Is this why Kohler engines need to cool off?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Richard Martin, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,698

    As I was watching the news this morning they reported that today would be a "Code Red" day. This means that the air will be very unhealthy and you should avoid doing certain things. One of those things is running lawn mowers. They seem to make a point of making sure you know not to run mowers for some reason.

    Recently I had read that all of the outdoor gas powered equipment combined accounts for less than 1% of total air pollution so I decide to log onto the EPA website and verify this. While I was looking for this specific info I ran across this web page.

    Pay specific attention to the paragraph titled "Enleanment".

    We are using gas here that has MTBEs in it all of the time, not just in the winter. We have what is commonly called "Boutique" blended gas. Could it be that the EPA is putting so much MTBE addititive in our fuel that our engines are, in fact, leaning out to the point of running too hot.

    The year before last I had to get a Kawasaki 14 hp engine rebuilt. The blowby was getting out of hand. The mechanic said the engine had overheated. I asked him how that could happen. He said it usually happens when the cooling fins getting clogged up with debris (nope, wasn't that, I keep them clean) or letting the engine idle for a long time on hot days(that doesn't happen either). Does the EPA owe me the price of a rebuild?
  2. Phishook

    Phishook LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,143


    MTBE's don't sound too good.

    The gasoilne I use is an ethanol gas, less polution.

    There was a story on Nightline or some other show like that about MTBE's getting into ground water supplies. I think the Gov. just blew it off.
  3. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    Wow, I have never heard of that, but it makes perfect sense. Scary. I am surprised that there havent been any labs to test 2 engines for heat with one running on each type of gas.. it would be a very simple test if you could get non-MTBE gas.
    Phishook- That happened to my town like 20 years back,and it just came out that there have been traces of MTBEs found in our 2nd and 3rd water pumps now. The 1st was shut down years ago in an attempt to save the others from becoming contaminated. There is a lawsuit pending against I think Mobil and another gas co that I cant think of.
    ANYWAY- Richard- I would look into it as much as possible, because you might be onto something big.
  4. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,698

    Well, I have looked into it further. MTBE is bad stuff and seems to just appear in water supplies for no apparent reason. But there is a reason it has not outright banned in most states. States are allowed to charge a 18 cent surtax on fuel with MTBE in it and only 13 cents for alcohol blended fuels.

    There are 2 kinds of MTBE gas too. There is RFG (reformulated gas) and OxyFuel. The difference is in the content of MTBE. RFG has 11% MTBE and OxyFuel has 15%. Neither of these blends is particularly good for 4 stroke aircooled engine but the OxyFuel is the worse of the two.

    The problem is getting your state to tell you which one it is using. I searched for quite a while and didn't find out which one we use here.

    My Kohler manual also says that we are permitted to use fuel with up to 15% MTBE and 10% alcohol. If we are using OxyFuel then it's no wonder that these engines are getting so hot, they are running on the ragged edge of lean.

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