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Ethanol Corrosion and long term vehicle storage

1998 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Kevin Gibson
Jay Leno with some interesting info on the corrosion of fuel systems by ethanol in modern fuels over long term storage. Worth a watch.

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So ethanol for a daily driver will NOT reduce your vehicle's lifespan to 50-60k miles; that's a wives tale. There are testing facilities in Europe (believe it or not, we don't have any here in the US) where they do long term fuel testing and they have done a LOT of testing of fuels with Ethanol. The only real problems with ethanol is sitting for a long time, and ethanol generally doesn't contain as much energy per molecule. So the more ethanol, the less your mileage will be. That's offset by the lower cost of fuels with ethanol, so it's not like anyone's being ripped off.

Now the long term storage thing, really is an issue. Ethanol is hygroscopic and after the fuel has been sitting for as little as a month, the ethanol will begin to separate, and the ethanol will draw in moisture from the air, and that can cause corrosion. But corrosion generally isn't the real problem unless it's been sitting for something like a year. The real problem is, when it all starts to break down, it turns to a muck and that muck clogs filters, and carburetor jets on motorcycles. This stuff has been hell on older carbureted motorcycles, because often people put their motorcycles up for the winter, and the muck clogs up the main jets and you get to pull your carbs. My street bike has this problem right now. One carb is clogged, but I have to pull all 4 to figure out which one. It's a real bitch to take all 4 carbs off a bike, so fuel stabilizer is a must...I won't be making that mistake again.

For a fuel injected car, even after 2-3 months of sitting, it's rarely ever a problem. Fuel injection seems to cope with the fuel separation very well.

But as long as you're driving your car on a regular basis, you have nothing to fear from ethanol. The oil companies have tested it extensively and have proven it's really not a problem for a daily driver. Most bad you hear are internet lore.
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There are listings of filling stations with "real" non-ethanol gas. I use the good stuff in my power mower, costs about 64 cents a gallon more. "Gate" a regional brand, makes a point of selling the hard stuff at almost all their stations. Boaters and gentlemen cyclists are the main customers.
Who notes Gate puts their businesses in odd but very convenient locations.
Under the law, ANY gasoline can have up to 5% ethanol without disclosure. So even the "good stuff" can at times have 5% of ethanol in it.
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