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From another forum.

Last night I read of a brilliantly simple test that can be used to
check for the amount of Ethanol in petrol. Try it at your own risk
however - I take no responsibility for all you peoples trying this at
home tonight!

Get a graduated container that has a tight fitting lid (for example a
babies milk bottle). Put it on a level surface outside (and away from
any source of ignition including cigarettes!), and pour water in up
to a convenient mark (say 200 ml). Then 3/4 fill up the bottle with
the suspect fuel. Put on the lid and then shake, shake, shake. Leave
for 10 minutes to settle.

If there is no ethanol in the fuel, then the separation line will be
exactly where it was before - 200ml. If there is Ethanol it will have
dissolved in the water and the separation line will be higher. If you
measured the volume of fuel added you can roughly calculate the % of

Apparently some fuels have modifiers in them that will stop this test
working. If you suspect this then try the test with coolant instead
of water. Coolant negates the effect of the additives!

Finally, and this is obvious but - when you have finished with it
THROW THE CONTAINER AWAY - don't put it back in the kitchen cupboard -
it will always have petrol / alcohol in it no matter how much you
wash it, and milk laced with petrol is not good for young children.

You can actually buy little test-tube kits from garages overseas to
do this test - why the heck can't you get these kits here in our Big
Free Country? Interesting ain't it!
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Reply By: phillowe - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 13:54

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 13:54
Move to South Australia!!!! Ethonol is still outlawed over here and it is regulary checked by the authorities!!
AnswerID: 34154

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 14:03

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 14:03
Same here its checked regularly,doesnt mean shiat!!!

One bloke replied to that thread did the test from his local servo today which advertises that they "USE NO ETHONOL", he got home and it did contain it!

V8Patrol wrote:
read this post and just picked up a jerrycan of "fresh" fuel this morning... so why not give it a go I thought, after all the local servo has a BIG sign that says "NO ETHONOL"......according to my test... they FAILED!!!

So I printed out the info from the original post and faxed it down to em with a "please explain" note attached......... am waiting for a reply ... should be interesting hey !

p/s.... I did the test 3 times and the outcome was exactly the same each time, about 3mm difference in a 2lit milk bottle.
FollowupID: 24588

Reply By: Member - Bob - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 14:19

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 14:19
Does it matter if there is 10% ethanol? Isn't the anti ethanol thing all just hysteria anyway? I reckon if it means we import 10% less fuel then it should be compulsory.Bob
AnswerID: 34160

Follow Up By: Alan H - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 14:58

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 14:58
Bob, we'd still be paying duty on the petrol as if it was Ethanol free.
If they want to stick duty free additives in the stuff they should charge a lower price .............and I bet they don't declare to the authorities the extra they've tricked out of the long suffering consumer. They pocket the difference we've paid in taxes, which on fuel we all pay far too much anyway!
FollowupID: 24596

Follow Up By: Willie - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 19:59

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 19:59
Mainly hysteria, methinks. So what? we get ripped off anyway by the government, the fuel producers and the fuel resellers. I don't care, there is not enough time to care. As long as the ethanol keeps my car moving I am happy. NO STRESS.

Never a dull moment
FollowupID: 24629

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 20:51

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 20:51
To both Bob & Willie,

I wonder if you will think it is not so bad when you break down as many of our customers have done because of the addition of ethanol. then find out the damage it has caused to some of the fuel system components and are handed a repair bill that really cases gives them stress (quote).

Be advised it is rubbish, it costs more to produce as a product than the greenhouse benefits that is claimed and it also internally rusts the fuel system swells the rubber components especially vehicles like "Willies".

I just hope that this stupidity about ethanol will cease.
When the Govt is honest with the public and does what it should have done and banned it instead of making deals.

Cheers Geoff.
FollowupID: 24632

Reply By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 20:50

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 20:50
Up here they sell Ethenol blended fuel (10%) called E10 & they charge the same price of regular unleaded.

They try & tell people its from the local sugar cane crops & bying it will support the local farmers.
If it was cheaper i could understand why people would use it so why pay full price for a lower quality product ?

What about years ago the government said it was safe to run leaded vehicals on unleaded, don't here that anymore now do we.

Mmmm i wonder why they sell that unleaded additive in a bottle for running older cars now ???
AnswerID: 34211

Reply By: Member - Hugh (WA) - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 21:43

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 21:43
Truckster and others,

I cannot comment directly on E10 or E20 blended fuels, except to say that I am an engineer involved in evaluated these fuels and their impact on a range of vehicles representing the Australian vehicle fleet. Would I use either? Fortunately I drive a diesel.

I would recommend you review the Government's Environment Australia web site, which contains a lot of info on the subject, including reports that we have written. I will leave you to form your own opinion, which will hopefully be better informed from reading the attached. Probably a good recipe for insomnia, however some good material in there.
link text

Regards, Hugh

AnswerID: 34217

Follow Up By: american guy - Saturday, Oct 18, 2003 at 12:49

Saturday, Oct 18, 2003 at 12:49
well hello there aussie fellers
I have heard of the test for the ethonal that you are describing over here. ethonal is kind of a pain in the neck. As mostof our cars won't run on its right,
most "gas" or petrol stations claim to only have a 20% blend in reality most of them are over 50% and living where i do people put extra alchol in there gas tanks in the winter and never run the tank much below a 1/2 tank the alchol and ethonal will sit on top of gasoline, then in the spring they happen to run the tank below a 1/2 the the car runs poorly.
my back ground is that i worked for a ford dealer for over 5 years as a highly trained automotive tech and at times worked very close with field reps from the ford motor company and they recomend this test highly to use in checking the ethonal content. hope thins was enlighting i enjoy reading this fourm.
FollowupID: 24665

Follow Up By: Savvas - Saturday, Oct 18, 2003 at 16:54

Saturday, Oct 18, 2003 at 16:54
Hugh ... I skimmed through that link you posted. Even so, it got the message home.

I was of the opinion that ethanol only affected rubber and plastic components, but the corrosion and pitting on metal components is frightening.

Americanguy...50%??? What sort of damage do vehicles over in the US suffer as a result?
FollowupID: 24687

Reply By: american guy - Monday, Oct 20, 2003 at 11:50

Monday, Oct 20, 2003 at 11:50
most of the time the car would just run so poor you have to tow it into the repair shop by this time no real damage happened manily the high ethoanal concentrate in the winter which get as cold as -34 F then these problems happen, although i have head the ethonal can eat rubber so to speak but most of the damage i have seen is to the "cat" converters i melt the platium core down causing the engine to stall.

thankyou for your repli
AnswerID: 34445

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