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E10 - the fuel of the devil?

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There are few issues likely to get owners of classic and vintage vehicles in the UK hot under the collar than changes to the composition of the fuels. Fifteen or maybe more years ago, the furore was all about lead. Added to petrol at 0.15 g/litre, not only did it supply cheap octane to the fuel by improving combustion by avoiding detonation but the tetraethyl lead compounds used also coated valve seats, reducing wear and helping to minimise valve seat recession. Complicated by the phasing...

The Formula One gearbox lube

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If the lubricant for a Formula One engine poses one set of challenges then that needed in its gearbox creates some that are wholly different. While the internals of a Formula One V8 engine are familiar, if slightly smaller than many may be used to, those of the gearbox are more akin to the movement of a Swiss watch. With gear widths sometimes of the order of 4-5 mm, and slipping in and out of use seamlessly, the analogy is reasonably close. But whereas a watch simply and relentlessly marks...

Diesel fuel

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Regular readers will have realised by now that I am not a great fan of diesel-fuelled racers. Any reciprocating engine that relies on the temperature of the compressed intake air to be greater than that of the flash point of the fuel has no right to be positioned anywhere near the finely honed chassis of a racing machine, except in the vehicle designated to lug it and the rest of the team from circuit to circuit. This is a personal opinion, you understand, and while gasoline engines should...

A balancing act

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I wish I had a fiver (about $8) for every time a racing driver mentioned the word 'balance.' The post-practice or post-race interview of explanations and excuses as to why he (or she) didn't win invariably attributes the cause to the relative grip between front and rear tyres, thus allowing the car to oversteer (loose) or understeer (push). And away from optimum handling, how could he (or she) possibly ever be expected to win? But in the world of engine lubricants the word...

Don't knock it

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We live in interesting and uncertain times - that much at least is certain. The world may be hovering on the point of economic disaster but in 2011, despite the proliferation of other types of fuel (such as ethanol, methanol, CNG or diesel) the performance fuel of choice is still gasoline. A mixture of up to several hundred types of hydrocarbon chains of varying length and shape, gasoline can be tailored more specifically to the precise characteristics of an internal combustion engine than...