Safe Guards On How To Properly Use Ethanol Blended Gasoline In ECHO And Shindaiwa Products
Ethanol blended gasoline has been used for over 15 years in the United States. Ethanol is added to gasoline to help reduce exhaust emissions and as a U.S. policy, to help decrease the dependence on imported oil. The majority of ethanol sold in the United States is made from corn.
Currently almost all states sell gasoline that contains some ethanol, so it’s almost impossible to avoid blended fuel even if you wanted to. Most blended fuel on the market today is E10. E10 contains 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol. Other alternative fuel blends on the market or which may be coming include E15 (15% ethanol), E20 (20% ethanol) and E85 (85% ethanol). Unfortunately, not all pumps are well labeled and the actual percentage of ethanol varies.
Cars built after 2001 all have computer controlled electronic fuel injection systems which can compensate for varied ethanol blends up to 15% ethanol. “Flex Fuel” vehicles can run on up to 85% ethanol. Today’s ethanol blended fuel is primarily designed for automobiles where it is typically consumed in one or two weeks.
Look Before You Pump!
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) which represents small engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers has prepared information to help alert end users to the harmful effects of using gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol. In fact, using any fuel that contains more than 10 percent ethanol is harmful and illegal to use in outdoor power equipment. Look for the logo listed below in your operator’s manual to help you with the proper fuel choice for your ECHO or Shindaiwa products. For additional information on “Look Before You Pump” go to http://www.LookBeforeYouPump.com.
Power Equipment Ethanol Problems
ECHO handheld power equipment is designed to tolerate up to 10% ethanol blended fuel and cannot compensate for higher concentrations of ethanol like your car. Hand held power equipment is not used as often, so fuel is often stored much longer than two weeks. Therefore, engine and carburetor problems can still occur when running your equipment on the approved 10% or less ethanol content depending on how your fuel is stored and when the fuel that you are using becomes older than 30 days.
WATER – Ethanol in blended fuel attracts moisture as soon as it’s exposed to air. High humidity and fuel cans with poor sealing or missing spout covers or vents accelerate the problem.
Ethanol will absorb a small amount of moisture and stay in suspension within the gasoline for awhile. However, the ethanol will only absorb up to 3⁄4 of an ounce of water in a gallon of gas before it reaches its saturation point.
Once the ethanol has absorbed enough moisture to reach its saturation, point, phase separation occurs. Phase separation means the ethanol and absorbed water drop to the bottom of the fuel container because it is heavier than the gas and oil. Floating on top now is the gasoline and oil mixture. Most operators never notice water in the can when they refuel their equipment. The end result is most often ruined carburetors with rust and corrosion. These expensive repairs can cost over $75.00 and are not typically covered by warranty.
STALE FUEL – Gasoline begins the gradual process of degrading and losing its volatility as soon as it leaves the refinery. Just like milk, bread and other food items, gasoline will eventually spoil or turn stale. You’ll probably get sick if you drink spoiled milk. Leaving stale fuel in an engine will typically first cause non-warrantable fuel system damage. Stale fuel is the number one cause of stiff carburetor metering diaphragms and a leading cause of carburetor replacement. Very often, engines will run on stale fuel for some time. Stale fuel gum & varnish will quickly stick the piston rings of a running engine causing its failure. Stale fuel is nothing new. We have had this problem long before there was any ethanol blended fuel. The difference is that today’s fuel can start to turn bad much sooner than in the past. In fact, today’s fuel can begin to turn stale in as little as 30-days. High temperatures, high humidity and poor fuel storage are all factors in fuel turning stale prematurely. However, the major factor in today’s fuel short shelf life is ethanol. Ethanol absorbs moisture which is a factor in the formation of stale fuel. In addition, ethanol adds more oxygen to the fuel, speeding up the oxidation (stale fuel) process.
Preventing Ethanol Blended Fuel Problems
- PURCHASE ONLY RECOMMENDED FUEL – All ECHO products are designed to run on gasoline blended with no more than 10% ethanol (E10). Do not run your ECHO equipment on E15, E20 and especially not E85. These fuels can result in: poor engine performance, low power, overheating, vapor lock, improper clutch engagement, premature deterioration of fuel lines, premature deterioration of fuel cap gaskets and premature deterioration of carburetors. Using unauthorized fuel in ECHO two-stroke powered products will void your engine warranty.
- USE PROPER FUEL CONTAINERS – Never store fuel in containers with open or leaking spouts. Replace old fuel containers with separate vents. Leaking open fuel containers are a fire safety hazard that promote the absorption of moisture and cause fuel to turn stale quicker. Use only modern self venting fuel containers with “no spill” self sealing spouts.
- SHAKE THE FUEL CONTAINER – Shake the fuel container for 30 seconds just prior to filling your equipment. This practice ensures the fuel is mixed properly and helps to suspend any small amounts of moisture in the mixture.
- STORE FUEL IN A COOL DRY AREA – Cool controlled temperatures extend fuel life as it slows the aging process. Keeping the can in a dry area will also reduce the formation of condensation inside the fuel container. Caution: Fuel should never be stored in your house or by a flame or ignition source.
- PURCHASE ONLY ENOUGH FUEL FOR 30-DAYS OF USE – This is one of the best ways to prevent using stale fuel. Only purchase fuel from name brand high volume stations to ensure you get the freshest fuel possible.
- USE ECHO PowerBlend XTM or Red Armor 2-STROKE OIL – These oils contain a small quantity of fuel stabilizer to extend the life of the gasoline mixture.
- ADD A NAME BRAND FUEL STABILIZER FOR STORAGE UP TO 90-DAYS – The fuel stabilizers are effective only if they are mixed with fresh fuel (just bought at the pump) and proper fuel storage remains just as important. Remember nothing will properly rejuvenate old, stale fuel!
- DRAIN FUEL COMPLETELY FOR STORAGE – If you do not intend to use your ECHO product within a 30 day period, drain the fuel completely from the carburetor and the fuel tank.
We hope that this information helps you understand the importance of proper ethanol fuel storage, helps prevent potential product issues, avoids costly & unnecessary repair bills and enables you to enjoy your ECHO product when you need it.