Author Topic: Ethanol in Petrol  (Read 5166 times)

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Offline richson

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Ethanol in Petrol
« on: 05 Mar 2011 at 22:24 »

Much discussion about this in various places.  Today I bought some leaded 4-star @ 1.68/l. When I drained my bikes of fuel a few months back, I saw that the petseal with which I had sealed a couple of my tanks was sticky, and obviously disintegrating. Innards of carbs were a bit gummed up and the fuel was yellow in colour, not as it had gone in. This is due to the 5% ethanol content in fuel (E5) reacting with the resin in the tank sealant. With 10%  ethanol imminent, there would seem to be two choices: one, to hunt down supplies of leaded 4-star (a decreasing number of outlets) or two, to get the ethanol out of regular fuel.
Ethanol is hygroscopic, in that it readily absorbs water, so introducing water to the fuel and then separating it would appear to be a solution. Anything would probably be cheaper than getting my tanks stripped, resealed with some ethanol resistant compound and repainted. This is another price we have to pay for so-called progress. Let anyone try to tell me that this biofuel is helping anything, when I can see that farmers around here grow corn for this stuff instead of  food.

Offline graeme

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Re: Ethanol in Petrol
« Reply #1 on: 06 Mar 2011 at 05:55 »
I couldn't agree with you more about the growing of corn for fuel rather than food, I think it's immoral. If the ethanol was made from a waste product fair enough, but to use food as fuel when there are people hungry in the world - it's just wrong.
There are countries where ethanol in fuel has been mandated for some time now - I think the USA and Canada, and certainly Brazil, so there must be products for sealing tanks that doesn't turn to jelly. I think you would be hard pressed to remove the ethanol from the fuel blend, and what a hassle if you want to fill up while on a ride.
We in Australia are fortunate in that the higher octane unleaded blends (no lead in fuel here for many years) don't contain ethanol, so we can avoid it. Some enthusiaists go to the extent of ordering in their own suply of avgas to get lead in the fuel - though I think this is pure paranoia about the valves disappearing into the seats with unleaded fuel. In my experience over the last 15 years or so there has been no valve seat recession at all using unleaded, and I don't bother with Flashlube or any other additive to replace the lead, though I do throw in a splash of 2 stroke oil as upper cylinder lubricant if I remember.
I guess the short answer is unfortunately you will have to reseal your tank with a suitable product.  I don't imagine the ethanol will go away - the farmers are on to far too good a thing!

Offline Doug

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Re: Ethanol in Petrol
« Reply #2 on: 06 Mar 2011 at 19:57 »
Here in the USA we have been on 10% ethanol for a few years now. The farmers love it; my vehicle does not, getting about 260 miles per tank full verses 310 miles formerly. Whatever is saved in emissions must be made up by having to burn more fuel. When first introduced it gradually stripped the tank sealer out of my Mark 3. I did not notice it at first, until the fuel evaporated out of the carbs over the winter and the remaining residue glued the slides fast. Even the supposedly alcohol proof sealer I replaced it with is going soft and tacky. The only improvement is that it does not seem to glue the carbs and having water contamination in the bottom of the tank is a thing of the past, though I have had to wash out the fuel strainers on the petcocks a few times to keep the fuel flow up. It is also the first fuel that I have not been able to get my old 1932 Ford truck to run on properly; this a vehicle that would run on the stalest of gasoline, and probably even turpentine! Fortunately it does have a fuel mixture control that you can adjust from the cab, because you need to depending on if the engine is working or idling. I have not noticed as much of a problem with the Mark, but it was always tuned a bit on the rich side before. Maybe the tank liner acts as a fuel supplement... There are a few publications on the internet for marine applications, and in the UK relating to certain motorcycles, where the ethanol fuel attacks the resin in fiberglass fuel tanks. Also in the US vintage car publication there has been talk about the problem of separation with the new fuel, and the subsequent imbalance of the proper stoichiometric ratio. The main concern being the engine going on a very lean burn.


Offline Dawn

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Re: Ethanol in Petrol
« Reply #3 on: 09 Mar 2011 at 13:21 »
Ethomix (250ml) (Z555) - Frost Auto Restoration Techniques

Found this product - I got told of it on facebook.  Think it nutrilises the ethanol.  Don't know if it works as I have never tried it.

Offline Alan

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Re: Ethanol in Petrol
« Reply #4 on: 10 Mar 2011 at 03:35 »
For those with access to the Hydrocarbons Processing Magazine ( Feb 2011) there is an article on the US decision to authorise the sale of
E15...Apparently the National Petrochemical & Refiners Ass ( NPRA) has filed a lawsuit with a US appeals court to overturn to quote " the EPA's premature and unwise decision etc "...( just one of several similar lawsuits from US automakers and engine manufacturers)..They are concerned that E15 could cause engine damage with the inevitable lawsuits from consumers...Also references to safety issues such as chainsaws overheating and running on despite being shutoff..
 The article also states that the ethanol industry has refused to accept liability for engine damage that could be caused by E15...
 If they are worried about E15 in cars and light trucks for 2007 and later model years, what hope is there if it somehow gets into a classic engine.