Ethanol question

Apr 13, 2011 No Comments by

Here in the northeast, ethanol in the gasoline that we buy at the gas station is a fact of life. Clarence Lee has indicated that RC gas engines should be run on gasoline with no ethanol. In the recent past, ethanol was only blended into our gas seasonally, but now I think it is included all year long. 
Suppose that we cannot avoid ethanol without great inconvenience. What is the impact of using a gasoline/ethanol mixture in our two stroke and four stroke gas engines? Is there anyway to avoid these consequences via knowledgeable operating and maintenance procedures?
In your opinion, are the RC engine manufacturers changing the design or parts selection of their gas engines to accommodate the negative effects of ethanol? Thanks for help. –John

Dear John,

I have kicked this ethanol in gasoline problem around quite a few times the past couple of years. I guess you must have missed these issues. The Sept. 09 column was devoted just to this problem.

Actually, unless your engine is using a Walbro or similar

carburetor, there is no problem. Ethanol damages the flapper valves and diaphragm. Overhaul kits are available that can tolerate ethanol.

Dear John,
One reader sent in a solution that I don’t believe many fellows will want to bother with, but that was to add some water to the fuel. The water mixes with the ethanol. Then place the container in the freezer which will freeze the ethanol/water mix and pour off the gasoline.
Another solution is to use Coleman fuel. Another topic we have covered several times in recent issues. Thanks for writing.

Best Regards,
Clarence Lee

Clarence Lee, Editors Blogs, Gas

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Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.
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