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Classic Engines, Modern Fuel

Comments on Topic: A clue as to the percentage ethanol content in Cleveland Discol fuel?

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Submitted by Alastairq

I have just viewed, with interest, the latest Youtube video on the channel of Ian Peter Strange.

{This concerns his ongoing rebuild of his AC 2 litre saloon.}

At the end of his video Ian has added some reviews of his Father's diaries, in which items of motoring interest were noted.

In the record for 1962, fuel costs, etc are noted, and includes the information that Cleveland Discol fuel was used .

Also, Ian's Father has noted that Cleveland Discol contained 15% ethanol! [As well as being lead-free fuel!!!]

In that excellent book [thank you] Classic Engines- Modern Fuel, it is noted that actual percentage ethanol content in the old Cleveland Discol fuel were unknown.

So perhaps Ian's Father's diary logs give us an actual clue to this information?

If correct, then doesn't it all put the current issues regarding ethanol in modern fuel [not forgetting unleaded, too?] rather more into perspective?

I would add, I run my 100E and 10HP Ford sidevalve engines on the cheapest fuel I can buy [E10, or whatever percentage it actually contains?], and if anything, those engines run even better...especially when the revs are up! But I would also add, as a matter of course, I renew any rubber fuel lines, etc,, I think, should be the case anyway?

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Submitted by The Author


Thanks for your comment about the book. Glad you liked it.

Your comment about 15% ethanol in Cleveland Discol is interesting. I have heard this figure from other sources. However, these also stated the figure was not reliable because the volume was not that closely controlled.

In any case the fact that our classic cars ran perfectly well on Cleveland Discol speaks for itsself regardless of how much ethanol it contained.

Your comment on your sidevalve engine is interesting. My MG TC (overhead valve) runs noticeably better on super grade petrol. An effect reported by many classic car owners.

I am interested to know if you have tried running your Ford on super grade petrol and if you do notice any difference. The tests at Manchester suggested turbulence in the cylinder was a factor that effected how well the fuel burned. I would imagine in a side valve engine there is more turbulence (and mixing) of the petrol and air than with an overhead valve engine. If this is the case, there will be little or no improvement running your Ford on a super grade petrol.

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Submitted by Alastairq

Thank you for the response.

I added the topic purely as a matter of interest, given its source [even if ''anecdotal?'']

I have tried 'premium' fuels [mainly Tesco] my sidevalve Dellow. It produced little or no discernible difference in engine smoothness, but adversely affected my wallet.

However, what I have noticed using E10 fuel [aside from a more relaxed wallet] that there is a more pronounced 'smoothness' [less roughness, really] the engine, once the revs get beyond the 3100 rpm mark. The engine suddenly enters a 'quiet' zone.

Some of this may be down to its camshaft profile. [I am currently unsure what profile cam it has]..But since the phenomenon hasn't always been there during my tenure of ownership, I have my doubts.

The rear axle ratio is the same as that used by Ford in their Popular/Prefect/Anglia range of vehicles [5.5:1?}, So 3100 rpm looks to be near enough just about 50-55 mph. [16 inch diameter rear wheels]

Hence I find an awfully high percentage of today's modern traffic 'gets in my way'....if I seek a modicum of comfort.

I don't expect the current compression ratio of the sidevalve Ford engine [100E, currently] warrants even the 95 octane of E10 fuel. So using premium fuel may well be over-egging the process?

I do wonder what effects all the other ''additives'' placed in today's fuel [especially the 'premium' ranges] have on the fuel systems, and running characteristics of old technology motors?

The 'hot starting' issue I see frequently reported on, with older technology engines, my Dellow and its sidevalve engine haven't noticeably suffered from.

Perhaps we old car users need to look to ways of increasng their surviveability in the ever-changing modern environment?

Rather than become sticklers for 'orginality?

Here, I'd be looking at, for example, making a constant flow fuel supply [as I noticed Nissan/Datsun had done in the 1970's in their small cars?].

Electric fuel pumps are also a modernism I'd be inclined to embrace [all my oldies have electric pumps fitted]. Certainly they've helped with engines only started once in a blue moon. Poor old mechancal pumps can flatten a sub-par battery trying to lift fresh fuel up from a tank.

However, that's another story.

Please wait .....