Ethanol Damaging Small Engines

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by big rockpile, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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  2. Wisconsin Ann

    Wisconsin Ann Happy Scrounger

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    man, can I testify to THAT! We mistakenly put a 50/50 blend in the bike (older Honda Goldwing). Within 2 miles it was sputtering and coughing. Barely made it back to the place we filled up. The pump was "marked" with a cardboard that said "50/50 ethanol blend". completely ruined the engine. It needs to be rebuilt from the inside out. :( Ethanol just seems to eat rubber for breakfast.

    On the upside (maybe) once we rebuild the engine, using new parts, maybe it will run perfectly for the next 10 years! (or not)
     

  3. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

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    We've been using the ethanol blend here in Iowa since it first came out (many, many years ago - '70's?) and have never had a problem with it. In fact, we thought our vehicles ran better than before. Still using it.

    We still use regular gas in our chainsaws, mowers, etc. however.
     
  4. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    We got a tank of it in Boise last year and the car chugged and surged for the 250 mile trip thru the mountains. We got it diluted with good gas when we got home and the car took about a week to settle down. One station in town now sells ethanol, so we go to the other two stations.
     
  5. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I'm wondering in your situation if you had made adjustment on the Carb would have helped.Plus it seems ethanol would be better in dryer climate,not saying it is any good at all.

    big rockpile
     
  6. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I made an adjustment, I quit buying ethanol.

    We have a drier climate here, but there is still a little humidity and that stuff is sucking it up all the time.
     
  7. watcher

    watcher de oppresso liber

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    The worse thing about it is it reduces the mpg you get. A fill up with 10% alcohol will give you fewer miles than a fill up with 100% gasoline.
     
  8. RiverPines

    RiverPines Well-Known Member

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    The stuff is great for killing old chain saws.

    Both chainsaws are dead since using an ethanol blend.
    The bad part....many of the stations here dont give you a choice...all have ethanol in the gas. We used the ethanol laced gas once in the saws...both died before they burned up that gas. They haven't run since.

    We found a station a few miles away that has a high octane, but ethanol free gas.

    So are ethanol killed chain saws repairable?
     
  9. Wisconsin Ann

    Wisconsin Ann Happy Scrounger

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    I believe that what causes the problems is the rubber...valves, gaskets, flaps, etc. The ethanol eats thru it. If you can replace those things with the new plastic/teflon/whatever....maybe things can be fixed up.

    As to where to buy non-ethonal...I THINK that BP doesn't add ethanol. (at least the ones around here don't.)
     
  10. RiverPines

    RiverPines Well-Known Member

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    The only ethanol free choice here is in Albany. I dont know off hand what station it is.
    They have 93 octane in ethanol free, thats it.

    My DH is going to try to fix the chain saws. Thank goodness he is good with stuff like that. I have hope.

    I just don't know what people are suppose to do.

    We have that one gas we can get, I hope the octane level will work ok in the saws, because if it doesn't, then what?
    Buy new so they can break? There isn't a lot of options for chainsaws for heavy work. With burning woods for our heat, we need a heavy duty saw, not some little electric thing.:shrug:
     
  11. Christine in OK

    Christine in OK Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Not from what my husband gathered last week when he took his chainsaws in for repair. One was fixable but not worth it, so we bought a new one; the other one he said wasn't fixable, could have been the gas.

    But while he was in there, a guy came in with two trimmers or edgers complaining that they still weren't working right - the repairman took them again, but told the man he really thought the problem was ethanol-laced gas and likely there was nothing he could do. They even had an "ethanol test kit" on the counter, made by Briggs and Stratton.
     
  12. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    I believe that bit of information just took this from hearsay to fact. If Briggs is worried about it, there is a problem.

    I have lots of old engines around here that I keep running, outboards, golf carts, mowers, trimmers. After you get done rebuilding a 1950 outboard, getting a new one so the new components won't dissolve isn't an option.
     
  13. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Yes, same here. All kinds of engines around here that get repaired as needed, and we certainly can't afford to run out and buy all new engine powered devices.

    Guess I need to pay more attention to this, are the pumps marked with signs that indicate it is ethanol? I sure don't recall any new signs on the pumps, but admittedly I pretty much zone out during refueling once I'm sure I selected the correct grade of fuel.
     
  14. Cheribelle

    Cheribelle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have discovered that our Jeeps run better and get better mileage on non-ethanol. Since this is usually 10 cents higher, we did the math, wondering if it saves money or not to buy the more expensive. Yes, it DOES! If we boost gas mileage anything over 1/2 MPG we are saving money. It figures out to be saving over $9.00 for a 25 gallon fillup. Crazy, I have always used the ethanol for the higher octane. Not any more.
     
  15. tomstractormag

    tomstractormag Well-Known Member

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    Ethanol will not hurt small engines or large engines for that matter. What it does do is clean out all the gunk in the whole fuel system. Once you get it cleaned up it will perform better. You will burn more fuel as ethanol has less BTUs per unit. If there are problems its from another additive called (I think) rxg or rpg... Cant remember for sure. I have a friend who works for a local oil company that has among other things mini marts and supplies gas to lots of gas stations. Near Philly and that area they have to use the extra additive because of the >blend< to help with emissions. People report the same as reported here about engine problems.
    Sunoco has used ethanol forever in its gas. Even in the 80s in CT I remember Gasahol (10% ethanol).
    Tom
     
  16. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    True 10% does NOT effect gas mileage~!! My '94 Buick Century gets 30 to 31 MPG and I use 10% mix all the time~! NOW the E-85 Does, BUT at 40 to 50 cents a gallon cheaper it still PAYS to use E-*% if one can use it.
    Now also with using E-85 it DOES up the horse power~!
    Now I have been using E-10 in everything I own from string trimmers to snowblowers to both vehicles. and not one of them including a 10 year old landowner has ever has one bit of trouble, and ow I just got a 12 year old 18 horse rider that has also never had a problem with a 10% mix of ethanol.
    And my car a 94 Buick says right in the manual to use up to a 10% mix of ethanol.
    I have a friend that has a '04 Ford pick up that now has over 110K miles on it and 89% of the gas they have used has been E-85~!
    And my string trimmers are ten years old brush cutter the same.
    I have never had a problem with a 10% mix in my chainsaw either.
     
  17. CoonXpress

    CoonXpress Well-Known Member

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    Can't prove that here.
    Earlier this year mileage went from 21mpg to 18mpg. Then found out that the local gas station was using the 10% blend. Found a gas station that's using pure gas and the mileage went back to 21mpg.

    Here in Ok, there was enough people that complained about the lower fuel mileage that a law was passed, all stations that has <10% ethanol must be label the fuel as having the ethanol added to it. If they don't have it labeled and the gas station tests positive for ethanol, they'll be shut down.

     
  18. belladulcinea

    belladulcinea Well-Known Member

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    We use it all the time and did so in the 70s. We have NO problems with either mileage or anything else. Our cars run just fine on it.
     
  19. Kevingr

    Kevingr East Central MN

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    This ethanol non-ethanol discussion sure does seem to come up a lot around these forums.
    Yes, your mileage goes down with E10 or E85. That's because there's more energy in a gallon of gas than a gallon of ethanol. Depending on your car/truck it may or may not be worth the cost difference. Your mileage from your neighbor may vary depending on your driving style.
    Yes, ethanol blends will ruin a small engine that is designed for a fuel/oil mix. Why? Because ethanol and oil do not mix. Mix up your favorite ethanol blended gas and mix it with some 2 cycle oil, place in a jar. In about a day the oil will seperate from the gas. Your owners manual will tell you that you will void your warranty on your 2-cycle engine if you use an ethanol blend.
    I've heard stories about regular 4 cycle engines going bad on ethanol blends. I put on over 50,000 miles a year on vehicles and have been doing that for 30 years and have yet to have an issue with it. But again, my mileage will vary from yours.
     
  20. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    let's see...2 weedwacker carbs, 2 tiller carbs and 2 push mower carbs i own have fouled up in the past year. something funny is going on. while i support ethanol production and usage as a suppliment to our current fuel infrastructure, a little more research and notification of problems found would be nice. that said, ethanol fouling small engines isn't the only fuel issue i have experienced this year. i had a real hard time keeping my kerosene heater burning last winter. my wicks kept gunking up. i replaced it 3 or 4 times. i have used kerosene heaters for decades and have never had issues like i did last winter. i am not the only one who had issues with kerosene heaters last year either. i remember discussing it here on HT wit hfoolks who also had issues and with neighbors here at home as well. i hear that vegetable oil is being added to fuel oil and i assume it could be added to kero and possibly diesel as well. i think my heater issues were a result of adulterated kerosene.