volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse Reader
10/25/12 9:06 a.m.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to take the '67 Volvo 122 I'd gotten back on the road about a month ago on the highway and see what she would do. After a few minutes of "acceptable" speed (grin) the engine began bucking and losing power. I thought it would stall, but eventually it picked back up again and didn't give any more trouble the rest of the drive. I thought maybe the SU carbs were running out of gas at the higher RPMs, and perhaps just needed some adjustment. Or perhaps the fuel pump was weak. I'd been daily driving the car, and hadn't noticed any problems before.

Last night on my way home from work, though, it began bucking and losing power just cruising down a city road at about 30 mph. I tried 3rd and 4th gear, but could barely keep up with traffic. Finally it bogged down and I had to shift into neutral and coast. Luckily, I made it into a gas station. I checked under the hood and the first thing I noticed was the plastic fuel filter (after the pump, of course) was brown. I always have my "geek tool" (Schrade multi-tool) with me, so I unclamped the fuel filter and watched it dribble gas mixed with brown gunk onto the pavement. No spare was on hand, so I went into the gas station bathroom and flushed the filter out in the sink- the faucet blew all sorts of nasty red and brown crap into the sink while back-flushing. I wiped it off, blew it out, and attached it to the pump, but not to the carbs. I cranked the engine and it actually fired, so I let it run for a few seconds with the filter outlet pointed at the pavement to run some gas through it. Then reconnected it to the carbs and drove to the nearest parts store to get a replacement. And a spare. ;-)

Before putting the Volvo on the road, I'd replaced the fuel tank with a better one I'd cleaned out with diesel fuel and ATF, but apparently there was still some sediment in the tank...my "spirited" driving over the past month or so combined with the lovely solvent properties of this Ethanol gas we're all using now must have dislodged enough to clog the then-new filter.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/25/12 9:18 a.m.

huh? It's enthanol's fault that you had garbage in your fuel system?

interesting blaming there. So E0 would have left the garbage alone- kind of a ignorance is bliss kind of thing?

There are also a whole host of other detergents in fuel, if you didn't know that....

Had the fuel lines or filter just melted away and caused a different problem, well.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
10/25/12 9:19 a.m.

^That.

RossD
RossD UberDork
10/25/12 9:20 a.m.

Most of the gas stations here have the high octane without ethanol. I take it you don't have this luxury?

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse Reader
10/25/12 9:27 a.m.

There are some ethanol-free stations around, but the low-compression engine doesn't require high test. And the extra 30 cents per gallon x ~50 gallons of fuel I've run through this new filter would have been more than the cost of the $5 fuel filter.

To answer the smart-allecky remark, no, Ethanol did not put the E36 M3 in my fuel tank, but it accelerated the transfer of the residue into the rest of the fuel system. Before putting the car on the road, I flushed all the hard fuel lines and replaced all the rubber lines and filter with new, in addition to flushing out the tank. In the pre-ethanol days, this would have sufficed. And yes, I am aware there are other detergents in gasoline.

iceracer
iceracer UltraDork
10/25/12 9:28 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: huh? It's enthanol's fault that you had garbage in your fuel system? interesting blaming there. So E0 would have left the garbage alone- kind of a ignorance is bliss kind of thing? There are also a whole host of other detergents in fuel, if you didn't know that.... Had the fuel lines or filter just melted away and caused a different problem, well.

My thoughts exactly.

yamaha
yamaha Dork
10/25/12 9:29 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse:

He's in SC, they're lucky to get gasoline that isn't loaded with dirt/water and dispensed by someone other than billee...........

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/25/12 9:32 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse:

So you are saying that it would have happend some day- but since it was NOW, it's ethanol's fault?

I still don't get that blame.

if there is garbage there, it eventually would come out- E0, E10, E15, E85 regrdless. It would not just sit there, being sufficient.

if you think this is being a smart-allek, then what do you call your knee jerk recation? Seriously?

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
10/25/12 9:34 a.m.

I think at this point, people just don't realize how long Ethanol has been in pump gas.

yamaha
yamaha Dork
10/25/12 9:44 a.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: I think at this point, people just don't realize how long Ethanol has been in pump gas.

For a very good long time fuel has been at least E10.....

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse Reader
10/25/12 9:48 a.m.

Besides accelerating the fuel filter's demise, Ethanol (as you allude to) doesn't get along with rubber very well. Or even some metals. Whatever a 'recation' is, I don't think it was knee-jerk.

My understanding is that Ethanol became prevalent in pump gas when the EPA decided that MTBE was a groundwater contaminant. Ethanol is also produced from corn, which we grow a lot of in this country, and which is subsidized by the government, so there was additional incentive to use it. There were attempts at "alcoholizing" fuels back in the fuel-crisis days, but "gasahol" had many of the same issues back then as we're having today with the Ethanol-blended "gasoline". Newer cars just deal with them better.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey SuperDork
10/25/12 10:12 a.m.

Glad you were able to de-gunk and carry-on. A few more miles and you should have all the garbage siphoned up haha

benzbaronDaryn
benzbaronDaryn Dork
10/25/12 12:03 p.m.

Sounds like neglect is to blame not so much ethanol. Ethanol is the new boogey man, if anything is amiss in a fuel system automatically it is ethanols fault. I'll just say if ethanol was so bad I doubt you'd see any bosch CIS cars on the roads.

Appleseed
Appleseed PowerDork
10/25/12 12:03 p.m.

Next time test.

Knurled
Knurled SuperDork
10/25/12 12:13 p.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: I think at this point, people just don't realize how long Ethanol has been in pump gas.

It's been in the fuel here since at least the 80s and somehow we never had these kind of problems.

red5_02
red5_02 Reader
10/25/12 12:14 p.m.

Love me some ethanol. It'll be sure to keep all the new parts of my rebuilt motor fresh.

Also, how do you know it wasn't the diesel and ATF that had soaked into the gunk and it finally released?

Knurled
Knurled SuperDork
10/25/12 12:15 p.m.
benzbaronDaryn wrote: Sounds like neglect is to blame not so much ethanol. Ethanol is the new boogey man, if anything is amiss in a fuel system automatically it is ethanols fault.

I took my fuel filter off and cut it open and there was about 3/16" of mud in the bottom. Is that ethanol? Has BP been putting Kahlua in my gas to cut it?

HappyAndy
HappyAndy Dork
10/25/12 12:22 p.m.

I don't care for ethanol, but my gripe has more to do with degraded fuel economy than degraded parts. I also suspect that some refiners/distributors are cheating and diluting the fuel with greater than 10% ethanol.

I know that when I use premium fuel from the local convince store gas station in my wifes BMW, there is a noticeable decline in miles per tank compared to premium fuel from Sunoco or Exxon.

red5_02
red5_02 Reader
10/25/12 12:30 p.m.
HappyAndy wrote: I know that when I use premium fuel from the local convince store gas station in my wifes BMW, there is a noticeable decline in miles per tank compared to premium fuel from Sunoco or Exxon.

I always buy name brand gas for the Civic.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse Reader
10/25/12 1:29 p.m.

In my wife's 2000 GMC Jimmy, she gets about 23 mpg driving on alcohol-free fuel, vs about 20 driving with the 10% ethanol blend. She does the exact same type of driving all the time, so it's a valid comparison.

What's interesting is that my old Volvo gets identical fuel economy regardless of whether I run Ethanol blend or straight gasoline. I think it may be because of the lack of computer controls, I'd have to "retune" the engine to get a benefit. Since I usually use 10% ethanol fuels (they're easier to find, and I drive all over) it's basically tuned to run on that type of fuel.

After flushing the tank with diesel/ ATF, I flushed it a few more times with straight gas. It actually looked pretty clean inside. Next time I'll just take it to a gas tank place and have them seal it. If someone made a replacement drop-in poly tank for the Amazon and it wasn't $$$$ I'd buy one.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/25/12 2:25 p.m.

I hope I'm not going to get into the other parts of the argument here, but I'll say that we no longer get gas tanks sealed for our customers anymore. We've had too many of the sealants peel off and clog the lines, filters, or even pickups in the tanks. This has happened much more frequently than in the old days, and we do tend to blame ethanol whether it deserves it or not. The companies that line tanks are now all claiming that ethanol won't cause trouble, but we're just putting new tanks in cars whenever possible. Sometimes, there is little price difference anyway.

--Carl www.eclecticmotorworks.com

Travis_K
Travis_K SuperDork
10/25/12 2:43 p.m.

I did notice a drop in fuel economy when costco started selling gas with a higher ethanol content (~5 mpg) and after a couple taknks of it had a small fuel leak from a rubber line. I did see that gates recomends no longer using low pressure fuel hose on any gas powered cars because it isnt as resistant to ethanol.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
10/25/12 3:54 p.m.
volvoclearinghouse wrote: Besides accelerating the fuel filter's demise, Ethanol (as you allude to) doesn't get along with rubber very well. Or even some metals. Whatever a 'recation' is, I don't think it was knee-jerk.

Depends on the rubber. But you had already changed everything over to modern rubber- the stuff that was developed in the 80s when the problem first surfaced.

And "some metals" is also not quite right, especially at 10% ethanol.

But if you want to belive that, as opposed to the additional detergents that are required to prevent/reduce intake and combustion system deposits. Which are notoriously tough to get off.

More complaints happened when the full detergent package came in (this decade) than when oxygenated fules came in (the 70's). But all most remember is that E10 is now the base nationwide, as opposed to just blended in California and corn states... And that happend this decade....

BTW, MTBE issue is a California issue- since that was the additive in California Reformulated Fuel.

peabodysc
peabodysc New Reader
10/25/12 10:13 p.m.

I've seen articles detailing the nasty effects of the ethanol blends and fiberglass fuel tanks in boats. My dad has seen several small engines (lawn equipment) that suffered from gasket and fuel line degradation that points toward ethanol.

Several of our local convenience store / gas stations have removed, or reduced the number of, their E-85 pumps and replaced them with ethanol free 87 octane. I use ethanol free fuels as much as possible and find that the increased fuel mileage more than offsets the increased cost. I use only ethanol free fuel in all of my lawn equipment. I'm in SC also and the local chain I purchase from rhymes with Stinx.

irish44j
irish44j UltraDork
10/25/12 11:03 p.m.

Get your gas at a marina - they are exempt from ethanol requirements, as many boat engines really do not do well with ethanol. My parents own a marina on the Chesapeake and none of their gas has ethanol. It does cost a bit more than the ethanol blend they used to get.....

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