A not so exciting newsletter but a very, very important one!
The steady rise in the value of classic cars over the last decade is a double edged sword. Having your cake and eating it is great but of course these values now make most people nervous of using their classic on a regular basis.
Most classics now cover only a few hundred miles a year and most spend very long periods of time in storage. We are frequently called by customers who put cars in to storage and many months later go to use them and find they won’t start. 8/10 times we find the fuel pump seized solid due to corrosion. The use of ethanol in fuel is causing serious damage to cars now in long term storage. We are finding excessive corrosion inside fuel tanks, fuel pumps seized, fuel injector tips corroded, metal fuel lines corroded, thick gum building up in carburettors and rubber seal and gasket damage.
Bioethanol is an alcohol produced by the fermentation of sugars and starches from crops such as wheat, corn and sugar beets.
Ethanol is good for our agricultural economy and helps us reduce our dependency on foreign petroleum products. On the “green” side they are aimed at improving air quality and reducing air pollution from fuel emissions. Permitted ethanol content in petrol is 10% as off 2013.
Ethanol absorbs water from the air. The water condenses in the fuel tank and will pull the ethanol out of suspension with the petrol. This is bad news because it strips the octane out of the petrol, leaving you with a layer of octane-poor fuel on top and a water-ethanol layer mixture on the bottom. If this gets sucked into the combustion chamber, you will have poor starting and very rough running with potential engine damage. Ethanol when mixed with water readily forms gums in the fuel system much quicker than fuel without Ethanol. These gums coat fuel system components including filters, carburettors, injectors, throttle bodies and will then form varnish and carbon deposits in the intake, on valves, and in the combustion chamber.
Water contamination may cause fuel system corrosion and severe deterioration. Water also degrades rubber and plastic. The Ethanol is a strong, aggressive solvent and will cause problems with rubber hoses, O-rings, seals, and gaskets. These problems are worse during extended storage when significant deterioration could take place. Hoses may delaminate, O-rings soften and break down, and fuel system components made from certain types of plastics could either soften or become hard and brittle, eventually failing.
Fuel system components made from brass, copper, and aluminium may oxidize. The dissolved plastics and resins now in the fuel could end up in blocked fuel filters or gummy deposits.
The shelf life of these fuels can be a little as 90 days.
Nerdy this newsletter may well be but please read and pay attention if you do have you car in long term storage.
Put your pride and joy in storage with as little fuel as possible. When the car is started regularly as it should be when in long term storage, this fuel will be used and then it can be topped up with fresh fuel.
This will save you from potentially large and unwanted invoices.