Ethanol gas, classic cars and real-life experiences - Ford Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011 Thread Starter
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Ethanol gas, classic cars and real-life experiences

Hi Everyone,

Thought I'd start a thread to see what the real world effects of 10% ethanol gas are to the classic mustang community.

I'll start...

My car is much more susceptible to vapor lock (due to the ethanol lowering the boiling temp of gas) and rough idle after warm-up.

Your turn...
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011
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Same here. Every time I fill up, I have to crank and crank before the car starts again. Embarrassing to say the least.

1966 289-2V C-4 Convertible. 2nd owner, resurrected rustbucket. Factory console and power top, conversion to P/B with dual res MC.

1990 GT 25th Anniversary 5.0 AOD Convertible. SOLD
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011
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I am a new member to this forum site, I am currently rebuilding a 66 - I6 coupe with 50,000 original miles.

Before I started this rebuild I found that a little Marvel Mystery oil and some Lucas octane booster do wonders for the junk that they like to refer to as gasoline these days. This is the same mixture I use in my 71" Harley and it works great.

Your only other alternative would be find someone in town that sells "Non Ethenol gasoline" or visit your local race trace and get the good stuff. 110 or 115 octane.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011
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have not had any problems.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011
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My Dad has had many problems since the ethanol was introduced. He has quite a collection of cars and most have had the fuel system modified after failures due to the ethanol. Here is a partial list from memory:

1988 Corvette -- Injectors started leaking, replaced with ethanol compatible

1952 Ford Sedan Delivery -- Fuel pump & carb failure

1962 Triumph Italia, 1967 Triumph TR4A -- fuel pump, rubber line

When I did my EFI swap, I used braided line for the fuel system which I bought from Summit Racing. That line lasted a month before I got leaks at the fittings. I removed one of the fittings to determine if I had just messed it up, and was surprised to see the inner rubber hose was delaminating and was partially collapsed. When I touched the rubber, it crumbled in my hands. To Summit's credit, they took the line back and gave me a refund which I applied to some Aeroquip line which has had no problems.

Last edited by MustangBradley; 05-30-2011 at 09:29 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-30-2011
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A lot of problems are simply people letting their imagination get the best of them...
I've seen everything from a 1965 cub cadet lawn tractor to a friends 1950 porsche roadster run on regular gas from the pump. Never seen any real issues other than obvious things like rubber components being unhappy with the other new fuel additives, not the ethanol, dont let people convince you that ethanol is corrosive. its not. we drink the stuff at much higher concentrations than 10% its called corn whiskey

hard starting? You realize they use alcohol as starting fluid, how would that make an engine start easier when sprayed from an aerosol can but cause hard starting when its pumped in through the carb? You should try making sure your ignition isnt malfunctioning
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-31-2011
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If you are interested in finding 100% gas (ethanol free) here is a website I've found and have started adding to for my local area:
Ethanol-free gas stations in the U.S. and Canada

It has listings by state, some states are not allowed to sell ethanol free gas, luckily mine still sells it. It's sad to see that in some areas the govt. has decided that you will not be given a choice of the type you choose to use in your vehicle. I've switched over to eth. free in my lawn mower and it runs much better now and has more power.

Marinas are also locations that still carry eth. free as apparently it causes major issues with them and their fiberglass tanks.

When my '67 gets back on the road this year I will only use eth. free in it. You can believe what you like but it is alcohol and alcohol does dry out rubber that is not designed for it. I also do not trust that it will not cause issues with my carb. gaskets which are not designed for it. On top of that you get worse gas mileage with ethanol, thanks I'll pass.
Jon

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"If it ain't broke, I haven't fixed it yet" -Jon
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-31-2011
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Ethanol has a higher boiling point than gasoline - not lower. Any hose for fuel sold for unleaded gas is ethanol tollerant - same with filters, carbs and other fuel related parts. When you grind valves you need hardened seats installed but until you need to gring them the ones you have will be just fine.
Of the three cars I have (all 72-3) I have had no problem that can be blamed on the E-10 gasoline that is sold year round here in Washington. In Washington all gas is required to be 10% ethanol all year around. I have not had any problems other than the price of fuel.

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-31-2011 Thread Starter
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You're right, Pockets... some issues might just be our imagination. And I'm sure E10 takes more than it's share of blame for problems. But fuel is what we feed our cars..and I'm willing to bet that changing their "diet" will have an effect on their health. I know it has on my '65 289.

I'm not sure if it's corrosive or not. But drinkability isn't the best indicator. Have you ever spilled coke on a painted surface and left it awhile?

I think the key thing with E10 isn't whether or not our cars will run on it. Clearly they do. It's what are the long-term effects of using it? The jury is still out on that. Hopefully we'll all share our experiences on this thread and a clearer picture will emerge.

BTW, you're also right that alcohol is used as a starting fluid. But when added to gas it lowers the temperature at which the mixture turns to vapor. Since fuel pumps can't pump vapor, hard starting can occur in hot weather or when the engine is very warm and fuel has boiled out of the bowl(s). It's that vapor lock that I think MizzouMike is referring to.

Has anyone noticed a change in the way their car idles or runs recently? Ethanol levels are increased in the summer months...
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In most states the alcohol content is increased in the WINTER months - because it leans the mixture for better emissions. In Washington we use the higher alcohol content all year long. I have had no problems with my three cars.
Cars from the 50's and 60s WITH ORIGINAL HOSES AND PUMPS may require new replacements to get the alcohol resistant parts but even in my 66 Mustang I had no problems for the years I ran the E-10. Ethanol is NOT corrosive - especially when used in gasoline. Methanol is very corrosive and that is where people get the idea that ethanol is bad. Fairy do do! When cars were a new thing and gasoline was not yet spread all over the USA most folks ran straight ethanol right from the farm's still. The model T had a carb that could run ethanol right from the factory. The only thing about ethanol is that it is hard to start (unless mixed with gas) if the temp is below 70F because it won't vaporize until the engine warms up.
There is a lot of bad information here....

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rebuilt, rewired, modified for slalom and hill climb
No racing - just a fun car built by and for me.
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If you're car is hard to start then you need to adjust the carb.It has nothing to do with the fuel its the carbs out of adjustment.
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Pockets I believe you're thinking of ether; same stuff used to get high and put people under for surgery in the old days....(but they mix in an irritant so no one snorts starting fluid)

I'd still like an end to the hard heat-soak starts. It really sucks.

Also, adding ethanol to gasoline is a sh!t idea. It has a lower energy density, and as such, your car isn't going to go as far as it would on 100% petroleum. I could go on and on about ethanol and politics and emissions and bad ideas, but hey, this is a Mustang forum and there's no reason to make enemies

1966 289-2V C-4 Convertible. 2nd owner, resurrected rustbucket. Factory console and power top, conversion to P/B with dual res MC.

1990 GT 25th Anniversary 5.0 AOD Convertible. SOLD
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-31-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks for chiming in, Paul.

I'm definitely no chemist I shouldn't have written "boiling point". Thanks for the catch.

From what I've read, it's all about vapor pressure. With mechanical pumps and open-loop systems like we have in our cars, vapor lock with E10 can occur more easily. The problem seems much less likely on newer cars with electric pumps and closed-loop fuel systems.

Check out this paper. Kinda dry, but pretty detailed and informative. Not sure who funded it or what their politics are....

http://www.allsafe-fuel.org/TechPaper.pdf

Anyway, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not for or against Ethanol. I just want to start a dialogue about it so we can see if it's affecting our community. And adapt our cars if necessary.
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Cuddyk,

it doesn't affect me nearly as much as paying near $4/gallon!

Come to think of it, since I've rebuilt the carb and done my last tune-up, I really haven't had the car in a situation to vapor lock; I should probably try filling up after driving on the highway and see what happens. It will be interesting to see how much my tuning has improved the situation.

1966 289-2V C-4 Convertible. 2nd owner, resurrected rustbucket. Factory console and power top, conversion to P/B with dual res MC.

1990 GT 25th Anniversary 5.0 AOD Convertible. SOLD
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-31-2011 Thread Starter
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Glad your car is running better, Mike. For sure, tuning affects our cars more than a little grain in the tank!

Paul...are you sure that Ethanol levels are increased in the winter months? It wouldn't be the first time I'm wrong, but I know that cars that run E85 have to drop down to E70 in the winter (for the same reason those Model T's were hard to start).

Interesting dialogue....
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