E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Talk about airplanes! At last count, there are 39 (and growing) FAA certificated S-LSA (special light sport aircraft). These are factory-built ready to fly airplanes. If you can't afford a factory-built LSA, consider buying an E-LSA kit (experimental LSA - up to 99% complete).

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drdehave
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby drdehave » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:05 pm

Paul: "Just got my mini belt sander at Harbor Freight. $18.39 with coupon."

How do the Chinese--and Harbor Freight--both make money at that give-away price? I haven't a clue.

Just watch that little thing; It will "cut" way faster than you might think!

Rich
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MrMorden
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby MrMorden » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:01 pm

drdehave wrote:How do the Chinese--and Harbor Freight--both make money at that give-away price? I haven't a clue.


Ask again in a year when that tool has become an inert paperweight. ;)

When I was building my Sonex I went through three HF pneumatic rivet guns before giving up and buying a quality one. The HF stuff is fine if you won't need the tool often or many times, but if you do the (lack of) quality will show itself.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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drseti
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby drseti » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:02 pm

drdehave wrote:How do the Chinese--and Harbor Freight--both make money at that give-away price?


easy, Rich. They lose a little on every sale, and then make it up on the volume.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby 3Dreaming » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:26 pm

drseti wrote:
drdehave wrote:How do the Chinese--and Harbor Freight--both make money at that give-away price?


easy, Rich. They lose a little on every sale, and then make it up on the volume.


I know of a FBO that did their charter that way back in the early 80's. They didn't last to see the mid 80's.

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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby drseti » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:44 pm

Ah, but they probably lost less money than the competition. ;)
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby sandpiper » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:23 pm

MrMorden wrote:
drdehave wrote:How do the Chinese--and Harbor Freight--both make money at that give-away price? I haven't a clue.


Ask again in a year when that tool has become an inert paperweight. ;)

When I was building my Sonex I went through three HF pneumatic rivet guns before giving up and buying a quality one. The HF stuff is fine if you won't need the tool often or many times, but if you do the (lack of) quality will show itself.


I've been using a HF pneumatic puller on my RV-12 build. First two were returned and replaced free of charge. My 3rd one works well. Of course I'm only half way thru the 12,500 rivets I have to pull before it flys on Tuesday.

Having said this, I am now afraid to go back to my shop. :roll:
John Horn
Independence Airpark (7S5), OR
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Rotax Service, Maint, and Heavy Maint. trained
Flying a CTSW, building an RV-12

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drdehave
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby drdehave » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:33 pm

"Ask again in a year when that tool has become an inert paperweight."

For $18 and change, who cares? :lol: It's the cheapest element of a several thousand dollar job--and I'll probably never use that tool again in this life...
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MrMorden
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby MrMorden » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:44 am

sandpiper wrote:
MrMorden wrote:
drdehave wrote:How do the Chinese--and Harbor Freight--both make money at that give-away price? I haven't a clue.


Ask again in a year when that tool has become an inert paperweight. ;)

When I was building my Sonex I went through three HF pneumatic rivet guns before giving up and buying a quality one. The HF stuff is fine if you won't need the tool often or many times, but if you do the (lack of) quality will show itself.


I've been using a HF pneumatic puller on my RV-12 build. First two were returned and replaced free of charge. My 3rd one works well. Of course I'm only half way thru the 12,500 rivets I have to pull before it flys on Tuesday.

Having said this, I am now afraid to go back to my shop. :roll:


After my HF experience, I ended up with this riveter:

http://www.cpooutlets.com/sunex-tools-sx0918t-3-16-in--heavy-duty-air-rivet-gun/snxnsx0918t,default,pd.html?ref=pla&zmam=31282435&zmas=47&zmac=722&zmap=snxnsx0918t&kpid=snxnsx0918t&gclid=COPuw5_Sm8UCFdcYgQodz0MAfg

It was like night and day. I was always fiddling with the HF tool, trying to adjust it to work right. This one just works, every time. The extra cost was well worth the reduced aggravation.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
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2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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MrMorden
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby MrMorden » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:46 am

drdehave wrote:"Ask again in a year when that tool has become an inert paperweight."

For $18 and change, who cares? :lol: It's the cheapest element of a several thousand dollar job--and I'll probably never use that tool again in this life...


As I said, if you need a tool once or very rarely, HF tools have their place. I have a bunch of their stuff, just not for tasks I use a whole bunch. :)
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby Flocker » Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:56 pm

drdehave wrote:How do the Chinese--and Harbor Freight--both make money at that give-away price? I haven't a clue.


I just signed a 10-year lease with Harbor Freight at one of my commercial properties last month. I asked the very same question. Basically, they buy production over runs directly from China very cheaply and then ship them directly to the stores. No middle man. They expect this location to gross $10M in the first year. Pretty amazing.

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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby Jack Tyler » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:16 am

"Part of the LSA 'mission' as it's sold to potential customers is 'it just sips auto-gas'. Though not perhaps a 'myth' it certainly bears some investigating by potential LSA pilots and customers, many of whom read this site, before ownership."

Amen. Perhaps because amateur builders of LSA's are, by the nature of the task at hand, constantly involved in communicating within the builder community, the E10 issue has been of grave concern for almost a decade now. And this is with an aircraft where the builder owner makes every product selection when it comes to sealers, hoses and such. The general image might be that a factory builds every aircraft of a given model in the same way, just as the image is that every gallon of gas sold at a service station is of inspected, accepted quality...but we know both are not true. Generalized assurances by LSA salesmen and importers/distributors are not coming from factory floor workers and factory purchasing agents, who work with what they are given and shop for the most competitive pricing. Just one example: After Poland was admitted to the EU, Beneteau thought they would reduce their manufacturing costs by having one of their models built there. Some UK investors started a leisure boat company to sell boats built in Poland because they too could see the cost advantages of the cheap labor. But the factories lacked adequate quality control standards and sourced materials for lowest cost, and the sailboats fell apart quite quickly.

"I took heed of Paul's wisdom a while back and have avoided the E10 because of the potential damage from the ethanol preferring to spend a few more cents per gallon for 93 non-ethanol."

While E0 gas certainly is better, I wish such a general assurance was more warranted than it might be. The current holder of the Grumman Tiger manufacturing certificate, True Flight in Valdosta GA, sees a lot of Grummans for repairs and AI's, and several Grumman models were and remain eligible for an auto-fuel STC. I had one myself for our Traveler. The A&P/IA at True Flight commented that he sees some of these planes with lots of garbage swirling around in their wet-wing tanks, and feels very wary of the effects of auto-fuel - from who knows where - where the sealants play such a critical role. Even WRT 100LL, our rural airport tests every tanker load of fuel that is brought onto the field, before it goes in their tanks. Some passes, some doesn't. What happens to the fuel that doesn't pass? It goes south about 30 miles to another field, where they sell 100LL cheaper. If China had oil fields, we'd probably all be driving with Chinese gas simply because it might be 30 cents cheaper. My only point is that there are a lot of variables involved when it comes to fuel production, distribution and sale, and especially so for gas we put in our cars.
Jack
Flying in/out KBZN, Bozeman MT in a Grumman Tiger
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby SportPilot » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:03 am

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Last edited by SportPilot on Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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drdehave
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby drdehave » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:23 pm

Don't nod off, the plot has thickened. Alcohol might not be the primary culprit, after all. What?

Yep, I can't seem to find anything wrong inside the tank and filler neck, other than the two "stiffeners" (each a 12 x 18-inch piece of Nomex 1/8 x 1/8 honeycomb with one over-layer of fiberglass) which delaminated from the main fuel-tank structure, one partially, the other completely. The rest of the tank seems solid as a rock. And that 'rock' is built with MGS L285 epoxy resin, the gold standard in Germany and much of Europe for airplane construction (also Cozy, Diamond, Cirrus, and other aircraft, here).

So, all this begs a few questions. Why did the E10 apparently just attack those stiffeners, and nothing else? Why was one stiffener completely gone and gas-saturated, whilst the other one was just showing the first signs of an issue? Why did I get beads of resin in the (sump) gas from the get-go, when I bought the airplane?

Then, consider the obvious lay-up difficulties of those stiffeners themselves--a very confined space (or they could have been pre-layed, before the tank was dropped in); difficult to even see the upper parts of them; many sharp corners and bends that the fiberglass had to successfully "wrap" over the Nomex (though some putty "blending" work was done to help). My guess is there would have been lots of opportunities for failure. And I'm starting to think that's just what happened--an air bubble or pin-hole was left behind, the gas got in, wicked throughout the structure and then fuel was working on both sides of exposed resin--apparently, within the stiffeners only. Another possibility is that maybe the stiffeners were not properly heat-cured to achieve their maximum resistance to fuel. Anyway, the totally unexposed areas away from those stiffeners do appear to be okay. Of course, I need to also compare my scenario to that of the other three Sting owners who have now been found with a similar affliction.

They say it ain't over 'till it's over. This ain't over. I may officially flip-flop on this whole saga, after more data comes in.



Last edited by drdehave on Mon May 04, 2015 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby bottleworks » Fri May 01, 2015 8:53 pm

(I'm gone. Everything deleted! Can't stand the ignorant data spread here).
Last edited by bottleworks on Fri May 08, 2015 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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drdehave
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Re: E10 Unleaded Auto-Gas: My Big Mistake as LSA Owner!

Postby drdehave » Sun May 03, 2015 9:53 pm

Bottleworks asked: "Has the factory/distributor been anymore helpful?"

To be completely fair, I won't comment further until some more time--a reasonable amount more--has passed. However, at some point I may really "go off" and they aren't gonna like that.
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