Thursday, July 29, 2010


Have any of you had problems from using gasoline with Ethanol  in your motor home or generator engines? 

Most of the gas we can  now buy has up to 10% Ethanol in it.  It has been known in the marine industry for a long time that ethanol causes problems to marine engines.  I don't know why it would cause problems in boats and not cause problems in cars, motor homes, or small engines.

We are concerned about our motor home and generator engines.

Last year we had a problem with small pin holes in the fuel lines in our riding mower.  We attributed it to Ethanol.  This year, we can't get the pressure washer to start or stay running.  It is about 3 years old with probably less than 4 hours on it.  Al drained the gas from it the last time he used it, but now thinks a little was left in the fuel lines.  He's tried everything he can think of and still cannot get this brand new pressure washer to run.

About 3 months ago Al bought a new Troybilt weed eater.  All of a sudden, he couldn't get it to start.  It was still under warranty so he took it in to a local repair shop. The first thing they did was look at the fuel tank and they found a lot of sludge in the tank.  Al was baffled about where that came from in a brand new engine.  He wondered if he got bad gas or oil? The gas had only been in there 2 - 3 weeks maximum.  The shop refused to repair it because of the sludge.  How could this have happened to a brand new engine?

Al started taking it apart and noticed there should be two hoses in the fuel tank, and one was missing. We started to think about the Ethanol issues, and I read some articles on line.  We now think that the Ethanol in the gas may have disintegrated the hose, which caused the sludge in the tank.  We aren't sure, but we can't get the brand new motor started!  The shop recommended he put some Seafoam in the fuel tank and after he cleaned out the sludge.  He has to replace that missing hose first. 

He tried the Seafoam fuel additive  on the pressure washer, but has still not been able to get it to stay running, although it did start for a moment.

So while we aren't happy with these small engines having these problems, we are more concerned with the motor home engine and also the generator.  

We think that if you run the gas through the engine frequently (like a car engine) you will be okay.  I think our mower gets enough gas run through it, that it has been okay this year.  Al ran all the gas out of the engine last fall before we stored it for the winter.

I am concerned with the motor home and generator because we don't run them often.  Now we do try to take the motor home out for a drive monthly and also run the generator, but is this enough?  Remember the weedeater had fuel sitting in it for only 2-3 weeks.

This is one article I read about the damage caused by ethanol in fuel.

The following is a quote from another article.

"Oh, a tremendous amount of repairs. It just keeps getting worse each year," says Butch Trevor of Trevor Hardware in Moline. "The alcohol in the gas basically starts to break down and crack the fuel line. It destroys the seals on the inside of the carburetor."

And it's getting harder to find gasoline without ethanol mixed in. Most blends at gas station pumps are called E-10 which means they contain up to 10 percent ethanol because of federal mandates. And
Trevor says while these gas-alcohol blends may be OK for your car engine, smaller engines just aren't made to run on ethanol. " It clogs up theinside of the little carburetor in the engine," Trevor says. "When I get inside a small engine that's used ethanol, it looks like somebody blew their nose in the carburetor. Another way it looks is like somebody puked in the carburetor and it hardened up."

That's because alcohol attracts moisture, which leads to the creation of a gummy residue in your engine. That moisture can also create rust. And this can happen in all types of small engines whether it's chain saws, weedeaters, or many outboard motors on boats. In fact, most marine engines made before 2000 prohibit the use of alcohol because of its nasty side effects.
But no matter what kind of small engine you may use, Trevor suggests you avoid ethanol completely, "or you'll wind up with an engine that won't start, surges up and down, or it won't run at all."

Not surprisingly, the ethanol industry says mechanics like Trevor are just plain wrong. Groups such as the National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association say E-10 is perfectly safe to use in small engines.

Trevor, though, says the ethanol lobby should come to his repair shop to see the damage done by E-10, damage he says he never saw before the federal ethanol mandates. He says if you choose to feed ethanol to your small engine, sooner or later you'll be paying a visit to a mechanic like him.

There are many stations in the Quad City area that sell 100% gasoline with no ethanol included, and that pure form of gasoline will often cost you about 10 cents more per gallon. However, Trevor says you can pay that small additional cost right now... or pay the often expensive repair bills down the road."

Al bought some fuel additives that we intend to put in the fuel we use for the RV, generator and other small engines.  They say it is to correct ethanol problems, however, I just read this fuel additive chart and the additive we bought doesn't appear to be a good one.  We went to the auto supply store today and got a fuel additive that's on the above linked list.  The guy that worked there said this ethanol is murder on small engines.  Yup, I think we figured that out.

For those of us who are not fulltimers and our motor homes sit more than they are driven, it may be something to think about.  From what I read this can be a cumulative affect and the damage that is being done will not be known for years.

I think this is something to be aware of.  We may be wrong about ethanol causing a problem.  The government and Corn Growers association both say it is safe....but I don't trust either one of them!

Just something to think about.  Do a internet search on Ethanol fuel and see what you find.  It's an eye opener.  Just a FYI.

I just found this link for gas stations without Ethanol.  Click here.  We're headed out to fill up our gas cans and hopefully the station will be large enough for the motor home.  If so, it's getting topped off with non ethanol gas, and some fuel additives.

Have any of you done any research on Ethanol?  What have you found out?  Am I over reacting?  We are just concerned about damaging our very expensive motor home engine.

I think I'm going to start a thread on Rv-Net Forum and see if anyone there has any issues with their generators or motor home engines.  In the meantime, from what I read, these fuel additives can help your engine run better and give you better gas mileage.  The ethanol is supposed to decrease your fuel mileage.  On a big motor home, a decrease is a bad thing!


  1. I hate getting diesel fuel for my truck with ethanol. Lucky for us the ethanol stuff is rarely used in our Canadian gas or diesel.

  2. Miss Lueffie was all gunked up; we ran a bunch of Techron and now have switched to Stabil. Her big 460 Ford is perfectly happy, no backfires, hesitation or tailpipe bangs. Money well spent.
    People in south Florida are notorious for bringing generators to the shop during hurricane season; in most every case the problem is ethanol.
    For those daily drivers there's no problem, but if the fuel won't be used in a couple weeks Stabil is a must.



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