Another E-10 experience

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Steve Jelf
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Another E-10 experience

Post by Steve Jelf » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:02 am

Whenever the subject of fuel comes up there are comments to the effect that ethanol gas quickly goes bad and/or wreaks havoc on carburetors. I can cite one personal experience with the latter. To get my log splitter working, I had to dismantle the aluminum carburetor and clean out the residue after it sat for a few months.

Yesterday I started my 1923 touring for the first time in over a year. The tank was bone dry, so I put in three gallons from the running board cans that were filled last September. Work I'm doing on my mowing tractor required me to drain its tank, so that's another couple of gallons for the T. That tractor has been out of service for over a year, so the gas is at least that old. When I tried to start the car it was no-go. Lots of turning over brought an occasional cough, but no start. "Well," thought I, "All those warnings about ethanol gas going bad must have been right."

But on a hunch I took out the spark plugs and replaced them with a set of "new" 90-year-old X plugs. You can guess where this is going. On the first try the car fired right up and ran normally. I drove it into town for groceries and it continued to run normally. I stopped at a filling station and topped off the tank with a few gallons of fresh gas, which didn't seem to make any difference in how the car ran. So my previous experience of having no trouble with E-10 in a Model T continues. I realize that gasoline blends vary by region and by season, so I can't say my experience wouldn't be different in another place or time, but so far I have no horror stories to report. Mister Thrifty does not love the prospect of spending an extra 20¢ to 30¢ (or more) a gallon, and E-10 is usually the least costly grade, so that's the fuel of choice unless experience dictates otherwise.
The inevitable often happens.
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RustyFords
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by RustyFords » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:39 pm

I'd be curious to see what a forensic examination of the old plugs discovers.
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by James_B_NC » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:46 pm

RustyFords wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:39 pm
I'd be curious to see what a forensic examination of the old plugs discovers.
I’d like to see this as well.
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Colin Mavins » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:17 pm

Here in Canada our ethanol I believe is 10% ,I have no problem running the T on this fuel. Yes after 7-8 months it will be crap, at the end of driving season I drain the tank and run it out off gas. I just started it this weekend fresh gas ,two pulls it was running like a clock.

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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Ruxstel24 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:20 pm

I had in the past, found my T dry after sitting for, once over a year. I usually put gas in and no problem.
1 time it had set for a few years and I had to take the float bowl off and unstick the needle valve with a NH.
I have had more problems with other things than my T, but I try to use only ethanol free as late.

I have seen gas (not sure of E content) that had set in a car, that just would not burn and required flushing. Newer carbs are made a mess out of, T carbs are way easier than a Holley 4bbl
or the dreaded CCC Quadrajet to clean out the dreaded green goo.


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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Hal » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:39 am

I have had mixed results with long term storage of "ethanol gas". I've seen some guys on this very forum say it went to crap in less than a month and I don't believe that one for even a nanosecond. I have stored cars and equipment with ethanol gas, with and without Stabil in it, for several months and in some cases a couple of years and they would still crank up and run just fine. On other occasions, I have had them need a total carb cleaning to get them to start in well less than a year. I don't think it is the ethanol so much as it is some of the other additives or lack thereof. I will admit, I try to use non-ethanol in things that I know are going to set up.

Ethanol will attack some rubbers and plastics, so that is consideration. For a stock Model T with steel fuel lines and cast iron carb, I wouldn't think twice about using E-10 if I drove it regularly. As a matter of fact, I ran my TT on E-85 for one year to prove a point to a former member here. The only problem I had was hard starting in the Winter. You safety nuts skip this next sentence! Judicious use of a propane torch to warm the intake manifold made for a quick start on a cold engine. I had no rust/corrosion problem of anything in the fuel system, and yes, I pulled it apart to inspect. Others were predicting rusted out gas tanks and corroded carbs and generally "trashing' of the whole truck if I kept that up for a year.

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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:01 am

Won't back years for sure but it'll go bad in time and no additive will stop it. "Goop" can & usually resuts from the fact that ethanol fuel will definitely disolve the "varnish" left from older fuels. The older fuels won't disolve their own leavings but that ethanol surely will. High humidity can also cause goop. Glad to see so many doing the only thing that will prevent this damage; Drain & run dry. And i do mean the only thing.
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by JEC » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:36 am

If you are going to sit around looking at it and not using up the gasoline you might try aviation 100 low lead which is very high in lead content. it doesn't go bad like car gas. Car gas has always gone bad when not used .
Even before the alcohol was added,
Its illegal to use 100 low lead on road as the tax has not been paid on it and probably because of the lead content.
Because of the high lead content you will probably end up with stuck valves Oh I forgot you don't actually burn the stuff you just look at in.
Steve with your excellent California Teachers retirement you should just drain it at the end of the summer and use it to wash parts in as they did in the day.

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Steve Jelf
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:55 am

My teacher's retirement isn't as great as you might think, as I was in it for only seventeen years. I have a good supply of used paint thinner, but I do occasionally wash parts the old time way. :D
The inevitable often happens.
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Topic author
Steve Jelf
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:38 am

As requested, this morning I got out the plug tester and checked the plugs I replaced. The first one was OK. When I applied pressure to the second one, air blew out of it due to a loose collar. So that cylinder lacked compression. After I tightened the collar the plug tested normal. The other two plugs simply don't fire at all. I don't know what's wrong with one of the dead plugs, but the photo shows the other. The mystery to me is how I ever installed that plug in the first place. Anyway, fire on just one cylinder explains the non-starting.

IMG_2784 copy.JPG
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Ruxstel24 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:44 am

My eye tells me the gap is about 0.080"...
That's fine if you're running a GM HEI ignition system ! :lol:

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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by JohnH » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:45 pm

E-10 is all I've ever used in the 16 years of owning the T. Haven't cleaned out the fuel system since I got the car. Everything is always clean when I take it apart. I also use E-10 in everything else. It sits for about 6 months in the lawn mower over winter, which always starts up straight away come spring.
It has also been used in my modern car since 1994 - which I was told it was unsuitable for. Well, it's up to about 450,000km and still going strong with nothing ever done to the engine except the spark plugs replaced about twice. I have yet to have any bad experiences with this fuel which is said to be so problematic.


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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by HaroldRJr » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:32 am

John Hunter - You say you have no trouble,....I'm guessing that the area you live in in Australia is an area with not much humidity, is that right? I believe that from what I've read in the past about modern gasoline, it seems to me that those who seem to have trouble with E-10 live where it's somewhat, or even VERY humid. Over a period of time, water collects and separates and settles in E-10 gasoline, and I really think that that water is the source of the problems that some people have. A bit of water can collect in the bottom of a gasoline tank, and I believe that over a period of time (like all winter for instance) the same proportion of water can and will also collect in the bottom of the float chamber in a carburetor. Does a bit of water in the bottom of a carburetor sound to you like something that could cause a problem? It sure sounds like it to me! There's a reason why some old-timers used to pour gasoline into their outboard motors through a layer of chamois skin to preclude the chance of water in their outboard motor gasoline tank!


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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Gonenorth » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:03 am

My rule of thumb is to never let E-10 sit any more than about 60 days in anything without running it. Seems to phase separate after that. I have used Marine Stabil to keep that from happening for a few months, but I never leave fuel of any sort in any vehicle or equipment beyond that. Where it's possible I run them dry for longer term storage. When my Model T goes up on jack stands for the winter, the gas tank is emptied and carb drained off and dried out. Never have any issues after filling with fresh fuel and firing up in the spring...which seems to be delayed around here with 10-16" of fresh, blowing and drifting snow set to arrive later today lasting through Friday. Oh joy!


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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Hal » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:32 am

Alcohol and water are 100% soluble in one another. In other words, they mix readily. I've never understood how this fact gets construed into people believing that ethanol in fuel will suck the oceans dry and puddle them in the bottom of your fuel tank. I really don't. Gasoline and water do not mix and even a tiny amount of water in gasoline will puddle in the bottom of your tank. With a little ethanol added to your gas, the ethanol will absorb that water and prevent it from puddling in the bottom of your tank. You folks that live in cold climates are familiar with HEET that you put in your tank to keep gas lines from freezing (Ain't a problem here, but they still sell it. Most has dust on the bottles). Read that label. Ain't nothing but alcohol. It absorbs the moisture, which is condensate from the air. It gets there when humid air is drawn in the vent of a gas tank to replace gas as it is used up. Then a cold night will make the water in the air condense into liquid. If you have pure gasoline, it puddles at the bottom of the tank. If you have E-10, the water is harmlessly absorbed by the alcohol and then gets "Burned" in the engine. No doubt ethanol can attack some materials. and as stated yesterday, is probably responsible for dissolving some of the gunk left over from old gas in carb bowls and such, but you will never convince me that ethanol in gas will rust out your tank. Frankly, I contend the opposite is true.


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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Adam » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:16 am

So, the amount of time it takes to change spark plugs is roughly the same amount of time it takes newly added gasoline to free up a sticky inlet needle?

I do think you found your problem, I’m just saying there could be more going on than might be immediately reasoned.


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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:40 am

Hal

you're correct regarding what HEET does, how it works, etc. It is good for problem fuel that is pure gasoline, and not really useful at all and perhaps detrimental for use in Ethanol blended gasoline.

Regarding ethanol's ability to absorb water, phase separation, and practical storage limits, take a look at this: https://petroclear.com/resources/dont-be-phased.php

While this may not sway you, I will remain in the camp that believes that Ethanol doped fuel can and does damage fuel tanks and carbs. I didn't used to be until it happened to me with a vengance while living in FL...something changed and it clobbered my cars. Subsequent to that, I learned the chemistry of what happens as well as getting a better appreciation of how dependent we are on the filling stations "housekeeping" as to whether or not we are actually getting 10% ethanol or lots more ethanol with water contamination. I had a talk one day, by chance with a fellow with a long sampling stick, checking storage tanks at the local station in FL. His opinion was it was pure chance whether we were buying fuel or muddy water and that he had seen some pretty bad tanks in his day. Ironically, and off-topic, but shortly after that, I ended up unwittingly putting a tank of gas into my '13 which left a "slump" of fine pumice or talc-like material just below the fill opening. The car ran poorly and died. Upon inspection, the gank looked like milk and two days later after it settled down, I saw the "slump". It could be scooped out and when dry was fine as talc. I still haven't pulled the body to get the tank out to clean it. I only mention this as the quality of fuel now is quite low. In "the old days" you could count on fuel and water not mixing...now fuel, water, and who knows what, can be pumped. I now only burn Ethanol fuel when on tour when I know it will be used completely. Now that I am 35 miles from a gas station, I only keep pure gasoline on hand.
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Hal » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:12 pm

Scott

I did not read the whole thing, but the part I saw defined phase separation as when the alcohol had absorbed as much water as it could and then the water falls out. I would contend that without the ethanol, the water would have WAY done already fallen out.

As for HEET, I agree, no need for it in E-10.

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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by TRDxB2 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:16 pm

Everyone should realize that year old gas (leaded, E-10, premium etc) isn't the most reliable fuel - that's why for small engines manufactures , T owners too, recommend running the gas out of the engine if it is to sit for awhile. I have read several internet links on the pro's & Con's of E-10. This one seems to be the least biased and most informative. https://www.enginebuildermag.com/2013/1 ... d-engines/


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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:37 pm

Hal

the point is, that with pure gas, there would be no water. The two do not/can not mix, and if you do get in the tank, you bought it as contaminated fuel. With ethanol fuel, you can buy it pure and clean, and over time (not too long) it can contaminate itself and degrade.

See? I told you I would not convince you! I'm still running at 100% predictive accuracy :lol:
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by Rich Bingham » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:22 pm

:D "A man convinced against his will,
Is of the same opinion still. "

When arguments become contentious, they are less about fact and more about defending one's ego, i.e. unwillingness to concede another's point because doing so is thought to be personally diminishing.
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Re: Another E-10 experience

Post by fschrope » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:49 pm

I absolutely and positively know that ethanol gas will attract water from the air and this water will separate and settle to the bottom of the tank. It happened on a small generator that I let sit for a year or so. I drained the gas out into a bucket and there was water on the bottom. Also, the bottom of the gas tank was rusty. This was a brand new generator. I think this "water" is more corrosive than normal water. I think if you put water in a tank filled with pure gas, it wouldn't rust the tank.

Biodiesel is another thing. I had a Freightliner that sat for seven years with biodiesel in the tanks. It rusted the pump so bad that I had to give the rebuilder two pumps to make one good one. $923 later, the problem was fixed. If you blame the 7 years, consider that I also have a 1969 White Freightliner that has the same fuel in it that was put in there in 1998 and it has no problems. The engines were the same basic Cummins engines.

Did ya ever notice that whenever the government sticks it's nose in something things start going wrong?

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