How evil is Ethanol in our fuel? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 6 Old May 25th, 2019, 12:23 pm Thread Starter
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How evil is Ethanol in our fuel?

I just took my 99 LT apart to change the fuel pump (new BMW pump installed in 2006) it had died from unknown causes... not being ridden most likely. I had the fuel pump out in 2013 to change a split in tank fuel hose and did not see the damage I saw this time. (I installed a New Quantum HFP-439, open box $45.00 ebay)

The wiring to the fuel pump on the bracket / holder had almost all of the insulation falling off and in specs inside the fuel tank.

I cut the positive wire one inch from the pump terminal and slid 3M shrink wrap over the exposed wire, then soldered up the wire, slid a larger diameter section of shrink wrap over the joint and shrunk that.... the ground wire I left naked/exposed. Put it all back together and it fired right up.... now the brakes don't work, nothing at the rear, the front works if I pump it a LOT.

Also the rubber seal ring had a spongy/gooey area as did the rubber that supports the bottom of the fuel pump inside the plastic mount.

20 years or new fuel the cause?? what have others seen when changing a fuel pump lately??
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Oak Park, CA.
'99 K1200LT Champagne, 28,500mi
'04 R1150R Silver, 18,900 mi
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post #2 of 6 Old May 25th, 2019, 12:40 pm
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Re: How evil is Ethanol in our fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce60 View Post
I just took my 99 LT apart to change the fuel pump (new BMW pump installed in 2006) it had died from unknown causes... not being ridden most likely. I had the fuel pump out in 2013 to change a split in tank fuel hose and did not see the damage I saw this time. (I installed a New Quantum HFP-439, open box $45.00 ebay)

The wiring to the fuel pump on the bracket / holder had almost all of the insulation falling off and in specs inside the fuel tank.

I cut the positive wire one inch from the pump terminal and slid 3M shrink wrap over the exposed wire, then soldered up the wire, slid a larger diameter section of shrink wrap over the joint and shrunk that.... the ground wire I left naked/exposed. Put it all back together and it fired right up.... now the brakes don't work, nothing at the rear, the front works if I pump it a LOT.

Also the rubber seal ring had a spongy/gooey area as did the rubber that supports the bottom of the fuel pump inside the plastic mount.

20 years or new fuel the cause?? what have others seen when changing a fuel pump lately??
I just had mine out and after 12 years it looked like new. I have to run E10 in my area also. Ethanol at the 10% level isnít that bad UNLESS you let it sit in the tank a long time. 10% isnít that much worse than adding dry gas to your tank as we used to do in the winter in PA. The issue is that alcohol absorbs water. This water will burn in the engine as long as it is in solution with the alcohol. However, when you let the gas sit a long time, the alcohol keeps absorbing more and more water from the atmosphere and this will begin to corrode the tank and may precipitate out liquid water at some point.

So, the issue isnít so much the ethanol per se, it actually is a good octane booster, but rather letting ethanol sit in the tank a long time. I run my LT regularly in the summer and add Stabil in the winter and so far, so good.
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post #3 of 6 Old May 25th, 2019, 3:29 pm
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Re: How evil is Ethanol in our fuel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce60 View Post
I just took my 99 LT apart to change the fuel pump (new BMW pump installed in 2006) it had died from unknown causes... not being ridden most likely. I had the fuel pump out in 2013 to change a split in tank fuel hose and did not see the damage I saw this time. (I installed a New Quantum HFP-439, open box $45.00 ebay)
...
.....
20 years or new fuel the cause?? what have others seen when changing a fuel pump lately??
My experience has been similar to VOYAGER post above: although I hate the idea about Ethanol in fuel (from chemical and power efficiency point of view), If the fuel is not left sitting for too long and the pump / engine is run regularly (3 months max) then it will not cause much damage.

If you must leave it standing for more than 1 month (like I have here in winter), add STABIL at storage time (in proper proportion) AND shake/rock the tank (or the whole bike) every 1 month to keep the fuel from separating. It is also important to avoid large fluctuation of temp in storage combined with high humidity.

I have seen a few as bad as your picture - these had been left in storage WITHOUT above precautions for 2 years or more with same old fuel. One in particular that I have just finished the rehad was left sitting with same fuel for 4 years - bike or tank was not even moved. Even the external rubber fuel hoses (to fuel rail) were almost as hard as plastic - they both had some old fuel inside not fully evaporated.

I have been wrenching on motorcycles since 1973 - back then when Ethanol was NOT used, it was not a problem to leave fuel in a tank for 6 months even without STABIL. However, for much longer storage period , we use to find some varnish-like deposit and rust (if metal tank) when old fuel was left sitting (2 years or more depending on storage conditions).

On my K1200, except for the ONCE replacement of the 2 short hose attached to the fuel-filter, it looks very good after 17 years and 95,000 miles. All the maintenance was done by me since new. This also includes 16 winter storage period of 6 months-per-year since 2002.
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post #4 of 6 Old May 26th, 2019, 7:29 am
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Re: How evil is Ethanol in our fuel?

I refuse to use that crap in my vehicles. I use standard fuel in my V8 and occasionally 98 octane. The E10 is cheaper but the reduced mileage you get isn't worth the lower cost of the E10. Your vehicle just won't drive as well or as far. I only ever put 98 in my LT. I know that in the US many places don't seel much else but I would avoid E10 like the plague. It is not an economical alternative by any means. I call it sugar water.
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post #5 of 6 Old May 26th, 2019, 7:47 am
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Re: How evil is Ethanol in our fuel?

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I refuse to use that crap in my vehicles. I use standard fuel in my V8 and occasionally 98 octane. The E10 is cheaper but the reduced mileage you get isn't worth the lower cost of the E10. Your vehicle just won't drive as well or as far. I only ever put 98 in my LT. I know that in the US many places don't seel much else but I would avoid E10 like the plague. It is not an economical alternative by any means. I call it sugar water.
Where I live there is virtually no choice. I have only one station within 20 miles of my house that sells pure gas at one pump. It often isnít convenient to drive 40 miles round trip to buy gas. E10 works fine in the LT with a slight lost of mileage.

Fortunately, on my trip through the upper midwest, I am finding our gas quite often which is nice. My last three tanks were real gas bought in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #6 of 6 Old May 27th, 2019, 5:14 pm
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Re: How evil is Ethanol in our fuel?

Well. Not to get into a whole tread here. This is what i prefer. So if there are differing opinions. I'm
Running a study. We'll see what the results are.But i always dump 6-10 oz of Startron ethonol stabilizer in my tank at least every other fuel up. But usually every fillup. It stabilizes the ethonol spiked fuel and keeps fuel fresher longer It's been over 4 years since in tank hoses were changed out. So far. It seems to help with it (Ethonol) eating the rubber. But we'll see when i yank them.

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Last edited by james216; May 27th, 2019 at 5:21 pm.
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