JoeTR6 New Reader
March 30, 2009 7:53 p.m.

I finally fired up the TR6 after a long winter storage last weekend. It died about 12 miles into the drive. To make a painful story short, here's what caused to problem...

The input side of the fuel filter was completely blocked with what feels like jello. The car's only been driven a few times in the last 6 months (maybe 500 miles). Anyone ever hear of 10% ethanol gas causing this kind of build up in a fuel system? It's possible someone put something in the tank while it was parked somewhere, but not likely.

I guess the fix is pretty simple. Drain the tank and drive it more.

xci_ed6 Reader
March 30, 2009 8:56 p.m.

what's it smell like?

It looks like normal varnish. Ethanol is a good cleaner, it is possible that it cleaned the tank out and left all the old goo in the filter.

Or the fuel just started to go bad on it's own.

zipty842 New Reader
March 30, 2009 9:42 p.m.

That pretty much looks like what I dig out of chain saw carbs on a daily basis, only in a greater amount. Hooray for ethanol

foxtrapper SuperDork
March 31, 2009 5:52 a.m.

Looks like the same stuff I dig out of snowblower and riding mower carbs quite regularly. Horray for ethanol.

Jensenman SuperDork
March 31, 2009 6:48 a.m.

It's not fuel tank sealer, is it? There's been a lot of problem with the newer ethanol blended fuels not being compatible with the older 'slosh around' fuel tank sealers like Kreem. Some of the motorcycle aftermarket fiberglass tank manufacturers have reported problems too.

walterj Dork
March 31, 2009 7:22 a.m.

How did those Charros get in there? Looks delicious!

ignorant SuperDork
March 31, 2009 7:25 a.m.

ohh thats where I put my sandwich.

car39 Reader
March 31, 2009 8:05 a.m.

Could be ethanol. I stored my bike a few years past without draining the fuel system, and it wouldn't run past an idle when I started it in the spring. The bike shop told me ethanol turns to jelly after a few months, even with fuel stabalizer. It doesn't affect cars so much because of modern high pressure fuel pumps, but on a bike it's murder.

angusmf New Reader
March 31, 2009 8:32 a.m.

I wonder if that's what happened to my Rabbit. Fuel pump died after a while of sitting. Replaced it with a brand new pump (not cheap) which died after about an hour of running.

iceracer Reader
March 31, 2009 8:56 a.m.

I am not a fan of ethanol, particularly the 10% in gas kind. However, that is all I can get. I have heard of all kinds of bad things happening when used. My snow blower and lawn mwer were supposed to overheat and blow up. Hasn't happened yet. I use Stabil and the fuel sets in the tanks for the season. Absolutely no problems. Each will start after setting with no problems. The jelly came from old gas.

foxtrapper SuperDork
March 31, 2009 12:39 p.m.

Overheating and blowing up can be a real problem with the 2-strokes. Far from a guarantee, but a real possibility. You're compromizing the lubrication, and that's not a good thing. You can get away with a lot more on a 4-stroke than a 2-stroke.

I've noticed that the jelly in the carburetor bowls seems mostly, if not exclusively, tied to steel bowls. I don't see it in outboards or motorcycles, or lbc's for that matter. And I don't see it in all steel bowls. But when I do see it, it's usually in the steel bowl of lawn equipment and such. Snow blowers seem very prone to this. Not sure if it has some relation to the winter blends vs the summer blends.

As ethanol is a solvent for polyester resin there has been a well known and well documented incompability with fiberglass fuel tanks. Coast Guard has a whole lot of information on this problem.

xci_ed6 Reader
March 31, 2009 2:03 p.m.

I rebuild a lot of motorcycle carburetors and I find gelled fuel/varnish in the aluminum bowls. Usually bikes that have been stored for long periods of time. I sometimes find very oxidized bowls, one was so bad the carb had to be replaced. I have a feeling that that was related to ethanol because it was more recently stored and ethanol is the cheapest gas here.

mel_horn HalfDork
March 31, 2009 4:03 p.m.

Looks like you're in a jam.


alex Reader
March 31, 2009 4:21 p.m.

I'm gonna jump on the anti-ethanol bandwagon, too, with my experience rebuilding motorcycle carbs. It does indeed seem to interact strangely with Kreem-style liners, although I've never much liked those anyway.

Ethanol certainly seems to do weird things to gas while it sits, and we're only beginning to figure out what's what as it becomes more widespread.

JoeTR6 New Reader
March 31, 2009 6:49 p.m.
xci_ed6 wrote: what's it smell like?

Pretty much like gas. No other odor I could detect.

I've been reading that boaters have problems similar to this, most likely caused by ethanol. The tank was cleaned and sealed 15 years ago. I'm not sure what the paint shop used, but it doesn't look like Kreem. It looks thicker/less shiny. The tank looks clean (no blobs of jelly), and this stuff appears to have formed in the lines. I'd better check to see if the tank sealer is softened just in case. I'll probably never put sealer in a fuel tank again after ongoing bad experiences with Kreem in a motorcycle tank.

I'd like to use 100% petrol, but all we seem to get in NoVa is the 10% ethanol blend. Sigh.

zipty842 New Reader
March 31, 2009 7:33 p.m.

Two things to remember about ethanol: 1) It has a stronger bond with water than with gasoline. If you put some e10 in a jar, add some water, and shake it up, the ethanol will separate from gas in seconds, and it will never mix back up.

2) The smaller the quantity of E10, the faster it separates or goes bad. In other words, the ten gallons in the tank might be stable for 6 months, but the 3oz in the filter is likely to go bad in 3-4 weeks. Especially if there is a chance for condensation to form. It's a fun one to explain to someone who picked up their saw or mower from our shop and just threw it in the shed, then tried to use it 2 months later on the same fuel.

At work, we clean mower/saw/bike carbs in an ultrasonic cleaner. Most of the mower float bowls come out of the cleaner with holes in them that probably wouldn't have been found if using brake cleaner.

Here in Oregon, you can get ethanol free fuel at the larger marinas (not for highway use, of course).

xci_ed6 Reader
April 1, 2009 12:50 a.m.

With as many carbs as I've been doing lately, I've been thinking about getting an ultrasonic cleaner.

zipty842 New Reader
April 1, 2009 1:04 a.m.

make sure you get a heated unit. We have found that a mix of simple green and water works good, especially at 110 degrees works great on the larger carbs, but I still find it more cost effective to replace saw/trimmer carbs. My success rate on rebuilds for those has went from 90% to 10% since the introduction of E10. It just does bad things to the glues and check valves

njansenv Reader
April 1, 2009 5:50 a.m.

Around here, Shell premium fuel is ethanol free....

SoloSonett Reader
April 1, 2009 12:12 p.m.

Same experience here. I never use ethanol in anything that will be stored more than a month. And always use Stabil . I've had bike carbs glued solid. So tight you couldn't get the slides to budge. Had to soak 'em loose.

Ultrasonic cleaners are THE best for carb cleaning! I use my lab cleaner for them all the time.

It's spring time, time to free up frozen carbs again. From lawn mowers to string trimmers

iceracer Reader
April 1, 2009 6:46 p.m.

Odd, but I had the same problems 15 yrs ago when I worked for a lawn & garden place. I run my trimmer,2cycle, no problems. I store my snow blower and lawn mower with the same gas, add Stabil and I have never had to clean the carb on either one. they always start right up. I am not defending ethanol, hate it. So I don't know what the problem is. Maybe it reacts differently with different metals or maybe the gasoline blend.

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