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Will Ethanol fuel cause this problem?

Hi, I put 20,000 miles on my stock '87 since I bought it 2 years ago, never had it suddenly die on me while driving before, the only thing I am doing differently is start using up to 10% Ethanol added fuel since Dec., because it is required by the state of Washington. Will that cause the engine stall problem or there are some other areas I should check?

Thanks, Yahow

Old 01-08-2009, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Yahow lam View Post
Hi, I put 20,000 miles on my stock '87 since I bought it 2 years ago, never had it suddenly die on me while driving before, the only thing I am doing differently is start using up to 10% Ethanol added fuel since Dec., because it is required by the state of Washington. Will that cause the engine stall problem or there are some other areas I should check?

Thanks, Yahow

You can re-tune the CIS for running a little more rich and this compensates for the 10% ethanol.

Ethanol basically lowers your octane because ethanol is in a hurry to burn.

Also ethanol attracts all the crap in your gas tank.
Old 01-09-2009, 05:21 AM
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Hello!

It is highly unlikely that 10% ethanol in fuel will cause car to suddenly die. Ethanol has higher octane rating than gas but lower energy content. Thus, you need more ethanol to keep same AFR. 10% ethanol will lean you mixture slightly, but not cause engine to stop.

85% ethanol (E85) demands roughly 40% more fuel by volume.

I would start with checking obvious things: do both pump run, is there fuel and spark, is fuel filter clogged?
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:45 AM
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+1 on Goran's response.

I think if it was an ethanol issue, the effects would have been immediate on the first tank of the reformulated gasoline. I've been running the 10% mandated ethanol fuel for a few years now and nothing like that has happened.

Did the car ever restart?
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:59 AM
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Thanks guys, the car finally restart after 7 to 8 times of cranking with the gas pedal press down and @ about 30 second of cranking each time.

I know there are 2 fuel pumps, where is the rear one located at? And how to check them to see there are working properly? Besides the fuse and relay box in the front truck, are there other fuel pump related fuse and relay box else where I can check and I also know there is a main/fuel relay under the driver seat is that have anything to do with my problem?

I will adjust the fuel a litter richer and replace the fuel fiter this weekend.

Thank you very much, Yahow
Old 01-09-2009, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahow lam View Post
Thanks guys, the car finally restart after 7 to 8 times of cranking with the gas pedal press down and @ about 30 second of cranking each time.
I too live in Washington and have not had any issues with the ethanol blends, though I do have my AFR at idel set somewhat rich (around 2.5% CO). You probably have some sort of fuel feed problem - electrical in nature - or ignition spark issue, that needs to be sorted out.
Old 01-09-2009, 07:30 AM
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This ethanol issue caused me to think. Our cars came with wiring for a coding plug (that PP sells) to modify the fuel map and it is used when lower octane fuel is used. Where does this plug physically go and would it help the ethanol issue? Would it help with smog tests?

Would someone with the plug and an AFR meter be willing to run a test with and without the plug installed?

Mark
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:38 AM
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Mark, I will check the ignition system as well, I was wondering on the day the engine die while driving was a very heavy rain fall day and the car was parked outside @ work all day, may be the electrical wiring get too wet and cause the dieing problem? But I did not have any problem @ the initial starting of the car when I ready to go home.

Thanks, Yahow
Old 01-09-2009, 08:53 AM
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regarding the increased ethanol percentage, would it be smart to change the fuel filter more regularly if pulling deposits from the gas tank?
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucittm View Post
This ethanol issue caused me to think. Our cars came with wiring for a coding plug (that PP sells) to modify the fuel map and it is used when lower octane fuel is used. Where does this plug physically go and would it help the ethanol issue? Would it help with smog tests?

Would someone with the plug and an AFR meter be willing to run a test with and without the plug installed?

Mark
That's fine for a 964 and might make sense. Does not apply to a 930 with CIS.
Old 01-09-2009, 10:04 AM
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I think anytime the fuel formulation is changed significantly, the additives or blends will either tend to act like solvent and break loose deposits or act like a combinant and solidify particles that were previously dissolved. In either case, reducing the interval for fuel filter changes sounds like a good idea. There is no way the engineers at Porsche could have forseen the ethanol reformulation coming.
Do they use ethanol in Europe?

Yahow, I think your problem was related to the wet weather. Check under your distributor for indications of water seepage. Sometimes the engine has to warm up before the moisture has an effect.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:00 AM
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I think anytime the fuel formulation is changed significantly, the additives or blends will either tend to act like solvent and break loose deposits or act like a combinant and solidify particles that were previously dissolved.
It can be worse than that.
Ethanol fuels will attack rubbers and mild steel, causing corrosion which finds it's way to the fuel filter. When the fuel filter is clogged with corrosion products, the car quits running.
The only cars I'd put Ethanol fuels in would be "Flex Fuel" vehicles which are engineered to run Ethanol.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:56 AM
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Paul,
To be fair, corrosion effects can occur with any fuel. Sometimes I wonder how much fuel there is in my water after filling up at questionable gas stations. Here is what I found out:
While a 10% ethanol-gas blend can dissolve up to 40 times more water than straight gasoline, Trevor Guthmiller of the American Coalition for Ethanol states that it is highly unlikely that gasoline will come into contact with enough water to result in such high concentrations. This amount of water in your gas tank can stop your car dead, whether or not the gasoline is blended with ethanol. Because ethanol-blended gasoline can dissolve water, it greatly reduces the chance of fuel-line freeze-up or water accumulation in your gas tank (e.g. due to condensation). Any water is diluted throughout the fuel and passes through the fuel line and combustion system with little or no compromise in performance.

Many people confuse ethanol with methanol. Methanol will corrode some metals. I can find no hard evidence of ethanol corroding any metal. It might break loose the "already" corroded particles in the tank, but that is just an acceleration of the inevitable. As far as rubber is concerned, the data I have seen refers to the varnish applied to rubber parts to prevent hardening and ozone contamination. The ethanol dissolves the varnish, not the rubber. In your engine this is actually a good thing.

Also, some of us do not have a choice what we put in our cars. All the gas available in our area is mandated to contain 10% ethanol.

Mark
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucittm View Post
Paul,

Many people confuse ethanol with methanol. Methanol will corrode some metals. I can find no hard evidence of ethanol corroding any metal.
Mark
Mark, my bad. I'm thinking of E85, which will attack the fuel systems components that are not designed to handle high concentrations of Ethanol. "Flex Fuel" vehicles can safely run E85, however.
The most corrosive fuel is sour E85. Bio-diesel is pretty bad too.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:17 PM
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Mark, thanks for your explaination of the Ethanol fuel, I will check the distributor for moisture.

Yahow
Old 01-09-2009, 01:51 PM
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I modified my 19 year old 200000 mile turbocharged daily driver to run on E85...I have driven it for two years on E85 with double HP (original 146, now around 260) and have driven additional 40000 miles w/o any problems. I did 70 track laps as well.

Thread starter is probably having ordinary wear-related issue. Many are inclined to pin the problem on whatever reason they find suitable. In this case 10% ethanol. I find that unlikely.

Lot's of Ethanol will wash away harts accumulated in fuel tank and clog fuel filter. It will also deplete old rubber...after a long time...but not in 10% concentration and not on stock tune.

So I'm quite adamant regarding that this problem has quite mundane underlying explanation. Likely one fuel pump being inoperable or filter clogged.
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Last edited by beepbeep; 01-09-2009 at 03:30 PM..
Old 01-09-2009, 03:18 PM
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I'm been in the fuel systems manufacturing business for 20 years. I started working on manufacturing processess for fuel system components for Flex Fuel back in 1990. A lot of stuff had to be changed to get fuel systems to resist the corrosive effects of E 85.
E 85 will destroy the fuel systems of old cars. For example, if the fuel tank is coated with Terne (80% lead, 20% tin, no longer used due to environmental concerns) E 85 will strip it from the steel and deposit it in the fuel filter. E 85 also destroys the old rubber and plastic formulations used in cars not built to handle it. That's one of the reasons why the auto manufacturers have "Flex Fuel" cars designated in their line-ups. There are engine calibration issues with running E 85 that a normal car won't be equipped to handle.
Goran, what all did you change in your car?
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:48 AM
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luccitm:

Okay, so far this is the only thing that I don't get:

"The ethanol dissolves the varnish, not the rubber. In your engine this is actually a good thing."

Why would it be a good thing to dissolve the varnish that protects my rubber hoses and run it through my CIS? This seems on first glance to be a very bad thing, no?
Old 01-10-2009, 05:59 AM
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Why is ethanol so "corrosive" to both rubber and metal?

The molecules don't seem all that different from gasoline. Instead of all C-H bonds, it has a couple C-OH bonds thrown in. What is the harm?
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
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Goran, what all did you change in your car?
Car is SAAB 900S -90.

I switched to 40% bigger injectors, changed fuel filter every 6 months, raised boost from 0.4 bar to 1.1 bar, installed intercooler, installed hotter cams with more lift and got them timed and advanced ignition until I reached max BMEP (engine isn't knock-limited on E85).

Never had issues with rubber, fuel pump or fueling except severe cold start problems when running E85. Base map (LUCAS CU14 was unchanged). I blew the head gasket once after monkeying too much with ignition advance and boost.

I did had my plastic tank level sender break off three (!) times and fall into tank when using slicks on track. It's now replaced with metal one. I don't know if E85 or slicks did this.

I bought the car for 300$ and poured around 1500$ extra worth of go fast goodies. And yeah...I lapped Boxter S twice on the track (he wasn't using slicks though). I was getting "thumbs up" from guys who were watching

My other "daily driver" Audi S4 is also running on E85 since last year...no changes except more boost and bigger injectors. No problems except low MPG (radius is roughly 350 miles with 80L tank).

We have quite vibrant E85-conversion community over here and I tried to follow up other peoples expiriences with E85. So far, it's mostly fuel filters that get clogged due to varnish. Cars equipped with Zenith CD175's carbs also might have problems. Other than that, it works remarkably well. That is with 85% ethanol.

10% is unlikely to attack the fuel system in same fashion.

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Last edited by beepbeep; 01-10-2009 at 03:49 PM..
Old 01-10-2009, 03:36 PM
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