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MG TD TF 1500 - Ethanol-free Fuel

Seeking advice.

I recently filled the TF with Ethanol-free gas from a petrol station near me. I was glad to find one nearby, at last. Then, I discussed with someone that the octane rating was too low - either 88 or 87 and, I would be better off with unleaded premium, even with the maligned Ethanol.

I would love some ideas from our experts with experience and chemical expertise.

Always thankful,

Jerry Chandler

If you don't hear any spark rattle or pink you should be ok. Do you know if your block or head have been shaved, or what the compression ratio of your car is? If it is fairly close to stock, no need for premium. George
George Butz


I do not yet know answers to your specific questions. So far, so good, as to to the pinging and other spark rattling. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Of course, this guy at the gas station gets an additional ten-cents per gallon increase for the Rthanol-free product.

Thank you for your ideas and advice.

Jerry Chandler

Started running straight regular grade gas about one year ago. Better starting, smoother running, better economy and no pinging or spark knock. Better mileage at least partially offsets the extra cost. Never had the head off but the engine runs about five degrees cooler on straight gas.


Jim Haskins

1953 TD
J. M. Haskins

Jerry: Tim Hendrickson here, have been looking to get in touch with you. I would love to take a look at your TF.

Tim Hendrickson
Germantown TN


There are a lot of opinions out there on the pros and cons of Ethanol. From my paltry knowledge, the running of the engine is less important, than the demise of any gaskets with rubber in them, as Ethanol will chew them up in short order.

It appears that the gasket material of the future is Viton and I believe that one can now buy a complete set of gaskets for the MGB with the rubber ones replaced with Viton gaskets.

Does anybody know if T-Series (and older) Viton gaskets are in the making?

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A Clark


Thanks for that information. Hopefully, someone will chime-in with updates regarding Viton gaskets for our Ts.


My E-mail jdchandlerassocs at aol DOT com
You are welcome to take a peek, long look, etc. Our club meets the first Saturday of each month at Holiday Ham, 585 Erin Drive (just north of Poplar, west of Mendenhall) for Cars and Coffee about 8 A. M. You could see a variety - usually 8 to 15 cars. E-mail me and we'll start the ball rolling. If you don't know our website -- --

Jerry Chandler

It was my understanding that some of the high-test gasolines were ethanol free. Can anyone confirm this as fact or fiction?

George Raham [TD4224]

I use 87 octane in the MGB that has a totally rebuilt engine and will use it in the TF when done, but, I add Marine formula Sta-Bil to the gas when I fuel up. Designed with ethanol stabilizers in it for marine use and I've never had a problem with pinking, O ring or gasket deterioration. Ethanol eats fiberglass and is the reason it was developed. Ethanol was eating the fiberglass fuel tanks, amongst other things.

Marine Sta-Bil;

P Jennings

I use ethanol free gas, but also use an octain booster called Mix-E-Go as well as adding 8oz's of 2 stroke oil per 5 gallons. The new 2 stroke oils don't smoke, and they keep the carb slides and valves of the motors working nice and smooth. Been doing this for years on all my old bikes and TD.
L Rutt

To everyone, so far,

Some great info from all the respondents. I rely very heavily on the data given so generously by members of this "forum." Please keep us updated regarding experiences, information, and ideas pertaining to our fuel issues! From my point of view, this is one of the most important factors,ongoing, with serious consequences for operating our treasured LBCs and other vehicles.


Jerry Chandler


I am hard pressed to think of any rubber gaskets in a "T" fuel system. Cork, paper, copper, fiber, ??? What am I overlooking?

Never had a deterioration problem but have had unidentifiable curd in the float bowls and passages, Looked like the green slime kids play with. Six other small gas engines around the place all required carb cleaning before I quit using 10% ethanol. No problems since. Also like Stabil in my little used truck.

Jim Haskins

1953 TD

J. M. Haskins

J.M Fuel sending light cover has a gasket. May be wrong, but does not fuel also contact the diaphragm in the fuel pump? Also gaskets in the top of the float bowl.

Not enough that I have a big concern. Some folks say ethanol and soldered brass fuel lines are not a good mix. Have not had any issues and while I try to use non-ethanol fuel, that can be hard depending on where you drive.
Bruce Cunha


You may be correct about fuel sender. Have never had my current sender out but very untrustworthy memory said cork back in the 50's. My float bowl top gaskets are paper from Moss. Don;t know what is under the SS steel braid on the fuel lines. Think I will order a second set in case they were damaged by ethanol in the past. Getting old and seldom travel more than half a tank away from my favorite source of the pure juice.


Jim Haskins

1953 TD
J. M. Haskins

I can think of at least 3 rubber products in the T:-

~ the gland seals in the SU jets
~ the seals for the float in the gas tank
~ the small o-rings on the valve stems

Are there more?

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A Clark

For what it's worth, I run 10% ethanol pump gasoline in my TD, two Morris Minors, one Austin America and one 1965 Jaguar 3.8s. No problems with fuel leakage, corrosion, pinging or poor running conditions. The Jaguar gets 91 octane, the TD 87 and the rest 89.

John Quilter (TD8986)

P. Jennings,

Thanks for the Sta-Bil idea, even when not sitting for a longer-than-usual duration. How much do you add per gallon/per tank, etc?

Jerry Chandler


I probably knew better but I was hoping/dreaming there might be a definitive answer regarding this Ethanol dilemma. From what I read in your responses, using with OR without Ethanol is okay! I hope folks keep addressing this issue and perhaps I won't alternate fill-ups - or, maybe I will.

Thanks for the continuing comments and help.

Jerry Chandler

Consider yourselves lucky you have a choice. I haven't seen ethanol free gasoline around here in years.

Jerry, Sorry for not answering sooner. One ounce per 2 1/2 gallons of gas recommended. Actually, I use one ounce per 3 gallons. I've had no problems since using it and the gas smells fresh in the spring when the cars come out, but I fill the tanks before storing for the winter with the recommended mix. My TF tank has a liner made of a glass hard Grey coating and have no idea what it is, as a previous owner had it done, but no Ethanol damage has occurred. PJ
P Jennings

I had some problems with my boat when 10% was first introduced. The solvent properties of the alcohol “cleaned” the interior of the rather large fuel tanks. Interestingly, the particles of ? were so small that some would pass through the filter/separators and end up in the carburetor inlet filters. I kept spares and changed them wide open throttle RPM fell off.

I’m told that older fuel hoses were subject to attack. I had already changed the hoses due to age and the new, USCG approved hoses are specifically marked as approved for alcohol. No other difficulties were experienced with the two 7.4s, the onboard generator, or the outboard on the tender.

I counted nearly 25 gasoline powered reciprocating engines in vehicles and equipment on our old farm. Many are quite old, some are new. None has experienced any problems that I can attribute to ethanol. They all seem to run the same now as they did on straight gasoline. Even though some engines are only used seasonally I stopped using stabilizer and haven't noticed a difference. They all start and run fine after sitting for the winter or summer.

I do have one piece, a mower powered by a 27hp Kawasaki, which repeatedly turned up with little pieces of black something that blocked the carburetor inlet seat. The first time it happened I cleaned it and sent it back to work. The second time, also in a hurry, I replaced the hose from the electric fuel pump to the carburetor, figuring the ethanol may have been attacking it, and sent it back to work. The third time, tired of removing and disassembling the carburetor, I decided to think about it for a few minutes.

The fuel filter on the machine is before the pump. I cut the hose and inserted one in the outlet side. The evidence was clear. Little black particles appeared in the clear filter. The pump is obviously failing. Is it because of the 10% alcohol or simply the toll of pulsing for a couple of thousand hours? I don’t know but I have a spare and hopefully the machine will run for the season ‘till the fall service when I’ll install a new pump.

The main complaints I have with ethanol, are that it reduces fuel mileage and was forced upon us as “green” when it’s clear that it isn’t. It’s a product and market that wouldn’t exist if not for massive subsidy. Sorry for the rant. I do sometimes buy bio diesel for my diesel machines as it is actually somewhat "green" and has better lubricity than the current low sulfur diesel blends.
JE Carroll

In the last few years, I have not experienced any problem with ethanol in gas, nor any difference in running except mileage loss. This includes gas that has been sitting in various vehicles for as much as 5 years.

There were a lot of problems, and they kept changing, coincident with the removal of lead and the intro of ethanol. We had vapour lock, hose rot, gumming, carbs sticking etc. In 1991 or so, I rebuilt the carbs on my Norton because it was getting excessively finicky. Started right up and worked fine, but after sitting a month wouldn't start or idle if it did start. Carbs apart and it was just like it had been before. That went on for a couple of years, in all engines, used a lot of Stabil and fuel system cleaners. Small engines were especially bad, to the point of disintegrating plastic carb parts, according to a friend who was a small engine specialist. But, all that has calmed down now; we still have the ethanol, but other things are different.

I think ethanol is being blamed for a bunch of other "boy chemist" experiments. The fuel companies do not tell you what they are doing, and they will and do lie to you if you ask. The Pennzoil lab used to be here, and we had an inside line. When we first had fuel problems we first asked the company the fuel came from what was in it, like ethanol etc. We bought gas at every local supplier; then, we took blind samples to our Pennzoil friend, who analyzed it, and who told us they were flat out lying - and he also could tell you what refinery the samples came from.

FR Millmore

This thread was discussed between 25/04/2012 and 29/04/2012

MG TD TF 1500 index

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