Ethanol free on a regular basis?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by frosti1, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. frosti1

    frosti1 Adventurer

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    Hi all,
    I picked up a scooter last fall, just before the snow fell here in Minnesota. I filled up the tank with non-ox (ethanol free) and added some Startron for the long winter storage. We're still seeing a ton of snow here in late April (5 inches on Monday!), but I have gotten the scoot out for a few rides between storms this spring and so far it's run great.

    I'm considering running non-ox year round. There is a station near my house that sells it so access isn't an issue. I have a 1985 Honda Elite, so I'm thinking the age of my scooter would benefit from running without ethanol year round.

    My question is this:
    The non-ox I have access to his 93 octane. Will running this higher octane cause any long term issues with the scooter? Running hot, things like that?

    Sorry if this has been asked before, but most of the conversations around ethanol I found here quickly devolved into debates over whether ethanol is a viable fuel or not. :D
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  2. strongbad

    strongbad Been here awhile

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    Exhaust temps may be higher because higher octane means slower burning fuel. Whether it's going to cause long term problems, I can't say. It's best to run the recommended octane mainly because higher octane is a waste of money.
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  3. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Ethanol, OTOH, can cause a host of issues.

    Ethanol absorbs water...soaks it up like a sponge. It attacks both rubber and metal, so you'll be faced with corrosion and rot of non-metallic parts.

    A lot depends on what it was designed for. Just as some cars can run on E85 and some would fall deader than Elvis...so, too, would your scoot either benefit from being booze-free, or not.

    I'd ask a knowledgeable Honda guy. But given its age...it probably doesn't have precautions in materials; it'll have rubber in the fuel line and plastic in the carb. I'd choke it down and buy booze-free...no matter the price.
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  4. CaptnJim

    CaptnJim Scootist

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    Definitely with Casey on this one - ethanol isn't good for much, other than the producers of it. In the boating world, it is a real curse, eating rubber fuel lines and causing corrosion in carburetors. Mechanics are now finding that fuel injection isn't free from the problems with ethanol. If you can find pure gas easily, it is SO worth a bit more in additional $$, especially with a machine built before our government decided ethanol was worthwhile. Besides the damage it does, your mpg is less with ethanol laced fuel... not to mention the fuel used to raise the crops and produce ethanol makes for no net fuel gain. Renewable fuel? At what cost?

    There is no ethanol-free fuel to be had within 100 miles of our location. We put blue Sta-Bil in everything we own that burns gas.

    Captain Jim
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  5. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    There's not a lot to recommend Central Wisconsin...but one thing I have to say. I can EASILY get ethanol-free gas just about anywhere. Not only that, but the chain that sells it, has separate hoses on its pumps for grades of gas. So I don't even need to worry about the regular that was pumped before I pulled up, half a gallon of it in the hose before the switcher fed the premium.

    Nope. I may have to move again, but I'm sure gonna miss not worrying about what the ethanol crap is doing to my cars and scoots.
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  6. Lotuscat

    Lotuscat Adventurer

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  7. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    Ethanol see to by the baine of old cars and bikes. Rots out plastic gas tank liners and fuel lines to. As old scooter with a firberglass tank will be will go bye bye.
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  8. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    I would take 93 octane REAL gas over ANYTHING with ethanol in it any day. 93 octane is a little high for modern street engines, you may notice symptoms of running rich. It does burn slower, and you may get incomplete combustion, which means more pollution coming out the exhaust, which means nothing to me. I am a lover of 2 strokes. If they want to cut down on pollution they can go back to lower octane REAL gas.

    I have just found a local station in my area that sells 87 octane REAL gas. Unfortunately it is 20 miles away, and is the only station anywhere nearby that sell it, so using it on a regular basis is not possible. I did go get 10 gal. of it, and filled up 2 stored bikes with it, and some marine grade Stabil. Hopefully it will last for several months. Riding season is mostly over here for the summer, I'm storing all but 2 bikes for the summer, will have one motorcycle and one scooter to ride.
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  9. frosti1

    frosti1 Adventurer

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    Thanks all for the info about slower burning and possible lean conditions. Also for more details about the downsides of ethanol. Like I said in the original, I don't want to get dragged down into an ethanol policy debate, I just want to know if the benefits of running no ethanol outweigh any possible risks of running a slow burning, lean leaning (?) fuel.

    As to the mileage and cost, I don't consider them a factor. Last fall when I gassed up, the non-ox was running about $1.50 per gallon more than the 87 octane. For a two gallon tank, I can stomach an extra $3.00 per fill. My non-scooter ride is a 1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon, so the scooter is automatically the winner in any mileage conversation.:rofl
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  10. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    I'm not getting to the politics of it, but IMO, ethanol is in no way a viable fuel for engines designed to run on gasoline. To the best of my knowledge, the only engines capable of running on ethanol without damage are in the "flex fuel" vehicles from various manufacturers. Under normal circumstances, if ALL gas were REAL gas, paying extra for 93 octane over 87 would not be a good idea. But paying extra for REAL gas over ethanol is a good idea, IF you can afford it. It will not cause your engine to run lean, nor overheat. It MAY cause performance issues. The only way to find out is to try it. In most engines I can't tell the difference.
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  11. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    I stored my 2002 Honda Reflex with Sunoco Standard 100 race fuel in it over the winter. For those of you that have been around awhile you may know this product as CAM2 Purple 114 (which is what we called it back in the late 80s, early 90s). I spoke with a Sunoco engineer on their Hot Line and explained what I was using the fuel for (winter storage). He indicated that I would have no issues and I did not. Race fuel is more highly refined so that it does not break down over long periods of time (it also resists detonation under high compression). I've stored a variety of race cars, in enclosed trailers, over the winter with no ill effects. My Reflex certainly does not have a high compression motor and I have had no issues with the scoot over the winter. My garage is heated (~55º F all winter) and I try to start my bikes every 2-3 weekends while they're sitting idle. None of my bikes had any trouble starting or running at any point. Now that I'm back to running pump gas, the scooter is crabby on start-up and it's ridden on a daily basis. I've taken to running Sea Foam in the gas to see if it has any effect.

    IMO, running fuel w/o ethanol will be a benefit to your scoot in the long run. Is the extra octane "wasted"? You can argue that, sure. However, if I was in your position (and I wish I was), I'd do that exact same thing.
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  12. frosti1

    frosti1 Adventurer

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    FWIW, I pulled out the owner's manual for the scoot last night to see what the recommended octane is. Honda was pretty vague and recommended "any fuel with an octane rating of 86 or higher." They then talked a bit about if you experience knocking, try a higher octane fuel.

    Based on this and all your input above, I think I'm going to keep running the high octane non-ox fuel. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the tank of non-ox I filled up at the beginning of December for storage and haven't had any issues with performance so far. The scooter has been running great (knock wood). I'll try to come back with any updates if anything changes. Feel free to add additional input if needed.
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  13. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    The only problem you'll have with running high-octane gasoline, is...you'll waste money.

    I've got 90,000 miles on my cage, a Toy Yoda...and I've been running ethanol-free premium since the gas man started hitting the booze. The only service it's seen, has been routine oil changes.

    All this worries about premium burning "slower"...is, except in precise laboratory measurements, poppycock. Higher octane resists pinging, from high-compression performance engines. But it'll burn down your neighbor's shed just as well.

    Or run your lo-performance Chinese scoot.
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  14. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    Hmm. Seems ethanol laced fuel has been around for so long now some people think it is what fuel is supposed to be, and wonder if gas without it will harm their engine.

    Ethanol is BAD for all gasoline engines and fuel systems. Period. There are no exceptions I am aware of. Newer model cars are built to hold up to it better, but new bikes are not. Only "flex fuel" vehicles are actually designed to run on it.

    This is NOT my opinion. I have been a professional auto mechanic for 35 years, and an amateur drag racer for longer than that. I have used CAMII in my race engines. I always use at least 100 octane. It is not cheap, but is the only thing a purpose built gasoline powered race engine will run right on. I no longer have a race car, due to health and financial reasons, I sold it over a year ago. I still have a street legal hot rod, which manages to run on 91 octane ethanol crap. Not what it needs, but I can't afford to run race fuel in it on the street.

    If you have heard about drag racers using nitromethane, do not confuse that with ethanol. Yes, they are both a form of alcohol, that's about as far as it goes. While a gasoline powered race car can last for years and several hundred runs (depending on how well it was built) top fuel cars (the ones that burn nitromethane) are torn down after every run and rebuilt. And they burn several gallons of the stuff in a single 1/4 mile run. It is not good for the engines, but it makes them put out a bit more power, and top fuel cars are designed to push the limits, and to last for only one run. Sometimes designers and builders cut it to close, and the engines fail before the run is over.
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  15. MotoRandy123

    MotoRandy123 Been here awhile

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    I've found on older vehicles that have carboned up over the years high octane fuel works better and the cost per mile works out about the same.

    On big pistoned single spark plug lean tuned bikes (like a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500) low octane works better as it ignites faster for a more complete burn.

    Many vehicles have high compression these days but can run on lower octanes as they have a knock sensor to pull back the timing reducing detonation.

    Most bikes have a simpler setup with out knock sensor so are "fixed" at the factory for a certian octane fuel and will not benefit from higher octane though they will run fine on it.

    Given the choice I'd run the non ethanol fuel in the lowest octane available...
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  16. frosti1

    frosti1 Adventurer

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    Quick update: I filled up yesterday, and the octane was 91 rather than the 93 I remembered.

    Also, the price per gallon was $4.09 for premium. The regular was $3.59. So it was only a $0.50 per gallon increase. Well worth it for me. Especially considering the total cost of the fill: $4.99.
    #16