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Old 08-26-2013, 09:01 AM   #1
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Is Ethanol an issue?

I have a 2003 Ford chassis motorhome with the v-10. I do not remember timing of the federal gov't shoving ethanol down our throats, and know there are serious issues with ethanol in boat engines. I notice now all these "flex fuel" autos and don't know if the 2003 chassis was part of design changes to deal with ethanol. Should I be using an additive? Another concern I have is the storage issues. I generally store my MH with, near as I can, to a full tank of fuel, this is a habit from boating, theoretically the less space in the tank the less chance for air exchange and moisture formation. I don't think fuel systems in MH's "breath" like boat fuel systems so maybe that is not an issue with them.

Makes me wonder if there are any other concerns with storage of fuel in tank while the MH is idle? Should we keep full or empty tanks? "Phase separation" and issue?

I like to have full tanks myself, living in hurricane season it is nice to have a reserve of fuel available, either for quick getaway or for those times when power is interrupted and no fuel can be pumped.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:18 AM   #2
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You can treat with Sta-Bil Ethanol formula if you have concernes..I do.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:46 AM   #3
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What you have done is about all you can do. Keep the tank full and realize that gasoline is not as stable as it use to be. Ethanol has been used to stretch gasoline since the 70's. It does increase the octane rating as well. The auto industry switched their fuel systems to ethanol resistant materials to prevent the corrosive effects of the ethanol.

Is everything being done to negate those effects??? Well we hope so. However there is a push to increase the content from 10% to 15%. That part is all politics and I don't want to open up that worm can. There have been instances in some areas of the country that have experienced fuel with greater amounts of ethanol than the advertised 10%. That can be harmful to the fuel systems but sometime it is just shuffled off as a fuel pump problem and the consumer pays.

I try to stay on the main routes as we travel. Avoid off the wall brands and stations that may have old tanks or not maintain their tanks as well. Buy from the large suppliers who have a national reputation to uphold and who sell a lot of fuel. The chances of those places adding more ethanol to a given tank to increase their profits are less likely. True information concerning the exact amount of ethanol in the fuel we buy is probably difficult to get. I would assume that the larger suppliers are monitored by the EPA and probably not notified when they are. There are no guarantees but the use of some common sense might help!!!

Years ago I was with a friend pulling a 5th wheel. We were returning from a fishing trip in eastern AR. We got stopped by some guys sampling diesel tanks looking for off road or farm diesel fuel.

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Old 08-26-2013, 10:33 AM   #4
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You can treat with Sta-Bil Ethanol formula if you have concernes..I do.
Sta-Bil works great in our boat!
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:41 AM   #5
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Do some research on "phase separation"

One article: What is ?phase separation??

Another: Phase Separation in Gasoline

I'm an avid motorcyclist, and multiple times people in our group have had phase separation happen, and the bike will not run correctly.

We use this: Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment - Ethanol/E10
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:01 AM   #6
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Sta-Bil is a good product. Ethonol, is, in my opinion a bad idea, Epically if the vehicle has run for a while on pure gasoline. with a 2003.. .Well, odds are any EtOH issues it would have it's already had and have been corrected.

if the engine is computer controlled it will adjust for the differences in fuels, at least to the extent that it can adjust.. Not all can. You get less fuel millage so you burn more gallons. plus with all the oil that was burned by the farmer, and the distillery the country ends up worse off than pre-EtOH. but the government just loves putting booze in your tank.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:12 AM   #7
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I run only non-oxygenated gas in my 64 convert (up to $4.69 a gal @ times) and premium in the MH and have had no problems. I only use BP or SHELL Fuels.
I think it makes all the difference. Cheap Gas is well cheap!!!!!
Sorry I do.
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Old 08-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #8
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If you have an Onan generator, be careful. The 5500 Emerald edition in my '02 Georgetown is giving trouble. Onan's book says NO ETHANOL, but out west only Phillips had ethanol-free regular, and many of them have been taken over by Tesoro.

Since the generator doesn't have an independent fuel source, I'm not using it. This isn't a big deal as we're typically always a full hook-up sites. When I come to sell the rig, I'll have to get it fixed.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:13 PM   #9
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A recent customer of mine brought in his F150 for service. He owns several Barney's convenient marts. He told me that the BP fuel is only 5% ethanol. I have not been able to verify this online but if this is true, might be worth it to buy from BP. Might also explain why many Ford gas caps say BP fuel is recommended.

Most fuel system problem are not caused by E10. Several companies try to convince people into fuel separation or this or that so you buy their product. No one that I can think of including myself has ever had any issues that would relate to E10 fuels. I fill my lawnmower gas in the spring and use it all summer. No issues at all. I do use stabil during the winter because of the long sitting period. My lawnmower is 13 years old and this spring I took the carb apart and found nothing inside to be nervous about. Everything was perfect. Cleaned the rest of the cooling fins and started right up with last years fuel.
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Old 08-26-2013, 04:27 PM   #10
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premium in the MH and have had no problems. I only use BP or SHELL Fuels.
I think it makes all the difference. Cheap Gas is well cheap!!!!!
Why would you run a higher octane (less energy) fuel in your motorhome unless it's got a tune that needs that octane? You're paying more for less energy. Just FYI.

I really haven't noticed much difference with ethanol other than:
1) Weed eaters and other small engines - this stuff eats the fuel lines and primer bulbs.
2) Overall lifespan of "stored" gas. Gas with ethanol seems to go bad faster....
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:58 AM   #11
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He told me that the BP fuel is only 5% ethanol.
Very unlikely. Refiners are required, with few exceptions, to blend 10% ethanol into gasoline today.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:33 AM   #12
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I do not know about BP and E-5... I do know they did not always put 10% in and it may be the person you talked to had old information.

The Original poster also ask a question I have not seenanswered. Store with tanks full or partially full.. FULL, that way if you need the generator. You have the fuel. Also don't forget to run the genny once a month for at least 1/2 hour under 1/2 load (Space heaters of A/C depending on time of year)
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:50 AM   #13
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Thanks

Thanks for getting back to point, my concern is the effect that storage has on the ethanol/gas and the wisdom of keeping the tank full. Gas may sit for month or two at a time in storage and I am worried about effects of stored gas on fuel system and engine, wasn't even thinking about the effects on generator, that may be a whole other issue if they are not designed for E-10.?
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:57 AM   #14
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The government, in it's infinite wisdom has decided that E-10 is safe for all vehicles and that likely includes your generator.

Alternately, you can try and find ethanol free gas, but as a pilot, I can tell you that it's pretty hard to find in most places.

Store with the tanks full.. Less air in the tank helps (IMHO). Less fuel doesn't change what is in the fuel system. Long term storage - use a stabilizer and drain the carb on that genset, regardless of type of fuel used.
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