Fuel filters and Ethanol.

Lola

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#1
I'm mainly interested in my tractor for cutting grass concerning this, but I guess it would also apply to any fuel filter.

I have and dearly love my gravely tractor it is over 30 years old and never had to replace a single part on it except for tires, batteries, and blades. I was going to order some fuel filters from china but did a search on small engine filters and came upon an article by Brigs and Straighten air filters that listed fuel filters saying compatible with Ethanol or not. They listed some filters saying this.
This sounds nuts to me so I was wondering if anyone had ever had any problems with fuel filters and Ethanol/gas, E10 in my area.

This just doesn't make any sense to me, what would make a small engine have a problem with a paper element filter? In China you can get 10 for about $4.00 at Home Depot they wanted $7.?? for one that looks practically the same as the Chinese one!

Forgot to say, they also B&S said whether a filter was used with a fuel pump or not, why would that be a concern?
 
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Dashmellow

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#2
Ethanol wreaks havoc with certain engines and voids many warranties so it wouldn't be surprising to learn that E10 gas damages air filters. My small engine repair shop guy tells me that half the work they do these days is related to ethanol induced problems. Since ethanol in gas tends to damage gaskets and seals my guess is that if it harms fuel filters it may be the adhesives and seals that hold the paper filter material in place that suffer the damage. Come to think of it I had a fuel filter element dislodge inside its clear plastic shell in my 48 inch walk behind deck mower last summer. Perhaps it was the ethanol in the gas that caused that to happen. Then again, so far the same brand of filter has made it through this season in one piece.

And just yesterday as a political gift to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley for his ultra-partisan behavior during the Kaveaugh Supreme Court confirmation process and to help secure the midterm vote from Midwestern corn farmers affected by tariffs, Donald Trump announced a plan to lift a ban on selling E15 gasoline year round despite the damage it causes to engines or the smog it creates during summer weather.
 
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jokiin

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#3
Ethanol eats away at certain types of rubber which was often used in fuel systems, lines, seals etc before ethanol in regular fuel was a thing

do some reading on the lookalike Chinese filters, a lot of them are very poorly designed, they bypass very easily which leads to no filtration at all
 

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#4
Even worse, as the % of ethanol in our fuel increases, components that are fine for low % are no good for higher %, so just because something says OK for ethanol doesn't mean that it will be OK with the fuel you have access to! If you have E15 fuel then you need E15 compatible filters.
 

SawMaster

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#5
All decent small-engine mechanics will tell you to use only non-ethanol gas. The ethanol blends gum up more quickly, and with the tiny passages in a small-engine carburetor you're asking for trouble using ethanol blends. Those tiny passages are also easily blocked by water which has a higher density than gasoline or ethanol. Ethanol has the unlovable property of being hygroscopic (attracts water). It will pull the humidity out of the air and clog those passages, and in your car deposit it on the bottom of your fuel tank causing rust.

The older cars can usually tolerate a 10% blend, but going above that is likely to cause trouble. If you run ethanol blends in your car, you should use a fuel additive containing "Methanol" which mixes with water molecules and allows it to burn. Ethanol just encapsulates water molecules leaving it intact once it drops out of the mix, where it will be drawn to other water molecules. Additives containing only "petroleum distillates"are a waste of money and do nothing for you. Oddly enough, you'll usually find Methanol only in the cheaper non-name-brand fuel additives when you would think the opposite more likely.

Ethanol is an alternative fuel, not a direct replacement for gasoline. It has half the caloric value of gas for an equal volume, so the higher percentage of ethanol in the blend, the lower the fuel mileage/run-time and power output. An engine designed to run on ethanol can equal a gasoline engine in power and fuel cost, but only cars rated as "Flex Fuel" can burn it well enough to get the benefits of ethanol or blended fuels- the rest of us lose.

Fuels blended with ethanol do not store well, you should use up what you buy within two or three months or the fuel will begin to gum up. I do use ethanol blends fuels in some of my larger small engines but I drain them when I'm not going to use them within a month, run some non-ethanol gas through the engine before storage, then put the left-over blended fuel in my car to use it up quickly. Our government is going in the wrong direction by allowing more ethanol in blends, but what else is new? They've been screwing things up since before I was born and will continue to do so after my rotting corpse has fed it's last daisy. What I plan to do if I can't find a 10% blend anymore is to go half-and-half with non-ethanol gas to compensate. It's a PITA but I've had to do that with some old cars to keep them running well so I'm practiced in the art.

Phil
 

GTA Driver

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#6
All decent small-engine mechanics will tell you to use only non-ethanol gas. The ethanol blends gum up more quickly, and with the tiny passages in a small-engine carburetor you're asking for trouble using ethanol blends. Those tiny passages are also easily blocked by water which has a higher density than gasoline or ethanol. Ethanol has the unlovable property of being hygroscopic (attracts water). It will pull the humidity out of the air and clog those passages, and in your car deposit it on the bottom of your fuel tank causing rust.
Agreed. I take my snowblower and lawnmower to a small engine repair place and the first thing they tell customers is to get premium gas. I have followed my small engine repair services place's advice and noticed, compared to my neighbours
  1. my snow blower runs better
  2. a neighbour is going thru lawnmowers like no ones business
When I loan either machine to my neighbour, I actually gringe when they return it filled with gas.

I used to do a fair bit of boating and I can recall magazine articles years ago expressing concern on Ethanol for boat engines.
 

flank

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#7
How about cleaning out the tank, get rid of the fuel filter and filter the fuel while its being poured in the tank? Not sure if this would work as I only tried to mow a lawn 2 times in my life :LOL:

180148_2_grande.jpg
 
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Lola

Lola

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#8
I'v read most of the things said and understand E10 being corrosive in fuel lines/tanks (metal) and that E15 will be disastrous to even vehicles made after 2001. 2001 is when most vehicles had to be compatible wit E10. Howver I have had no problems with my tractor , rubber fuel lines and original type gas filter, no idea why I don't.
However now it is having a slower time starting and I'm sure it's the fuel filter getting clogged, problem is everyone uses Chines filters, gas line can be changed to TYGON it is compatible with E10 at close to $2.00 per foot. It has got to the point you can't trust what the manufacture says.
Doesn't anyone make an American filter for small engines ?
 

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#9
I'v read most of the things said and understand E10 being corrosive in fuel lines/tanks (metal) and that E15 will be disastrous to even vehicles made after 2001. 2001 is when most vehicles had to be compatible wit E10. Howver I have had no problems with my tractor , rubber fuel lines and original type gas filter, no idea why I don't.
However now it is having a slower time starting and I'm sure it's the fuel filter getting clogged, problem is everyone uses Chines filters, gas line can be changed to TYGON it is compatible with E10 at close to $2.00 per foot. It has got to the point you can't trust what the manufacture says.
Doesn't anyone make an American filter for small engines ?
Hard starting is one of the symptoms of E10 problems in small engines. After years of hassling with this kind of thing I now drain all the fuel out of my equipment at the end of the season and use fog oil. Come spring I use fresh gas and these engines start right up.

I think probably most filters are manufactured in China these days. I think the best thing to do is buy a name brand filter from a good company that will be manufactured with quality materials according to their own specs even if it does happen to be made in China.

If you are having trouble with hard starting of your engine maybe try some carburetor/injector cleaner and see if that helps.
 

country_hick

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#10
One man says he uses fuel injection cleaner every time he fills up his small engines. His problems went away. using the stabil type products did not get as good results.
 
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Lola

Lola

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#11
One man says he uses fuel injection cleaner every time he fills up his small engines. His problems went away. using the stabil type products did not get as good results.
Stabil (spelling) has absolutely screwed up 2 vehicles and my neighbors boat. Once he flushed the tank and engine (I don't know how) all his problems went away. While researching thiss subject I read several professional articles that stated there is NO known way to stabilize the effects of E10 with any liquid in existence at this time. Metal tanks will be slowly eaten/dissolved as will rubber. AS I said above as for fuel lines (rubber) they can be replaced with several products, one being TYGON.
 
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Lola

Lola

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#12
Hard starting is one of the symptoms of E10 problems in small engines. After years of hassling with this kind of thing I now drain all the fuel out of my equipment at the end of the season and use fog oil. Come spring I use fresh gas and these engines start right up.

I think probably most filters are manufactured in China these days. I think the best thing to do is buy a name brand filter from a good company that will be manufactured with quality materials according to their own specs even if it does happen to be made in China.

If you are having trouble with hard starting of your engine maybe try some carburetor/injector cleaner and see if that helps.
You are right about the hard starting being a condition of using E10. However let me tell you about my situation. I have been running this tractor from 2 to or more times a week since before E10, that is a long time for E10 to be used in it with no outwardly signs of a any problems. it doesn't have a fuel pump it is gravity feed to a 12hp Kohler cast iron engine single cylinder. It normally starts right up in about 2 seconds but this year it takes about 10 seconds the first time I start it up in the spring for gas to get to the carburetor. in past years it didn't take that long, then it starts right up. I started thinking about this E10 last night and it just didn't make a lot of sense for the E10 to be causing all these problems sense it has been using the E10 sense it came into Maryland years ago, why did it knot eat up the rubber and other have other problems.
So, this morning I went down and cut a 2 inch piece of the rubber fuel hose off and split it down the middle so I could open it up and see what the inside looked like. It looks like new! No sign of deteriorating whatsoever.

The only thing I usually do (not always) for winter is fill it totally up with gas (E10 says this is wrong) and it is always kept in the barn where it stays dry. This goes against all the things E10 is supposed to do. I'm starting to wonder seriously if this E10 is the problem everyone says it is and not something else. Almost forgot, I have never used any additives to the regular gas, nothing whatsoever.... in the tractor.

My neighbor believed all the hype stories about a product called STABIL (spelling) so a couple years or so ago he bought the whole idea and put it in his boat for the winter following the instructions, I told him I had heard some bad stories about this stuff but he just said it was new proven technology! Well, after Christmas he and his wife pulled the boat down to Florida for their winter stay, the boat motor wouldn't start no matter what he did. He finally had to take it to a dealer in Florida who flushed the gas tank and engine, filled it up with gas, it started right up! Sense then I know a couple others who had about the same problem in their cars.
I think I'm going to just quit thinking about E10 till the tractor tells me something is wrong. I am going to take your advise on a filter and get one from Gravely are one of the other big tractor dealers that guarantee them.

I asked a couple of the Chinese sellers if their filters were E10 compatible, this is the 3rd day of no answers, I guess this tells us what the answer is.
 
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