Author Topic: Modern Fuel  (Read 1888 times)

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Offline Gromet

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Modern Fuel
« on: July 10, 2010, 11:03:41 pm »
Here is an e mail that a friend sent to Shell that is of interest.

Dear Sir / Madam,                         
  I have been a user of your petrol and oil  products for over 40 years or more.
In that time I am pleased to say that I have had very few problems other than engine "pinking" problems as your fuel anti knock "quality" has diminished with the loss of 5 Star and the introduction of "Unleaded"
 However, I seem to be encountering more than normal examples of excessive  fuel system degradation / contamination, in my Jaguars, and MGB and also some  other classic cars that I get involved with that belong to friends.
 Carburettor diaphragms and some other rubber parts have failed ---gone  hard and then cracked.
Also the "slosh" tank sealant used on fuel tanks seems to be coming adrift and contaminating the fuel lines and filters.

I have been told that Shell [and other petrol companies] have been adding  an extra ingredient called Ethanol , and calling the petrol "Bio fuel"

This doesn`t mean much to me as a customer because there is nothing on the forecourt pumps to say which fuels have been tampered with.
Could this additive be responsible for the type of fuel system damage I am seeing on all but the more modern cars?

Two questions. Firstly, how can I overcome the problem?                    Secondly,  in the event of, say, an engine fire, due  to
abnormally rapid degradation of fuel system components, where does "Product
Liability" lie?-------with the car manufacturer, the component manufacturer or the fuel
Can you please enlighten me? or at least identify the pumps dispensing

                                               Kind Regards,


In answer to your question yes petrol fuel does contain upto 5% ethanol as a
bio component which undoubtedly cause issues with rubber components and seal
and things such as fibreglass fuel tanks in aviation. This is a government
legislative requirement know as the renewable fuels transport obligation
(RTFO) which was on introduced on 1st April 2009 in the UK, and as
consequence covers all forecourt fuels of all manufacturers and requires
their fuels to contain an aggregate of 5% Bio content which is Ethanol in
petrol fuel and FAME  (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) in Diesel Fuels.
There will be no liability with the fuel manufacturer as all our petrol
fuels comply with the BS EN 228 which allows upto 5% ethanol content in
gasoline fuel. All major manufacturuers have tested fuels upto 10% without
issue. In terms of vintage cars, there are currently no fuels available
which meet the exact specification that the engines were originally designed
for, so it is very much incumbent on the consumer to ascertain that the fuel
they are suing is 'Fit for purpose'

The Issues you raise are certainly real issues for vintage car owners. The
fuel we sell will continue to comply with the relevant fuel standards and
specifications as it did previously.  The finished petrol will meet the UK
gasoline standard EN228, and the maximum amount of ethanol blended into the
fuel will be in line with this and the RTFO (renewable fuel transport
obligation - 5% max). However that doesn't really help owners of vintage
vehicles. There are several things you can do to minimize the effects of
ethanol. Firstly run a non-alcohol based fuel stabilizer all year round. As
you say, older engines were designed primarily for straight gasoline, and
using ethanol without protection may cause corrosion of some metals in the
engine. It also may damage natural rubber and cork parts. Fuel Stabilizers
(I believe Stabil do a product) contain additives to protect against rust
and corrosion caused by ethanol fuel blends. If practical Install a water
separation filter and fuel filter, and replace fuel lines, gaskets or
o-rings with new ethanol resistant materials. Similarly replace the fuel
tank if necessary with one made from an ethanol resistant material.

In terms of laying up the vehicle; Assuming the above measures are in place
(I cannot make a laying up procedure if they are not, as it simply would not
be advisable with fuel containing ethanol), I would suggest filling the fuel
tank to about 95% of its capacity with fuel, rather than leaving the fuel
tank low. This minimizes; the tank-breathing effect, the loss of volatile
components and the ingress of moisture into the fuel tank. The later in
extreme cases can cause the appearance of free-water in the fuel.

If a fuel is to be stored in a motor vehicle fuel tank, then maintaining
fuel quality is important in order to maintain good start-up and a good
level of vehicle drivability. When an engine fails to start after a period
of lay up, it may be less to do with fuel deterioration, and could be
related to un-seasonal fuel, which may not be sufficiently volatile to start
the engine from cold. Non volatile residues are often observed in the fuel
tank, delivery system and/or carburetors in cases of severe evaporative loss
of a gasoline. The reside can manifest itself as either a gum or
lacquer-like film or deposit, or a gel-like substance. This residue would be
a combination of low-volatility constituents and detergent additives that
are found in gasoline, but concentrated after evaporation. We do not advise
storing fuels in vehicles for more than 6 months. You should also take into
account the differences between summer and winter grades of petrol. Petrol
has a higher volatility in the winter in order to enable cold starting. For
this reason it is better to fill the tank with a winter grade fuel (16th
October - 14th April) rather than a summer grade.

Lubricants and Fuels Technical Services


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Re: Modern Fuel
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 10:01:39 am »
Only in the past few weeks Ethanol addition has been increased to 10%  soon to be increased to 20. Some of the horror stories re the new fuel  ie; to the older style pet seal, fibre glass tanks, & rubber fuel lines, the last being on modern vehicles too, makes one wonder how the oil companies get away with it under Health & Safety Regs,.  Of course they come up with the excuse reduces emissions , which has not been prooved and Governments say " Oh that's OK then" Woodie

Offline bigal1340

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Re: Modern Fuel
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 10:17:28 am »
Anyone remember Thatchers idea to scrap all vehicles over 10 years old ? Seems like they have found an easier way to do it. >:( >:( >:(


Online camman3

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Re: Modern Fuel
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2010, 08:34:51 pm »
I have just recieved a catalouge from Hitchcocks, in which they rightly point out that the consequences can be devestating.
They also point out that ethanol has been in fuel for many years in the states, and reliable products have been readily available. They now stock Caswell (American made) tank sealant which is proven against ethanol.
I would be inclined to take Hitchcocks word.
1957 C12
In sunny (sometimes) Christchurch, Dorset, UK


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Re: Modern Fuel
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 08:35:07 am »
In France Ethanol  has been added at the rate of 15%  for some time. Although I fond no difference in the general running of my C12, on my last day  & on the return journey  of about 180 miles  back to Dunkirk  I suddenly got similar symptoms of running out of fuel. After some time of  fiddling & standing on the hard  shoulder of an Autoroute she did start. A friend who had stopped with pronounced  fuel was coming through at avery fast rate. Continueing on I was aghast to find No JHard shoulder blocked by huge concrete slabs  with 40  tonners inches off ones  rear lamp. I litterally prayed please keep going old girl!! Sure metres from the end of the blocks  she died.  The gang all pulled up & it ascertained No fuel to Carb although i had recently filled up! WE worked asift patter ones finger over the tank  tap hole , whilst the brand new tap was withdrawn.  Looking at it  A turn type can't stand the pull on type, compleatly blocked. With that a French Van driver pulled up & prpduced an electric tyre pump  No Good , someone produced a Flanders Poppy with Plastic stem.  With some difficulty this was pushed through, Tap replaced and with the warning from others not to turn the tap  I got home safetly. Later stripping the tap  the internals  had swelled so much & gone like glue preventing any fuel flow.  Later in Germany in my Morris Minor I stopped to assit a lady driver of abrand New BMW Diesel  her phone batteries  were flat & she was near to tears, Lokking at her engine Diesel was spraying everywhere from spongy  collasped pipes. The rear of my Morris Minor is avirtual mobile workshop when on foreign tours. Yes out came the roll of  rubber fuel pipe, with the aid of my RASC knife  issued to all drivers, Soon had the Frauline on her way.  Down the road stopping for arest I was approached by a coach full of Prague orchestra players  trying to find the Cologne Opera house, nothing to do with Ethanol fuel but Moggy Led them there.  I'm too old to worry about Fuel, but I do feel you Younger Riders of Classics should be making your voices heard before it's too late!! Paul