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Ethanol!

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Atlas Commando, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Atlas Commando

    Atlas Commando VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    One weak point on my 'finally started the rebuild' '72 Combat is the fiberglass roadster tank. The tank looks like it was coated before I bought it back in 1985. It appears we finally have a source of re-pop steel tanks, but I have been planning to simply use the fiberglass tank. I saw the bike running around for a couple of years before I bought it, and absent-mindedly thought that 'the coating must be working'.... but I think back then it was pretty easy to avoid ethanol, so I really can't say that I've got a well coated tank for sure. I've been thinking of adding a drain valve to the fuel lines and suffer the hassle of draining the tank in between rides. I believe some fuel brands don't have ethanol in their high-test, but chances are I will get a hose full of 87 with ethanol before getting to the good stuff, not ideal with a roadster tank.
    QUESTION: Is anybody avoiding ethanol attack by draining their tank routinely? If the tank mostly sees 'fresh' ethanol mix can I get away with it?
    I can't believe I passed on a steel roadster tank at Walridge's for $90 back in the late 80's.........
     
    Kvinnhering and kommando like this.
  2. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007

    Archer Daniels Midland or any other ethanol refiner would, no doubt, be happy to replace your glass tank. When pigs fly!
     
  3. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    I knew a guy who used to drain the hose into his bike after shutting off the pump. Claimed he paid for the gas in the hose. Seems he was forgetting the full hose before he started pumping. This guy later on owned a filling station.
     
  4. Atlas Commando

    Atlas Commando VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Actually, some time back in the '80's my friend's fiberglass roadster tank went punky. He lived in the boonies around Smithville Ontario and bought all of his gas at the local Shell station. He wrote up a complaint complete with pictures and Shell compensated him, something like $850. Instead of buying a steel tank he cut the bottom out of his glass tank and did a thorough repair and coat job. I haven't talked to him in 20 years, so have no idea how long the repair job lasted. For sure 1 supplier came good 1 time. Can't imagine that would happen today.
     
  5. Madnorton

    Madnorton

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Tends to be where you are located, many places are 'can contain upto' many distribution companies tend not to add ethanol as it then restricts the vessel for other products unless it is cleaned and dried.
    Tend to hear of less failing coatings and tanks these days, there was a rise some years back but it seems to have tailed off now, either the coatings work well now or as suspected the fuel manufacturers are not bothering to add ethanol these days.
     
  6. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007

    My guess would be not many willing to use the coatings any more. Got steel! Probably a bit of all three.
     
  7. bill

    bill

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    slosh in coatings have not gotten better and every one will fail sooner or later. fuel suppliers will not drop the ethanol because in most places it is mandated for emissions. IMHO corn only has 2 uses, eating or drinking.
     
    MikeG likes this.
  8. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007

    You got that right! Bourbon and sweet corn. Two of my favorites. Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes pretty much has eliminated bourbon.
     
  9. Gilesy

    Gilesy VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
  10. oldmikew

    oldmikew

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2015
  11. bill

    bill

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    chaztuna likes this.
  12. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Although no nearby sources, no-ethanol fuel is available. A friend has been bringing me 5 gallons at a time so I can test the Titanic with my old 'glass tank. When the Titanic's metal tank is finished (or replaced if I can't get the leaks stopped) the 'glass tank will go in a box for future consideration. Can't see lining it when there's no proof that's a permanent solution.
     
  13. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    I thought that the recommended advice was to try and keep the tank FULL when not in use?
     
  14. RoadScholar

    RoadScholar VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    +1

    Ethanol has an anti knock rating of about 112, this characteristic is used to work with petrol/gasoline/motion lotion of a much lesser anti knock index to bring up the anti knock index to what you see on the pumps. The big picture is that having ethanol make up 10% to 85% of the fuel we use is a win-win for the majority of drivers; such practices extend the fuel supply AND put big money in the pockets of those farmers, distillers, transporters and blenders of this witch's brew. Remove the ethanol and you are left with an anti knock index that makes the resulting fuel near useless

    Most marinas have ethanol free fuel.
     
  15. oldbeezer

    oldbeezer VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    I think that applies to metal tanks to prevent rusting.
    I live near a lake and many of the gas oops I mean petrol stations have ethanol free petrol errr I mean gas.
     
  16. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Marine fuel is not held to the same standards (or taxed the same way) as street fuel. When fuel started down it's current path, I used to blend 130 octane Turbo Blue marine fuel with 91 octane no-lead. Now, since TB is no longer readily available, I treat the 91 with lead substitute, octane boost and ethanol stabilizer. If I were piling the miles on Nort, I'd be carrying that stuff along and treating as I fill.

    The telling thing about ethanol is that's it's so corrosive it can't be pipelined, only hauled in stainless tanker trucks. Although the farmers love the money they're making, it just takes land and resources away from other ag products and contributes to the continuing depletion of our native soil, which has to be repeatedly doused with anhydrous ammonia to keep the nitrogen content at an acceptable level. The good things about ethanol-laced fuel are it's made here and not in Arabia or Russia or Venezuela, and it has positive effect upon emissions. For older machines, it's a royal pain in the ass and economically it's a big loser. Costs more to refine and transport than it sells for, so it's a subsidized industry. Without those subsidies, it's a black hole for dollars.
     
  17. bill

    bill

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    why in the world would want to throw away money on any thing higher than 91 octane fuel. you must have a 14-1 compression norton. same goes for the lead additive and octane booster. norton valve seats are hard enough that the no lead is NOT an issue and the compression is low enough on all but a combat that pump gas is just fine . even on my combat with .020 off the pistons i have NO issues with 91 octane. one more thing to high of an octane will actually slow one down

     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  18. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Bill, presumably if one buys super high octane, and you’re a low mileage rider, and then it deteriorates a bit, you’re still left with ‘enough’ octane. Whereas, if you buy fuel that’s ‘just’ high enough octane, then when it deteriorates, you’re left with junk.
     
  19. bill

    bill

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    IMHO if you keep gasoline around long enough for it to deteriorate to that point use it your lawn mower or dispose of of it some other way.

     
  20. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Well yes, that’s an option. But a tank full of petrol is not always an easy thing to dispose of!