Here’s another prob­lem with bio­fu­els

Yachting Monthly - - LETTERS -

I have just found a sur­pris­ing prob­lem as­so­ci­ated with bio­fuel petrol that con­tains al­co­hol. When used in out­board en­gines it causes cor­ro­sion, es­pe­cially if fuel is left in the tank for a while. Ap­par­ently the al­co­hol evap­o­rates and de­posits its wa­ter con­tent on the metal part of the fuel tank lid. The lid cor­rodes, bits of cor­roded metal drop into the fuel and bung up fil­ters, or worse still the al­co­hol-petrol mix­ture soft­ens the fil­ters that are sup­posed to pro­tect the jets. Some cor­ro­sion par­ti­cles are large enough to jam open a nee­dle valve. Since the par­ti­cles con­tain metal they are quite dif­fi­cult to dis­lodge.

I have bought a new lid but when I tested the metal part with a mag­net it was re­vealed as mild steel, not stain­less, so I ex­pect a sim­i­lar prob­lem with the new lid. Man­u­fac­tur­ers must know of the prob­lem. Us­ing stain­less would solve it out­right.

What can be done about it? Ei­ther avoid bio­fuel petrol, or keep the en­gine tank full to the brim. Al­ways switch off the fuel and run the car­bu­ret­tor dry to stop the en­gine, and drain the fuel tank be­fore stor­ing the en­gine for any sig­nif­i­cant length of time. Quite a bore if you want to save a few pence per litre on fuel prices.

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