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Waynetod

Plastic tanks and ethanol.

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As I'm about to pick up a 2016 Scorpa ty125 4 stroke, I was wondering how everyone with modern plastic fuel tanks get on with fuel that has 5-10% ethanol, which, in the UK, is the most common type of pump fuel. Or does everyone use specialist fuel like Aspen4T or Stihl4T. Expensive at £20 for 5ltrs. Just worried that plastic tanks and carb seals won't swell up with modern ethanol based fuel. 

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as long as Scorpa have used the correct plastic it should be ok

most modern cars have plastic fuel tanks, without any problems.:thumbup:

Edited by suzuki250
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53 minutes ago, Waynetod said:

Thanks for that. I'm old school and wasn't sure if modern fuel tanks could accept ethanol in fuel. 

Its the old ones that have problems as far as I know.  Lot of internet traffic about Ducati but the wife's Monster (2012) is fine on E5.

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Haven’t had any issues with Fantic tank. 

I use ethanol shield fuel stabiliser,  originally for small chainsaw engines it’s supposed to prolong the shelf life of petrol and prevent the corrosive effect of ethanol, stops it absorbing water. It’s relatively cheap, only needs tiny amount for 5l of petrol. I can leave petrol in chainsaw for months on end as it doesn’t get used much and it still starts and runs fine.

 

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Meant to say I put it in fuel for 2T and 4T bikes too. No issues if a bike stands unused either.

Edited by timdog
Missed something out

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Lots of modern bikes have problems with plastic tanks expanding due to the petrol. My 2014 gas gas tank swelled and in the end had to be replaced. Took a couple of years mind. 

My 2017 trs is still on the original tank but I think its swelled a little. I always use super unleaded which I believe has less ethanol. Manufacturers will need to go back to ally tanks I think 

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So, it's a case of buying Shell ultimate or Esso synergy supreme plus. As long as you live in the right area. I've been putting "Briggs & Stratton Fuel Fit" in my mowers for a few years now. And also in my kawasaki W800 over winter. Maybe it's time to find an ethanol stabiliser to add to the fuel. 

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If you think ethanol could be a problem , there are options you can take to reduce the chance of problems

Fill your tank on the day that you are using the bike, then drain tank & carb after you finish riding  { ethanol damage is usually a slow process, not instant }

As already mentioned - Use ethanol free fuel - not always easy to find + sometimes expensive 

Remove the ethanol from your fuel - I have never done this , but there were a couple of places selling kits to do this -

Ethanil.co.uk, I think was one company that sold a kit for this purpose . { i have no idea how successful this is , but the kit wasnt that expensive }

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Removing ethanol from E5 fuel is quite easy. Worth a try if only as a simple chemistry experiment. Get hold of a large glass jar/ demi john, Kilner ,etc. Put about 2" of water in it with a bit of dye (from a pen will do). Mark the level on the outside. Pour in your fuel, as much as you want ,but leave bit of space to allow good agitation. Ensure top is secure & give contents a thorough shake for a minute or two. Leave to stand for a few hours / overnight. Check water/ fuel interface (the dye makes it easier to see). & you will find it has risen a cm or 2 above your marked line from the previous day. The ethanol has an affinity for water & has co mingled. Clean ethanol free fuel can now be siphoned off. A bit of a faff  & best done with health & safety in mind. ( Benzene : google it). A few You tube threads out there & you can buy kits from the USA , as the light aircraft boys do it.   

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22 hours ago, baldilocks said:

... I always use super unleaded which I believe has less ethanol. Manufacturers will need to go back to ally tanks I think 

Nearly all UK pumps have the ethanol content displayed on them now.  Super is generally E5 the same as normal.  I run the TRS on Shell V Power as it seems to run better, it has E5 on the pump.  As I already have this fuel in a can I also run my plastic tanked lawn mower on it as well.  It stands over the winter in a garden shed and starts first pull in the spring with no additives (Or maintenance).

The "swelling tank" thing from what I have read is the water in the ethanol that makes the tank swell.  So if the bike is stored in a damp place that might be a factor.

If you read enough internet sites and forums you will eventually read someone telling you on pain of death they have experienced the diametric opposite of another poster with equal sincerity in their posts.  The truth may well be out there but you will not find it easily.  If you read up about fuel then you will understand that ethanol alters the octane rating so removing it is possible but will result in a different petrol that might not be high enough in octane for the bike.  (Although you will find people that argue this is also not true of course)

I have pretty much given up bothering, a lot of the people complaining online are actually fruit loops.  I fail to believe that any manufacturer can produce a bike in 2020 that will not work properly with petrol from Sainsburys.  If the wife's Ducati blows up when E10 comes in I will let you all know.

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