Ethanol in fuel problems and solutions

I don’t know whether Chrysler in thier infinate wisdom painted the inside of all fuel tanks in the later years but they certainly did for the arrow. The ethanol in the fuel attacks paint and causes it to flake off the flakes of paint (some of them quite large) get around the filter in the tank restricting the flow of fuel and causing fuel starvation.

Bodgery in the old days…

Cars with fuel starvation problems when taken to a garage usually had the fuel pipes blown through with compressed air. This pushed most of the debris from the pipe but sent all of the muck in the pipe between the fuel pump and fuel tank back to the tank and often dislodged the gauze filter from the fuel sender in the tank. If you were lucky the mechanic would fit an inline filter in the flexible pipe between the fuel pump and the carburetor to stop the carburetor from receiving any detritus.

If you are still running an original AC fuel pump then the filter in this sould prevent the worst of the foreign matter from reaching your carburettor.

Apart from blockages and fuel starvation which have obvious symptoms ethanol in fuel can be quite insidious the following information has been obtained from various websites which can be found by following the bibliography at the bottom of the post.

Plastic and Aluminum Problems

Plastic and rubber parts on older vehicles are susceptible to ethanol. These include seals, diaphragms, and O-rings in the fuel system and carburetors. Rubber materials tend to get hard and brittle with exposure, which can cause problems with needle valves in carburetors. Some of these rubber components can be partially dissolved with constant exposure to ethanol, and bits and pieces can be carried into the engine’s fuel system, causing clogs and misfires.

One other troublesome area is aluminum carburetors. Before about 1990, carburetors were built with alloys that are much more prone to corrosion from ethanol. When ethanol contacts the older aluminum carburetor housings, corrosion can cause tiny orifices to clog, which results in hard starting and poor running. This is one of the most serious problems for older engines because there is often no upgraded carburetor that can be fitted. The only effective solution is to run ethanol-free gasoline.

Non-engine-related problems involve the fuel-fill gasket, which with age and ethanol exposure can allow rainwater into the fuel tank. Fiberglass repairs on fuel tanks, luckily not many cars (I hope) have this bodge, ethanol has been shown to leach out chemicals from fibreglass that can gum up intake valves and wreck engines. The only sure cure is to replace the tank with a new or properly repaired one.

There are a number of miracle cures out there for fuel and I won’t at this time even start to discuss why it does nothing to put lead weights in your tank…

Personally I have been making sure for some time that all the fuel I use is ethernol free and this has dramatically reduced starting problems for vehicles laid up over winter. Recently my last local supplier Tesco has started putting ethanol in their Momentum. I checked to see if there was anywhere that was still selling ethanol free fuel by calling the distribution company, there is not. Interestingly they were surprised that I had been testing the local brews…

I have therefore bought an ethanil kit which is now being used for all vehicles.





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