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brianc

Ethanol question

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Given that most Lotus Esprits are now quite old, would it be correct to assume that running the car on fuel containing Ethanol is bad for some fuel system components like cork gaskets, rubber seals etc?

 

I know that generally unleaded petrol in the UK contains around 5% Ethanol and that the move to increasing this to 10% has been delayed due to concerns.

 

I have been led to believe that Super Unleaded currently does not contain Ethanol.  So if the Ethanol could be damaging to fuel system parts in our cars, I assume it would be better to use that at all times if this is the case?

 

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There are other threads on this subject that went on and on.

 

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/54905-e10-10-ethanol-fuel-beware-of-e15-petrol/?hl=ethanol

 

http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/56425-ethanol-test/?hl=ethanol

 

 

I think the conclusion was Super usually has less Ethanol but not always. Ethanol is not good for your fuel system but at the end of the day theres not really much you can do.

 

Buddsy

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Thanks Buddsy.  Sorry if I asked a question which had already been covered in the past my initial search missed the threads somehow.

 

Issue came to light the other day when I was chatting to a friend in France who restored a older car (Autobianchi) and 6 months later the fuel pump is leaking badly because the ethanol in the fuel in France has eaten away at the seals.

 

I have just read an article in the TR register which implies that some Total garages (and they supplied a list) have a pump which still supplies E0 fuel.  It also says that most Super Unleaded still does not have any Ethanol but I'm not sure how old the article is so this may not be the case.

 

The funniest thing is that apparently the fuel companies add the ethanol once the fuel is in the delivery tanker and not before.  The reason... ethanol will damage the storage tanks at the distribution centre!!

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The funniest thing is that apparently the fuel companies add the ethanol once the fuel is in the delivery tanker and not before.  The reason... ethanol will damage the storage tanks at the distribution centre!!

 

I think the additives are done on the forecourt? I think people were saying a tanker could deliver at ASDA then move on to a Shell station.

 

The garages dont have to tell how much they put in. As you say ethanol eats rubbers plastic copper cork.....

 

Buddsy

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I just found this. It looks very interesting! An easy way to test fuel against other fuel. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbDAw4a6Ck0

 

Buddsy

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Interesting video, thanks Buddsy.

 

I'm going to buy some Esso Super Unleaded from my local petrol station in a can and see if it contains ethanol (if it does then it's going into the lawnmower)!

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Be interesting to see if it works and there is any noticeable difference in the results.

 

Buddsy

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Ethanol has been added to US petrol for many years. It ate my tanks from the inside-out. Also, it makes hoses hard and brittle and help growing bacteria in the tanks.

Microbial corrosion can take place in gasoline, especially if it contains ethanol.

Quote:

Microbes can flourish in tanks containing gasoline-ethanol blends and cause corrosion of internal tank surfaces. Microbial induced corrosion (MIC) can occur under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Micro-organisms survive by feeding on the hydrocarbons at the interface between the water layer and the gasoline layer. Wastes and fermentation products secreted by the microbes produce water, sludge and acidic byproducts that can cause material degradation. The acidic residues of sulfate reducing bacteria can cause metal corrosion and may, if left unmanaged, cause a tank failure. There is also recent evidence of MIC in un-phase separated product. The primary cause of microbial growth is the presence of water. Minimizing and managing water intrusion into the tank system from all sources are effective measures to discourage the growth of microbial colonies. Adding  StarTron enzymatic fuel treatment (by Star Brite) eliminates this problem. For more info see: http://www.huntingpa.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2755625&page=3

 

When storing your car, boat, lawn mowers, etc., always fill the tank with ethanol free petrol. I do know that all local marinas sell ethanol free petrol, mainly for corrosion reasons. It is hard to keep water out of tanks, because it comes in with fuel and air. During seasonal storage, keeping tank full may be all we can do along with filling with ethanol free gas, if you can find it in your area.

Edited by MrDangerUS

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So is there anything you can do if you are doing an engine rebuild to help protect the engine?

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^Ethanol rated hoses, fuel pump and injector seals I guess?

 

I'd very much like to be able to run ethanol with a flex fuel sender (would require new engine management). You can get some huge gains by running E85 with an ECU that knows what ratio it's running and how to compensate for it.

Edited by cammmy

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Quick update...

Last week I bought some Esso Super Unleaded 97 RON). Sadly it does seem to contain ethanol according to the test.

I contacted She'll UK to see if Nitro V-Power plus contained ethanol and their response was that it contained up to 5%.

I was at the Classic Car Show at the NEC and some companies were selling additives which negate the effects of ethanol. Not cheap as it costs around a tenner to treat 150 litres of petrol but maybe worth it in the long run?

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Hi Brian,

 

Having read the above, I checked my handbook. This is for the S4 and S4s so it may well apply to your car. 

 

It states that the car can use octane no lower than 95 and can also use fuel with 10% ethanol in it. Obviously performance will be reduced. So that is reassuring, to a degree.

 

This concern reminds me of a similar problem on the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club website. I have a 1992 Daimler Double Six and asked about the problem of ethanol. Long story short, the Jaguar chap contacted all the major oil companies (this was about 5 years ago), and the only one not to commit to an answer on how much ethanol was in their premium fuel, was Shell. Of the rest, Total, Esso and I think Texaco, did NOT put ethanol in their premium fuel. I don't know if this has changed.

 

I only use Shell V Power Nitro + and have never had a problem in my DD6, or my former car an Elise. I've only had the Esprit a month, so will wait and see.

 

Regarding additives, it's difficult to know how much of it is truth or lies. I googled the subject, and was none the wiser. On balance, I think I'd not put in an additive for the ethanol problem, with the exception being something for the injectors. 

 

Kind regards,

 

Martin.

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Hi Martin,

 

Thanks for the response.  I remember reading an article written a couple of years ago mentioning the same responses from the petrol companies.  However now that the government legislation has kicked it it sen that they all add ethanol even to the 'super' unleaded.  Certainly my test with some Esso fuel confirmed that (at least at my local filling station).

 

I take your point on additives although I have also done some Googling and found 2 which seem to be generally recommended by bona fide organisations such as the FBHVC etc.  The issue with my car is that being an '88, it relies on carburettors not injection and these contain a multitude of gaskets made from different materials.

 

My concern came to light a couple of weeks back when a friend of mine who lives in France and runs an Auto Biancci had problems with his rule pump which ended up being directly attributable to the fact that normal petrol in France has 10% ethanol added.

 

The fact that the Government has held off legislation to increase to 10% ethanol due to concerns of this type does lead me to think that there is no smoke without fire...

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Service Notes, Section LF.1 states that "Use of fuels containing alcohol is not recommended".

Be extra vigilant monitoring hoses between the balance cross-over pipe and tank take offs. Mine "petrified" and are hard like a rock. They started seeping some fuel so I fitted additional Norma jubilee clips to each joint. I don't think these hoses (crank-shape) are available any more.

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