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Ethanol - the truth please !

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by elizdad, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. if the crappy weather decides to stick around, it's time to start putting things to bed for a few months, so i need to top off some tanks - the last of the e-free gas around here is history (as far as i know)

    so what is the truth about ethanol - what have you heard/experienced ? it appears the evil crap is here to stay - i hate being left without a choice, but am i being paranoid in thinking that every internal combustion engine i own is doomed ?
  2. KevinD

    KevinD Modulator Staff Member

    It's not like you've much choice...
    Some of the stations around here have, "non-oxygenated," gas year 'round, but that won't help you.
    Before you put your baby down for her long winter's nap, put some Seafoam in the gas tank, and then run it a wee bit. Not only will the Seafoam clean things up, it's also a fuel stabilizer, and less expensive than marine/motorsports Sta-Bil.
    Many of the ethanol myths are just that: myths. Yes, alcohol can be rough on rubber parts, but any rubber parts used in recent history (10-15 years) are designed to handle alcohol.
    You will get reduced fuel economy with an ethanol blend: there's less energy content in alcohol.


  3. There's also the fact that Ethanol is a corrosive and (very) slowly eats away at the valves, this isn't a problem unless you fail to run the engine dry before storage (run seafoam/stabilizer before doing this to prevent rust).
  4. Don't shift at 16k with it. Instant Ka-boom!!!
  5. My experience is I run it when I can to support the local ethanol-free stations and keep it around.
  6. Dry out the bike before putting it to bed for months at a time. If you have no access to E00, you can't store it safely with fuel in the tank. Sorry. The ethanol will pull moisture from the air, will separate out from the petrol, and will form corrosive sludge.

    Just drain it. Run it dry. You aren't riding it for an extended period of time, so it shouldn't be any major hassle. I put E00 in my R6 over the winter, but continue to run E10 in my Monster which I ride daily. Everything stays peachy keen.
  7. Gotama

    Gotama WMRRA 1st VP

    E free gas stations
    ^^^^^ click on map
  8. It is no myth that ethanol fuel has been wreaking havoc on small, carbureted engines that sit for a period of time. It used to be that you could get away with something sitting for 10 months or so, but I have seen ethanol coke up carbs in less than 4 months.

    I have yet to find a "cure". I am currently testing a product by WSB called Fuel Enhancer.
  9. KevinD

    KevinD Modulator Staff Member

    Is there documentation to support this? If so, link, please.

    Again, supporting documentation please.

    I've not seen this happen. While alcohol easily combines with water, the alcohol & water will remain in solution, which in turn remains in solution with the gasoline. Besides, cars since the mid-70's & street bikes in the last decade or so don't vent directly to the atmosphere, so exposure to moisture is minimized.
    And I've had small engines in storage for 8 or more months and not had any issues with E10, without using any stabilizer.

  10. If you guys are serious about learning more on this topic.

    "First of all, gasoline
    should not be stored for long periods of time, especially during
    seasonal changes which usually have large temperature changes
    associated with them. (For both oxygenated and conventional
    gasolines, gumming can also occur which is detrimental to any
    engine.) "
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  11. How about this?

    But really, I've discussed this so many times it's ridiculous. The third paragraph of this wiki article talks about the science stuff behind it.

    Here's a flyer from a professor with some brief info, it points out that engines made after 1995 should be safe but it largely depends on the metals used in the engine.
  12. NACE MP - May 2009 -Ethanol Corrosion -1.pdf

    It goes on to explain how acetic acid is corrosive to most metals in the presence of moisture.

    as far as valves, it's a stretch but
  13. It IS an issue for those of us who have bikes older than 'the last decade or so', not to mention other equipment powered by small engines. Whether you notice any issues or not depends a lot on the design of the carb - for example, one case I'm VERY familiar with is the Onan 4KY series of RV generators. Because it runs at 3600rpm with a mechanical governor, the throttle goes wide open when you shut it down. So Onan put a fuel cutoff solenoid in the carb to positively stop fuel flow and prevent dieseling. The problem is that the solenoid sits at the bottom of the float bowl, and blocks fuel from getting to the jets. But because of that position, when the ethanol/water separates out, the solenoid gets gummed up - in extreme cases, it'll even etch the solenoid plunger. I'm not going to say that this happens to every genset out there - but I have a nice collection of 4-5 carbs from this year alone I could send you if you want graphic proof.
  14. KevinD

    KevinD Modulator Staff Member

    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  15. Run e85 in my suby not in bike no issues with it knock on wood.
  16. KevinD

    KevinD Modulator Staff Member

    Are you sure this is the ethanol causing the problem or is it condensate in the fuel tank, and the problem will occur regardless of the fuel?

    Don't go getting all bent out of shape because I'm asking for proof: I'm trying to dispel myths here.

    And just because your brother's wife's cousin's sister heard about it on an internet forum ain't proof.

  17. Not condensate in the fuel tank - except the portion that initally mixes with the ethanol in the gas and makes it into the carb, then separates out while sitting. These particular gensets come with a fuel filter fine enough that condensate - by itself - won't make it thru.

    I've been working on Onans for 22 years now, and have noticed a definite increase in carb problems in general since E10. This particular series of genset I NEVER had a stuck solenoid before E10 - now, if it won't start it's the first thing I check. My personal experience, whether you chose to consider it anecdotal or not.
  18. uhhh is your subie built for e85? If not, stop using it immediately or else risk fuel leaks/bigboom
  19. KevinD

    KevinD Modulator Staff Member

    Thank you.

  20. I do all the additive precautions and use only non ethanol gas cuz I can get it from 3 places within 15 miles of my home. I have proof its bad for small engines in the form of 4 different reciepts for carb rebuilds/car replacements on two chainsaws, a string trimmer, and a garden tiller for the total of $210. ALL of this due to me being lazy and using regular E10 and letting them sit for 6-8 months. Four units... $210 out of my wallet.. all gassed from the same can.. proof to me. I use the following as best defense against all fuel attacks on carbs. I mark my calander and on the first Saturday of each winter month, I start everything I have in storage (easy, its all in my shop) and let it run until its totally warmed up. If I have any bare roads, I bundle my bod and take the bikes for a short ride. This has worked for me for four decades... learned it from my Dad. Smart man.
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