Ethanol Fuel in a Vespa
Post Reply    Forum -> Not-So-Modern
Author Message
Hooked
1963 Allstate, 2005 Vespa PX150, 2001 Harley 95 ci Dyna
Joined: 06 May 2016
Posts: 282
Location: Central Ohio
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:58 am quote
I previously reported finding a lot of crud in the carburetor on my 2005 PX150. Where did it come from? Here is an interesting video discussing the effects of ethanol gasoline on aluminum and other parts in the fuel system. It was sent to me by Apex.

The crud I found was in the sediment chamber above the float bowl. Fuel would stay in there even if you run the bike, with the fuel shut off, until it quits before storage. The Vespa carburetor is aluminum or a composite of aluminum and so in time, the ethanol fuel causes corrosion on the aluminum.

The bottom line is that 10% ethanol gasoline is not good for the parts in the Vespa fuel system. Additionally, the use of fuel additives does not seem to be all that effective in neutralizing the effects of ethanol. I have tried both the Lucas fuel additive shown in the video and also the Star Tron enzyme fuel treatment and still got the damaging crud.

The best solution to this problem is to use ethanol free gasoline. It is hard to find but it is available. In the US, locations are listed on the Internet. Usually, the service station will have a special pump for the ethanol free gasoline. With ethanol free gasoline, fuel additives are not needed.

DSC06640.JPG
Crud found in sediment chamber above the float bowl.

Gas.JPG
Ethanol free 90 octane gasoline pump.

Molto Verboso
1979 P150X, 1983 P200E, 1987 T5, 1996 PX200E, 2011 Yamaha Fazer 600 S2
Joined: 02 Aug 2015
Posts: 1619
Location: Veria, Greece
Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:18 am quote
SI carbs are made from a mixture of antimony. Unfortunately they're more susceptible to ethanol corrosion and we'll have a tough time in the future with ethanol mixed gasolines. Years ago we joked with friends that in the future we will be buying expensive "special" fuel just to ride on the weekends. Let's only hope that this won't be the case soon...
Molto Verboso
1980 P200E project, 2005 Stella Mal 177 MKIII in pieces
Joined: 20 Jul 2018
Posts: 1128
Location: Staten Island, NY
Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:45 am quote
Easier said than done in nyc unfortunately. I've looked on sites listing gas stations with ethanol free gas and there are none in nyc area. Every time I go to a station I look for it and none of them on my island have ethanol free. So for everyone else, you deal with it. As long as you don't let it sit unused for too long it isn't a major problem. At least so far with my scooter. When I know it's going to sit long time like right now with my engine split, I drain the gas and throw it into my truck tank when mostly full to use it up.

Edit: just checked again and there are none in NY state within miles of NYC. In Jersey there is one 30 miles away over a bridge that costs $17 by car and hopefully $6 by scooter to drive over. So by the time I drove out there to get gas and drove back I'd be down almost half a tank of gas after filling up on the scooter and spent a ton of money to get over the bridge!

Screenshot_20191103-114832.png

Screenshot_20191103-114858.png

Addicted
Honda elite
Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 630
Location: California
Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:58 am quote
this is concerning I too have searched for ethanol free fuel but cannot find it. Just yesterday I heard here in California there is some action to mandate helmets with full face protection no more halfies and a protective motorcycle jacket. Hadn't heard it before but sure seems like it could easily become reality. Back to the fuel it was my understanding some pre-mix oils neutralize ethanol but now I have doubt and this does not solve auto lube scoots.
Addicted
Stella 2T, P200, Rally 180 Euro
Joined: 06 Jan 2014
Posts: 577
Location: Camden, ME
Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:53 am quote
I have never had an issue with ethanol fuel in any of my scooters. They have sat for months in summer and winter without a fuel issue. Even my chainsaws and lawn mowers. So maybe something else is going on here?

In my opinion, ethanol is a great solvent as well as petrol. Maybe poor petrol quality mixed with ethanol? Idono!
Hooked
1963 Allstate, 2005 Vespa PX150, 2001 Harley 95 ci Dyna
Joined: 06 May 2016
Posts: 282
Location: Central Ohio
Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:50 am quote
If you can't find ethanol free gas, you can easily remove the ethanol from gasoline. The procedure is simple but can be a fire and health hazard if you are not careful. All you need is a cup of water and a gallon of 10% ethanol gasoline. Add the water to the gasoline, shake well, and let stand for a day or so. Then decant off the water and you have pure ethanol free gasoline. Some add a blue food coloring to the water to better see the water in the gasoline. There are also many different innovative ways to do it. The simply way is shown in the video below. Just remember the hazards, do it outdoors, and be careful. Also, you will lose about 3 to 4 octane points. So start with 93 octane gasoline and you will end up with around a 90 octane ethanol free gasoline.

I think the reason I got some much crud in my carburetor was that is sat for many years in storage before I bought it. The float bowl was dry when I got it since the float needle had stuck in the closed position. But gasoline remained in the sediment bowl just after the banjo bolt. Here is where I found my curd. I would guess that unsing 10% ethanol gasoline would be fine if you ride your bike a lot and do not store it for a long period of time. But if you have a choice, I would suggest you use the ethanol free fuel in the vintage Vespas.
Hooked
1955 Allstate 1958 lambretta 1965 Allstate 1968 sprint
Joined: 20 Jul 2017
Posts: 397
Location: Central california
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:23 pm quote
Ethanol fuels....
I have had no issues with the ethanol fuels sold in California. From what I have seen, when you premix; have had zero issues. The two stroke oils help eliminate the corrosiveness of the ethanol.
I run 100% methanol in one of my hot rods. The corrosiveness is is over the top. Left untouched it will ruin the entire fuel system in a matter of weeks. To help with the corrosiveness I run Klotz fuel lube. It can be used with ethanol,methanol, nitro, and gasoline. Anything that has alcohol in it.

53E377E2-56E9-4A91-AED5-EDB9748A334A.jpeg

Veni, Vidi, Posti
74 50s x3 78 P200 84 Cosa 58 AllState 68 Sprint 80 50special + projects
Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 7339
Location: seattle/athens
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:22 pm quote
SaFiS wrote:
SI carbs are made from a mixture of antimony. Unfortunately they're more susceptible to ethanol corrosion and we'll have a tough time in the future with ethanol mixed gasolines. Years ago we joked with friends that in the future we will be buying expensive "special" fuel just to ride on the weekends. Let's only hope that this won't be the case soon...
This thread has already taught me a couple of new things, like the Klotz additive and that it does help real world. But ANTIMONY hate? Some SI carbs might have a little antimony in them and it may or may not make much difference. I do know castings and alloys after more than 50 years working with them, so I'll cut to the chase.

Vespas were made with THREE different kinds of castings. This is from ONLY what I've seen, I'm sure there's more to it.

The most used were 'permanent mold castings' made in reusable molds of cast iron or tool steel, engine cases, most big or medium parts, etc. The preheated molds are filled by gravity or in a few cases by low pressure and ALL aluminum I believe except for a little cast iron on real old ones. The molds are usually opened automechanically, part spit out and do it again. Then there's the different alloys, and that's a whole book, suffice it to say that there are 'recipes' used depending on ~27 or more factors. Then there's heat treating those parts...

The LEAST common is sand casting where each mold is 'destroyed' the sand reclaimed to use for more 'new' molds.

Then we come to SI carbys and a few other parts, Mostly made by outside vendors, makes sense, right?

This is like the first type in many ways, but more automated w/ all cycles measured and controlled and HIGH pressure injection of the molten metal either an aluminum or zinc alloy, never mostly antimony I ever seen, sorry.

I think you probably heard that some part w/ a LOT of antimony failed coz of this type of problem and that's probably it.

There a LARGE number of both aluminum and zinc based die casting alloys available as 'commodities' that meet a certain spec including chem analysis verified by a spectrograph report & signed by an inspector for what that's worth.

For corrosion resistance, I can give a small lesson you can then apply to the rest.

In sand casting one of the best alloys to have in your part is called Almag or 535. A bitch to cast well w/ no shrinkage porosity, but hey, you want the best and most expensive ingot used. It consists of pure aluminum, about 7% magnesium and a touch of beryllium for flavor. The full spec REQUIRES other elements to below the low low specced max. Aluminum and magnesium are 'light' metals, but add some heavy metals or maybe they are just 'there' already and you have a 'battery' if you add a simple electrolyte like impure water over time, or alcohol as we see.

Google is your friend to learn more about these secret alloy recipes

535.jpg

Molto Verboso
1979 P150X, 1983 P200E, 1987 T5, 1996 PX200E, 2011 Yamaha Fazer 600 S2
Joined: 02 Aug 2015
Posts: 1619
Location: Veria, Greece
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:27 pm quote
Terry, maybe I'm wrong, but an SS180 carb a friend had with a broken throttle cable mount was welded with antimony and a lot of patience by my machinist. Perhaps they changed the recipe later...
Enthusiast
2009 GTS 250 "Noa"
Joined: 13 Oct 2019
Posts: 59
Location: Canada
Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:44 pm quote
Re: Ethanol Fuel in a Vespa
RB Prior wrote:
...The bottom line is that 10% ethanol gasoline is not good for the parts in the Vespa fuel system...
This is quite a stretch. Vespa can handle 10% ethanol gasoline just fine with no damage to the fuel system.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
74 50s x3 78 P200 84 Cosa 58 AllState 68 Sprint 80 50special + projects
Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 7339
Location: seattle/athens
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:12 pm quote
Quote:
Terry, maybe I'm wrong, but an SS180 carb a friend had with a broken throttle cable mount was welded with antimony and a lot of patience by my machinist. Perhaps they changed the recipe later...
NO, you RIGHT on that, but not the same thing at all. Most DIE castings because they are USUALLY made from cheaper and more available zinc base alloys, plus zinc alloys die cats nicely and more easily than aluminum. Most ppl just give up welding or 'soldering' broken die castings or just use damn JB WELD.

But these clever Greek guys KNOW about this ancient mystery alloy that you can fix die castings with and yes it has a shitload of antimony I believe - but that has to do w/ keeping the fix material melt point just below the target I think my welder guy said??? My Greek language skills are at maybe 2nd grade level.

This guy who got the secret recipe from his father and gave me a chunk that I haven't used yet, but I know what it can do.



IMG_20191103_140704893.jpg



Last edited by V oodoo on Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
Veni, Vidi, Posti
74 50s x3 78 P200 84 Cosa 58 AllState 68 Sprint 80 50special + projects
Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 7339
Location: seattle/athens
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:16 pm quote
Re: Ethanol Fuel in a Vespa
S.Ro wrote:
RB Prior wrote:
...The bottom line is that 10% ethanol gasoline is not good for the parts in the Vespa fuel system...
This is quite a stretch. Vespa can handle 10% ethanol gasoline just fine with no damage to the fuel system.
The parts on our older Vespas can be more random unfortunately, especially when you consider the variety of aftermarket parts used. Know why we want a red tipped float needle and not a real original Vespa part w/ black tip?
Enthusiast
2009 GTS 250 "Noa"
Joined: 13 Oct 2019
Posts: 59
Location: Canada
Sun Nov 03, 2019 2:30 pm quote
V oodoo wrote:
Know why we want a red tipped float needle and not a real original Vespa part w/ black tip?
I don't.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
74 50s x3 78 P200 84 Cosa 58 AllState 68 Sprint 80 50special + projects
Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 7339
Location: seattle/athens
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:06 pm quote
A good honest question right here, if you never knew why. The alcohol attacks the original rubber compound and turns it mushy and I've seen it, there are maybe other rubber bits as well I've heard. I use ALWAYS ethanol free and am lucky I have a source ten minutes away and about 15 gallons worth of containers. No ethanol in Greece, so I can tune all my bikes the same as a little bonus.
Ossessionato
'09 250 GTSie '75 Rally 200 '79 P200 '09 Stella 221
Joined: 13 May 2012
Posts: 2413
Location: Midway, Kentucky
Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:28 pm quote
I work for a local Ag and Turf dealer. We see horrific effects of ethanol based fuels used in small 2 stroke powered equipment. It's hell on carbs, fuel lines and seals. We had a manufacturer come to town and sample fuel from random stations in the area. The fuels are supposed to have a maximum ratio of 10% ethanol, but their findings were much higher. We were told that the ethanol is blended with pure gasoline when loaded on trucks at the distributor and the process is very crude. We were also told that ethanol based fuels have an effective shelf life of 6 weeks in a perfect scenario, but considering they add fuel to holding tanks containing fuel, degradation is instantaneous. Ethanol being alcohol, also burns at a much higher BTU than gasoline, thus using ethanol based fuels will make an engine run much hotter. Considering modern automotive engines have knock sensors, they can retard timing to control excessive engine temperatures. Most 2 stroke products lack this, thus will run hotter on ethanol fuels than ethanol free fuels. We all know the effects of running your engine too hot. Most manufacturers of turf equipment using 2 stroke engines offer ethanol free premixed fuels to enhance the life of their products. I run ethanol free gasoline mixed with Turbo Blue racing fuel. I'm mixing 4 gallons of gas with 2 gallons of 105 octane race fuel. I was told doing so yields an octane rating of 95. I find my bikes starting easier, and are less prone to loading up when cold and run great on top end for long distances. I've also had no issues of soft seizing while running WOT for long distances since going this route.
Hooked
1963 Allstate, 2005 Vespa PX150, 2001 Harley 95 ci Dyna
Joined: 06 May 2016
Posts: 282
Location: Central Ohio
Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:45 pm quote
Willie B wrote:
I work for a local Ag and Turf dealer. We see horrific effects of ethanol based fuels used in small 2 stroke powered equipment. It's hell on carbs, fuel lines and seals. We had a manufacturer come to town and sample fuel from random stations in the area. The fuels are supposed to have a maximum ratio of 10% ethanol, but their findings were much higher. We were told that the ethanol is blended with pure gasoline when loaded on trucks at the distributor and the process is very crude. We were also told that ethanol based fuels have an effective shelf life of 6 weeks in a perfect scenario, but considering they add fuel to holding tanks containing fuel, degradation is instantaneous. Ethanol being alcohol, also burns at a much higher BTU than gasoline, thus using ethanol based fuels will make an engine run much hotter. Considering modern automotive engines have knock sensors, they can retard timing to control excessive engine temperatures. Most 2 stroke products lack this, thus will run hotter on ethanol fuels than ethanol free fuels.
I appreciate the comments by Willie B. I have long suspected the 10% ethanol gasolines contained more ethanol than what was listed. Now in Ohio, there is a push on using E88 gasoline. The octane rating is 88 but it contains 15% ethanol. Many automotive makes are discouraging the use of E88 claiming the fuel will damage the vehicle. Just think what it would do to the 2 stroke Vespa. Even the Helix racing fuel line I just installed in my PX150 says it is not for use with fuels containing more than 10% ethanol.

As for the higher heat generated by alcohol containing gasoline, this could have played a part in my recent soft seize. I was jetted richer than the stock PX150 yet encountered the soft seize. I was using "10% ethanol gasoline" at the time but who knows what the real percentage of ethanol was in the gasoline.

I think I now have these problems solved by switching to pure 90 octane ethanol free gasoline. My PX150 runs great with this fuel and I do not have to add any additives. It is nice to know that my engine is also running cooler with this fuel.
Ossessionato
2 matching N.Z. '69 VBC Super, 177cc Racer, VespaCross Bodge, Puch SRA150, Piaggio Zip 100! & others
Joined: 26 May 2013
Posts: 3822
Location: Millbin, Ostrayleea, mate
Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:41 pm quote
S.Ro wrote:
V oodoo wrote:
Know why we want a red tipped float needle and not a real original Vespa part w/ black tip?
I don't.
Viton vs EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer)
Different rubber polymers react differently to varying minerals etc... some swell, become britle or dissolve etc.

Ohhh.... we have E85!
I put it in my EG Civic, & killed it! But that was possibly the burnouts that did it... great extra HP

FE49E9AF-30EC-470E-AABA-0F1F8CD7EAE8.jpeg



Last edited by SubEtherBASS on Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
Hooked
bare metal cafe racer
Joined: 01 Sep 2017
Posts: 475
Location: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:59 am quote
I donít think we have any ethanol fuel here in NZ yet... someone correct me if Iím wrong. And can get 98 pretty easily. Which makes me want to ask... what octane would you run if you had the choice?
Hooked
1955 Allstate 1958 lambretta 1965 Allstate 1968 sprint
Joined: 20 Jul 2017
Posts: 397
Location: Central california
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:08 am quote
ethanol
Well here in California we dont have choices. we have winter grade fuels and summer grade fuels. the ethanol % is different between the two. i will try and find what the difference is and post, unless someone already knows the difference. please post. Again like i said I have not had any issues with running the fuel we have here in California. I always tend to run a little heavy on the pre-mix oil. 32:1 on the lambretta and 3% on the vespas.
Hooked
1963 Allstate, 2005 Vespa PX150, 2001 Harley 95 ci Dyna
Joined: 06 May 2016
Posts: 282
Location: Central Ohio
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:14 am quote
pheasant plucker wrote:
I donít think we have any ethanol fuel here in NZ yet... someone correct me if Iím wrong. And can get 98 pretty easily. Which makes me want to ask... what octane would you run if you had the choice?
For a US 2005 PX150, the owners manual recommends using unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane rating of 90. I was using a 10% ethanol gasoline with an octane of 93 but have recently switched to a non ethanol gasoline with an octane of 90.
Molto Verboso
1980 P200E project, 2005 Stella Mal 177 MKIII in pieces
Joined: 20 Jul 2018
Posts: 1128
Location: Staten Island, NY
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:41 am quote
I use the max on my stella with cylinder kit as required. I forget, either 91 or 93 which is the equivalent to the european octane required by the kit.
Cross Egypt Challenge - A 2400km ride throughout Egypt   vespa scooterwest scooter west Motorsport Scooters   Cool Ass scooter seat cover
Post Reply    Forum -> Not-So-Modern
[ Time: 0.1761s ][ Queries: 25 (0.0303s) ][ Debug on ]