Jay’s Tech Tips #17: Ethanol Do’s and Don’ts


Hi, I’m Jay from Real Street Performance. Today, we’re going to talk about the maintenance involved with running an ethanol based fuel. So while we’re all fairly aware of the benefit of ethanol, I mean you get to make race gas horsepower or more with pump gas price, there are some downsides. And we’re going to go over some of those downsides today. Not everyone will have to deal with the downsides of ethanol fuel. Down here in a wetter climate like we have in Florida, there’s a lot of moisture in the air. And that can get into the fuel and then cause an injector to rust internally and stick closed. Or it gels up and blocks the fuel filter which if you don’t have an engine management system that’s intelligent enough to see that the engine is going lean, you could get yourself into a serious failure. So for a visual aid on the fuel filter front, we’ve wacked open a Bosch 044. And I have 2 prefilters in my hand. Both of these are inside the pump so you won’t really see them unless you look in the inlet of the pump. The darker of the two was on an ethanol car, and you can see that it’s pretty much blocked 100 percent. The pump will cavitate, sound all funny, and not move fuel through it. The other one was on a gasoline car had been in service for a while. And while it does have some debris up against the screen, it’s still a functional pump. So in our experience, we’ve had more trouble with cars that sit a lot. So if your race car is sitting between events, it’s a good idea that you pickle the fuel system. That term refers to running gasoline through it. Just as you would on a methanol car. One of the other benefits of pickling the fuel system is, you’ll get some top end lubricity into the valves and seats and cylinders versus ethanol is a very dry fuel. So if you let an ethanol engine sit, just like an alcohol or a methanol engine, you open yourself up for internal corrosion. So I hope that this helps you understand the additional maintenance that comes with an ethanol based fuel. You can pickle the fuel system. You can run a top-end lube. I still recommend that you check the filters more periodically than you will with gasoline. But I hope this helps you avoid any failed parts with your system. So I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tech Tip. Tune in next week. We’ll be doing another one. You could subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook. Thanks. you

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