Blends + Scooters = Problems
If you ride a carbureted scooter (or motorcycle)
and are getting your fuel from "ordinary" fuel pumps, you are almost
certainly getting an ethanol blended fuel that is NOT good for your
machine. Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) has several chemical properties
and effects which render it to be incompatible with several conventional
engine parts. There are four main areas of concern caused by ethanol
Solvent - Ethanol will dissolve plastic, rubber, fiberglass and
even aluminum. Ethanol can dissolve and disintegrate just about anything
that has accumulated in a motor. For example, ethanol will dissolve
resins that create a black sludge that coats and travels through an
engine causing engine stalling and complications including clogged fuel
filters and carburetor jets.
Water - Ethanol will absorb water. It combines with water and the
combined molecules are greater than the sum of each separate molecule.
Petroleum and most other oil-based compounds are not soluble in water.
Temperature - Ethanol ignites at a higher temperature than the
gasoline it is blended with and can cause damage to engine pistons.
Shelf Life - Ethanol has a short shelf life, only about 2 - 3
months in ideal conditions. It begins to separate from the gasoline it
was blended with very quickly.
Your carbureted, air-cooled scooter
will be much happier with Non-Oxygenated fuel (pure gasoline).
Fuel injected scooters have fuel pumps and move
fuel at much greater pressure than gravity/vacuum systems. As such, they
are more tolerant of ethanol blends. As for myself, I run Non-Ox fuel in
all my two-wheelers, carbureted or fuelies. There are several sources to
locate Non-Ox (ethanol-free) fuel in
your area. One of my favourites is
lists by state throughout the USA.
Currently, the blended fuel being forced upon us is 5% or 10% Ethanol.
There is a big push by the EPA to ram 15% Ethanol down our throats even
though it is NOT approved for use in scooters or motorcycles by their
manufacturers and will void warranty coverage. I strongly recommend that
you stick with Non-Ox fuel, especially in your carbureted scooter.
More About Scooters & Ethanol
Scooter Madness Blog has a posting from Erik Baeumlisberger about the
potential problems that fuel blended with ethanol can cause in a lot of
scooters, particularly the air-cooled and carbureted scooters so
commonly seen on the road in the USA.
CLICK HERE or on the image to jump to the blog entry.