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Its that time of year. Lets discuss ether.

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Vetech63, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. check

    check Senior Member

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    I've seen ring lands broke loose from pistons caused by ether in Japanese engines. The explosion is too much for them if the rings are spaced close together.
     
  2. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

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    That's a major Owie!! I suspect by the other marks on those rings they were about ready to give up anyway
     
  3. Knepptune

    Knepptune Senior Member

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    All I can say about that is if an engine can't handle a little ether in the morning, no way is it gonna make it through the day with me at the controls.

    In all seriousness I know that ether will absolutely kill an engine dead. I also know that I've seen a little 4bt inhale dang near a full can of ether and it sounded awful when it fired. Wouldn't stay running because it had a blown fuse on the fuel solenoid. Ran like a top after I put a new fuse in it for the guy. Made me think that all this paranoia about ether is a little much.

    A lot of damage on the old truck engines was due to driver pushing the ether button instead of downshifting. Or if they wanted to race a fellow truck driver.

    I'll just say I've seen some serious engine abuse with ether and have yet to see one actually blow or suffer premature failure. I'll keep using it.
     
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  4. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    Know how that go's Jim ...... Sometimes you and flip the disk & clean up the contacts for another round . It worked great , rig cranks & starts fine now ......... With a little shot of ether in cold weather :)

    http://www.heavytruckforums.com/showthread.php?363-Ccc&p=2830&viewfull=1#post2830
     
  5. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    I have always been more afraid to use it on little Japanese or Ford-IH 20:1 or greater compression engines than on lower compression turbo engines for fear of what it will do to the wimpy pistons. Although sometimes you do what you have to.

    Another rule to live by, if you have an engine under warranty if it took ether to get it going don't tell anybody, we all know how they love to use any excuse to deny warranty.
     
  6. walkerv

    walkerv Senior Member

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    farm i took care of once upon a time had a ford 1000 2 cylinder jap diesel if i was in a hurry which was rare . and didnt want to gag on the exhuast while it was triing to get running on both cylinders i would glow plug it start it then get off and literly put a couple dropps of either on a corner of paper towel and just wave it near the air filter inlet that was enough to make it hit on both cylinders and clear the exhuast to get it backed out of the building , or while it was triing to run i would turn key backwards again for a few seconds at a time to rewarm the glow pluggs not sure that was good for it so didnt do that much .had a half can of ether with almost no propellant in it last me over 6 years doing that , he used to buy a 3 cans a winter , now i know what happened to the piston rings :p
     
  7. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    When I start a unit that has glow plugs I almost always leave the glow plugs on while cranking and after it runs if it is still running rough.

    Some units have a diode that runs the glow plugs whenever you are cranking the starter.
     
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  8. Knepptune

    Knepptune Senior Member

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    Makes sense it may be more dangerous on smaller high compression engines. The smallest diesel engines I have any experience with would the little four cylinder deutz engines in manlifts.
     
  9. Jim D

    Jim D Senior Member

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    I'm curious about the mechanism by which starting ether breaks piston rings. I know that the obnoxious loud knocking sound of old mechanical injection diesel engines is caused by the unstable combustion propagation of the injected fuel. I know that modern electric injection diesel engines have 'multiple timed combustion events' to stabilize the combustion propagation, and that eliminates the 'detonation' knocking. I know that high speed, high compression, gasoline engine detonation [combustion instability], and worse, pre-ignition [before the spark] detonation, will melt piston crowns.

    So how does ether break rings?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  10. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    What I am about to write is speculation because I am not aware of any controlled studies on ether in engines.

    Ether ignites by compression. It detonates. And it does so pretty easy since it still works even when very cold.

    Since it is already in the intake charge, it is going to detonate when the piston is on the way up in the compression stroke and not necessarily near TDC either. When it detonates it all goes off at once with a crack. Not the controlled spray of an injection event.

    Couple that with the fact that the piston is still on the way up squeezing it tighter before it can go down the power stroke and you have a recipe for damage.

    I like to think that introducing just enough ether to ignite itself on the way up is all you should need. Even if the tiny bit of ether is completely gone and stopped burning by the time injection starts, the cylinder air will probably still be warm enough that the injection will burn instead of just spraying, and then the fire is lit and the engine will run.
     
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  11. Jim D

    Jim D Senior Member

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    No. Those piston rings broke because the engine over-reved.

    Remember the piston ring ridge at the top of an iron cylinder: If a old chevy six grocery getter never spun more than 3000 revs, ever in its life, and the cylinder ring ridge developed over years, from the "plucking" of the ring and cylinder metal, when the rings stoped and reversed at the top of the stroke, and if then next, a 20 year old bought that chevy little old lady's car, and then he raced the engine to 4000 revs, the first thing that happened was that the rings hit the ring ridges, because inertial force from greater rotational speed increased the crank, bearing, rod and piston stretch, and the piston moved a few thou farther up at TDC, and top ring hit the ring ridge much harder, and the top ring broke in many pieces. And then next, when the 20 year old hammered the piston out of the bore, without removing the ring ridge, the second and oil control rings broke too, but not so badly...

    A diesel engine is well governed. The max speed is exact. They often always run at that max speed, for *many* hours. Long oil change intervals (no oil changes, sometimes...) mean oil additive depletion. That maximizes "plucking" wear, and ring ridges. One over-rev, maybe from ether, means broken rings...
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  12. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    Over revved engines drop valves and break rod bolts. Busted rings are usually from worn out cylinders, dripping injectors and ether. In order for the rings to hit a worn ledge on a cylinder the rod bolts are either loose from over speed which would be known because of the knocking, even at low speed, or the hole is already out the side of the block. I have seen broken pistons and rings from ether. The process is as Mr. Vogt stated. Ether is a hammer that used appropriately will solve a problem. Swing it too hard and you might end up with an unplanned expense or a sudden career change event.
     
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  13. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    I'm with BV on this one. How many time have you ever seen an engine "run away" even for a second on ether? I can't ever remember one hitting the governed speed. If you load it up then crank it, you get CLUNK, the starter stalled for a second, CLUNK, another second of stalled starter, until it clears and cranks over.

    The right amount of ether doesn't clunk one bit, it probably doesn't even ignite before injection.
     
  14. Jim D

    Jim D Senior Member

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    Ok. So how does ether break rings? Only thing Mr Vogt said was that "... you have a recipe for damage."

    (Dragster engines run on *nitro methane!*, and they don't break piston rings...)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  15. Jim D

    Jim D Senior Member

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    For reference, the broken "piston rings" that I am referring to are those in the photo that Doyle posted, bottom of page 5 of this thread. One ring in the photo is broken into eight pieces.

    For a dished combustion chamber piston, the top piston ring is 3/4 or 1 inch below the top of the piston, so the two paths to the top piston ring, from the combustion volume in the piston, for the violence of ether, are through the metal of the piston, and through the tiny annular gap between the piston and the cylinder wall. So, to break piston rings, some shock force, from ether, large enough to fracture the iron or steel piston rings, has to propagate through either of those paths...

    So which of those speculative shock waves or forces, from ether, hits the top piston ring with enough violence to fracture the piston ring?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  16. check

    check Senior Member

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    Diesel is slow burning fuel. Ether is the opposite. When fuel burns in a combustion chamber faster than a piston can run away from it, something has to give.
    I would speculate that's what happens to ring lands.
     
  17. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

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    Ever notice when dragster engines are rebuilt, usually every other run. No ring wear, generally only two rings for weight control and little to no piston to head clearance set by head seal either shims or gasket while the combustion region is compressed ring sealed between head to the deck. No chance to develop wear where the rings can be over rev deflected and are designed to use the nitro methane yet they still grenade.

    Ran drag jeeps in the 80's using Hillborn FI on the stuff. Destroys a engine in short order if not adjusted right.
     
  18. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    Jim D> your beating a dead horse.. Your trying to explain how ether wont break a piston or rings to people who collectively, have 1000 years experience FIXING THIS PROBLEM, seriously?
    Think of it this way.. piston pushing UP.. ether explodes pushing piston DOWN when crankshaft wants it to go UP.. opposing forces.. something has got to give.. weather it be pistons themselves or piston rings or blowing a head off an engine..
    THAT being said, some engines are more tolerant than others.
    Lets move on.
     
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  19. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    What hasn't been said in this thread is the affect of the ether washing the lubricant off the cylinder walls and the rings now riding on a dry cylinder liner. One also has to keep in mind that when diesel is injected into the cylinder most diesel engines have a dished piston where turbulence is generated and the flame front starts. Ether is drawn in through the intake and the flame front will happen on the edges of the piston instead of the dish in the piston. There is plenty of sudden expansion of gasses to bear on the rings as the piston is rising. Now add some carbon in the ring lands so that there is point loading around the circumference plus the ring riding up touching the dry liner and you have multiple places that can crack the cast iron ring.
     
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  20. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    I never did buy the ether washing cylinders thing. I can't imagine how much you would have to use to get any liquid ether in the cylinders, it has to be all vapor by the time it gets there. It won't even stay liquid long if you are using it to wash parts in temperatures around freezing. Plus it has to go through filters, tubes, turbos, etc. to get there. Plus to wash cylinders there would have to be enough liquid to displace a meaningful amount of the thick, cold, sticky oil.
     
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