Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by SilverDave » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:54 pm

Are there any noticable problems to an older GL1200 engine that might be caused by 10% ethanol-gas ?

Apparently almost all the gas around here ( BC ) is 10% ethanol 'cept for the 94 and up octane ..

Does adding fuel preservative ( the red stuff ) help at all ? or is it just good for fuel "varnish " ?
Will that slight amount of ethanol corrode or dissolve any of the critical rubber or plastic parts in floats, fuel filter, slow air valve or any other carb parts ?

In other words , should I switch to the 94 octane to help preserve the engine innards ??


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Re: Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by tfdeputydawg » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:33 am

Henry Ford designed the first Model-T to run off of 100% ethanol.
Ethanol became less popular as gasoline became more accessible, but in the 1970’s, Ethanol was returned to the market place as a fuel additive, taking the place of the harmful additive MTBE.
The ethanol mix is actually better for your bike than 94 octane!

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Re: Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:45 am

The biggest problem is that the rubber gaskets, fittings and seals in the fuel system were not designed for ethanol, and ethanol will cause them to break down, particularly if left to sit for any length of time with ethanol fuel in them. This is a well-known issue with ethanol fuel, particularly in older vehicles.

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Re: Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by Viking » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:47 pm

And yes, the red conditioner is supposed to keep ethanol from separating out of the blend.
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Re: Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by suvcw04 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:06 pm

I worked for a company that built gas stations, and serviced them. I saw what ethanol does to hoses and nozzles.
Today, when I filled my car, I paid 25 cents a gallon extra for straight gas. What does that tell you?
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Re: Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by downhomr » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:53 pm

Here in Ontario, I've heard that 91 octane is ethanol free. My '85 Limited Edition seems to run good on it.
I don't know if because she's a fuellie model...but, she sure lets me know when she doesn't like the
cheaper gas...she runs pretty crappy.

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Re: Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by AdaBob » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:11 am

Here's an easy way to test your fuel for ethanol contamination.
To determine if ethanol is in the gas:
•On a test tube or olive bottle six or seven inches long, make a permanent line about two inches from the bottom.
•Fill with water to this line, then fill the tube to the top with gasoline.
•Cover the tube, agitate it, and let it stand.
The ethanol and water will mix and separate out together. If the water level appears to have increased, the fuel contains ethanol and should not be used. Ethanol percentages of less than 5% can sometimes give a reading below the line. Therefore, any deviation in the water line indicates the presence of ethanol and should serve as a basis for rejecting the fuel.

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Re: Problems from 10% ethanol-gas ?

Post by flash1942 » Sun Jun 08, 2014 8:32 am

The soft parts in the fuel system don't like ethanol in almost any concentration. Ethanol attracts water which in turn creates rust in tanks. Most engines run better on pure gas as they were designed to use.
There is a website that caters to pure gas locations. Go to and they also have an Iphone app that is great to use when touring and you want to locate pure gas and not alky-gas.
I also might add that the regular grade of gas isn't the same as it was a few years ago. It's much lower in octane and some cars and bikes don't perform very well on it.

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