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Old 12-08-2014, 09:48 AM   #1
Graybeard81242 OP
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Is Ethanol mix gas right for you?

Corn liquor (ethanol) is for drinkin’, not for burnin’ in vintage motorcycle engines.

Is an Ethanol mixture in your fuel tank the right thing for you? Ethanol is a renewable, domestically produced alcohol fuel made from plant material, such as corn, sugar cane, or grasses. Using ethanol can reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions.

While I can find lots of information on why Ethanol is good for the economy and the environment, I can find nothing that says it’s good for your vintage motorcycle engine.

Most of the gasoline we buy these days is a mixture of ethanol (corn alcohol) and pure gasoline with the percentage of ethanol expressed as E10 meaning there is 10% ethanol in the gasoline.

This mixture runs fine in our modern fuel injected automobiles with combustion systems designed for that mixture.

The problem is running the ethanol mixture in combustion system designed for pure gasoline, like vintage carbureted powersports engines and all two cycle machines.

Sure, ethanol will run in these machines, but it causes a lot of problems.
• Ethanol has lower BTU content than pure gasoline, which means less performance and lower fuel economy.
• Ethanol absorbs water and carries that water throughout the fuel system and engine; steel and iron gas tanks are prone to rust from water.
• Ethanol softens and cracks rubber, plastic, and fiberglass parts; engines used for marine applications are most vulnerable to this type of deterioration.
• Ethanol causes petroleum gasoline to turn to varnish more quickly, meaning less shelf life. This is a very important point for power sports fuel systems that can sit idle for long periods of time.
• Old ethanol gasoline clogs carburetor jets, fuel injectors, fuel injection distributors, fuel pumps, and fuel filters; once varnished, it also is more likely to cause intake valves to stick and ruin the engine.
• There is a direct correlation between the amount of Ethanol used and engine failure rate caused by valve seizure.

You can find a station near you at http://pure-gas.org/. Expect to pay more for non Ethanol gas than a mixture, but in the long run I think it is worth it.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:12 AM   #2
CafeDude
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I can't stand it. I own a bunch of vintage bikes and unless I religiously drain the fuel systems before long storage, it results in the black muppet shit.

Can we PLEASE get rid of this ethanol crap?
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:31 AM   #3
Mista Vern
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Biggest scam in history.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:52 AM   #4
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http://pure-gas.org/
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:17 PM   #5
CafeDude
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I've scoured that list many times and often. Exactly none within 100 miles of me. My fiberglass Rickman tank ain't happy about it. lol.
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:22 PM   #6
photomd
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I haven't had a problem with ethanol, but I try to avoid it in two of my bikes: one has an aluminum tank and the other is a 60+ year old bike that runs better on staight gas. My bikes all seem to run OK, but if I have to use fuel with ethanol in the two bikes that don't see it much, they idle a little lower. Of course the fuel mileage drops a bit,but other than that, it doesn't make much difference.

It is driving the boat owners around here a little crazy. The fiberglass tanks all see to melt away if not coated. We've also got a rider around with the BSA equivalent of the X75 tank and body work. It's all fiberglass and he had to have the tank, coated and repainted. It's held for the last 2 years, but he only puts blended fuel in it if there's no other choice.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:31 PM   #7
CJ3Flyer
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Originally Posted by CafeDude View Post
I've scoured that list many times and often. Exactly none within 100 miles of me. My fiberglass Rickman tank ain't happy about it. lol.
Many marinas are happy to sell you a few 5gallons cans of gas. Most marinas sell a non-ethonal 90 octane fuel. I am sure Westchester has a marina or two...
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:41 PM   #8
dhallilama
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the only problems i've had on any of my vehicles, which i attribute at least in part to ethanol: decreased fuel line, needle/seat (when rubber) & carb diaphragm life.

i ran a tillotson carb on my '67 sportster; carb diaphragms wouldn't last more than a couple months.

experimentation time, with three new diaphragms:
  1. placed one in a quart of 10% ethanol 91 octane
  2. placed one in non-ethanol VP 100 octane
  3. placed one in E85 (85% ethanol)

after two weeks:
  1. diaphragm visibly deteriorating, rubber would "smear"
  2. diaphragm looked new
  3. curiously enough; diaphragm looked new

after approximately two months:
  1. diaphragm thrashed and un-usable
  2. diaphragm looked new
  3. diaphragm just starting to deteriorate

that harley ran on E85 for 6 months, with no ill effects. it was an 11:1 compression, wild cam beast (stock stroke, though). it ran like a raped ape on E85...
later rebuilt the motor at 9.5:1 and a mild (PB) cam, run it on 91 octane pump with the 10% ethanol and just replace the fuel line every 6 months. no longer running the tillotson carb, as the diaphragms cost too damn much... now running a Keihin CV with no problems.

i just buy fuel line in bulk and change often. get the best needle/seats available. no other problems to speak of. (that's not saying i like the crap being in the gas...)

i experimented a bit more with gas/parts... posted some of it here. i'd say it's all un-scientific... just a mix of curiosity and whisky.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:35 PM   #9
CafeDude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ3Flyer View Post
Many marinas are happy to sell you a few 5gallons cans of gas. Most marinas sell a non-ethonal 90 octane fuel. I am sure Westchester has a marina or two...
There is a marina about 25 miles from me. I will check with them. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 12-09-2014, 01:22 AM   #10
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No freakin' way. My '82 IT250 runs like total crap on E10, and my car (carby G54B-powered '81 Mitsubishi Scorpion, aka Sapporo for the American types) won't run on it either.
Luckily here in Australia our higher grades of pump fuel (95 and 98 octane) are 100% crapanol free, costs a bit more (on average about 10c/L) but gives no issues whatsoever.
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Old 12-23-2014, 03:16 PM   #11
ctfz1
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alcohol and gasoline

Alcohol and two stroke oil are a poor pairing, by all accounts.
Working on an 81 motorcycle, found a company that does alcohol resistant carb diaphrams.
I do worry about age and alcohol sensitivity.
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CafeDude View Post
I can't stand it. I own a bunch of vintage bikes and unless I religiously drain the fuel systems before long storage, it results in the black muppet shit.

Can we PLEASE get rid of this ethanol crap?
Use Startron great for extending gas and lessening effects of Ethanol
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:19 PM   #13
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OOPS

http://www.starbrite.com/en/startron
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Old 12-23-2014, 08:43 PM   #14
Steve G.
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I've got to agree that ethanol additive is just plain bad for most any pre 2009 machine. Luckily ethanol free gasoline is easy to obtain at almost every gas station in Canada. 91 octane is ethanol free at every Shell, Esso [Imperial Oil] and Petro Canada, and any Chevron with 94 in major centres. I learned the hard way with the harmful effects of this stuff with my 2001 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport, where my Acerbis made plastic tank grew enough to touch the front forks because of ethanol. Look up Ducat's class action lawsuit that they lost.
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:23 AM   #15
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Biggest scam in history.
^^^ This!
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