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Thread: Fuel system damage from Ethanol

  1. #1
    Spencer_Gould's Avatar
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    Shocked Fuel system damage from Ethanol

    A sobering reminder of the damaging effects of Ethanol on fuel system components not rated for it.



    latest blog post:
    https://gouldaero.com/2018/02/12/fue...-from-ethanol/

    & YouTube video
    https://youtu.be/Smnr4KNN-8E

    Spencer Gould
    TC powerplant / Composites

  2. #2
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Yep, I've got a small pile of small engine carbs I had to replace. No ethanol goes in them anymore.

  3. #3
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Huh. I've used E10 in my mower, snow blower, weed whacker, edger and leaf blower for many years. Not to mention the cars, motorcycle and Vespa. I believe everything I own, or have owned in the past 10-15 years, was designed for up to 10% ethanol. I've encountered a grand total of one problem, when I let a batch sit in the gas can for about a year or so. It wasn't pretty. The fuel lines in the 1980s vintage edger did harden and crack, but I'm pretty sure they were only going to be good for 30 years or so no matter what.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  4. #4
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    You've been lucky. I've been through four carbs on weedwackers and leafblowers (the snow blower is a more mongo engine with a more substantial carb) before I got wise and started buying e-free gas for them. I'd already been doing so for the boat. Water and ethanol together are a bad scene.

  5. #5
    DaleB's Avatar
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    I guess. Maybe my good luck will hold for another 20-30 years.

    Actually, I'm mostly feeding them ethanol-free gas now, simply because it's more convenient to do so. I fill 5 gallon cans with ethanol-free premium for the airplane, so it's easy to just fill an extra can once in a while. Plus, now that I'm burning substantial amounts I can get the fuel tax (about 2.6/gallon or so now) back from the state at the end of the year for all of it. Still -- E10 even sitting during the off season hasn't hurt any of my stuff since at least the late 80s.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  6. #6
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Ethanol free gas isn't available anywhere near me. I tested gas from several stations a couple years ago & most regular gas had about 15% ethanol. The lowest I found was one station where premium was 7% ethanol, I use that in my older cars & I add Stabil since they don't get driven much. After going thru cheap weedwhackers & chain saws at a rate of approx 1 per year I now buy Stihl, they don't seem to have problems with ethanol.

  7. #7
    dclaxon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Switzer View Post
    Ethanol free gas isn't available anywhere near me. I tested gas from several stations a couple years ago & most regular gas had about 15% ethanol. The lowest I found was one station where premium was 7% ethanol, I use that in my older cars & I add Stabil since they don't get driven much. After going thru cheap weedwhackers & chain saws at a rate of approx 1 per year I now buy Stihl, they don't seem to have problems with ethanol.

    Ethanol free gas is available in central Illinois, but I don't know how expensive it is, I've never bought it. Last year I ran across a link to search for it and was surprised how many places it was available in the Champaign/ Bloomington area. Several of them were FS stations, so I guess farmers have some of the same trouble with ethanol that pilots do.

    The only problem I've had with ethanol was back in the late 80's/early 90's I had a Porsche 914 that had the notorious VW electronic fuel injector, and all the injector nozzles started dripping on top of the engine. Fortunately I caught it before it started a fire, but replacing those Porsche nozzles was not cheap. Almost as expensive as airplane parts.

    Dave

  8. #8
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    I buy farm fuel from the local FS, they only sell gasoline with ethanol, I asked & I was told they took a lot of pressure from ADM (who was telling the local farmers to buy from another supplier that supported ethanol use). The closest ethanol free fuel to me is a 40 minute drive. I can get race fuel locally (55 gallon drums) without ethanol but it cost more than 100LL. I have a couple 914s in the barn, one of them did have a fuel system fire at some point. My old tractors don't care about ethanol, those fuels systems are all metal.

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