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This was sent to me by the Stihl company and I thought it would be helpful to those wondering about ethanol fuel in small engines. Been discussed lots of times already but there are always newbies that haven't been a part of our discussions.

Ethanol
 

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Fortunately I'm in a part of the country where "recreational gasoline" is plentifully available. And it's actually becoming more so - made another trip to Wisconsin from Montana, and for the first time, I was able (with some looking) to find booze-free gas everywhere except in North Dakota. And since US 12 only cut a corner on that state...it was no real problem.

It's not hard to see why it's becoming common. All over the country, lawn mowers, chain saws, outboards and snowmobiles - and motorcycles - are having MAJOR problems, because it's a poor fuel. Poor in terms of how it absorbs water and how it promotes corrosion. Bad enough in a car; but much harder on a small engine.

I suppose in another ten years it may finally go away. How long did we have to fight the 55-mph speed limit? 1974 to 1987...thirteen years. We're eight years on booze-enhanced gasoline...five more or so, at least I devoutly hope it's only that.
 

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E10 is the norm in my region. TW and my other small engines endure but I try to feed everything a steady diet of Sea Foam and/or Sta bil fuel additives. There is a newish Sta bil Ethanol Treatment which has a few more corrosion inhibitors for dealing with the water associated with ethanol fuel blends but the old stuff works well ( as long as it is still bright red, stuff has limited shelf life,looses some effectiveness as it ages and discolores after 2 years or so).
 

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There was a good write up about Ethanol fuel in this months edition of the NY OutDoor News. Simply stated, small engines should not use E fuel at all if at all possible. Here in my local area we have been hammering the major fuel stations and a few have finally listened. Stewart's Shops have finally begun to provide 91 octane Non Ethanol in the three stations in my area and the local fuel delivery service CES, (Combined Energy Services) has both Off Road Disel for tractors and heavy equipment as well as 91 Non Ethanol for boats, motorcycles and lawn equipment. I applaud both of these sellers and the addition of Off Road Diesel where no road taxes are paid is a great savings for my little Kubota tractor at a dollar a gallon less. Here in NY just last year it was impossible to get non e fuel unless I drove a couple hundred miles for it. We spoke up, got loud and now finally some are listening!

GaryL
 
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We got pumps with non ethanol rec gas here, usually $1 more per gallon. I only run E10 in my truck, everything else get non ethanol. Of course the marina's carry non ethanol also but usually are even more $$
 

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I can get good gas at a local station...but even using that alone or as a mix I still had problems with my generator...had to take the carb and the local equipment shop ran it thru the ultrasonic cleaner. If an engine isn't run on a regular basis it can still gum up or have dirt get in. Most small engines don't have fuel filters.
 

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A fuel filter has little bearing on the real problems with ethanol. When the ethanol/alcohol becomes saturated by the moisture in the environment it becomes heavier than the gasoline and falls to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pick up tube is located. This is known as Phase Separation. The moisture laden ethanol then becomes extremely corrosive causing rusting in a metal tank. Any engine that is subject to long periods of no use should absolutely avoid E-10 fuel if at all possible. Every small engine manufacturer makes this info readily available and recommends against the use of ethanol. Corn subsidies are a very powerful political force and the early primary states such as Iowa are major benefactors of these subsidies. Think about it this way. If E 10 fuel is OK for use in our motor vehicles then why is it that E 15 will void the warranties on any vehicles not specifically rated to use it? You are only talking a few more ounces of ethanol/alcohol in a gallon of gas so why should 10% be OK while 15% is not? The truth is that 10% generates a lot of votes and 15% will generate more.

I prefer my corn with butter on my dinner table or feeding the animals I eat but keep it out of my tank.

GaryL
 

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A fuel filter has little bearing on the real problems with ethanol. When the ethanol/alcohol becomes saturated by the moisture in the environment it becomes heavier than the gasoline and falls to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pick up tube is located. This is known as Phase Separation. The moisture laden ethanol then becomes extremely corrosive causing rusting in a metal tank. Any engine that is subject to long periods of no use should absolutely avoid E-10 fuel if at all possible. Every small engine manufacturer makes this info readily available and recommends against the use of ethanol. Corn subsidies are a very powerful political force and the early primary states such as Iowa are major benefactors of these subsidies. Think about it this way. If E 10 fuel is OK for use in our motor vehicles then why is it that E 15 will void the warranties on any vehicles not specifically rated to use it? You are only talking a few more ounces of ethanol/alcohol in a gallon of gas so why should 10% be OK while 15% is not? The truth is that 10% generates a lot of votes and 15% will generate more.

I prefer my corn with butter on my dinner table or feeding the animals I eat but keep it out of my tank.

GaryL
This is good information.

For those who cannot avoid booze-corrupted gasoline...what's the best plan? I thought about emptying the gas tank. Of course, condensation will hit it; but I'm wondering if leaving it open with some sort of breathable cover to keep out dust - like a plastic disc on spacers, leaving a gap at the fuel neck...if that would let it breathe enough to avoid inside condensation during winter weather temperature fluctuations.

Right NOW it's not a problem - I can get straight gas. But in the future...enquiring minds want to know.
 

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This is good information.

For those who cannot avoid booze-corrupted gasoline...what's the best plan? I thought about emptying the gas tank. Of course, condensation will hit it; but I'm wondering if leaving it open with some sort of breathable cover to keep out dust - like a plastic disc on spacers, leaving a gap at the fuel neck...if that would let it breathe enough to avoid inside condensation during winter weather temperature fluctuations.

Right NOW it's not a problem - I can get straight gas. But in the future...enquiring minds want to know.
Here is my recommendation for keeping your ride during off-peak times of the year. (This goes for lawn mowers, etc. too) Here in the PNW, you never know when you'll get a nice day where you just want to ride.

Turn off the petcock, run the carb dry, even turn the drain screw and let the rest out of the bowl. Fill the bike to the tippy top with Super from a can leaving little to no airspace. Now go top off your can, again leaving little airspace (less airspace, less condensation, less water).

If you want to ride and it hasn't been that long, give the bike a good shaking so any water that may have collected can be dispersed and just not sitting at the bottom of the tank (this is good to do on a regular basis on days that you ride). Turn back on the petcock, ride, and repeat the above process when done.

If it's been a couple of months or more, put the gas in the tank into your truck or another vehicle. 1.85 gallons of slightly older gas will dilute just fine in that vehicle that is run more often. Plus, since you put in Super, the octane additives may have degraded some and the gas should match up with the Regular in that vehicle. It's a good idea to go top off that vehicle with fresh gas now too. No waste. No running older, possibly contaminated gas in your bike. No harm to your vehicle because your vehicle can better handle it. No hazardous waste disposal issues. Just put fresh gas in the bike now, ride, and happy times are here again.

If you run E10 on a regular basis, the best thing to do is to ride and fill up often. Get that stuff going through the bike and not sitting in the bike very long. Keep topping off with fresh gas. If you don't ride very often, use the above procedure year round. No biggie.
 

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I fill up the five gallon jug with ethanol free gas, regular. Mid grade and super are for high compression engines. I might start running mid grade when I get my 10.5:1 piston. Before I go fill it up I pour a couple glugs of Seafoam in the jug. I go through one a week, at least, so I don't worry about it. I can't afford to run that stuff in my POVs (car and truck).
 

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I fill up the five gallon jug with ethanol free gas, regular. Mid grade and super are for high compression engines. I might start running mid grade when I get my 10.5:1 piston. Before I go fill it up I pour a couple glugs of Seafoam in the jug. I go through one a week, at least, so I don't worry about it. I can't afford to run that stuff in my POVs (car and truck).
If you go through a 5 gallon can of gas in your TW in a week then you don't need to do anything! The Seafoam won't hurt anything but it does not do all that much in fresh, Pure fuel that you are burning up pretty quick. The guys and gals that have to pay strict attention are those who live where their bikes are stored for months on end and usually in an unheated environment like a shed or garage. Much worse if all you can get is E-10 fuel because it will surely Phase Separate while in storage and I don't care what additive you put in it.

By mid November my bikes will be prepared for a long winter storage and not used again until late April. I will empty both tanks, add in a cup of 2 cycle oil in the empty tanks and slosh it around so it coats all the inside metal. I drain the float bowls and use a spray can of Storage seal from the Marine store and fill the bowl with it and I remove the spark plug and coat the inside of the cylinder with the spray and replace the plug. Remove the battery and keep it in the house or basement and charge it once a month. Done. In the spring I drain the oil in the tank by removing the petcock and then fill the tank with freshly bought pure gas. Drain the carb, install the battery and fire it up for a good long run. Any remaining 2 cycle oil might make it run a little rich but nothing bad about that.

If you really want to do a little test with E 10 gasahole then try this. Put a cup of it fresh in a mason jar and poke a tiny hole in the cap, keep in mind our tanks are vented so outside moisture laden air can get in, leave it on a shelf where you store your bike over the winter. In the spring you will see a milky substance at the bottom which is your E-10 that went into Phase Separation, water clinging to alcohol and sitting on the bottom. That is the crap that is extremely corrosive and will rust the inside of your metal tank and clog your carb in the spring. Do the same with a second jar and add some fuel conditioner like Seafoam and it might be a bit clearer but still very stale fuel that has lost it's octane.

Those who do get a day here or there to run their bikes over the winter don't have to go to these extreme measures but I would always keep my tank filled right up after every ride and with a conditioner added if the tank is likely to last an extended period of more than a month or two. Here in NY the months of December, January, February and much of March we can see temps ranging from the 50s right down to minus 20 and lower. That is the perfect recipe for condensation to form inside the tanks and ethanol eats that stuff right up!

GaryL
 
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