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Old 09-14-2008, 06:25 PM   #1
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Ethanol E10 Gas Problems

I was wondering if any of you have ran into issues since blended fuel has become all that's available. Obviously mileage and performance have gone down, but I've had problems in other areas as well.

About 6 months ago, my car would occasionally buck, backfire, and sometimes I'd press the accellerator and go nowhere. I thought it to be a bad MAF, changed this and it has seemed fine since until a few days ago.

Shortly after filling the tank, the problem came back and almost caused me to be in an accident because I couldn't get across the road with oncoming traffic heading towards me. Today, on a hunch I picked up a bottle of octane booster and poured it in the tank. It seems to be running great now (yes, I always use 93 octane fuel anyway).

In talking to some of my friends last night, other people with older cars (different brands, Ford, Chevy, etc) have had similar problems and even their dealer couldn't give them any concrete diagnosis. They all ended up dumping money into various things such as fuel pumps, tank/line/injector flushes, sensors, etc. to no avail.

Being that my car is a 98', I really don't think Porsche intended for their vehicles to be running on anything other than 93+ octane gasoline at the time. Newer cars don't seem to have these issues because they were designed for flex-fuel. I wonder if this garbage isn't doing damage to other components within the fuel system? I know that newer flex-fuel capable cars have different materials used in their pumps, tanks and lines which prevent softening caused by alcohol based fuels.

...It's amazing, prices have doubled, tripled even over the past several years and to make matters worse we are stuck with poorer performance and mileage. Not to mention repair costs.

Above all else, the safety factor concerns me the most. My butt clenched up like a prison movie when I saw cars slam on their brakes to avoid plowing me in the side since I couldn't get my car to move.

Any thoughts?

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Old 09-14-2008, 06:45 PM   #2
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You make some good points and some good questions. Can you go back to 98 info or your owner's manuals and see if Boxsters were one of the cars warning against using gasoline with alcohol? I know VW and Audi had warnings about blended fuels for a good while. Alchohol also absorbs moisture from the air (and underground tanks), so you have water in your gas.
In the meantime, alot of other performance guys are using octane boosters full time. A couple of guys have told me they get enough better mpg with the boosters to pay for it. I haven't tried and can't vouch for them.
It gripes my butt to have no choice on this garbage they are putting in my gas. And garbage is exactly what it is. We're paying $.57 per gallon out of our taxes into propping up the producers of this crap, it makes our gasoline more expensive and makes our cars use more fuel. Not to mention they are consuming 80 BTUs of petroleum to produce 100 BTUs of ethanol, burning both and calling it cleaner for the environment.
Maybe we could come up with a way to suck the ethanol back out of our gas and force the creeps to buy it back from us?
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Old 09-14-2008, 07:24 PM   #3
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I agree, unfortunately trying to fight the government never works so well. When it comes to things like this, we really have no recourse. The only way it would work is to actually get a car manufacturer behind us to say that they built these cars with the intent that unleaded gasoline will be used and anything other than this could cause damage.

Thing is, the big 3 manufacturers are vested in oil. I'm not sure about Porsche though, but I doubt they'd be willing to help any of us driving older cars. Their biggest concern is for new car sales and repeat business. I wouldn't even know where to begin fighting a battle of this magnitude.

I looked at the manual and it just talks about octane ratings and says unleaded fuel only, refer to your dealer for more information.
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Old 09-14-2008, 07:28 PM   #4
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I've never had a problem I could directly link to ethanol. I never had a serious problem other than reduced milage in my 944. Fortunately I don't have 10% around here, but the highest octane is 92. I have never put ethanol in the 987 that I know of, but the hygroscopic nature could be a good explanation. I have been hearing more cases of huge amounts of water in gas at stations. If dry gas helps than that could be the problem.
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Old 09-14-2008, 07:30 PM   #5
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Oxygenated fuels (like ethanol and mtbe additives) have existed in some parts of the country for over twenty years. These are fuels with alcohols are meant to force carbureted engines to run leaner (to lower CO emissions) while fuel injected cars simply make up for the difference by using more fuel.

Any modern car has to be compatible with E10 fuels in both they way they run and in thematerials used. There's nothing to worry about there.

Although ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline, it actually has a higher octane number, so preignition is not a problem.

All gasolines are not created equally and some may be low quality in formulation or may even be too old. It's a good idea to use gasoline from a major oil company to reduce the risk of quality problems.

As far as the amount of energy required to produce ethanol, that's a matter of great debate.

Last edited by blue2000s; 09-14-2008 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 09-15-2008, 01:14 AM   #6
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I know of a few name branded stations on my weekend drives that sell gas without alcohol. They are usually in the Wisconsin area, in smaller towns. I try to buy my gas there if at all possible, as often as I can.
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Old 09-15-2008, 01:54 PM   #7
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Here in the Heartland we have the choice of 92 oct prem and 89 oct ethanol. I haven't used ethanol in either of my Boxs because of the low oct rating. I have however, used ethanol in other new cars that I've owned without problems. I would not use ethanol in a car that's many yrs old that always used reg gas. I'm not a scientist nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn, but the theory is the alcohol dislodges the gunk at the bottom of your car's tank that reg gas leaves alone. This gunk circulates through your engine and finds the worst place to block (injectors, filters, etc). Don't know if this is true, but my experience has been used cars seem to have more problems with ethanol than new cars that always use ethanol.
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Old 09-15-2008, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by husker boxster
Here in the Heartland we have the choice of 92 oct prem and 89 oct ethanol. I haven't used ethanol in either of my Boxs because of the low oct rating. .
I'm pretty sure the premium you buy has ethanol in it. All the premium around here does.
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam
I'm pretty sure the premium you buy has ethanol in it. All the premium around here does.
That may be true, but at least in our area the grade has to be identified with a sign if the % of ethanol is at or above a certain amt (10%?). Our gasahol / ethanol 89 oct grades have a sign saying it's 10% ehtanol. Our prems do not have this sign. When we started selling ethanol 30 yrs ago, people started having problems with their cars when they used it (the kind mentioned in earlier posts). The signs were required to identify what kind of gas you are buying so you can avoid buying ethanol if you want to.
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Old 09-16-2008, 02:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Adam
I'm pretty sure the premium you buy has ethanol in it. All the premium around here does.

Adam, smaller towns are not required to have ethanol fuels. Big cities are due to air quality laws. I am pretty sure.

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