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Old 28 February 2007, 18:13   #1
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Dodgy Tesco petrol

Looks like I started the thread in the wrong place - until it was pointed out it's NOT just cars but outboards as well that could suffer.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6405051.stm

It would help if the press didn't keep on about contaminated fuel - Tesco can quite rightly deny that.

It appears they have been sneaking in 5% bioethanol - in the SE - which is where all the problems are happening - a coincidence? I think not!!!

This article from the Guardian says it all

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatecha...710291,00.html

"If you recently filled up your car at a supermarket forecourt, you - unknowingly - are using a greener fuel than a few years ago. The giant chain Tesco is now pumping a blend of petrol that contains 5% bioethanol, a type of alcohol made by fermenting sugars from plants.
Don't worry; modern cars run perfectly well on the mix and because bioethanol is almost always greener to make than petrol, the admixture helps rein in our soaring greenhouse gas emissions. And there's another effect: our dependence on oil is beginning to fall away."

Notice the "unknowingly" bit.

Of course the Guardian think this is brilliant - or they did 2 weeks before the problems started to appear.

Beware if you have a nice modern outboard and live in the SE.
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Old 28 February 2007, 18:42   #2
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it will be interesting to see what tesco say on the matter and how much reaserch was done into the damage it could do to cars. and isnt it false advertising to change a product and not tell anyone. it seems that they made the fuel cheaper to produce but not cheaper to buy. no wonder there wasnt a big song and dance about it. you would have thought they would have to tell you if they started puting bio fuels into the mix.
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Old 28 February 2007, 18:51   #3
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I wonder if bioethanol has an effect on the lubricating properties of 2-stroke oil?
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Old 01 March 2007, 03:09   #4
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I can see the problem, as the article explains, ethanol mixes with water where as petrol doesnt. Youd have thought though that by the time the ethanol had mixed with the petrol, that it wouldnt absorb water, but maybe it does. Oh dear,..... I dont know a fuel tank in the land that doest end up with some water in it at some point in time
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Old 01 March 2007, 03:20   #5
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You can buy ethanol based products to add to your fuel to remove water. Winn's Dryfuel for example.
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Old 01 March 2007, 04:53   #6
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Some states in the US are using greater levels of ethanol in fuel. Boaters over are replacing any fibreglass fuel tanks with plastic or metal, as ethanol causes little pieces of grp to seperate from the tank (delamination caused by water absorption I believe), get in to the fuel and damage the engine. Something to bare in mind if you have a fibreglass tank.

I believe in theory that ethanol increases the performance of an engine (effectively an octane boast).

Codders - I can't believe you read the Guardian! (I thought better of you!)
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Old 01 March 2007, 10:10   #7
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Some states in the US are using greater levels of ethanol in fuel. Boaters over are replacing any fibreglass fuel tanks with plastic or metal, as ethanol causes little pieces of grp to seperate from the tank (delamination caused by water absorption I believe), get in to the fuel and damage the engine. Something to bare in mind if you have a fibreglass tank.

I believe in theory that ethanol increases the performance of an engine (effectively an octane boast).

Codders - I can't believe you read the Guardian! (I thought better of you!)
I better watch it - fibreglass tanks.

Read the Guardian??? Moi??? You must be joking - just spotted that article on the net!!!
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Old 02 March 2007, 11:59   #8
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To put your mind at rest, Cod; the fiberglas tanks that are having problems were built in the 60's and thereabouts. Bertrams, Hatteras's's's, and other fairly large cruisers seem to be having the most problems. The plasticizers used in the molding of the tanks is apparently dissolved by the ethanol, and is redeposited when the fuel is burned. Result is a gooey back sludge around the intake ports, in some extreme cases locking valves up solid.

Newer glas tanks use different resins, and do not exhibit those problems. If in doubt, call your manufacturer, and ask if they've done any testing with ethanol and their fuel tank materials.

With the demise of MTBE (MTBE, you'll recall, was forced down our throats by the US Govt as an oxygenator a few years back, just before they found out the stuff contaminates ground water), ethanol is the oxygenator of choice. Guy is correct, is does raise the octane rating of fuel (i.e. it tends to make gasoline less explosive.) Recently, 10% ethanol has been adopted by most of the gas companies. All current car manufacturers certify their US cars to be safe to run on 10% ethanol.

There is some concern about the water absorbtion properties that ethanol possesses; more exactly, what happens when the ethanol is saturated and a bit more water is added. In some instances, you get phase separation: the water and alcohol sloughs out of the mixture, causing the fuel pickup to get either a very lean water/alcohol mixture, or a very low octane gasoline. Either can be trouble. This tends to be more of a problem in the marine industry, as we're closer to the water, hence at more risk of water contamination in fuel; in addition, fuel in boats tends to sit more than it does in cars or trucks.

I would be very surprised, though, if you guys were seeing problems caused directly by 5% ethanol. We've been running 10% ethanol for years (mostly at "discount" gas stations), with very few problems. Motor manufacturers have taken care of the rubber bits that were attacked by ethanol when it first came out as a fuel additive, and the 5% concentration is just not enough to cause any kind of difference in burn characteristics.

What may be happening there is contamination due to the more aggressive solvent action of the ethanol. Storage tanks and fuel sytems will have water soluble contamination scoured by the ethanol, where previous non-ethanol fuel would not do so. The result is particulate contamination within the first few uses. In the US, there's supposed to be a cleaning procedure for storage tanks to minimize this problem (though, to be honest, I don't know how many companies are doing this.)

Hope it all gets sorted out for you.


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Old 02 March 2007, 12:24   #9
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I suspect it IS the ethanol causing the problems because it's the oxygen sensors that are playing up and it's only certain makes of car - if it was contaminated fuel it would be ALL cars. This is the first time in the UK a widespread trial of ethanol has been sneaked in and it just happens to be in the area where the problems are showing up.


I know a lot of filling stations are using GRP fuel tanks so I assume the ethanol is safe in them.
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Old 02 March 2007, 14:53   #10
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I suspect it IS the ethanol
yorr rong yew nobwond

owt ov intrest i putt too ov jawdons sillycon immplants inn de stawrij tannks jus too sea ifn thay wud flote.

a unekspectid bownus iz dat mi veehicuelar reecuvvery bizniss iz doin verry wel noww fank yew. wee arr werkin 25 howers pir dayy

gaRf
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