BSA Owners' Club Forum

General => The Star and Garter => Topic started by: DAVE BRADY on 13 October, 2021, 10:31:42

Title: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 13 October, 2021, 10:31:42
Good morning,

Has anyone used straight E10 yet?   I have topped up about a 1/3 of a tank of E5 with E10 on 3 bikes.  One '51 Flash and 2 A65s.  No noticeable difference.  Next time it will be all E10 so will it make a difference or will I have to wait until loaded up and climbing a steep hill to come to any conclusions any conclusions?

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: idie on 13 October, 2021, 11:14:46
I have been running my B33 on E10, must say I can't notice any difference. I can in my Zafira fuel economy has gone down.
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: Bess on 13 October, 2021, 12:51:44

I stumbled across this good piece written by: Christopher Lisney

Probably answers my question regarding corrosion in my A10 carb.

The great Ethanol debate
A question that is constantly being asked right now, particularly with the introduction of E10, is whether Ethanol based fuel will harm my bike? As a previous industrial chemist and owner of several classic bikes and cars I decided to address this controversial subject and provide answers to many of the questions being asked. Hopefully, this will lead to an explanation on the consequences of using Ethanol based fuel and address what changes need to be made and what donít. Using Ethanol based fuel basically comes down to a case of damage limitation. Some of the questions being asked right now include:
Will Ethanol based fuel corrode my fuel tank?
Will Ethanol based fuel corrode my carburettor?
Will Ethanol based fuel attack my fuel pipes?
Will Ethanol based fuel attack rubber seals and gaskets?
Does 2 stroke oil mix properly with Ethanol based fuels?
Does Ethanol based fuel increase the risk of engine seizures?
Does Ethanol based fuel give the same performance as non-Ethanol based fuel?
How long can Ethanol based fuels be stored for?
Will a fuel stabiliser work to prevent moisture absorption and increase storage life?
Can Ethanol be removed from fuel?
Are there any non-Ethanol fuels still available?
The main problem with Ethanol is that it is hygroscopic which means that it has an affinity to absorb moisture from the air. It is this water that causes the ensuing damage since it will, over time, corrode many of the metal parts it comes into contact with. Needless to say, the actual conditions required for the fuel to absorb significant levels of moisture must be considered. The greater the headspace in the fuel tank, the greater the chance of moisture absorption due to increased surface area of exposed fuel. Remember that fuel tanks are essentially vented to atmosphere, as are gravity fed motorcycle carburettors. Moreover, the higher the relative humidity, the greater the chance of moisture absorption. Excessive fluctuations in air temperature can also cause condensation to form which is quickly absorbed by the Ethanol. The best way to reduce moisture absorption to an absolute minimum is therefore to keep the tank topped up to the brim wherever possible and avoid exposure to severe temperature fluctuations. Keeping the bike under cover helps significantly here.
Now onto the damage caused by absorbed moisture in the fuel. The main question is whether the absorbed moisture causes corrosion of metal parts? If the fuel is used before moisture build up becomes significant then corrosion damage is unlikely. However, if the fuel is left for any length of time then excessive moisture build up will start to cause corrosion damage particularly to steel and aluminum parts. Fuel tanks, fuel taps and carburettors are the main problems here and it is not uncommon to witness significant corrosion of carburettor internals when left standing over time containing Ethanol based fuels. Soldered components such as carburettor floats are also quite vulnerable. Ethanol based fuels should be used within a couple of months at the very most and drained from the tank and carburettors if left any longer than this. In any event, modern fuels do not store very well since the octane rating deteriorates if left for any longer than this. Ethanol based fuels are also more unstable than non-Ethanol fuels.
Now onto rubber components. The term rubber is a bit of a misnomer. Seals, gaskets and pipes are made from a wide range of elastomers including Nitrile (Buna N), Neoprene, EPDM, Viton etc. etc. and this is where the problem lies. Whilst some elastomers exhibit very good resistance to Ethanol, many do not. Generally, motorcycle fuel pipes are made from neoprene which is extremely resistant to Ethanol so no problem there. However, many seals and gaskets are made from Nitrile (Buna N) which has very poor resistance to Ethanol. Ethanol can cause these seals and gaskets to swell over time whilst some elastomers can become quite brittle. Itís best to swap out any problematic seals and gaskets in the fuel system (taps, carburettors etc.) for a more resistant material, though this is easier said than done since many manufacturers and OEMís do not state what material has been used in the manufacture of these items. This is a difficult one and itís often a case of suck it and see. If Ethanol based fuels appear to be causing problems with seals and gaskets itís best to replace the affected items then avoid Ethanol based fuels altogether. Unless, of course you can identify and obtain Ethanol resistant seals and gaskets made from more resilient materials which exhibit very good resistance to Ethanol. Most modern engine and fuel systems (post 2000) have already been manufactured incorporating seals and gaskets made from more resilient materials.
A popular misconception about Ethanol based fuels is that they can increase the risk of engine seizure. There is no real credible evidence that Ethanol based fuels increase the risk of seizure despite the fact that a 10% Ethanol addition will have a slight (2.6%) leaning effect. Moreover, 2 stroke oils mix with Ethanol based fuels just as well as they do with non-Ethanol fuels. The idea that Ethanol based fuels can contribute to engine seizure is a myth that should be ignored. However, it should be noted that the calorific value (energy content) of Ethanol is less than that of Petrol so we can expect a small difference in performance when using Ethanol based fuels though hardly significant with 10% Ethanol (E10). In some countries like Australia where 85% Ethanol (E85) fuels exist this has become more of an issue but UK fuels currently contain a maximum of 10% Ethanol so not really an issue.
Another common question is whether a fuel stabiliser will work to prevent moisture absorption and increase storage life? In a nutshell, No. Fuel stabilisers do not work to prevent moisture absorption and do very little to retain the octane rating of a fuel during long term storage. Stay away from them, you are wasting your money!
There are some people out there suggesting that Ethanol can be removed from fuel by mixing water with the fuel to soak up the Ethanol and subsequently draining off the remaining fuel layer. This does actually work but itís all a bit of a faff and then thereís the issue of disposing of the remaining Ethanol/water mixture safely. Itís better to try and source a non-Ethanol based fuel in the first place such as Esso Synergy Supreme+ Unleaded 97 or Synergy Supreme+ 99. These are still to be made available in the UK so I am told. Although the forecourt pumps have E5 labels on them, Esso Synergy Supreme+ 99 is actually Ethanol free (except in Devon, Cornwall, North Wales, North England and Scotland). Also, Super Unleaded will still be available for another 5 years which contains only (up to) 5% Ethanol. The less Ethanol the better. I think weíre getting the picture now.
Another option, should an owner wish to keep a bike fueled up during longer term storage is to consider filling up with an Alkylate fuel which is Ethanol free and is very stable during long term storage. This is available and sold under the brand name Aspen in the UK and whilst it does work well it is very expensive.
Indeed, there are definite consequences when using Ethanol based fuel in older engines. In summary I would recommend using non-Ethanol based fuel where available or look out for Super Unleaded which contains only 5% Ethanol. Where it is not available, I would recommend that anyone using Ethanol based fuel keep it in the tank only during the active season when the bike is frequently being started and run to ensure that the fuel does not stay for too long in the bike. All the while, keep a watchful eye on any seals and gaskets within the fuel system and ensure that fuel pipes are made from neoprene. Itís easy enough to source neoprene fuel pipe and itís not expensive. When the time comes to lay the bike up, ensure that all Ethanol based fuels are drained from the tank and carburettors and flush them through with paraffin. It is the lesser of two evils since fuel taps and carburettors are best stored filled with fuel to prevent seals from drying out but not with Ethanol based fuels. If possible, fill the tank with enough Alkylate (Aspen) fuel just to be able to flood the fuel tap and carburettor for Winter storage. Other than that, a light coating of 2 stroke oil mixed with a little paraffin can be used to coat the inside of the fuel tank to prevent corrosion.
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 13 October, 2021, 13:22:33
Hi Bess,

Thanks for this very interesting article.  It make sense of things and gives some practical suggestions.

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: TTJOHN on 15 October, 2021, 14:06:00
Hello Dave.

Well, I had to dig out my Golden flash last week as the A7 was not running very well and I filled up with some E10 petrol and it ran like a bag of poo, mind you it may have been that I hadn't run it for  few months and stuck in the shed, so it could have been a number of things that caused the problems, the battery had died, not that that would have caused it to run badly, so thatrs back in't shed now awaiting a bit of maintenance, points gap etc.

Regards TTJohn
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: gt6uk on 18 October, 2021, 15:53:04
i tried some e10 in my Flash a few weeks ago and i was not impressed. The idle was uneven and she just felt off song. Adding a gallon of e5 super unleaded brought her back to running as she should. I think i will stick to super unleaded e5 from now on.

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: corneg2 on 18 October, 2021, 19:49:28
Hello all. My A10 has been fine, no noticeable difference since I started using E10. But I will be draining her down for winter, where in the past I haven't bothered. Not really sure the extra 5% makes a big difference though. Just being cautious.  :) Graham.
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: MGI on 18 October, 2021, 22:29:52
If you compare it to super unleaded there is 10% difference.
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: cee-b on 20 October, 2021, 11:45:13
Ethanol has a higher octane rating, but marginally less energy by volume than petrol.

I don't believe that the difference in performance between 5% and 10% ethanol content will be noticeable; there may be a perception of a difference, but how real that is is debatable.

I think that the real issue is more about the damage that can be done to certain materials in older bikes/vehicles. The ethanol can attack:
Plastic & Rubber fuel lines
Gaskets & Seals
Fuel Primers
Fuel injectors
Composite Fuel Tanks

All of this is covered in the piece posted by Bess.

For the difference in price between E10 and Premium fuel with 0-5% ethanol, and the limited number of miles that classic vehicles do, I can't understand why anyone would use E10 in an old bike or vehicle.

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: garyp on 20 October, 2021, 15:49:37
Thanks for the info,
It all make sense now, so I don't need to be worried  about my 2 stroke and only use super unleaded for as long as its available.
 :) garyp
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: Willie Dee on 10 November, 2021, 19:27:06
Was running low so topped up with some E10, enough to keep me moving until the next E5 fill. The Lightning did not like it one bit,spitting back until warmed up, then it was Ok but not happy on it.
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 10 November, 2021, 19:46:46

A few runs out just on E10 on 3 bikes and no noticeable difference on a '51 Flash and two A65s.  It looks like any effect could be quite individual depending on the exact set up of an engine. 

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: AdrianS on 12 November, 2021, 16:17:59
I've not tried E10 in any of the old bikes. Had enough problems with leaving E5 in my MGB over a prolonged period of time when it caused all the fuel hoses to disintegrate losing me a lot of petrol and causing grief in sorting out leaks a long way from home.
I just now go the Sainsburys with my 20 litre jerrycan and fill up with E5 and adding an ethanol stabiliser (from ToolStation) and putting limited amounts into the bikes. The stabiliser may be snake oil but I feel happier adding it just in case it does some good!
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 14 November, 2021, 14:28:59

Had two rides on the same bike today to do a comparison.  Firstly solo and not much of a difference as mentioned previously on E10.  Second ride two up and the bike did seem a bit off song and a bit rough.  Whilst I have E10 in the tank I will try retarding the ignition a couple of degrees to see if that makes a difference.
SRM were already advising to run 2ļ retarded from standard for E5 so it will be interesting to see if they change that. 

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: Willie Dee on 15 November, 2021, 14:18:40
On Saturday I went to take the Lightning to top up the the tank with E5 after having to put in E10 when I was low. It would not start, it usually starts first kick. A plug change and off we set coughing banging and spitting until it warmed up. Filled up with E5 and went for a run to clear the E10 and as I went along, everything settled back down again. Went out on Sunday and the bike started first time with no drama. Will be avoiding E10 now.
Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 15 November, 2021, 15:27:41

I went out again today with the timing a bit retarded.  Again two up and the same route which includes a reasonably steep although short hill.  Both today and yesterday I attacked it in third gear and today it pulled up a bit better with the bit of retard.
I have noit experienced and problems with starting on either A65.
One is a fairly standard 650 Thunderbolt and runs then same on E5 or E10 without any change to the timing.
The other is a long stroke 750 Thunderbolt and does seem to have benefited from the tweak to the timing.  Next time out I will put some E5 Super unleaded in it for direct comparison.  I have used it before and the bikes do run a bit better but it also useful to know how they will go when only E10 is available.
It would be great if someone could put a couple of bikes on a 'dyno' to get some definitive answers to our questions.

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: DAVE BRADY on 19 November, 2021, 16:20:26

So with some E5 Super Unleaded and the slightly retarded ignition timing and not really any different to E10.  I advanced the timing a bit and it was better.  I think I will go back to my original timing and perhaps try lifting the needle a notch to see if a slightly richer mixture will help.

Title: Re: E10 - Any feedback
Post by: chaz on 11 December, 2021, 19:30:32
For those who are worried and unsure about the legality and price, there are a couple of petitions going around.
not pushing the point either way, but its a free country and entitled to free speech if you feel you want to.