How the new ethanol-blended petrol is causing havoc on my old Gypsy

I just wonder how vintage car owners are maintaining their cars. I dread to think of similar damages to those beauties.

BHPian Bibendum90949 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

So it's here, very much here - the Ethanol blended petrol playing havoc with fuel systems and components. I've just got the first taste of it after my Gypsy has gone to the mechanic for its yearly oil changes and other running repairs before the start of another off-road season. It being a modified off-road spec Gypsy, it's rarely used on the road.

The runs which it sees are weekly once or so to keep the battery juice going, about 10-15 kms. Hence I don't fill more than 7-8 litres of petrol at a time. It's tanked up only when a trip is lined up and just before it commences. Even then, there must be always min 5 litres of fuel in the tank. While this is what I do generally to upkeep the vehicle, many times the vehicle was parked for 3 weeks on the trot owing to me going out of station etc.

The car had misfiring issues on the last couple of occasions I drove. Upon investigating further, it was found that the fuel tank was plagued with rust and even the fuel pump and float has rusted beyond recognition. I can't think of any other villain than the E10, E15 petrol which we all have to fill inevitably to our older non-compatible engines/cars. My mechanic, a very experienced chap, is also of the same opinion and so are a few other experts whom I spoke to. He's saying he has seen similar cases in motorcycle fuel tanks and a few other cars, especially those that don't run on a regular basis.

Damage to the pocket is 15k and the below parts are getting replaced. Cleaning/Servicing them was an option though but no guarantee of it functioning as intended. With my Gypsy likely to be at all sorts of offbeat places at odd hours and inclement weather, I didn't want to take a chance to do that and get stranded, especially with something as important as fuel systems. Hence changing the following parts.

  • Fuel Tank
  • Fuel Pump
  • Fuel Float
  • Spark Plugs
  • Rubber hoses (most of them)

Besides, the throttle body and injectors have been cleaned though they were largely looking good to the naked eye.

It appears like we've to find a way to mitigate this problem or accept to live with the problem and bear the repair cost every now and then or worse be prepared to get stranded out of the blue. Cars that are not driven on a regular basis are going to bear the brunt more I suppose and take a hit on reliability. We've enough threads here discussing the perils of using ethanol-blended fuel on older-generation engines.

There are additives available to safeguard the ethanol damages but all are extremely expensive. Here's one such option priced at ₹1900 which can treat roughly 20 litres of petrol. This translates to ~ ₹200 per litre(fuel+additive). I am buying this and planning to mix it with petrol whenever the car gets parked for a longer duration. Hope it can salvage the unfortunate plight to some extent.

So it's advisable to use your older gen petrol cars, or any car for that matter, on a regular basis to save yourself from these hassles and maintenance expenses. The vehicle is slated to be back today evening after the repairs. Fingers crossed.

How I wish a PIL is filed to make ethanol-free petrol made available. Enough has been written and discussed on the topic in our forum itself. I just don't want to go there. This is the sad reality and it appears like one has to live with it. I just wonder how vintage car owners are maintaining their cars. I dread to think of similar damages to those beauties. With Gypsy, one can still breathe easily since parts are always available and much cheaper barring a few.

Given the situation, what are the best possible and practical solutions/options one has to protect our dear old vehicles from the menace of ethanol? All this damage is with E10 and E15. It's anybody's guess what would the scene be like with E-20. Used up the max two emoticons per post, and quite rightly the apt one.

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