Research Reports on VO fuel blends

Single Tank WVO systems and blending SVO WVO to thin it.

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Research Reports on VO fuel blends

Postby John Galt » Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:05 pm

Vegetable Oil As A Diesel Replacement Fuel

While power output and tailpipe emissions using plant or animal oils are in most cases comparable with those when running on petroleum diesel fuel, the main problem encountered has been due to the higher viscosity of the triglyceride oils and their chemical instability. These can cause difficult starting in cold conditions, the gumming up of injectors and the coking-up of valves and exhaust. [3]

The viscosity of plant and animal fats and oils varies from hard crystalline solids to light oils at room temperature. In most cases, these ‘oils’ or ‘fats’ are actually a complex mixture of various fatty acids triglycerides, often with the various components having widely varying melting points. This may give the oil or fat a temperature range over which solidification occurs, with the oil gradually thickening from a thin liquid, through to a thick liquid, then a semi-solid and finally to a solid.

High melting points or solidification ranges can cause problems in fuel systems such as partial or complete blockage as the triglyceride thickens and finally solidifies when the ambient temperature falls. [3] While this also occurs with petroleum based diesel, particularly as the temperature falls below about ~ -10 to -5° C for ‘summer’ formulations and ~ -20 to -10° C for ‘winter’ diesels, it is relatively easy to control during the refining process and is generally not a major problem.

Many vegetable oils and some animal oils are ‘drying’ or ‘semi-drying’ and it is this which makes many oils such as linseed, tung and some fish oils suitable as the base of paints and other coatings. But it is also this property that further restricts their use as fuels.

Drying results from the double bonds (and sometimes triple bonds) in the unsaturated oil molecules being broken by atmospheric oxygen and being converted to peroxides. Cross-linking at this site can then occur and the oil irreversibly polymerises into a plastic-like solid. [9]

In the high temperatures commonly found in internal combustion engines, the process is accelerated and the engine can quickly become gummed-up with the polymerised oil. With some oils, engine failure can occur in as little as 20 hours. [10]

The traditional measure of the degree of bonds available for this process is given by the ‘Iodine Value’ (IV) and can be determined by adding iodine to the fat or oil. The amount of iodine in grams absorbed per 100 ml of oil is then the IV. The higher the IV, the more unsaturated (the greater the number of double bonds) the oil and the higher is the potential for the oil to polymerise.

While some oils have a low IV and are suitable without any further processing other than extraction and filtering, the majority of vegetable and animal oils have an IV which may cause problems if used as a neat fuel. Generally speaking, an IV of less than about 25 is required if the neat oil is to be used for long term applications in unmodified diesel engines and this limits the types of oil that can be used as fuel. Table 1 lists various oils and some of their properties.

The IV can be easily reduced by hydrogenation of the oil (reacting the oil with hydrogen), the hydrogen breaking the double bond and converting the fat or oil into a more saturated oil which reduces the tendency of the oil to polymerise. However this process also increases the melting point of the oil and turns the oil into margarine.

As can be seen from Table 1, only coconut oil has an IV low enough to be used without any potential problems in an unmodified diesel engine. However, with a melting point of 25°C, the use of coconut oil in cooler areas would obviously lead to problems. With IVs of 25 – 50, the effects on engine life are also generally unaffected if a slightly more active maintenance schedule is maintained such as more frequent lubricating oil changes and exhaust system decoking. Triglycerides in the range of IV 50 – 100 may result in decreased engine life, and in particular to decreased fuel pump and injector life. However these must be balanced against greatly decreased fuel costs (if using cheap, surplus oil) and it may be found that even with increased maintenance costs that this is economically viable.

All of these problems can be at least partially alleviated by dissolving the oil or hydrogenated oil in petroleum diesel ( to reduce the IV to 20)

Table 1 Oils and their melting point and Iodine Values [11]

Oil Approx. melting Iodine

point °C Value

Coconut oil 25 10

Palm kernel oil 24 37

Mutton tallow 42 40

Beef tallow 50

Palm oil 35 54

Olive oil -6 81

Castor oil -18 85

Peanut oil 3 93

Rapeseed oil -10 98

Cotton seed oil -1 105

Sunflower oil -17 125

Soybean oil -16 130

Tung oil -2.5 168

Linseed oil -24 178

Sardine oil 185

abstracted from:
Vegetable Oil As A Diesel Replacement Fuel
Phillip Calais* and AR (Tony) Clark**
* Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia,
** Western Australian Renewable Fuels Association Inc,

Results of engine and vehicle testing of semi-refined rapeseed oil

The renewed interest in environmentally compatible fuels has led to the choice of rapeseed oil as the main alternative to diesel fuel in Europe. The objective of this research was to produce and test an economic and high quality non-esterified rapeseed oil suitable for use as a diesel fuel extender. This was achieved by acidified hot water degumming combined with filtration to five microns. This rapeseed oil, designated as a Semi Refined Oil (SRO), has a high viscosity in comparison with diesel. Hence SRO fuel can only be used as a diesel fuel extender, with inclusion rates of up to 25 %.

SRO proved to be a suitable diesel fuel extender, at inclusion rates up to 25 %, when used with direct injection combustion systems (viz. tractor type engines). Power output (at 540 rev/min at the power take off shaft) was reduced by c. 0.06% for every 1% increase in SRO inclusion rate, and brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) increased by c. 0.14% per 1% increase in SRO inclusion rate (viz. a 25% SRO/diesel blend had a 1.5% decrease in power and a 3.5% increase in BSFC compared with diesel). These values are in accordance with the lower energy density of rapeseed oil fuels compared with diesel. Chemical and viscosity analysis of engine lubrication oil (after c. 170 hours per fuel tested), including metal contamination as an indicator of engine wear occurring, showed that there was no measurable effect on engine lubricating oil due to SRO inclusion in diesel oil.

Abstracted from:
Results of engine and vehicle testing of semi-refined rapeseed oil
Kevin P. McDonnell, Shane M. Ward & Paul B. McNulty
University College Dublin, Dept of Agricultural & Food Engineering, Earlsfort Terrace.Dublin 2, Ireland.

Performance of rapeseed oil blends in a diesel engine ... c8797dac8f

The concept that 100% vegetable oil cannot be used safely in a direct-injection diesel engine for long periods of time has been stressed by many researchers. Short-term engine tests indicate good potential for vegetable oil fuels. Long-term endurance tests may show serious problems in injector coking, ring sticking, gum formation, and thickening of lubricating oil. These problems are related to the high viscosity and non volatility of vegetable oils, which cause inadequate fuel atomization and incomplete combustion. Fuel blending is one method of reducing viscosity.

This paper presents the results of an engine test on three fuel blends. (75D-25R, 50D-50R, 25D-75R) Test runs were also made on neat rapeseed oil and diesel fuel as bases for comparison. There were no significant problems with engine operation using these alternative fuels. The engine ran well on these fuels after warm-up. The engine performance with the blends was comparable with the baseline test for diesel fuel. There was significant improvement in thermal efficiency and hydrocarbon (HC) emissions, compared with diesel fuel, when running on vegetable oil fuels.The test results showed increases in brake thermal efficiency as the amount of rapeseed oil in the blends increases. Reduction of power-output was also noted with increased amount of rapeseed oil in the blends. Test results include data on performance and gaseous emissions.

Continuous exhaust sampling and a hot-flame ionization detector (FID) with a heated line system were used to measure the HC emissions. The vegetable oil fuels offered a net reduction in HC emissions compared with diesel-fuel operation. The data show an average unburned hydrocarbon emission level of 435 ppm with 100% diesel fuel. With 75% diesel-25% rapeseed oil it reduces to 180 ppm, with 50% diesel-50% rapeseed oil it reduces to 160 ppm, with 25% diesel-75% rapeseed oil it reduces to 200 ppm, and with 100% rapeseed oil it reduces to 150 ppm. It's notable that the first 25% of rapeseed oil reduces the HC emissions by 42%.

Crankcase oil analyses showed a reduction in viscosity. Friction power was noted to increase as the amount of diesel fuel in the blend increases.

Abstracted from:
Performance of rapeseed oil blends in a diesel engine

O. M. I. Nwafor and G. Rice
Department of Engineering, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Box 225, Reading, UK, RG6 2AY


Algis Butkus 1, Saugirdas Pukalskas 2, Zenonas Bogdanovičius 3
Dept of Automobile Transport, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University,
J. Basanavičiaus g. 28, LT-03224 Vilnius, Lithuania
E-mails: 1, 2, 3
Received 1 December 2006; accepted 1 February 2007
Abstract. After Lithuania’s accession to the EU it is very important to use a larger amount of renewable fuel. Based
on economic and environmental considerations in Lithuania, we are interested in studying the effects of turpentine
contents in the blended turpentine–diesel fuel on the engine performance and pollutant emission of compression ignition
(CI) engine. Therefore, we used engine test facilities to investigate the effects on the engine performance and pollutant
emission of 5 % turpentine in the fuel blend. The tests were carried out in the laboratory on an engine dynamometer
of the car Audi 1Z and tractor D21 diesel engines. The experimental results showed that turpentine used in
the fuel blend for these diesel engines had a positive influence on the engine performance and exhaust emission.

4. Conclusions
1. Addition of 5 % of lighter fuel fractions to diesel
fuel reduced engine exhaust smoke by 10…20 % in
both Diesel engines.
2. Turpentine easily form mixtures (without any supplements)
with diesel fuel.
3. Decrease of specific fuel consumption be for diesel
fuel blends with 5 % of turpentine was caused by
faster evaporation and combustion of the blend particles
as compared with pure diesel fuel.
4. Small amount of turpentine additive to diesel fuel
would increase the cost of the fuel blend only by
3…5 %.

Document title
Performance of direct-injection off-road diesel engine on rapeseed oil
LABECKAS Gvidonas (1) ; SLAVINSKAS Stasys (1) ;
Author(s) Affiliation(s)
(1) Department of Transport and Power Machinery, Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Student Str. 15, P.O. Box 53067, Kaunas Academy, LITUANIE
This article presents the comparative bench testing results of a naturally aspirated, four stroke, four cylinder, water cooled, direct injection Diesel engine operating on Diesel fuel and cold pressed rapeseed oil. The purpose of this research is to study rapeseed oil flow through the fueling system, the effect of oil as renewable fuel on a high speed Diesel engine performance efficiency and injector coking under various loading conditions. Test results show that when fueling a fully loaded engine with rapeseed oil, the brake specific fuel consumption at the maximum torque and rated power is correspondingly higher by 12.2 and 12.8% than that for Diesel fuel. However, the brake thermal efficiency of both fuels does not differ greatly and its maximum values remain equal to 0.37-0.38 for Diesel fuel and 0.38-0.39 for rapeseed oil. The smoke opacity at a fully opened throttle for rapeseed oil is lower by about 27-35%, however, at the easy loads its characteristics can be affected by white colored vapors. Oil heating to the temperature of 60 °C diminishes its viscosity to 19.5 mm2 s-1 ensuring a smooth oil flow through the fuel filter and reducing the brake specific energy consumption at light loads by 11.7-7.4%. Further heating to the temperature of 90 °C offers no advantages in terms of performance. Special tests conducted with modified fuel injection pump revealed that coking of the injector nozzles depends on the engine performance mode. The first and second injector nozzles that operated on pure oil were more coated by carbonaceous deposits than control injector nozzles that operated simultaneously on Diesel fuel.
Journal Title
Renewable energy ISSN 0960-1481
2006, vol. 31, no6, pp. 849-863 [15 page(s) (article)] (16 ref.)
Elsevier Science, Oxford, ROYAUME-UNI (1991) (Revue)
Thermal efficiency ; Motor fuel consumption ; Performance ; Alternative motor fuel ; Rapeseed oil ; Direct injection ; Renewable energy ; Cold ; Diesel fuel ; Diesel engine ;

Engine Test to Measure Injector Fouling with VO-Diesel Blends ... ize=larger

Using Unmodified Vegetable Oils as a Diesel Fuel Extender – ... review.pdf

This paper is a review of literature concerning using vegetable oils as a replacement for diesel fuel. The term vegetable oils as used in this paper refers to vegetable oils which have not been modified by transesterification or similar processes to form what is called biodiesel. The oils studied include virgin and used oils of various types including soy, rapeseed, canola, sunflower, cottonseed and similar oils. In general, raw vegetable oils can be used successfully in short term performance tests in nearly any percentage as a replacement for diesel fuel. When tested in long term tests blends above 20 percent nearly always result in engine damage or maintenance problems. Some authors report success in using vegetable oils as diesel fuel extenders in blends less than 20 percent even in long term durability studies. Degumming is suggested by one author as a way to improve use of raw oils in low level blends. It is apparent that few, if any, engine studies using low-level blends of unmodified vegetable oils, < 20%, have been conducted.

Many studies have been done at the University of Idaho and elsewhere involving vegetable oils as a primary source of energy. Particularly, during the early 1980's, studies were completed that tested the possibility of using unmodified vegetable oils as a replacement for diesel fuel.
There is no question that vegetable oil can be placed in the tank of a diesel powered vehicle and the engine will continue to run and deliver acceptable performance. Some vegetable oils, such as rapeseed oil, have very high viscosity and thus may starve the engine for fuel when operated at 100 percent. Most studies show that power and fuel economy, when compared to operation on diesel, are proportional to the reduced heat of combustion of the vegetable oil fuel.
Despite the success when diesel engines are operated on vegetable oil for short term performance tests, the real measure of success when using vegetable oil as a diesel fuel extender or replacement depends primarily on the performance of vegetable oils in engines over a long period of time. Thus many researchers have been involved in testing programs designed to evaluate long term performance characteristics. Results of these studies indicated that potential hazards such as stuck piston rings, carbon buildup on injectors, fuel system failure, and lubricating oil contamination (Pratt, 1980) existed when vegetable oils were used as alternative fuels. This effect diminishes as the blend of vegetable oil in diesel is decreased. The question of this literature review is to determine if there is a blend level at which vegetable oil in the unmodified form can be used as a diesel fuel extender. Throughout this paper when the term vegetable oil or the name of a particular vegetable oils is used, such as canola, it refers to the unmodified form.

Vegetable Oil, Diesel Blends as Potential Fuel Sources
Engelman et al. (1978) presented data for 10% to 50% soybean oil fuel blends
used in diesel engines. The initial results were encouraging. They reported at the
conclusion of a 50-hour test that carbon build-up in the combustion chamber was
minimal. For the fuel blends studied, it was generally observed that vegetable oils could
be used as a fuel source in low concentrations. The BSFC and power measurements for the
fuel blends only differed slightly from 100% diesel fuel. Fuel blends containing 60% or higher
concentrations of vegetable oil caused the engine to sputter. Engine sputtering was attributed
to fuel filter plugging. They concluded that waste soybean oil could be used as a diesel fuel
extender with no engine modifications.
Studies in New Zealand by Sims et al. (1981) indicated that vegetable oils,
particularly rapeseed oil, could be used as a replacement for diesel fuel. Their initial
short-term engine tests showed that a 50% vegetable oil fuel blend had no adverse
effects. While in long-term tests they encountered injector pump failure and cold starting
problems. Carbon deposits on combustion chamber components was found to be
approximately the same as that found in engines operated on 100% diesel fuel. These
researchers concluded that rapeseed oil had great potential as a fuel substitute, but that
further testing was required.
Caterpillar (Bartholomew, 1981) reported that vegetable oils mixed with diesel
fuel in small amounts did not cause engine failure. Short-term research showed that
blends using 50/50 were successful, but that 20% vegetable oil fuel blends were better.
Deere and Company (Barsic and Humke, 1981) studied the effects of mixing
peanut oil and sunflower oil with Number 2 diesel fuel in a single cylinder engine. The
vegetable oil blends were observed to increase the amount of carbon deposits on the
combustion side of the injector tip when compared with 100% diesel fuel. The vegetable
oil fuel blends were found to have a lower mass-based heating value than that of diesel
fuel. Fuel filter plugging was noted to be a problem when using crude vegetable oils as
diesel fuel extenders.
International Harvester Company (Fort et al. 1982) reported that cottonseed oil,
diesel fuel blends behaved like petroleum-based fuels in short-term performance and
emissions tests. The experimental fuels performed reasonably well when standards of
judgment were power, fuel consumption, emissions, etc. However engine durability was
an issue during extended use of these fuel blends because of carbon deposits and fueling system problems.
Other research at International Harvest Company (Baranescu and Lusco, 1982)
was done using three blends of sunflower oil and diesel fuel. Results indicated that the
sunflower oil caused premature engine failure due to carbon buildup. It was noted that
cold weather operation caused fuel system malfunctions.
Worgetter (1981) analyzed the effects of using rapeseed oil as a fuel in a 43-kW
tractor. The goal of running the tractor for 1000 hours on a blend of 50% rapeseed oil
and 50% diesel was never achieved as the test was aborted at about 400-hours due to
unfavorable operating conditions. The use of rapeseed oil in the fuel resulted in heavy
carbon deposits on the injector tips and pistons, which would have caused catastrophic
engine failure if the tests had not been aborted. Upon engine tear down, it was found that
the heavy carbon deposits on the pistons was the cause of the noted power loss and not the fuel injectors.
Wagner and Peterson (1982) reported mixed results when using rapeseed oil as a
substitute fuel. Attempts to heat the oil fuel mixture prior to combustion exhibited no
measurable improvement in fuel injection. Severe engine damage was noted during
short-term engine testing due to the use of rapeseed oil. A long-term test using a 70%
rapeseed, diesel fuel blend was successful for 850 hours with no apparent signs of wear,
contamination of lubricating oil, or loss of power.
Van der Walt and Hugo (1981) examined the long-term effects of using sunflower
oil as a diesel fuel replacement in direct and indirect injected diesel engines. Indirect
injected diesel engines were run for over 2000 hours using de-gummed, filtered
sunflower oil with no adverse effects. The direct injected engines were not able to
complete even 400 hours of operation on the 20% sunflower oil, 80% diesel fuel mixture
without a power loss. Further analysis of the direct injected engines showed that the
power loss was due to severely coked injectors, carbon buildup in the combustion
chamber, and stuck piston rings. Lubricating oil analysis also showed high piston, liner,
and bearing wear.
Engine Testing by Ziejewski and Kaufman (1982) at Allis Chalmers using a
50/50 blend of sunflower oil and diesel was unsuccessful. Carbon buildup on the
injectors, intake ports, and piston rings caused engine operating difficulties and eventual
catastrophic failure.
Fuls (1983) reported similar findings for indirect and direct injection engines
using 20% sunflower oil, diesel fuel blends. Fuls Emphasized that injector coking was
the problem with using sunflower oil in direct injected diesel engines.
Caterpillar Tractor Co. (McCutchen, 1981) compared engine performance of
direct injection engines to indirect injection engines when fueled with 30% soybean oil,
70% diesel fuel. The results showed that indirect injection could be operated on this fuel
blend while the direct injection engine could not without catastrophic engine failure
occurring. The direct injection engines showed injector coking and piston ring sticking
as a result of using sunflower oil.
An on-farm study using six John Deere and Case tractors by German et al. (1985)
averaged 1300-hours of operation. Carbon deposits on the internal engine components
were greater for the tractors fueled with 50/50 sunflower oil/diesel than for those fueled
with a 25/75 sunflower oil/diesel fuel blend. All the test engines had more carbon buildup
than normally seen in an engine fueled with diesel fuel. The results of this study
indicated that neither of the fuel blends could be use as a replacement for petroleum
based fuels on a permanent basis without shortening engine life.
Peterson et al. (1982) used rapeseed oil as a diesel fuel extender to study the longterm
effects of using vegetable oils as a fuel source. Fuel composed of 70% rapeseed oil
and 30% Number 1 diesel fuel was successfully used to operate a small single cylinder
engine for 850 hours. No adverse operating conditions were reported at the conclusion of this
engine study. A short-term performance test using a 100% sunflower oil caused
severe piston ring gumming and catastrophic engine failure. This study highlighted the
need for significant long-term engine testing before recommendations of using vegetable
oil as a fuel could be made.
Nag et al. (1995) did studies involving the use of seed oils grown natively in
India. Performance tests using fuel blends as great as 50-50 seed oil from the Indian
Amulate plant and diesel fuel exhibited no loss of power. Knock free performance with
no observable carbon deposits on the functional parts of the combustion chamber were
also observed during these tests. Although this seed oil was not yet commercially
available at the time of this study, it was hoped that it soon would be.
Sapaun et al. (1996) reported that studies in Malaysia, with palm oils as diesel
fuel substitutes, exhibited encouraging results. Performance tests indicated that power
outputs were nearly the same for palm oil, blends of palm oil and diesel fuel, and 100%
diesel fuel. Short-term tests using palm oil fuels showed no signs of adverse combustion
chamber wear, increase in carbon deposits, or lubricating oil contamination.
Ryan et al. (1984) characterized injection and combustion properties of several
vegetable oils. The atomization and injection characteristics of vegetable oils were
significantly different from that of diesel fuel due to the higher viscosity of the vegetable
oils. Engine performance tests showed that power output slightly decreased when using
vegetable oil fuel blends. Injector coking and lubricating oil contamination appeared to be
a more dominate problem for oil-based fuels having higher viscosities.
Pestes and Stanislao (1984) used a one to one blend of vegetable oil and diesel
fuel to study piston ring deposits. Premature piston ring sticking and carbon build-up due
to the use of the one to one fuel blend caused engine failure. The severest carbon
deposits were located on the major thrust face of the first piston ring. These investigators
suggested that to reduce piston ring deposits a fuel additive or a fuel blend with less vegetable
oil was needed.
Other studies by Hofman et al. (1981) and Peterson et al. (1981) indicated that while
vegetable oil fuel blends had encouraging results in short term testing, problems occurred in
long-term durability tests. They indicated that carbon build-up, ring sticking, and lubricating
oil contamination was the cause of engine failure when vegetable oils were used in high
percentages (50% or more) as diesel fuel substitutes.
Due to engine durability problems encountered using raw vegetable oils as a fuel
in the early 1980's, most researchers opted to use chemically modified vegetable fuels
more commonly known as biodiesel in place of unrefined vegetable oils. Thus, in recent
years there has been little literature concerning the feasibility of using raw vegetable oils
as a fuel additive.
McDonnell et al. (2000) studied the use of a semi-refined rapeseed oil as a diesel
fuel extender. Test results indicated that the rapeseed oil could serve as a fuel extender
at inclusion rates up to 25%. As a result of using rapeseed oil as a fuel, injector life was
shortened due to carbon buildup. However, no signs of internal engine wear or
lubricating oil contamination were reported.
Many studies involving use of un-modifed vegetable oils in blend ratios with
diesel fuel exceeding 20 percent were conducted in the early 1980’s. Short-term engine
testing indicates that vegetable oils can readily be used as a fuel source when the
vegetable oils are used alone or are blended with diesel fuel. Long-term engine research
shows that engine durability is questionable when fuel blends contain more than 20%
vegetable oil by volume. More work is needed to determine if fuel blends containing less
than 20% vegetable oil can be used successfully as diesel fuel extenders.
John Galt
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Postby coachgeo » Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:52 pm

about a 20min review of the material showed that no one in this list heated a blened fuel.

Very little discusion (one mention I saw) discused blending with anything but diesel. The one mention was ethonal as the blending agent.
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Postby John Galt » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:29 pm

Last edited by John Galt on Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
John Galt
Posts: 526
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Postby coachgeo » Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:17 pm

John Galt wrote:
coachgeo wrote:Very little discusion (one mention I saw) discused blending with anything but diesel. The one mention was ethonal as the blending agent.

sorry I should have stated more clearly.

"very little discussion (one mention I saw) discused blending things to create "VO fuel blends" ...."

The one you section of the reports you pointed out blends Turps into diesel thus it is not a VO fuel blend.
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Postby John Galt » Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:45 am

By combining the information from a number of the reports, one can draw some interesting extrapolations about VO\diesel\turpentine blends. My experiments tend to prove what they conclude. The first 25%VO does the most good and the least harm and the turps makes it even better.
John Galt
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Postby coachgeo » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:42 pm

sounds like a sound extrapolation. Antidotal evidence seems to support that too FWIW.
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Postby colonelsanders » Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:17 am

So given all this would blending some turps. (5%) to our d2 and vo, be environmentally and mechanically good? recomended? im always looking for ways to extend the life of the engine and prevent damage. of course keeping in mind all the other elements of running vo and its pitfalls.
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