Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bonehead Award: Engine Oil Flush Machines

The fifth annual bonehead award goes to the makers of engine oil flush machines, as well as those businesses who are telling their customers that engine oil flushing is a necessary part of engine maintenance. At best, engine oil flushing does nothing but lighten the consumers wallet. At worst, it thins out the oil causing accelerated engine wear. And at the very worst, it causes chunks of sludge buildup to become dislodged and to clog up the oil filter-which would result in catastrophic engine failure!

The Scenario
It’s time for you to change the oil on your one-year-old Jeep Cherokee. Your local repair shop is closed for vacation and the dealer is too busy to give you an appointment right away. Rather than wait, you decide to go to one of those fast-oil-changes for their 10-minute $19.95 oil change special. No harm done, just so long as you change the oil according to the maintenance schedule--just as you’ve done for the past 20,000 miles.
A few minutes after they begin, the oil change guy comes out with a stern look on his face and his latex-covered hand held out. He holds something in it for you to see-some of your motor oil! He says, Look at this filthy motor oil. It is way to dirty, and now your engine is full of sludge. Your engine must be cleaned or this will cause it to blow a gasket. You can’t believe your eyes, as the oil looks pretty dirty. But you’ve always followed the recommended oil change intervals. "Why is this happening to your engine?" you ask. The attendant tells you that changing your oil is not enough, that you need to have your engine flushed every year or every 12,000 miles. He hands you a pamphlet that has a title with large bold print:

"Just changing your oil is not enough"

He walks with you out to your car, which is sitting astride a lube pit. In the pit is another lube tech who stands next to your car's rear differential. He is looking up at you with a grim look on his face, and he's holding up his hand for you to see a blob of dirty oil. The first attendant picks up your air filter to show to you, and then points to the hand of the other attendant under the car. He says the air filter is much too dirty, pointing to it. Then he points to the other man’s hand and says that the dirty oil came from your fourwheel-drive unit, explaining that it is very dirty and must be changed--or the four-wheel-drive unit will go bad. More grim looks. The truth or a scam? Can this man judge the condition of your motor oil and gear lube by sight? Does the fact that the oil has darkened, mean that it is 'too dirty'? Could a slightly dirty air filter also be bad? Even more importantly, what happened to that $19.95 oil change special? You're now looking at about $200--which is mostly the cost of the engine oil flush, which is $99.95.

Sensing that there is a big scam going on, the Good Morning America news team decided to do an undercover sting operation. They wired a reporter with a camera in the top button of his shirt, and sent him to several local and national fast-oil-chain places in New York. They found the tactics varied little from place to place. The oil change attendant would show the reporter the dirty oil, and then follow with a stern brow beating for not changing it frequently. Then, as if a miracle panacea had suddenly appeared, they said they needed to do this special engine flush in order to save it from the wrath of engine sludge. Just like the pamphlet says, this little R2 universal flushing unit will clean the engine, remove varnish, sludge, and all the engine wear particles, leaving the motor with more horsepower, and lower tailpipe emissions. And the scenario is repeated all across America, not only in the fast-lube chains but in car dealerships as well. This new scourge, the oil change machine, has added a generously new profit source for shops that own one. for the most part. You just need more frequent oil changes that's all. And if you do have sludge, the flushing machine won't even touch the sludge buildup! Oh, that's not all. The oil flushing service is not approved by the automakers, and will void your warranty. And even worse, this service is likely to do more than just lighten your wallet by $100 or so it is likely to cause accelerated engine bearing and cylinder
wall wear!

The Problem
Here’s how what we call the 'R2D2' flushing machines work. After the engine oil is drained and oil filter removed, two hoses from the R2D2 unit are attached to the motor, once where the oil filter goes, and the second to the oil pan drain. Then R2D2 pumps a warm solvent into the engine and then sucks it back out. Then the machine pumps it back in again. R2D2 circulates solvent for maybe 10 to 15 minutes. Then the final 'sucker' cycle is run, and R2D2 is now finished doing his deed of fighting the evil sludge. While this may look beneficial and harmless, there are several lurking
'dark forces' with these 'R2D2' machines:

The biggest fiction is that it never addressed sludge in the first place it never even touches it! Engine oil sludge forms on the inside of the engine, mainly inside the valve covers and the oil pan. These areas are completely removed from the flushing solvent oil that R2D2 pumps through his hoses. The solvent runs through the oil-drilled passages, and never touches the sludge. The analogy is having a dentist wash the patient's hair in order to remove the dental plaque buildup that is on his teeth! The shampoo never touches the plaque and even if it did'it wouldn't dissolve
it in the first place.

Even if the R2D2 unit did somehow loosen the sludge, there's a big danger of the sludge breaking loose and clogging the pump. If this were to happen, the engine would lose oil pressure and quickly self-destruct!

Chunks of sludge would work loose, and then be drawn up to the oil pump intake where they would get suckedup against the intake screen plugging it up. No oil pressure, dead engine.

R2D2 leaves about ½ quart of hydrocarbon solvent behind in the engine.
This hurts the engine in several ways:

1. It dilutes the oil. Solvents are actually lightweight mineral oil (hydrocarbon) oils. Don't fall for the ruse that 3-weight mineral oil isn't a solvent. It is a solvent, and it dilutes your motor oil by breaking down the viscosity improvers in the additive package. The resulting loss of viscosity causes the oil to be less viscous. Adding ½ quart of solvent to a typical fill of 5w-30 motor oil will turn it into 0w-20 weight oil. This thin oil won't provide adequate engine protection, resulting in increased camshaft and bearing wear especially during cold startups. NOTE: Applying vacuum to the engine oil pan won't remove the solvent hung up inside the engine. At least ½ a quart solvent will remain in the oil passage drillings, bearing saddles, on ledges and flat surfaces inside the engine, as well as in the pockets and recesses in the block and head.

2. Exposure of solvent to engine seals and O-rings may harm them resulting in accelerated seal wear and subsequent lack of proper function.

3. The remaining solvent evaporates after the engine is operated for an hour or two. One the oil reaches operating temperature, the lightweight oils will boil out and vaporize, being drawn away by the crankcase ventilation system (PCV). This leaves the engine ½ quart low on oil. People who just had their oil changed aren't likely to check the oil level right after a change, and will wind up operating the engine low on oil. This will accelerate oil break down and oil contamination, resulting in compromised engine lubrication. By the time the owner checks it, it could have fallen
below the add level.

Double Speak

Like all snakeoil salesmen, the story gets changed in order to keep you believing in their product. Bilstein, a major player in the manufacture and distribution of R2D2 flushing (only they call it the R-2000) makes several questionable statements. Here's a litany of some of the claims and statements that we've collected:

  • Originally, Bilstein recommended engine flushing be done once a year, or every 15,000 miles. Since the TV investigative report, they backed off, saying the R2D2 should only be used “as needed”. The “annual” and “12,000 mile interval” recommendations have been quietly dropped. We wonder why?

  • "[Engine oil flushing] is the only way to change the oil completely in some engines." And 'Just changing the oil isn’t enough.” Why isn't consecutive draining and refilling of the oil enough. It always has been. Why wouldn't the detergent-dispersant additive package found in motor oil do the same thing? We believe it does, and does it without harming the engine nor your wallet.

  • "When [engine] particulate levels are, internal engine friction is reduced, fuel economy is improved and tailpipe emissions drop." This leap of faith is totally without merit. The presence of engine particulates may cause accelerated engine piston ring and bearing wear, but have no direct effect on engine power (internal friction), fuel economy, or tailpipe emissions.

  • “Engine flushing is effective in reducing 10 key engine oil wear elements and oil contaminations between 33% - 100% - over and above a standard oil change." More on this claim below.

  • The Bilstein technical authority says (in a letter of August 15, 2001) that the Bilstein engine flush brings a motor back to something he calls the "new vehicle oil quality standard". However, there's no such standard known by the industry. But this letter implies that if there's some kind of standard to which all new cars must adhere.

  • The Bilstein website (which keeps changing its recommendations) now touts that hooking up an R2D2 to your engine will result in... “Improved oil cleanliness also enables vehicle owners to extend their oil-drain intervals by up to one-third. The real pay off from removing engine contamination is the enormous reduction in wear rate and the time between engine overhauls.”

Test Procedures, Controls, & Blinds

"To conduct the study, Bilstein contracted with three independent, certified testing laboratories to measure the effectiveness of [Bilstein] oil flush products in reducing vehicle emissions and improving performance." The three independent testing labs were not used to produce three independent courses of data analysis, as you would be lead to believe. One lab tested the motor oil, another tested emissions, and another tested horsepower. There certainly was nothing independent about their involvement. Funny, there's no such thing as a "certified" testing lab. In this country, if you want stalwart engine data tests to be run, there are two well-known labs that just about everyone uses, Southwest Laboratories and EG & G Testing. They are both located in San Antonio, Texas. Neither was used.

All the data shown was gathered without a control group. The subsequent claims are false and misleading claim because they are based on questionable data. Most importantly, no control group was used in their studies. A control group would be needed to establish a "standard oil change" baseline in order to make comparisons. Otherwise, all comparisons are made with the engine being treated, and the treatment effect is confounded by the treatment itself. Here's some specifics:

1. Tailpipe emissions normally drop after an oil change. Dirty oil is the most likely cause of failed exhaust emissions, and simply changing the oil is all that’s necessary. And since lighter oils are less viscous, they exhibit less engine drag. The thinner nature of the oil allows the engine to turn over more freely, thereby increasing less fuel requirement and lower emissions. Ditto for horsepower. A control group data would clearly show this fact.

2. The same (or better) results would be had if the engines were simply given two oil changes instead of an oil change and engine flush. If the engine was dirty inside, a second oil change would do the exact same thing as the engine flush. In fact, consecutive oil changes may induce even less wear metals because the oil flushing machine is allowing the oil to thin out and thereby inducing some wear metals from the subsequent metal-to-metal contact of the bearing surfaces
caused by the thinner oil. The data was gathered without a double-blind. The operator could have easily affected the outcome.How long did the engine run before
the emission and horsepower tests were conducted? A cold engine will show poorer results. Was the engine fully warmed after the flush? Was engine operating temperature manipulated for gains in horsepower and emission control?

Choice of an improper test procedures could affect the outcome.
What emission test was used?
1. The Federal Test Protocols (FTP) 'idle sampling only' test would typically show improvement with a lighter weight (lower viscosity) motor oil. Therefore, comparisons between an engine operated with different weight oils are totally spurious.
2. The emissions test scores touted in the sales literature show decreases in hydrocarbons (HC), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrates of Oxygen (NOx), as well as Carbon Dioxide( CO2). Some other variable must have been manipulated as these scores aren't possible. Not from just changing the oil. For one thing, a cooler engine will
have lower NOx scores that a hot one. Opening the door (or a fan) would let more cold air into the engine. This lowering of the combustion temperature would also lower NOx. Another way is to manipulate the exhaust catalytic converter. Simply precondition the engine and allow it to warm up enough to light off and begin working. That's a very simple way to lower NOx.
3. The emission tests also showed a drop in CO2 emissions. This is proof that the engines weren't fully warmed when being tested. The CO2 emissions are supposed to go up rather than down! When the HC and CO emissions decrease, CO2 increases! Decrease in CO2 emissions is a bad thing, because it is accompanied by increased HC and
CO emissions the bad guys. This bad science has an unbalanced chemical equation. The idea is to lower harmful gasses (HC and CO) and increase CO2 and H2O (water vapor) in the exhaust! Reporting a decrease in CO2 points to faulty sampling methods (or bogus numbers).

The oil analysis test procedures could easily be rigged to show a decrease
in engine wear metals.
1. One test touts that the R2D2 machine lowered levels of MO (molybdenum) along with the other engine wear metals--as if it were a wear metal! In fact, MO is an important oil additive used to control metal scuffing. The data itself is proof of faulty test procedures. A reduction of MO is clearly NOT beneficial, and throws suspicion on all of the results.
2. Other test data show a 10% reduction of NO3 -which indicates oil nitration. This item has nothing whatsoever to do engine wear metals, sludge, or even engine flushing. Oil nitration is caused by the breakdown of the oil by abnormal engine operating conditions, such as extreme temps, lack of lubrication, or mechanical malfunctions (stuck thermostats or spark timing problems). Flushing the engine has nothing to do with reducing NO3. The data again throws suspicion about the engine being tested, which appears to be operating under abnormal conditions.

Post Hoc Ergo Hoc

The bad science behind oil flushing machines serves as an example of the "post hoc, ergo hoc" fallacy (because of this therefore that; i.e. do this, get that). The fallacy would lead you to believe that if you do this (have your engine oil flushed), you will enjoy these results (better emissions, better gas mileage, more power). However, the background facts involved in the testing session aren’t ever taken into consideration. In a classical example of the post hoc fallacy, you would say, "Heroin addiction is directly a cause from drinking milk." It's easy to reach this conclusion if you interviewed 100 heroin addicts, asking if they drank milk.
Close to 100% would say, "Yes" leading to the conclusion that drinking milk leads to heroin use. But what if you interviewed 100 non-addicts and asked them the same question? Clearly the use of a control group in this study would have showed that the results attributable to some other factor, and were not the effect of the engine flush. Supporting paperwork provided by Bilstein show a number of new car dealers selling this service, for as high as $129.95 (plus tax and hazardous waste fees). While, to some, this shows credibility to oil flushing, it is against the manufacturer’s recommendations. When questioned by the ABC reporter, all of the Big Three car makers recommended against using engine oil flush machines. If the engine were to suffer from a lubrication failure and the manufacturer found out an engine flush was used, the warranty would be voided.
Finally, a test report conducted for Ashland (Valvoline) found its way into the hands of the ABC reporter. The test report, dated March 5, 2002, says that the test... Has not been conducted in a valid manner in accordance with Test Method D5302 (sequence VE). When asked about the invalid test results, the Bilstein spokesperson said 'You weren't supposed to see that test. Engine oil flushes do have a small place in the automotive repair industry. They could be used to flush the oil when there's contamination by coolant, water, sugar, or brake fluid. Otherwise, engine oil flushing is not needed. We believe that the this service is actually a disservice to the consumer and constitutes a major rip-off.

Lasting Tips: Shocks and Struts

Shocks and struts play critical roles in your vehicle’s ability to deliver precise steering response, maximum stopping power and road-holding stability in a broad range of driving situations. Tires, brakes, and shocks or struts work together as a complete chassis system. If even one shock or strut is worn, the tires and brakes may not be able to deliver the margin of
safety you need in certain situations. This chassis system is known as the "Safety Triangle," representing the tires, brakes, and shocks/struts as well as the 3 key safety-related handling characteristics steering, stopping and stability. The primary role of shock absorbers and struts is to hold the tires against the road. This is particularly important when a vehicle hits a
bump or pothole because the impact causes the wheels to rebound away from the road surface. By absorbing the energy of these impacts, shocks and struts help minimize traction loss. A series of safety tests conducted with some popular US automobiles showed that vehicles equipped with 3 new shocks and one 50% degraded shock required an average of 4% more time and almost 6% greater distance to brake from 60 to zero miles per hour when compared with similar vehicles with new replacement shocks. (Testing was conducted on a dry, bumpy road surface.)

A popular SUV equipped with one degraded shock required nearly 10% more braking time (approximately 16 feet) than it did when equipped with new replacement shocks. In an accident-avoidance test, vehicles equipped with one degraded shock were forced to travel at a 4% lower speed, on average, to safely perform a sudden evasive maneuver when compared
to the same vehicles with new replacement shocks.

Vehicles capable of performing this test at higher speeds have a wider "safety envelope" and are less likely to spin, lose control or exit the roadway in situations when sudden evasive action is required. During catastrophic engine failure, broken pieces of valves, valve guides, valve seats, pistons, piston rings may wind up becoming lodged deep inside in the internal passages of the intake manifolds-which are very complex on modern engines. Absolute cleaning may be impossible, especially plastic intake manifolds. Reusing the manifold may result in debris later coming loose and being ingested into the replacement engine. If the engine suffered from such a failure (e.g. broken timing belt/chain, and the valves hit the pistons) with significant debris present, it
is best to replace the intake manifolds

Know It All: True or False?

Park your car outside during the winter not in a garage. Leaving a car outdoors slows the chemical reactions of road salt and ice on the chassis. Those reactions eventually cause rust. Cars kept in a garage, where heat and humidity are higher than they are outdoors, tend to rust more quickly.

False: There are several reasons why this is a myth:
1) In the first place, not all areas of the country are subjected to road salt, and don't have the problem to begin with.
2) The temperature differential between a garage and the outside air is not significant enough to make a difference in how fast rust will occur.
3) The temp differential between inside a garage (even if unheated) and outside is easily significant enough to cause the engine to suffer from a colder startup cycle. The colder the engine when starting, the more wear it will undergo.
4) Ditto for the extra warm-up time required by leaving the vehicle outside. This also wastes gas and causes more air pollution.
5) Removing snow and ice from an uncovered vehicle leaves scratches on the finish.
6) Freezing rain damages door seals, rubber components, and trim molding.
7) Uncovered vehicles suffer more from UV damage from the sun.

There's never any need to put any additives in diesel fuel.

False. While they add a few more dollars to operating cost, fuel additives can reduce some of the risks to your engine (and bottom line) that can result from untreated fuel, according to Peter Van Benthuysen of the Shell Oil Products Technology center. The risks can result in increased
fuel consumption and repair costs

The risks are as follows:
1) Water contamination form fuel storage and handling. Water can cause injector failure, with metal debris going into the combustion chamber and damaging the pistons. In cold weather, water forms wax crystals, which can block fuel lines. Additives stabilize the water in the fuel, preventing it from accumulating in sufficient quantities to cause problems.
2) Injector nozzle deposits upset the spray pattern, causing poor atomization, power loss, engine knock, and increased fuel consumption. Fuel additives have detergents that can clean up injector deposits.
3) Modern low sulfur fuel has less lubricating quality than previously. Fuel additives also improve fuel lubricity, preventing premature fuel pump and injector wear.
4) As an added bonus, some fuel additives have cetane improvers. Higher cetane numbers mean better engine performance, better cold starts, more power and better fuel economy.

Today tips: Carwash and Oil replacement

Frequent washing in an automatic touch less carwash can cause distortion of the outer surface of the windshield, door, or back window glass, according to General Motors. These types of car washes spray chemicals on the vehicle under high pressure, and do not use moving strips of fabric.

The wash solutions contain hydrofluoric acid which in some causes is not buffered correctly and after repeated exposure can cause visual distortion of the glass. The distortion takes on a
subtle orange-peel pattern, sometimes looking like a drip or sag etched into the surface of the glass. The damage will be first evident as a line on the glass where the wiper blade contacts
the glass. Once the glass is damaged, it can't be restored with scraping or polishing, and must be replaced.

Many people bring their own highpriced motor oil, (e.g. synthetic oil) to
have installed in their vehicle, instead of purchasing the bulk oil from the shop. If you bring your own oil, make sure the mechanic that changes your oil actually puts your high-priced synthetic oil in your car and doesn't wind up keeping it for his own use. While there's no guarantee that your own oil will get installed in your engine, there are a few things that you can do to increase the probability. If possible, look in at your vehicle while it's being
serviced. Watch from the waiting room, or stand by the shop entrance. If this isn't possible, ask to have your empty oil containers returned to you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


1. What is it?


Gasohol is a mixture of gasoline and alcohol (mostly ethanol). Historically, the use of such a blend dates back as early as 1920s, and has been promoted on and off. Its primary intention is to reduce the consumption (import) of gasoline.

Today, in many countries, the use of gasohol is promoted or even mandated (notably Brazil). In Thailand, the first gasohol appeared on the market in 2001 and has been steadily promoted. The Thai Government, with its usual top-down approach, has set a rather aggressive schedule to replace all conventional gasoline with gasohol. At the time of writing, no other neighbouring countries (Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore) produce gasohol.

Regular 95 gasoline is to be completely replaced with gasohol 95 by January 2007, and is already increasingly difficult to find at gas stations. Regular 91 gasoline is allowed to survive some more years, but to be replaced with gasohol 91 by 2012.

At the moment, both gasohol 95 and gasohol 91 contain 10% ethanol (E10), but this proportion is announced to be increased in the near future.

2. How does it affect?

Unless a motor vehicle is specifically designed to cope with gasohol (and many motorcycles are NOT!), use of gasohol has no advantage on a personal level but incurs certain disadvantages (loss of power and mileage) or even damage (fuel system).

a. loss of power and mileage

This is a natural result of using gasohol and more or less inevitable. How much inconvenience one encounters depends on the engine and the fuel system, and varies from a subtle change in throttle response to outright engine trouble.

You can find various discussions on carburettor modification for gasohol use on motorcycle forums in several countries (eg. U.S.). Roughly speaking, to keep the same performance as with the regular gasoline, you need to replace the carburettor jet to a bigger size to burn more fuel, and adjust the air-intake accordingly. This is a tedious chore even for an experienced mechanic

b. damage to the fuel system

While newer fuel injection models are reported to be designed to resist ethanol corrosion, older fuel injection models and, more seriously, carburettor models are subject to mechanical damage whether in the short term or long term.

One characteristic situation in Thailand is that most big motorcycles are secondhand import from Japan where the use of gasohol is practically non-existent - thus little/no official comment from the manufacturers. At the other end, motorcycles manufactured in the U.S. - be it Harley Davidson or Japanese models - are claimed to be ethanol-resistant. (ref. E-10 Unleaded in Motorcycles)

3. What to do?

Unless you know your bike can handle gasohol without incurring drastic loss of performance or damage, stay away from gasohol, and try to search for model-specific information/experience from other riders. Regular 91 gasoline will still be available for a couple more years, and most motorcycles manufactured in Japan are designed for regular 89 (or above) gasoline.

Different gas stations use different brand names to market various fuels, and it's often difficult to tell which is what. Basically, fuels are tinted in following colors:

    Regular 95yellow==Gasohol 95orange
    Regular 91red==Gasohol 91green

and fuel pumps often (but not always) carry same-colored stickers as with the color of the fuel.

Generally speaking, gas station attendants are unreliable and irresponsible, and they tend to pump in gasohol even when you ask for regular gasoline. It is your responsibility to watch every move of the attendants to make sure that they pump in what you want.

4. Reported experience

Honda VFR 750

Stay away from mixed petrol!! I got a tankful of what i can only guess was mixed 95, and the bike ran like shit, I eventually siphoned out the remaining 12 litres and refilled somewhere else, it took a days running to clear it out and get the bike back to normal. Open the throttle and the bike just hesitates as it tries to accelerate.
Yamaha V-Max 1200

I made the mistake of putting some gasohol in it once that just destroyed the rubber in the carbies requiring a complete strip down by Siam Superbikes - a job which I'm reliably told "was a complete barstard!!!"
Honda Africa Twin 650

it would suck 1988 Honda Africa Twin 650cc had a lousy performance with Gasohol and it felt like some technical problem in the engine or carbo!
Please send your trouble/non-trouble experience to

5. Gasohol-Compatibility List

Following table is an excerpt from Type of cars and motorcycles that are Shell Gasohol 95 compatible. This list is limited to Thai-made motorcycles - and its reliability unknown - but it should give you some idea that not all carburetor models break down instantly upon filling up with gasohol.

Brand/ModelEngine TypeModelYear


CBR 150


1990 - 1991

1990 - 1991


1994 - 1996

2001 - 2003
FSX 150

LS 125


NICE 110

NICE 125


2000 - 2002

1990 - 1991

1990 - 1991

1990 - 1991


1994 - 1996



1997 - 1999

2000 - 2002




WAVE 100

WAVE 110

WAVE 125

WAVE 125 R

2003 - Present
WAVE 125 S

2003 - Present
VIVA 110





BEST 110


BEST 125





STEP 125

Sept. 2005

Sept. 2005

Belle 100, Belle R

JR-120, JR-R

Mate 100, Mate 111, Mate alfa

RX-Z, Speed, Tiara, Touch, Rainbow, X-1



ZR-120, ZR-R

Fresh, Fresh ll

Nouvo, Nouvo MX

Spark, Spark-135, Spark-R, Spark-Z

Boxer200SADSport2004 - Present
CX 125 A125EAAEnduro2004 - Present
CX 125 E125EAEEnduro2004 - Present
CX 125 SE125EAAEnduro2005 - Present
CX 125 SM125EAEEnduro2005 - Present
Joker 120120MFDShopper2002 - 2004
Joker 125125MFAShopper2003 - Present
Joker 125 F/0125MFAShopper2004 - Present
Joker 125 (M)125MFAShopper2003 - Present
Joker 125 (M) F/0125MFAShopper2004 - Present
Ozone110MFAFamily2004 - Present
S 120 SG 1.2120MFCFamily / Side Car2003 - Present
Smart 120 A120MFAFamily2002 - 2004
Smart 120 B120MFBFamily2002 - 2004
Smart 120 C120MFCFamily2002 - 2004
Smart 120 E120MFEFamily2002 - 2004
Smart 110 S-C110MACFamily2004 - Present
Smart 110 S-E110MAEFamily2004 - Present
Smart 110 S-E (M)110MAEFamily2004 - Present
Smart 125 S-A125MAAFamily2004 - Present
Smart 125 S-A (M)125MAAFamily2004 - Present
Smart 125 S-C125MACFamily2004 - Present
Smart 125 S-E125MAEFamily2004 - Present
Smart 125 S-E(M)125MAEFamily2004 - Present
ST 200200SAASport2004 - Present
CHEER / 4 strokeAN110J/L/W/Z

KAZE / KAZE HIT/ 4 strokeAN112

KAZE 125 / 4 strokeAN125

KAZE ZX 130 / 4 strokeAN130

KSR110 / 4 strokeKL110B

KLX110 / 4 strokeLX110A

BOSS / 4 strokeBN175A/E

LEO / LEO STAR / 2 strokeAS120C/D

GTO / 2 strokeKH125

KRR-ZX / 2 strokeKR150K

KR-SSR / 2 strokeKR150E *

VICTOR H / 2 strokeKR150H *

VICTOR J / 2 strokeKR150J *

VICTOR S POLECE / 2 StrokeKP150A *

* Kawasaki Type KR150E. KR150H. KR150L and KR150A will need to change fuel gauge prior to using Gasohol 95

6. Media Reports

Phuket Gazette - Issues & Answers
Gasohol in motorbikes? (October 17, 2005)

Q. Can the new gasohol fuel be used in motorbikes?
A. Gasohol can be used in all car engines manufactured in Thailand since 1995. However, we do not recommend it be used in motorcycles. The reason for this is that cars made in Thailand in the past 10 years are all equipped with fuel injectors, not carburetors.
The Fuel Research Department of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) researched the use of gasohol only in fuel-injected engines. We are therefore not sure whether the seals in carburetors - as in pre-1995 cars and as still fitted to most motorcycles - can handle the burning of ethanol. Carburetors contain plastic parts. If these are damaged and leak, an engine fire could result.

Carburetor-aspirated engines will work on gasohol but, for the reason stated, we cannot recommend its use in these engines.
( - Vichitpong Cheanthongsub, PTT Phuket Oil Depot Manager)

Gasohol in motorbikes (November 25, 2005)
Q. Why do attendants at Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) gas stations not tell customers that gasohol should not be used in motorbikes or cars older than 10 years? They put it in my motorbike and my 20-year-old car without saying a word.
A. We have given the manager or owner of every gas station in Phuket a half-day of training about gasohol and which engines it is suitable for. It is the duty of the gas station manager to train staff how to serve customers.
In addition, each PTT station has been given brochures - though in Thai only - explaining to customers which engines are suitable for gasohol use.
( - Vichitpong Cheanthongsub, PTT Phuket Oil Depot Manager)

Bangkok Post - Motoring (December 9, 2005)

Gasohol's not a simple cocktail to concoct
Jessada Tandhasettee
Apparently, gasohol has achieved popularity among consumers, much to the delight of its local distributor, based on the assumption that it is 1.50 baht and 0.70 satang cheaper than octane 95 and octane 91 respectively.
But all this is being done without educating the general public and motorists on how much fuel consumption will decrease or increase as a result, and at what rate.
First, a basic understanding of ethyl alcohol is needed. Ethyl alcohol contains about half the amount of energy when compared to gasoline (petrol as it is called in the UK), which in official terms is its heating value.
Engines that use ethyl alcohol and can still deliver the same performance as a gasoline engine will have to use a fuel pipe that has a section area twice as large and fuel injectors that are twice as fast in order to maintain similar performance figures.
And the obvious thing is that fuel consumption will be twice that amount. If you want to compare it head-on, the price of ethyl alcohol per litre must be half that of gasoline.
Therefore, mixing 10% ethyl alcohol with 90% gasoline to make gasohol will result in an energy value of only 95%. When compared to the conventional gasoline engine, fuel consumption will increase by roughly 5% depending on size, condition and type of engine.
If you want to make up for any increase in fuel consumption, the price must be reduced. For example, gasoline 95, now at 25 baht per litre, must be 1.25 baht cheaper.
In reality motorists aren't saving on fuel costs based on distance travelled. But they are helping the economy and the agricultural sector.
I don't need to show you the calculations. Say, if it's gasoline 91 which is 0.70 satang cheaper, the consumer will have to pay more for fuel that will cover the same distance for sure.
In times like this, who will want to pay more for the country?
Gasohol isn't even the standard official name, but is the bringing together of benzine (called gasoline in the US) and alcohol. Hence, gasohol.
It doesn't even tell us whether gasohol uses ethyl or methyl alcohol and doesn't indicate the proportion of mixtures.
The US penned the gasohol moniker because it pioneered the 10% ethyl alcohol and 90% gasoline mixture. The 10% is only an approximate figure; the optimal rate might well be 7% or 8%.
I believe that 10% is too much. Readers please take note: politicians responsible for our country's energy issues were naive when they announced that they will eventually increase the alcohol content in gasohol to 30%.
This is ridiculous and will cause grave damage to the engine. Various components will suffer from wear and tear resulting therefrom.
And, most importantly, how will the engine management system be able to compute the fuel mixture ratio and maintain the same performance at the same time?

Bangkok Post - Outlook (April 12, 2005)

Karnjariya Sukrung
With the price of Benzene 95 at an all-time high of 22.89 baht per litre, Oranuj, an accountant, decided it was time she did something to stretch the value of her baht.
"I didn't know much about alternative fuels like gasohol, but I decided it was time I really gave them a try," she said, adding that she had been uncertain whether the new type of fuel would adversely affect her car's performance.
"But it didn't. My car seems to run more smoothly and the fuel gauge drops more slowly. Perhaps it's just the good feeling that comes with it helping me save some money," she smiled. With gasohol she saves about 60 baht for 40 litres compared to the same quantity of petrol.
Choke, a 36-year-old entrepreneur, was one step ahead of Oranuj. A few months ago he modified his Mercedes to allow it to run on natural gas, turning it into an NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle).
"I couldn't continue spending about 3,000 baht on petrol each week. It was horrendous!" he said. "Since switching to natural gas I pay about 900 baht a week. Although the cost of the necessary modification is high, I think the investment is worth it in the long run."
In the current situation, with the price of oil soaring and some experts predicting it could reach $60 (2,380 baht) per barrel, and incomes unchanged, motorists have few options for saving money. But switching to alternative fuels is one of them.
Chavalit Pichalai, director of the Energy System Analysis Bureau at the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) said that turning to alternative fuels means more than savings made by individuals. It also means better air quality, fewer health risks, a boost to agriculture and huge national savings.
"We are at the point of no return. Wishful thinking won't bring the price of oil down. Alternative fuels are here now, and will be the main players in the future," said Chavalit, citing the government's plan to increase the use of alternative fuels from the current 0.5 percent to eight percent of all commercial fuel usage within the next seven years.
The EPPO and other energy-related agencies are coming up with ways to make cost-effective, locally produced alternative and renewable fuels possible. The so-called "soft energy" obtained from the sun, wind, biomass and domestic refuse recycling are among the potential solutions.
Right now, as part of government policy, gasohol is available and becoming more popular. Currently, Banchak, PTT and Shell are offering gasohol at 700 petrol stations, mainly in Bangkok, and by the end of this year the fuel should be available at over 4,000 stations. Ultimately, gasohol is planned to replace Benzene 95 petrol within three years.

The price difference of 1.50 baht per litre is a major incentive for motorists to switch to gasohol. But many motorists have only a vague idea about this cleaner alternative to petrol and are uncertain whether or not it will compromise their car's engine and performance.
According to a gasohol expert from the PTT Research and Technology Institute, gasohol is still largely made up of petrol. It is a mixture of 90 percent petrol and 10 percent crop-derived ethanol (ethyl alcohol) _ 99.5 percent pure alcohol, by volume, made from cassava and sugarcane molasses.
"Even better, ethanol helps a car's engine to burn fuel more completely and slowly, resulting in smoother engine running," said the PTT alternative fuel expert.
The Thai Automotive Industry Association and many car manufacturers assure consumers that most cars produced since 1995, and with fuel injection systems rather than a normally-aspirated carburettor, can run safely on gasohol (with 10 percent ethanol) without requiring any adjustment or modification to the engine. However, there are some exceptions, and car owners are recommended to check with manufacturers. Cars with carburettors, normally those made before 1995, are not suitable for running on gasohol, though.
"With older cars, engine modification has not yet proved safe or effective. It's likely that owners may need to change to cars that can run on gasohol or opt for natural gas," suggested Chavalit.
Ethanol is not new to car manufacturers in Japan, Europe and North America. Canada and Brazil have used gasohol for over 25 years. Brazil in particular, has developed cars that can use up to a 20 percent mixture of ethanol, and gasohol was available in the US in the 1930s.
As for Thailand, Chavalit said the government plans to launch a tax incentive scheme to persuade car companies to produce cars that can run on gasohol with more than 10 percent ethanol.
"The higher the percentage of ethanol used, the more the country saves on imported crude oil," said Chavalit.
Thailand imports 90 percent of its crude oil for domestic consumption, of which 60 percent is used by the transportation sector. A major cut here will help national savings and also save at least three billion baht on the import of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), an octane-boosting additive that started to replace lead in petrol about 10 years ago.
To promote gasohol use, the government aims to keep the price of gasohol below that of Benzene 95 petrol by about 70 satang to one baht per litre.
However, Dr Kanit Wattanavichien, head of the Internal Combustion Engine Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, is concerned by potential problems caused by using gasohol.
"The guarantees are so vague," he said. "You can't guarantee [a car for use with gasohol] just by the year of manufacture as many consumers may have repaired their cars or changed parts, which may not be original parts and thus cannot sustain contact with alcohol. This can cause mechanical problems and who is going to be responsible for that?" he said. "Cars can run with gasohol, but they need specially-designed parts to support the fuel."
According to him all parts that come into contact with ethanol _ such as fuel filters, pipes, the fuel tank and the fuel injection system _ should be suitable for use with gasohol, otherwise, there may be problems such as rust, perishing rubber parts or clogging of the fuel injection system, reducing the car's performance.
"Very few talk about the potential long term affects. Each car manufacturer should come out to guarantee auto parts for use with gasohol and set standards for these parts to ensure quality and safety for consumers' cars," he said. "Manufacturers should also be ready to take responsibility if motorists report adverse effects caused by the use of gasohol," he suggested.
If auto parts are qualified for use with ethanol _ a "clean" fuel _ then its use will produce less air pollution than petrol, making it more environmentally friendly and less of a health risk.
Ethanol, made by fermenting agricultural produce, often cassava and sugar cane, is used to replace the octane-boosting additive MTBE. Although environmentally better than lead, the US Environmental Protection Agency has classified MTBE as a "possible human carcinogen". Laboratory animals, exposed to high concentrations of MTBE have been shown to develop lymphomas and leukaemias, as well as cancers of the kidney, liver, testicles and uterus. However, no conclusive studies have been made on its effects in humans.
MTBE, when evaporated, can contaminate the environment _ the atmosphere, groundwater and soil. Fortunately, a study by PhD candidate Charoensri Keepra-sertsaab from the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment has not yet found MTBE contamination at a dangerous level in Bangkok, despite it being used in petrol for over 10 years.
In addition to the lack of MTBE, gasohol also helps reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions.
"Complete combustion [of gasohol] reduces carbon monoxide emissions by up to 30 percent ... therefore the air is less polluted," said an oil expert from PTT.
Generally, petrol-fuelled vehicles, when running, produce carbon monoxide _ a hazardous, colourless and odourless gas _ as a result of incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness, and in a confined space ultimately leads to death.
The use of gasohol can also help reduce greenhouse effects, said the PTT's gasohol expert.
"The production of benzene produces carbon dioxide, known to cause global warming. But the production of ethanol from agricultural produce does not emit such gas into the air. So if we reduce the production of oil by 10 percent [to be replaced by ethanol], it means we help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent," he explained.
Opting for alternative fuels is also a boon to our farmers.
"Thailand may not be a land of fossil fuels but our strength is in the fertility of our soil and in our skilled farmers. We still have plenty of vegetation that we can turn into alternative energy sources," said Chavalit.
Cassava and sugarcane are the major raw materials used to produce ethanol, while palms can be used to produce an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective bio-diesel.
"A rising demand for these crops will help stabilise prices and guarantee farmers' incomes and work," said Chavalit.
However, many doubt whether the crop supply, which relies heavily on the climate, will be sufficient to supply the steady and growing demand.
"As of now, there is no worry about that. We have quite a stock," he said. Ethanol stocks are enough to fuel future plans for producing three million litres of gasohol a day in two years.
"But we have to be cautious too. Take the current drought situation for example _ our poor irrigation system could lead to a major setback," cautioned Chavalit.
The popularity of natural gas may come second to gasohol. But it may be the bigger and brighter player in the near future. Why? NGV motorists say the gas is a big saver.
"On average, my car runs at 60 to 65 satang per kilometre. I used to go to Pattaya, about 230km, and it cost me about 130 baht," claimed Sombat, who is among 1,300 taxi drivers now on the NGV programme.
Taxis and buses are the first vehicles to be targeted by the government for conversion to NGVs, to help reduce the country's reliance on imported petrol. However, many private car owners are considering conversion to natural gas because the price is over 50 percent lower than petrol. Choke, for example, installed a natural gas tank in his Mercedes, and Nirut in his Grand Cherokee.
According to government policy, the price of natural gas will be pegged at 50 percent of retail diesel prices until 2006. The price will then increase to 55 percent of Benzene 91 in 2007, and to 65 percent of Benzene 91 from 2009 onwards.
Apart from its competitive pricing, this non-renewable fuel is considered environmentally friendly. Unlike liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the gas used mainly for cooking, natural gas is hard to ignite and emits less hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than other fossil fuels.
Natural gas comes mainly from the Gulf of Thailand and from Burma via the Yadana pipeline. A source in the PPT maintained that the supply should be sufficient to meet growing demand now and in the future.

At present, the use of gasohol still relies largely on petrol supplies. Its price, although lower than regular petrol, still depends on oil and ethanol prices, which can fluctuate up and down _ but usually up. Energy experts from the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment predict a worst-case scenario of oil prices reaching $60 (2,280 baht) per barrel. If that happens, the economy could come to a virtual standstill, they said.
However like petrol, natural gas is a form of fossil fuel and is thus non-renewable.
It is currently found in abundance in the Gulf of Thailand and in neighbouring countries like Burma. But the supply will inevitably run out in the future, and exploring for new sources raises many environmental issues.
Chavalit suggests that a sustainable solution to our energy needs is to rely on energy efficiency and sources of renewable energy, such as solar power, wind power, domestic refuse (which we have in abundance) and bio-mass.
"Now we are researching and experimenting with projects to make these renewable fuels commercially viable. But we still have technological limitations that make the cost per unit too high for consumers," he said.
As of now, consumers can help the country save energy by all means. And this will result not only in savings for themselves but for the country too, he added.