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Ethanol in fuel

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by AceMaster, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. AceMaster

    AceMaster Three Time F1 World Champ

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    #1 AceMaster, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
    Hello, I was wondering if anybody knows whether or not we should be avoiding fuel that has Ethanol in it. I use Sunoco Ultra 94, but it has up to 10% Ethanol, and I am hearing that Ethanol is bad for the Ferrari engine. Is this true? Or maybe true only for specific Ferrari models? I own a 348. Or should it only be avoided during cold winter months? I am going to also post this in the 348/355 section. If it is bad for the Ferrari engine, what does it do to it?

    thanks in advance
     
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  3. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Haven't heard that it's bad for IC engine metal components (although would like to hear the discussion/theory about how it could be a part of the 355 header problem as mentioned in the 348/355 section), but two areas that I think are fairly well established:

    1. Doesn't stored that well (and a lot of F are little used) -- the ethanol can separate out causing corrosion problems (see Dave Helms' posts), and

    2. reduces the life of the rubber components/hoses.
     
  4. AceMaster

    AceMaster Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Thanks Steve. You raise interesting points, hopefully someone will be able to shed some more light on this topic.
     
  5. Jeff328

    Jeff328 Formula 3
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    Where I live it has been impossible to get auto fuel WITHOUT ethanol in it for at least 10 years. There's no way to avoid it.

    All my cars and lawnmower still run fine, including cars that are 43, 22, 12, and 10 years old with their original fuel systems.
     
  6. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ

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    Start by taking a hard look at the inside of your rubber based fuel lines. When I replaced my lower supply and crossover lines on the TR I went to Silicone Nomex thanks to the urging of Dave Helms
     
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  8. tomberlin

    tomberlin Formula Junior
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    Manufacturers have know about ethanol for decades. I've heard lots of anecdotal evidence of damage, particularly in the marine world, but does anyone here have actual proof of damage? I can't say that I've ever seen an instance when I could say conclusively ethanol was the fault of trouble.
    I'm not being argumentative, just asking the question.
    Tom B
     
  9. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    #7 Rifledriver, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2009
    I recently replaced a fuel pump supply hose on a 308QV. It was a Gates hose of the current formula installed about 2 years prior. It was reduced to sponge. Cracks so large the fabric layer below the top layer of rubber was hanging out. The interior was collapsed and it was leaking profusely.

    Daves Scuderia Innovations hose is all we install now. We have rehosed numerous cars in the last few years with the Gates garbage. Can't wait to see what they say when my lawyer contacts them for covering costs to replace it.
     
  10. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    #8 Rifledriver, Dec 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  11. tomberlin

    tomberlin Formula Junior
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    Brian-
    Is this assumed to be ethanol damage or bogus fuel line?
    I've never found Gates products in general to be impressive.
    I can accept either answer as I always value you opinions.
    TomB
     
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  13. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

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    Gates hose in general is the best US hose we have found that offers the range of hose we use most. If you don't like them you really wont like Dayco. Problem did not exist a few years ago so I am assuming it is gas formula. European products have in general been worse. Problem is far worse in cars that spend long periods unused.....like many Ferrari's.
     
  14. tomberlin

    tomberlin Formula Junior
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    Sure would be interesting to see the response you get from Gates. Do you not like Wurth products as well? I always had reasonable experiences with their hose.
     
  15. alberto

    alberto Formula 3
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    Ethanol will also attack aluminum over time (gas tanks, hard lines, etc.). Ethanol content is usually dictated by the air quality regulations and vary from area to area. If given a choice, I try to buy the one with the lowest ethanol content.
     
  16. Speedmade

    Speedmade Formula Junior
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    I'm building a hot motor for my GT4 to be optimized for E85 fuel.
    3.3 liter, 4V heads, big valves, 348 cams, custom EFI and 14:1 compression.
    I am building new fuel cells and plumbing to handle to ethanol.

    Of course it helps that we have ethanol refineries and over 350 gas stations that carry E85 here in Minnesota.
     
  17. Aircon

    Aircon Eight Time F1 World Champ

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    IIRC, when it was first introduced here in Australia by Shell, Ferrari made an announcement that they didn't recommend its use.
     
  18. davehelms

    davehelms F1 Rookie

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    It was the response from Gates engineering staff 3 years ago that forced me on the path to build fuel hose after finishing the coolant hose. Gates Headquarters is right in town and I couried failed hose samples directly to their lab while they were still wet. New hose that failed within 10 mins with fresh fuel on a newly restored, Lucas injected Maserati Sebring.

    Now going on the fourth year of research, I now know more about hose than any sane person should. What has been written and discussed is but the tip of the iceberg and my research continues in other areas affected by the fuel. Some say its all a farce... others have had to deal with it.
     
  19. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Ferrari started adding CYA alcohol notes in their owner's manuals in 2004/2005. The 2003 575M manual does not have it, and the 2005 does. No helpful hints, just if you use it it is not our fault if something goes wrong.

    Taz
    Terry phillips
     
  20. 12659

    12659 Formula Junior

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    I recently replaced the fuel pump covers on my 550. The pump covers themselves are a problem, just another cheap FIAT part. However in doing so, I discovered to my horror that the fuel pump isoation gaskets had deteriorated to the point that bits of rubber were floating around in the tank.

    After asking around I learned that Ferrari refuses to change their rubber products to handle the ethanol. I ended up replacing the isolation gaskets with the same. I will look forward to a repeat experience in about 10 years time.
     
  21. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Sadly, I read recenlty there is a big push for 15% ETOH. Now THAT will melt some rubber!
     
  22. gatorgreg

    gatorgreg Formula 3
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    #19 gatorgreg, Dec 23, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
    I am not having problems with my Ferrari's, but I am having troubles with my Marine equipment.
    I have Jetski's and the ethanol is playing havoc with the motors. I've heard the same thing is happening with the motorcycle industry too.
    The problem is when gas is sitting in the tank for long periods, the ethanol starts to seperate from the gas creating clumps of ethanol.

    The local repair shops are recommending using enzyme fuel treatment. I assume the enzyme is eating or preventing the ethanol from clumping.

    Although I have not used it in my Ferrari, it seems to work in the Jetskis, but not very well.

    Maybe some expert can chime in.

    If you can find it, do not put ethanol in your Ferrari if it is going to sit.
     
  23. frefan

    frefan F1 Veteran

    Apr 21, 2004
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    Was not good for this Ferrari. Not sure if it had anything to due with cracked hoses, but somehow the gas vapors were escaping into the engine bay, so probably. Its an interesting watch and makes you think about what could happen with these cracked hoses like the one Brian posted.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=706226n&tag=api
     
  24. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ

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    I had to rebuild the carburetor on my two year old weed eater because it plugged up with disintegrated rubber bits from the fuel system and carb.
     
  25. david bentley

    david bentley Karting

    Jan 2, 2004
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    I am in a 10% ethanol state and I know fuel lines on all my cars are calling for replacement more often....because of ethanol or just crap lines?...I don't know

    However, my carbed 308 is now running much better with the jets richer for the 10% blend.
    Truth be told, it was probably set lean at the factory for emissions but the more alcohol in the fuel, the larger the jets must be. Bought a A/F meter and played the jet change game until the mixture is right.

    The engine is very happy now
     
  26. robertgarven

    robertgarven F1 Veteran
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    Feb 24, 2002
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    Friends,

    I am in the process of doing a major on my GT4 and I am buying all my hoses from Dave. the only ones I am out sourcing are the ones he does not have, which luckily are few and not fuel.... he has been amazing to deal with, a fount of knowledge, and I think he spent more of his valuable time helping me than the hoses cost. I love my car and am doing everything possible to make sure it is safe. BTW his coolant hoses are also the best! Will post pictures when done.

    The seattle car looks like one of the filler neck hoses.......

    Rob
     
  27. staatsof

    staatsof Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Well I was getting bored with the global warming "debate" anyway so now we have something new to discuss.

    I have 4 Italian toys ranging in age from 1979 to 1996 some of which I've owned since the mid 1980s and the 71 Espada (newest aquisition) is the only one where I've seen a real issue. The stupid interior gas hose in that car is now a solid line but when I bought it it had a brand new piece of aeroquip SS braided hose in there and it just never would stop stinking. No wet leaks but lots of vapour smell.

    My race engine guy who's worked with alchohol fueled cars for 30 years thinks that they've gone about as far as they can with this in commericial cars before we're going to start seeing some really bad trouble.

    I think those split fuel hose pictures are plenty bad enough.

    Bob S.
     
  28. staatsof

    staatsof Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Well this isn't Nomex covered and on your TR you're dealing with FI so it's a lot higher pressure but is the following something like you're talking about?

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260445489689

    Bob S.
     

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