Do our bikes have issues with ethanol fuel? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Do our bikes have issues with ethanol fuel?

When I bought my bike, the salesman told me I should buy ethanol-free gas if at all possible. I also found in the owners manual that it says not to use fuel with more than 5% ethanol.

So, has anyone had or heard of problems with Kawasakis and corn squeezin's in the gas?


Some manufacturers have had issues and not used materials that are fully compatible with alcohol in gas. Moto Guzzi (I traded mine in on the Versys) had problems with plastic tanks swelling and deforming due to it. They also had fuel lines and filters that degraded in 10% ethanol fuel. This was not with older bikes but recent models.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 10:23 PM
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i run premium with 10% corn juice with no real problem

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 10:29 PM
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You want to avoid leaving ethanol gasoline in your fuel tank and system for any extended time period. Phase separation and water absorbtion of the highly hydroscopic ethanol leads to a corrosive mess... I always use ethanol-free premium gasoline. There's no money to save with regular ethanol gas, with which it'd run like crap anyway.

http://www.pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=NC

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 11:28 PM
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You can make the case for periodically running a tank of ethanol containing fuel through the tank to help pick-up the accumulated water in the tank. Your tank can build a bubble of water in the bottom of the tank especially if you don't keep it full and go through multiple temperature swings (ambient air). The water tends ti sit in the same spot inside your tank so you get very localized corrosion from it. The ethanol will tend to 'sorb the water and carry it through as "fuel".

If I remember correctly P-51 mustangs used alcohol water injections for emergency power runs!

I tend to run whatever is available in 89 octane. It's cheaper than premium but still gives a bit of anti-ping protection although I'm not convinced the V's engine really needs higher octane than 87.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-19-2016, 11:30 PM
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-20-2016, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Well, this is one of the reasons I bought a Kawasaki this time instead of another Italian bike. While some aftermarket parts have had issues, the big Japanese makers have been much better about making their products compatible with fuels available in their big markets.
I am aware of the issues with ethanol fuels in general. Fortunately I do have a couple stations close to home and work that have corn free fuel. Whenever convenient I fill the bikes with it and use it in lawnmowers and such.

Good to not hear about problems specific to our bikes.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-20-2016, 07:43 AM
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All gas in Brazil has 27% of ethanol since forever, so there's no problem in using your 10% ethanol gas.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-20-2016, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invader View Post
You want to avoid leaving ethanol gasoline in your fuel tank and system for any extended time period. Phase separation and water absorbtion of the highly hydroscopic ethanol leads to a corrosive mess...
Unfortunately I have first hand experience with this.

Several years ago I bought a 7 year old Honda ST1300 with just 7500 miles on it. When I asked about the low mileage, the owner told me the previous owner had let it sit up for a "while". I test rode it and all was OK so I figured no harm had been done by it sitting unused. Even on the 600 mile ride home and the subsequent 2 or 3 weeks it ran like a champ.

After about 3 weeks from puchase, it started acting like the fuel pump was going bad (started missing badly on acceleration). The ST1300 has an upper and lower tank with the lower tank containing the fuel pump. When I opened up the lower tank, here is what I found. A classic case of Ethanol phase separation, verified by someone I know who is a mechanic. He told me it was rare to get a rusted tank in his shop until Ethanol began appearing in gas. After that, he said he saw several per week, with more showing up after things sat up all winter:






Here is a diagram showing the phase separation process (discussion of the process HERE ):




It was not an easy fix. Even with doing it myself, it cost about $750 for parts (new tank, fuel pump & associated bits). It was a long job because the lower tank removal was pretty involved and tedious:




Since going through this, I always leave the bike parked with an absolutely full tank to prevent moisture laden air from coming in contact with the gasoline surface. If it's going to be parked for any length of time I'll put in STABIL and start the bike up every few weeks to remove any water that has settled to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pump pickup is.

Quote:
I always use ethanol-free premium gasoline. There's no money to save with regular ethanol gas, with which it'd run like crap anyway.
This is very hard to find in areas in and anywhere near metropolitan areas due to environmental regulation.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-20-2016, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfcamp View Post
Unfortunately I have first hand experience with this.

Several years ago I bought a 7 year old Honda ST1300 with just 7500 miles on it. When I asked about the low mileage, the owner told me the previous owner had let it sit up for a "while". I test rode it and all was OK so I figured no harm had been done by it sitting unused. Even on the 600 mile ride home and the subsequent 2 or 3 weeks it ran like a champ.

After about 3 weeks from puchase, it started acting like the fuel pump was going bad (started missing badly on acceleration). The ST1300 has an upper and lower tank with the lower tank containing the fuel pump. When I opened up the lower tank, here is what I found. A classic case of Ethanol phase separation, verified by someone I know who is a mechanic. He told me it was rare to get a rusted tank in his shop until Ethanol began appearing in gas. After that, he said he saw several per week, with more showing up after things sat up all winter:






Here is a diagram showing the phase separation process (discussion of the process HERE ):




It was not an easy fix. Even with doing it myself, it cost about $750 for parts (new tank, fuel pump & associated bits). It was a long job because the lower tank removal was pretty involved and tedious:




Since going through this, I always leave the bike parked with an absolutely full tank to prevent moisture laden air from coming in contact with the gasoline surface. If it's going to be parked for any length of time I'll put in STABIL and start the bike up every few weeks to remove any water that has settled to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pump pickup is.



This is very hard to find in areas in and anywhere near metropolitan areas due to environmental regulation.
Somehow my local lawnmower place gets ethanol free. I think boats use it too.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2016, 04:43 AM
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I'm so glad that this pig-fuel isn't very popular where I live...

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-25-2016, 06:03 PM
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Interesting, although I have never heard of this here in Brazil: A Real World Look at Alcohol in Your Tank | Cycle World
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