Gasohol = Bad???

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by tpelle, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. tpelle

    tpelle New Member

    I happened to be at a hardware store this AM buying a mower deck belt for my Cub Cadet. The guy ahead of me was bringing in a Stihl trimmer for service, and was complaining bitterly about the carburetor. He said that he had owned Stihl chainsaws, trimmers, etc. for years, and had always had good service from them, except lately he thought they had gone to "crummy" carburetors = he was going to switch to another brand.

    The guy behind the counter said that it made little difference what brand he switched to, as all of the 2-stroke motors used a carburetor from the same company, and that the problem was the gasoline that is sold around here (Northern Kentucky). He said that it is "reformulated" gasoline, and is a certain percentage alcohol. He said the alcohol eats up certain seals, etc. in the carbs.

    Is this true? Is this something we have to watch for?

  2. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    Yes, mostly true but I'm fairly certain most engines can tolerate 10% alcohol without any problems.
  3. kerf

    kerf Guest

    I don't know about carbs but I can tolerate 10% alcohol just fine, more if ya got it.
  4. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    lol Kerf, bring on the 151*
  5. rocpyro

    rocpyro New Member

    Seals can always be replaced. There are materials that won't be affected.
  6. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    I wonder if that's a 2-stroke issue?

    Alcohol in my experience makes my engines run better with more low-end torque.

    I add a lot of denatured alcohol to my bike motor, and also in my car. 91% isopropyl works good too, but not as well as denatured.

    What seals do you have to worry about? The paper gaskets?
  7. wildchild04

    wildchild04 New Member


    For the small engines, I never put anything except Regular Unleaded. Most Owner Manuals for small engines will say, Regular only. And from what I understand the Ethanol eats away some of the plastic or rubber parts.
  8. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    Wasn't sure what type of gas to burn in mine - contacted the manufac - they said Reg only - seems like your state approved mixture should not cause damage - there are a lot of small engines out there.. Happy Riding from - Mountainman
  9. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Alcohol is an inferior fuel to gasoline for street engines. It produces fewer BTUs per pound than gas or diesel, absorbs water and becomes corrosive. Alcohol can handle 19/1 compression and produces large amounts of HP in racing engines because it will burn in much richer conditions than gas, just takes twice as much. Alcohol cost more than gas, part of the reason gas has gone up, gets worse mileage and is being produced from food grains, causing an increase in food prices. If this stupid federal mandate were not in effect, alcohol would always be in my liquor cabinet but never in my gas tank.

    One day there will be an alternative fuel, but for now:

  10. tpelle

    tpelle New Member

    The issue in my area is that, due to convergence of a couple of major interstate highways to use the bridges across the Ohio River at Cincinnati, and the truck traffic that brings, the EPA has mandated that the three northernmost counties in Northern Kentucky use "reformulated" gasoline. I'm not exactly sure what "reformulated" means, but part of it, I understand, is the addition of alcohol.

    While on the subject, folks, a big part of the high fuel prices that we are experiencing is due to the requirements to use these "boutique" fuels. Not only is the refinement process slightly different for each one, meaning that the refineries must alter their "recipe", and their process, for each batch of fuel going to a different market, it means that they have to use separate tanks to store the different fuels in, different trucks to haul it, and on and on. All this adds to the cost.

    For example, I can drive about 15 miles south, into Pendleton County, and buy fuel that's not reformulated. But that's a 30 mile round trip out of my way. But to the oil company distributor, it means that his truck that delivers to a gas station in Campbell County, where I live, can't just drive a mile over the county line into Pendleton County to deliver there - he has to send a different truck!
  11. JemmaUK

    JemmaUK Guest

    Part of the reason that these limited edition petrols are coming out is the modern engines themselves.

    Because of the extensive sensoring on new car/truck motors its pretty hard to put something in the tank that is sold as petrol that will cause them any problem. The computers just twiddle away and adjust timing and such automatically.

    I used to buy shell optimax petrol in the UK when I was driving - it was 4p a litre more expensive and on a carburettor 1100 engine I got 52mpg - the best ever with that car. If I went to get petrol at the supermarket.. I lost 4mpg to a tank, and I could even *hear* the difference in how smooth the engine wasnt. Even back then you got what you paid for.

    However our problem with even the commercial two strokes is we are at now where car engines were in the late 70's early 80's. High compression, high efficiency carb engines without any form of engine management whatever - and these are the ones vulnerable to limited edition petrols with whatever else has been added.

    A suggestion is maybe to find out where the unadulterated stuff is being sold and get some sort of 10-15 gallon storage tank that can be put in the back of a car and filled - then taken out and used as a supply tank for the bike. An old car fuel tank with a filler and high capacity petcock mounted up would do the trick. (find one with an electric fuel pump and stick it on a 12v battery, all the better).

    Jemma xx
  12. tpelle

    tpelle New Member


    That's kind of along the lines of what I was thinking - I may just go buy a couple of 5 gallon portable cans, and every so often just drive to the next county where I can buy "real" gasoline. I should probably use that in my weedeater and garden tractor anyway.