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Symptoms of separated ethanol gasoline?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by poboyross, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    Ok....being the idiot that I am, I never even considered the idea that my engine problems might be partially rooted in the fact that ethanol gas separates in as little as 90 days, sometimes less. I also had no idea that ethanol gas absorbs water like mad when left to sit. I'm only 31, but when I was a kid, we had gas that sat in cans for years, and worked fine when we used it. I knew that ethanol is wreaking havok on fuel lines, rubber parts, gas caps, etc on classic cars....but I had no idea the gas itself could just fall apart like that.

    All that being said, what are the symptoms of gas that has possibly been separated for months? Here's my situation:

    -I'm still chasing the ghost of a mysterious "electrical problem" at the moment.

    -It's been a progressive problem over the past few weeks during my engine testing

    -When it does fire, it would start off strong or only "ok", then sputter and die

    -This progresses to the car not firing at all, but still turning over....occasionally, I'll hear it trying to fire.

    -Go ahead and laugh....the guy I bought it from filled it up when I bought it.....ONE YEAR AGO! Car hasn't been on the road, so all that fuel is still in there, although I did add about 1.5 gallons the other day in case he was pulling my leg and didn't fill it up as he said.

    I've go a whole other thread chasing the electrical ghost, so I wanted to pose this fuel question in a separate one. I did a search on here but only came up with the corrosive aspects of ethanol, not what happens if it breaks down. Thanks for any help or advice!
     
  2. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,956

    gas pumper
    Member

    Gas does not separate. And you need to add a ton of water to it for the ethanol to absorb enough water to acutally fall out of the gasoline. That's the only way you can do this without your own refinery. Once you get the separated componants, you can distill the alcohol off the water, if you are so inclined.

    The gasoline does not go bad from sitting unless it is "breathing" open vents and loosing the light easily eveporated parts. And absorbing huge amounts of moisture. If it still smells like new gas, it's OK. If it smells rotten, it is.

    I just ran my old truck that has been sitting for a year with a half tank of ethanol gas. Old style vented cap. No problems. Smells good and runs good. But I've seen open, vented red cans go bad in months. The gas turns into weed killer.

    Frank
     
  3. rainhater1
    Joined: Oct 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,147

    rainhater1
    BANNED
    from az

    If I let the car sit for a week or two the carb is empty, can pump it and there isn't any thing in it. Never happened before this shit they sell us now days.
     
  4. reefer
    Joined: Oct 17, 2001
    Posts: 766

    reefer
    Member

    I brought my car in from the U.S at Christmas..due to various hold ups in transit it took around 10 weeks to get it here.The gas cap had gone missing en route, and reading the above statement about being open to the atmosphere might cause a problem, but the gas in the tank was horrible...it caused my rubber fuel line(Ford part) at the pump to go so soft it blew up like a sausage and split spraying gas all over the motor and front of the car.I shut it off and mopped up all the spilt fuel....that stuff was like acid on my hands, it burnt like hell.On tick over the exhaust smoked like a chimney with the bad stuff in there.I fitted a new fuel pump,push rod and new 97 stromberg and changed the hose....emptied the fuel tank and put in some good old proper petrol..it fired up first go and after a minute the smoke was gone.

    I can`t think that this situation is normal with ethanol, but maybe it was the evaporation that caused my problem with the hose and diaphram.
     

  5. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN


    It's funny you mention the burning sensation....I had the back pressure in the lines spray it all over me, even though I *thought* I had it covered....back pressure just popped it out of my hands and got some on my face....later on that shiz was burning like a murf :p

    Here's another discussion I found elsewhere about the fuel:

    http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/016421.html
     
  6. medicinal_marinara
    Joined: Nov 24, 2009
    Posts: 139

    medicinal_marinara
    Member
    from Oregon

    The ethanol gas around here seems to leave some sort of jello behind when it evaporates. I have an 8 horse Kohler engine on my rototiller that I run maybe 4 times a year- if I leave it set with the same gas for more than 2 weeks, it evaporates out of the float bowl and leaves this clear snotty goo behind in the float bowl. It will start and run for a few minutes until enough fuel flows into the bowl to sort of re-absorb it, and then it plugs up the jet and stalls the engine out. It usually restarts after you let it set for a bit, until it does it again. The only sure way to cure it is to clean the crud out of the float bowl.

    I would bet that you have some similar crud. Drain that old fuel and start with fresh gas, and put sta-bil in it immediately. Stabil won't cure old gas but it will keep fresh fuel fresh longer.
     
  7. Gene@Gearworksmfg
    Joined: Oct 21, 2008
    Posts: 152

    Gene@Gearworksmfg
    Member

    Sounds like its running out of gas, rather than a bad gas problem.. bad fuel pump? eventhough you say it's full of gas, if it's not venting properly, it will act as if it's running out of gas.
     
  8. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    I got as much gas out as possible...about 5 gallons via siphoning it out the rear. I also disconnected the fuel line up front, put it into a container, and turned the engine over a few times. The fuel looked *really* thin....a little too pale. I also noticed the "fuel" that got on the end of the line didn't evaporate....or smell....it was water. To see what would happen, I dumped 2 fresh gallons in and let the engine turn over for about 15 seconds to try and flush the lines further. Once it grabbed some of the fresh fuel, it started up and ran rough for about 5-10 seconds...then sputter death. I'm thinking that the new fuel stirred up the separated fuel enough to make it to the carb and fire. Then, being lighter than water, the gas separated again, water at the bottom, and killed it. SO....I'm going to try actually disconnecting the fuel line IN and pull it out that way so hopefully I can get it all this time. I'll try dumping 5-10 fresh gallons in there and see what happens.

    Also of note, after it began it's progression from starting/running to absolute death again, it burped crud up through the carb (which is also brand new) that definitely wasn't gas. It shot sh*t to the roof of the air cleaner that smelled like fuel diluted with water.

    -Does this mean I should pull the plugs and turn it over to try and get any water out that might be in there?



    Fuel pump is new, and confirmed it's working....fuel pressure is good coming out of it, too. Good thought....had that happen when I had the old one on there!
     
  9. proabbly try to get all the fuel out of the tank, clean carb, dump in a good can or 2 of the best heet and put some new premium fuel in it and try again

    just used a car that had sat for a year, had to give it heet and reset the carb and i went through the carb before attempting to drive it

    once they function it seems like they will get better
     
  10. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    it's a brand new carb, so do I have to pull it to empty it out.....or will it empty itself once I get new fuel in there? Just not wanting to tear down a carb fresh out of the box...literally less than a week.
     
  11. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    RAINHATER1,are you running a edelbrock?,if you are they are known to leak down after sitting ,sometimes less than a week.
     
  12. rainhater1
    Joined: Oct 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,147

    rainhater1
    BANNED
    from az

    Yes but where is the fuel going
     
  13. Bored Over
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 76

    Bored Over
    Member

    I'm keeping an eye on this thread,as I have had almost the same symptoms on my O.T. 1980 chevy truck. It started a year ago, it would just die. I pulled the fuel line from the carb and would'nt get any fuel. I replaced the pump and filter, no luck.It had dual tanks and I thought that the switch or valve was bad. I went to using just one tank, no luck. I then thought that maybe the sock in the tank was geting plugged up,no luck. Gas gauge?-no luck. I stopped using the ethanol stuff and don't let the gas tank get below 1/2 and I haven't had the problems since. But what do I know?????
     
  14. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    It leaks into intake,put an edelbrock on my 53 Chevy with smallblock 400 ,couldn"t figure out why it had to spin over so long to crank till I checked the carg,took the thing off put a good quadrajeton it, no more problems and much better responce.
     
  15. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    Sorry Rainhater....I *just* realized what you were saying :p

    I do have an Edelbrock 500cfm, electric choke.....brand friggin new...then this :mad: Where would they leak...down to the cylinders? If that's the case, reckon I should pull the plugs and turn it over a few times? Hoping the Heet will take care of some of it, if not all.
     
  16. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    PROBLEM SOLVED....well, hopefully. Here's what I did:

    -Siphon out as much gasoline as possible via a pump coming out of the fill tube.
    -Pour a bottle of Heet in, as I was unable to get *all* of the gas out
    -Disconnect the fuel line from the carburetor
    -Remove the carb and empty it of fuel
    -Turn over the engine for several spurts of about 5-10 seconds each, allowing the bad fuel in the lines to get pushed through and out into a container, hopefully getting some of the Heet in there to bond to whatever water is left
    -mount the carburetor and fuel lines
    -Fill up the tank with high octane gas (tried to find ethanol free, no luck :( )
    -Turn over the engine to get the fuel flowing (this took awhile to finish purging the lines)
    -FLAME ON!

    Never in a million years would I have suspected the fuel. I had no idea that ethanol is such a vile substance. I didn't grow up with it, we had the 3 year old gas in the red tank for our lawn tractors, and a large tank that had gas in it for the better part of 10 or more years that always burned fine....PRE-ETHANOL.

    I couldn't see the separated water/glycol mixture in what I got out of the tank, but I got a whole lot more out of the lines via the pump. I let it sit in a little pan, in the sun, between 4-8pm.....only about 30-40% evaporated. That tells you how bad it was :p

    I know most of you guys know absolutely how it's done, but I figured I'd outline it for other people that might be new to this like me. Hopefully this helps someone else. I think I'm done chasing this ghost. Now onto all the others that haunt my car!
     
  17. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,057

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Ummm, Heet IS alcohol!!!!!!!!! You did nothing different than what was already in the tank except freshen up the alky.
     
  18. H.G. Wells
    Joined: Mar 11, 2006
    Posts: 386

    H.G. Wells
    Member

    Ethanol blends will pull moisture and seperate. Look up phase seperation.
    Water and gas will not blend. Ethanol and gas will blend, ethanol and water will blend and when E10 or any other ethanol blend absorbs enough water they will seperate from the gas. Glad you got it sorted out, but if you are going to continue to run ethanol blends be careful about how long you keep it. I do not remember the name of the product, but there is something like Heat that is made specifically for ethanol blends. Most Heat type products are just methanol and absorb the water, but one you have phase seperation it is really hard to put them back together. Better yet find a station that sells conventional gasoline. (might not be available in NJ)
     
  19. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado


    Yep;
    Before unleaded with ethanol, we actually poured ethanol in the tank to disperse water in the form of addatives, one, as pointed out, was called HEET, when not used water would freeze in the bottom of the tank in the wintertime, disableing many cars.

    The ethanol in gasoline is an upside, it absorbs, and disperses a LOT of water, making the problems associated with that almost obsolete, unless you actually pour a lot of water in the tank.

    I hear people complaining about unleaded gasoline with ethanol a lot, but most of those complaints are unfounded. Of course there were a few upsides to leaded gasoline, but motor technology has kept up with the chanages/differences.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  20. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy
    Member

    Buy gas only while we still got it.
     
  21. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    Honestly, I don't really give crap what it does....it worked. Thanks for pissing in my cereal. I may not be a "pro" like many of you....but I was thankful for this small victory, especially seeing how my only source of knowledge is this board and the internet.

    Yeah, here it's called HEET. Found out about it from another post in this thread....I need to shake that guy's hand. I don't *want* to use ethanol blends...I asked and drove all over looking and asking, but no banana. I don't think it's legal here in NJ....like most other useful things...God, Guns....probably Rock N Roll before too long :rolleyes: Perhaps I'll have to start going to PA?

    Regarding the phase separation, I read up on it supplemental to doing what I did. Even though the gas I was aware was there had been in for about a year, I have a feeling there was more in there from way before that....who knows how long. I do know that a primarily water mixture came out via the fuel line.

    Well, my claim most definitely seems to have some solid grounding to it. I'll hand deliver some of that old worthless crud for you to inspect, if you'd like ;)

    While it *may* be possible that water was introduced to the tank in a different manner, I have some lingering doubts. The seal on the gas cap may be old and cruddy, but it's covered well and the flap cover works fine. The weird part was that it has been progressive in problems for the past few months during my build. It's like it just turned a corner one day and bam, had enough and closed up shop.

    Here's some of the articles I read over the past few days:

    http://www.epa.gov/oms/regs/fuels/rfg/waterphs.pdf


    http://fuelschool.blogspot.com/2009/02/phase-separation-in-ethanol-blended.html

    http://www.fuel-testers.com/about_ethanol_fuel.html
     
  22. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    Originally Posted by 29nash
    Here's an article for you to read; I just wrote it.

    I started learning about bad gas in 1946. It's been my experience that BAD GAS is caused by contamination or old age. You can believe me when I say this. Why would I lie?

    Leaded gas, if left in the tank for several years would evaporate and the volitale hydrocarbons will evaporate, leaving it impotent. It also would absorb moisture from condensation if the tank is not kept full.

    Unleaded gas; will do the same if left for a few years, but I have current factual knowledge of at least two cars, work in progress that haven't had any gas added for at least two years and they still fire up when we work on them.

    If the gas you bought was good stuff to start with, uncontaminated (at the source) and you didn't contaminate it after you bought it, it's my firm belief that you won't have any trouble with it.

    There is an ongoing joke amongst teenagers, stupid and bored, that go around pissing in gas tanks. My grandson turned me on to this current oddity concerning the needs of youth with time on their hands to entertain themselves.
    Here's an article for you to read; I just wrote it.

    I started learning about bad gas in 1946. It's been my experience that BAD GAS is caused by contamination or old age. You can believe me when I say this. Why would I lie?

    Leaded gas, if left in the tank for several years would evaporate and the volitale hydrocarbons will evaporate, leaving it impotent. It also would absorb moisture from condensation if the tank is not kept full.

    Unleaded gas; will do the same if left for a few years, but I have current factual knowledge of at least two cars, work in progress that haven't had any gas added for at least two years and they still fire up when we work on them.

    If the gas you bought was good stuff to start with, uncontaminated (at the source) and you didn't contaminate it after you bought it, it's my firm belief that you won't have any trouble with it.

    There is an ongoing joke amongst teenagers, stupid and bored, that go around pissing in gas tanks. My grandson turned me on to this current oddity concerning the needs of youth with time on their hands to entertain themselves.
     
  23. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    That's not an article, that's an excerpt. :D

    I'm not saying that you're lying, nor am I opposed to the idea that the gas got contaminated, or perhaps was when I bought it. Could it be the neighborhood teens? Perhaps...they did steal our garden gnome several weeks ago. I'm just saying that there's a breadth of possibility that could have caused it. I believe that your experiences are true, just as I believe it's true that the company in one of those articles found problems with E10 fuel separating in a number of fleet vehicles. All I know is that there was water in there, and hopefully now there's not! :) The motor ran better than ever today, and I'm just friggin' happy as can be.....

    BTW, plans are in the works to replace the gnome with one that's anchored with some rebar and concrete....and eLeCtRiFiEd!!!!!

    I wonder what I could come up with for the gas tank?
     
  24. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,057

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Here is some piss in your cereal ;) We haul fuel. I was talking to a customer this week that mentioned coming incentives and mandates that will basically eliminate normal Unleaded gas the the country. Already Colorado has very little available. Also, there will be mandates for more Biodiesel blends in the coming years.
     
  25. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    Put leaded and unleaded in different tanks, wait, and it's my belief, based on many years of experience dealing with both, that unleaded outshines leaded except for leaded's inherent anti-detonation properties.
     
  26. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    29nash
    BANNED
    from colorado

    Yep. And all of those changes due to thumb-sucking politics, not reality. Of course, I could have continued to deal with what we had in the good old days, regular or ethyl, higher compression motors, etc. Absent politics, we could still choose between #1 and #2 diesel too............... Ha.
     
  27. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,057

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Acually there is plenty of #1, but, the newer additives actually work great when used properly. Plus it is less expensive.
     
  28. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    poboyross
    Member
    from West TN

    I'm actually ok with the idea of biodiesel. I've always heard (and believed) that the increase in ethanol was due to the sway the corn industry has over the gub'ment. They subsidize them to grow it so they can make high fructose corn syrup and ethanol....or so they say. I would really like my next build to have a biodiesel engine, if I can muster the gumption to do it. I know several guys on here have. I was over in the UK for 2 weeks, had enough points saved to rent a Volvo XC60. Little thing had a 4 cylinder diesel that sounded bad ass, picked up like a v8, and go 35mpg the entire time we were there. Also saw a video where they modified a jetliner to run on biofuel made by algae...operated as good if not better than regular jet fuel. I'm down with the cool stuff that gives you just as much power and bang for the buck as gasoline, but not this hippie sh*t that's much worse, more expensive, and only exists to give people shivers up their legs.
     
  29. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,057

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Biodiesel is fine, until it gets cold. There was a school district in Minnesota that went "green" with their bus fleet. Savings was something like 100K a year in fuel. Then it got cold and the busses would not start...............the solution, build a million doallar heated bus barn. Oy Vey!
     
  30. Piewagn
    Joined: Mar 25, 2009
    Posts: 1,248

    Piewagn
    Member

    Except the fact that Heet is Isopropyl alky.................
     

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