A Cold Starting System

Alcohol-fueled vehicles often won't start in cold weather. Here is a cold starting system you can build and install yourself to get around that problem.

| November/December 1979

In "Fuel Conversion: An Experimental Dual Fuel Truck," we described the process of converting a gasoline-burning automotive engine to operate on home-brewed ethyl alcohol. We also specified the particulars of rigging up a dual-fuel system that would allow the vehicle to run on either alcohol or gasoline with only a minimum of "switchover" tinkering.

Now with winter upon us, it's time to go one step further with that conversion and describe how to construct a fool proof and inexpensive cold starting system.

Back to Basics

As you know, alcohol fuel is desirable from a safety standpoint, since it is not dangerously volatile as is gasoline. This advantage, however, can become a minor problem during the winter season (when the temperature is below 45°F) because the carbureted ethanol fuel has a tendency to remain in liquid form as it passes through the engine's intake manifold rather than turn into a mist-like vapor as it should.

So, faced with this knotty problem, MOTHER EARTH NEWS' researchers came up with a low-cost, easy answer: they merely inject a fine stream of gasoline—taken from the auxiliary fuel supply—directly down the carburetor throat. The minute spray is adequate to start the engine and keep it running till it's warm enough to utilize pure alcohol fuel.

Doin' It

Start off by purchasing (or better yet; scrounging) all the plumbing hardware called for in our Cold Starting System Diagram. Then gather up an assortment of end wrenches, a screwdriver, a power drill with a 7/16" bit, a soldering iron, a small tubing cutter, and some Teflon thread tape.

When you have everything together, remove the air cleaner lid from its housing and determine the best place to position your "squirt" nozzle. Remember that you want the sprayer to shoot directly down into the throat of the carburetor, and that the movable choke plate should not interfere with the injector pipette.

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