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MG MGB Technical - alcohol in gasoline ?

10% ethanol enriched gasoline, i hear, is not
good to use in my or any mg.
why, what effect does it have on engine
or related parts ?
john sutter

John. Sold, by the now shut down government, as a method of reducing auto emissions, the addition of ethanol to petroleum based fuel has been common for many years now. It has been all that is available in most of the western half of the United States. The only problem I have encountered is reduced fuel mileage, and that by a noticeable amount. On those rare trips when I can still find pure petroleum based fuel, the fuel mileage increases by about 18% as compared to when running the 10% ethanol blend fuels.

As to vehicle problems, carbs or other fuel system related ones, I have seen none. Carbs work. Hoses last as long as they used to. Fuel tank does not seem to be rusting out any faster than normal. (But, I live in the desert and alcohol does attract and mix with water. "Gas Dryer" and "Anti Icing Gasoline Additives" are simply alcohol for the most part.)

Systemic studies have shown that if one looks at the whole cycle--from plowing the fields until the alcohol/gas mix is sold at the fuel station, the total emissions are higher to produce the blended fuel than pure petroleum fuel. But, that does not have any effect on the fact that most of us are required to use it and I know of no one reporting problems specific to the use of said fuels.

Les Bengtson

While I am fortunate to live in a state where we can easily purchase no alcohol gas (more and more stations are offering it here in Wisconsin), I ran 10% for a number of years in my TD and have not had any issues. I pretty much try to use non-alcohol.

Some of the Minnesota folks may chime in. I believe they cannot get anything but blended.
Bruce Cunha

I have used E10 fuel in both our TD and MGB since it came out. So far, no problems. I also do not see any problems in the fuel pumps that I have restored since the introduction of E10 fuel. Cheers - Dave
David DuBois

The maximum amount without pump labelling is supposed to go up from 5% to 10% in the UK this year,and may have done so already. The FBHVC has documented the effects of 10% on materials typically found in classic cars, which are expected to be significant. SU have only just lifted an embargo on the supply of pumps, applied while they sourced alternative materials for some of the components after problems found when testing with 10% ethanol.
Paul Hunt

Feel lucky Paul. In the US they are talking about bringing out 15%. They say it should only be used for new cars, but companies like Briggs and Stratton are fighting it because they know folks will eventually put it in their lawn mower and it will make these run like crap or not run at all. B&S knows that the people will blame the manufacturer.

In the US this is just a push by the agriculture folks to raise the price of corn. We had such a bad corn crop last year that there is a real potential that there will be a major price increase for food.
Bruce Cunha

There is a danger is to very-old-technology fuel hoses that are not resistant to alcohol. The problem is that all alcohols are hygroscopic. That means that it attracts and couples with the moisture in the air, resulting in greater amounts of ethanol / water mixture collecting in the fuel tank. Since water is heavier than gasoline, the ethanol / water mixture settles to the bottom of the fuel tank. This is referred to as “phase separation”, and eventually the ethanol / water phase is drawn into the fuel delivery system. If there is no water separator in the fuel line, the separated water goes into the carburetor and, consequently, the engine does not run properly. In extreme cases, the engine will stop running. An additional problem that owners will face lies in the reduction of octane, which is critical to the engine's performance. Ethanol is rated at over 100+ octane, and provides the fuel with much of its octane rating. However, once the water content reaches about a .5% level, it will phase separate. With the ethanol settling to the bottom along with the water, the octane of the fuel will be reduced, and this can cause a loss of performance, including preignition which can damage the engine. It also severely worsens fuel economy and power output. There are other problems with E-10 fuel. Ethanol is a powerful solvent that readily breaks up both the tars and the organic sediments that are commonly found in many fuel tanks. The ethanol / water mix also makes a potent stripping agent for the old varnish and gum that has accumulated from years of gasoline sitting in the tank. These organic contaminants, once loosened from the walls of the tank, can plug fuel filters and carburetor fuel jets quickly, disabling the engine. In cold weather, the ethanol / water phase can also freeze, turning into a syrupy mix that congests and plugs fuel filters. Alcohol also has a lower caloric content than gasoline, thus its heat output, and hence its power output, is inherently less than that of gasoline. This results in turn with the driver operating his engine at a wider throttle opening in an attempt to compensate for the decreased power output, with the attendant consequence of decreased fuel economy. Obviously. if you can avoid purchasing E-10 fuel, you would be wise to do so. Our beloved government started pushing alcohol fuel back during the Carter administration as a means of reducing the amount of petrochemicals needed to create gasoline, thus reducing fuel imports and helping with a negative balance of payments problem. I tried it back then and found that not only was power output noticeably reduced (lower caloric content), but fuel economy suffered as well. The Environmentalists later jumped on the bandwagon and claimed that it polluted less, but that's really an illusion. True, the amount of pollution per gallon consumed is reduced, but with reduced fuel economy, the actual difference in pollution per mile is about the same. In reality, the truth is that the federal subsidy program for corn production (and federally mandated purchasing of ethanol by the oil companies) is a gift to our farmers whose products are decreasingly competitive on the international market.
Stephen Strange

I've worked on a number of older vehicles that have suffered failures due to ethanol having destroyed the fuel lines and carburetor components. It has less power than regular gasoline and causes water to separate from your fuel if you let it sit for over thirty days. I've had to drain several fuel tanks due to water accumulation at the bottom of them. Water is heaver than gasoline and will settle to the bottom of your tank where it is drawn in by your tank's fuel pickup line. RAY
rjm RAY

Am I the only one who can't see how adding ethanol to fuel is reducing emissions? Les (whose opinion I value) says that he gets 18% less mileage when using 10% ethanol fuel. Surely then he is actually burning MORE hydrocarbons than if he used straight gasoline and got much better mileage. Or is my thinking wrong?

With respect to fuel hoses and ethanol fuel, I have no information personally, but couldn't help noticing the following page from a VW camper web site (my son is crazy about these weird vans)
Mike Howlett

I am using this stuff in the Frog, BGT, and Lambretta
Ken Harris

Ethanol being produced from crops absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere while the crops are grown, and gives up the same amount when being burnt, so that part of the process is said to be 'carbon neutral'. Fossil fuels absorbed their carbon millenia ago, and when burnt now are adding to the CO2 in the atmosphere.

The fact that diverting corn from food to fuel and is pushing up the price of food is beside the point, apparently.
Paul Hunt

I seem to recall a lot of similar remarks were made when unleaded petrol was first introduced.I use E10 all the time in the family hack but I use Unleaded Premium in the MG for the higher octane value.If Unleaded Premium disappeared from the pumps, I would use E10 in the MG, again for the higher octane.
When I was a youth in the UK, there was an oil co. called Cleveland which boasted alcohol in its petrol.I had Lambretta scooter at the time & I always tried to fill up with Cleveland petrol as it gave me an extra 5 MPH. Barrie E
B Egerton

Cleveland Discol used alchohol at 25%, apparently. The alchohol being produced by Distillers Company who were a consortium of whisky distillers, so probably a by product of whisky production, hence far more preferable to corn :o)
Paul Hunt

I suppose you could argue that the carbon RETURNED to the atmosphere by using fossil fuels is just being made available to enable crops to grow better!

Perhaps it is just nature's way of balancing out the deforestation of the planet - the tress will have to go some to catch up with the disappearing rain forests ....
Chris at Octarine Services

That is precisely the argument for ethanol and other grown renewables, in that the crop that is used for fuel this season will be regrown next season, reabsorbing the released CO in the process.
Paul Hunt

I think the point is to increase profits, whilst pulling the wool over our eyes in Oil Company/Govt stitch up, just my opinion.
Ken Harris

Here's to conspiracy theories!!

Our local pertrol station has been supplying 10% for the last couple of years and I have continued to use it as my primary point of filling up for the xpress purpose of being a guinea pig. So far, no problems at all, and we live in a damp area. I'm also a greedy bugger with quite a few MG's so I can't use them all on a daily basis.

I can't say I've observed a discernable difference in fuel consumption - I haven't done a rigorous test at all, more that there hasn't been a noticeable reduction when on out of town trips.

The 10% has been here for a few years, and when it was tested for motorsport approval it was found to be a point higher in MON than other 98 RON fuels on the market.

I remember when unleaded came in here there was a big media hoo-ha about fires in older cars due to fuel lines disintegrating. True, some were. But after a year or two someone actually looked at the stats and discovered that the rate of this sort of thing occuring hadn't changed at all ....
Paul Walbran

Paul, I'm with you, keep testing and reporting back

some USA posters report that they've been using the even stronger stuff for years without problem

I have a theory that owners that actually use their classics for more than a a couple of thousand of miles a year have less problems with the petrol

- because the governments leave them alone, they are not pick on like the rest :)
Nigel Atkins

The absurdity which results from the blending of political correctness with pseudo-science! Here we have the scientifically-insane pursuit of reduced atmospheric levels of a gas which is essential to life on this planet. Real science clearly demonstrates that level has no verifiable correlation with "global warming" (anthropogenic or otherwise). This essential gas was declared a "pollutant" by the Inconvenient Falsehoods of an ignorant, manipulative politician and his brain-dead acolytes. In fact, the current concentration of atmospheric CO2 (approximately 380 ppm) is less than 1/20 of 1%, which is well below the optimal level (1500 ppm) for green plants, and only slightly above the suffocation level of green plants. Imagine the buffoonery to which we will be subjected when the lunatic-left discovers that the major and preeminent component of "greenhouse gas" is…….water vapor!
Stephen Strange

And the planet has been steadily cooling for the past 10 years, a 30% increase in Arctic ice this year, and only one ship has managed to traverse the Northwest passage and only right at the very and of the summer. An inconvenient truth indeed.
Paul Hunt

And don't forget the big hubbub over Freon R-12. It was supposed to instantly destroy the ozone layer! R-134 came to the rescue, even though it was nowhere near as efficient in transferring heat. R-12 is still readily available, to this day, in Mexico. RAY
rjm RAY

This is getting off topic a bit, but here is my 2 bobs worth...
I had a boss once who used to say "why own a dog, and then bark yourself".
When we have thousands of clever people who dedicate their lives to the study and pursuit of science and scientific investigation and discovery, do we lesser mortals (ie those not scientifically qualified) seem to think we are somehow more competent than them to understand and explain the science of climate (as a current example)?
If I want to understand weather forecasting I check out meteorologists advice; when I want to learn about earthquakes and volcanoes I seek out geological and vulcanology scientists; when I want to understand medical issues I listen to what the medical researchers and doctors say; when I want to understand why bridges stay up or fall down I listen to engineers;(when I want to learn about MGBs and their quirks and behaviours, I consult this BBS!!)

So I say, by all means put your questions and concerns to the experts and let them explain the situation, or to the event that it is necessary, modify their conclusions or carry out further research. But let's not assume some sort of Get Smart KAOS type organisation of eccentric scientists that are out to dupe us all.
Rant over
John Minchin

"clever people who dedicate their lives to the study and pursuit of science and scientific investigation and discovery" ...

... are just as subject to ego and politics as the rest of us. It's nothing new, some of the great names in scientific history have been regarded as heretics by the establishment at the time.

"Scientists know nothing, they just have a current theory".
Paul Hunt

What I don't understand about the conspiracy theorists is who gains by fooling us? Not the government, certainly not Big Oil. I'm afraid it's just a very inconvenient truth.
M Ratcliff

I agree with Paul. How many "experts" are employed by industrial & commercial enterprises ? One theory I heard was why we had to have R134. It was because Du Pont's patent of R12 was about to expire & they'd lose their monopoly. Whether it's true or not, I don't know, but it does sound feasible to me. Barrie E
B Egerton

This thread was discussed between 03/10/2013 and 14/10/2013

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