EPA emissions requirements and Ethanol fuel. How much of your equipment is ruined?

Discussion in 'Alternative Fuel Forum' started by JDiepstra, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,511

    Seems like tons of people are having problems with their equipment, especially the newer stuff, due to EPA mandated emissions equipment and the use of Ethanol in gas. I was hoping people would post their problems in one spot so we could see how big the problem is and see what good solutions we can find to help work around the problems we are having.
  2. Greyst1

    Greyst1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 897

    Great thread....

    I spent two hours last night researching this and here is what i've come up with....

    Ethanol will eat away at your fuel lines and carb diaphragms, gaskets, etc...not to mention it holds moisture.

    So far i found a product that combats the moisture issue which is Ethanol Shield. As for the eroding fuel lines there are marine grade fuel lines that are ethanol safe. I believe you have to look for SAE J1527 type B fuel lines.

    This is all i have so far, my Stihl equipment has held up good (other than new carbs every year) but i only run two days a week. I am buying all new equipment next month from mower to handhelds and no chance am i going to risk any carb issues.
  3. RozarLawnCare

    RozarLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    I just lost a Husky saw that I think was from the gas. Not sure, but it was the first tank of fresh fuel from the jug. I did not use anymore fuel from that container. I mixed new fuel. There are still stations that sell 100% gas so I am going to use that in future.
  4. TNGrassCutter

    TNGrassCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,321

    Busted rotted primer bulbs, rotted fuel lines, and a broken seal on a fuel tank.
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  5. RTR Landscaping

    RTR Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 390

    We were having problems with fuel lines, primer bulbs and water in the fuel all caused by ethanol. My dealer suggested we use a product called Startron in our fuel for 2 and 4 cycle equipment. It worked great, cured all my problems.
  6. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,511

    found a good price / supplier? What a scam that we have to add product to our fuel huh?
  7. highlander316

    highlander316 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 333

    fuel lines and fuel grommets (that attach to the tank) on my hedge trimmers are getting eaten away. I suspect it's from those tools not getting daily use (unlike my line trimmers and blowers), so the fuel is sitting in the lines/touching the grommets.
  8. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    I have not had any noticeable problems with my fuel (knock on wood). I recently started using mid-grade fuel (opposed to the regular I was using) in my handhelds and noticed that they start easier now.

    I do use quality fuel and not just whatever I happen to come by or can get the cheapest.
  9. GrassGuerilla

    GrassGuerilla LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,437

    What do you mean "quality fuel"? Anything to back that up? There's a fuel refinery near one of my jobs. There isn't a spigot marked "the good stuff". Virtually all fuel comes from the same place. If you have any solid evidence that one brand of fuel is better than another I'd love to hear it? The biggest difference between brands of fuel is marketing. 89 octane E-10 is what it is. Unfortunately there is no pure gas available within 100 miles of St Louis (that I've found).

    As far as fuel problems, fuel lines, primer bulbs, diaphragms. Only in the handhelds. I have several old Toro T-bar walk behinds, one a 1998, one a 1994. Both with Kohler command engines. No fuel problems from them ever. Both have a zillion hours on them.

    I've heard (no proof) that the ethanol blend is not very precise. One batch of E-10 may be 5% ethanol, another batch may be nearly 20%. Purely heresay, but it does explain the occasional meltdown of plastic/rubber.

    I understand the EPA is in the roadtest phase with E-15... Won't that be lovely? More ethanol. Probably find the point it kills 4-cycle stuff soon.

    The question I would like answered: does it make sense from an enviromental perspective to switch to these more "environmentally friendly" standards and fuels? How "green" is it to have to replace the equipment every couple years (or less). And how much fuel gets "dumped" due to concerns of age or moisture? Or due to DIY service to combat rotted fuel lines etc? I suspect in typical fashion, the new Government standards and fuels have made matters worse rather than better.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    I have absolutely no SCIENTIFIC proof, just some real world testing.

    A couple years ago, me and my uncle were curious to see if the advertising claims of companies like Shell, were true...that they actually do help clean the fuel system and improve your mileage. While we didn't actually tear down an engine to see how well the fuel "cleaned", we did test the fuel economy improvements.

    At the time I was driving a diesel truck, so I couldn't use my truck for the testing. We used my uncle's 1997-ish Honda accord 4 cylinder. For work he would travel several hundred miles a week (puts about 20,000+ miles on a vehicle each year). For years he had just been using fuel from multiple different stations as he needed fuel. He is very good at keeping track of how much fuel he uses, the miles he gets out of each tank, etc. So we had number to work off of from the start.

    Like I said, he originally would go to just about any station as he needed gas...the old admiral station by his house, a marathon station off the highway, whatever. So after deciding to see if the claims by SHELL were true, he only filled up with shell fuel, same REGULAR gas that he always bought (never did the mid grade or higher fuels). After a couple tanks of Shell gasoline, he was getting a constant 30 miles more on a tank of gas from shell over gas from various stations. He was driving the same roads before and after switching to shell, there was no difference in the roads he took before or after.

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