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#888343 08/14/22 5:21 pm
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I just bought a very nice 66 Spitfire Mark II from a collector. Won 100 points at the AMCA show in Vegas 20 years ago. Has 32 miles on a rebuild. Hasn't run in 20 years. Tank and carbs were drained and been stored inside in a climate controlled building. After changing all fluids I put in 1 gallon of gas ( E10 here in California ) came back 2 hours latter to go for my first ride and gas was dripping from the lower right front seam of the tank .
I did not know of the issues with ethanol gas and fiberglass tanks .Learning a lot on line . Looking into repairing the seem and coating the inside of the tank .Which most forums claim is just a band aid.
Does anyone have good experience they can share with me ? Also what about a RELIABLE source for a metal tank ? All i see online are ones made in India which everyone says to avoid! I have an e mail into British Bike Bits to clarify their tank source as the fine print says " foriegn made".
Have to think there must be a solution to this problem rather than just trying to buy ethanol free gas, which is impossible in lower Ca. or finding someone to sell me aviation fuel. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Scott


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Chances are, that tank was delaminated when it was restored.

Personally, I have had good luck with KBS Coatings Tank Sealer kit. It is a urethane based sealant and will flex with the tank. And it does work on fiberglass. Some coatings don’t. Downside, KBS has VERY specific instructions that have to be followed to the letter. No short cuts. Ever.

If you are gonna ride it, the least hassle may be an Indian tank. Keep the glass tank for show.


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You could buy a tank from Hotworks, Made in England

http://www.holtworks.co.uk/contents/en-uk/d44.html


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Scott, reading your post, sorry to hear about the leak. Was the bike still in it's 100 point condition or close? Did the paint get damaged which is likely? In my humble opinion you really have no choice but to repair the leak and get back to the wonderful condition of 100 points or near. Here is a link to ethanol free gas in the U.S.: https://www.pure-gas.org/

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Originally Posted by Andy Higham
You could buy a tank from Hotworks, Made in England

http://www.holtworks.co.uk/contents/en-uk/d44.html

Just had a good luck. Very well priced compared to others I have seen.


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Those Holt Works tanks look great. £515.00 GBP currently equals $624.00 USD, which isn't going to break the bank and is a great investment for a regular or somewhat regular rider.


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Thanks to all for the great info. Rich- I'm going to order the sealer from KBS and of course follow the instruction. Andy- Holtworks looks like the quality steel tank I am looking for so I'll order a 2 gallon tank from them also . Bustedknukel- I had previously found the pure-gas site. Nothing near me though. No paint damage on the leak as it was from the bottom seam. The bike was 100 points ( came with the trophy) until I just replaced the tires on it, " Made in England" Dunlap K70 with new K70 but not ribbed on the front . Same tires I use on my 72Triumph Tiger . Suits me well putting around the back roads and mountains of SD. I guess now it's 99 points. But i'm keeping the old ones.


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Originally Posted by Scott Meredith
Andy-Holt Works looks like the quality steel tank I am looking for so I'll order a 2-gallon tank from them also.


Those tanks are aluminum tanks.


Jon W.


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Aluminum. Even Better!


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I have a Greeves fibreglass tank on the shelf at work, it has never had ethanol fuel in it as I bought the bike before ethanol was added in the UK. It would never hold any liquid. it is porous and mushy. Fibreglass suffers from vibration, sunlight and variations in temperature.
It is easy to blame ethanol for all the wrongs in the world


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Originally Posted by Andy Higham
I have a Greeves fibreglass tank on the shelf at work, it has never had ethanol fuel in it as I bought the bike before ethanol was added in the UK. It would never hold any liquid. it is porous and mushy. Fibreglass suffers from vibration, sunlight and variations in temperature.
It is easy to blame ethanol for all the wrongs in the world

If you think it is a mess now…….add ethanol.

BTDTGTTS

Gordon

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/15/22 9:01 pm.

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I feel your pain. MY 67 spitfire did the same thing. I literally poured red chunks of fiberglass out of my tank. I have used Bill Hirsch sealer with much success. Ok for fiberglass. DO NOT use red coat!!! The band-aid comment is true. I purchased a steel tank from Randy Baxter. It came sealed with the POR stuff. It does not have the reliefs for the graphic on the side of the tank. Not a big deal for me. Don't know if he still has them though been a couple of years. I am pleased with it. Good luck!!

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For many years fibreglass tanks were banned in the UK, a container full of fuel that could (and did) fail without warning sat above a hot engine and high voltage cables. A mobile Molotov cocktail

"If you think is a mess now…….add ethanol."
The reason I am having an alloy tank built for my Rickman is 100% methanol fuel, now that does dissolve things


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Originally Posted by PFribley
I feel your pain. MY 67 spitfire did the same thing. I literally poured red chunks of fiberglass out of my tank. I have used Bill Hirsch sealer with much success. Ok for fiberglass. DO NOT use red coat!!! The band-aid comment is true. I purchased a steel tank from Randy Baxter. It came sealed with the POR stuff. It does not have the reliefs for the graphic on the side of the tank. Not a big deal for me. Don't know if he still has them though been a couple of years. I am pleased with it. Good luck!!


My Bill Hirsch lasted about 6 years......but the tank had already been leaking when I sealed it in the first place. What I did like about the Hirsch product was that it washed out with acetone. That was several years ago......not sure if they've had to change the formula to keep up.

I've given up on fiberglass.

Gordon


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Randy Baxter. Is he a member or source with a website?


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Top of this stack, in the middle………


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Originally Posted by Scott Meredith
Randy Baxter. Is he a member or source with a website?

What’s KC is saying is.

Baxter Cycle with a link at the top of the page.


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I used KBS in my Dunstall tank and it failed. I then tired the Hirsch sealer and it held up well. What I liked about the Hirsch is that you can re-coat if needed. I re-coated after 2 years for extra insurance and it has held up well. I have since stopped using the fiberglass tank. I hear good things about Caswell sealer on fiberglass tanks.

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I have a slow leaking Indian tank, fixing it is on this winters fix it list, along with new wheel rims.

It apparently started at the seam in 2015. looks bleedin hideous.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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I had the same problem with my '66 fiberglass tank. with a dremel and a small mill/drillbit (<2mm) I've cutt out all of the seams. so where the top and bottom half are epoxied together there's a seam, this seam is dremeld out from outside to inside of tank, then I've resealed this seam with cloth and polyester. 10" at a time.

works great, I can have 5%alcoholfuel in my tank for days without leaking

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Duh, guess i'm blind. Thanks everyone!


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I've had good success with Caswells epoxy sealer in multiple glass tanks. Correct preparation is important.

Ethanol will disolve polyester and vinlyester resins. That is what the original tanks are made of.

For original glass tanks to last, they need to be drained of ethanol laced fuel after riding.

Glass tanks are not for everyone, as they require an additional level of care.


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Originally Posted by Gary E
I've had good success with Caswells epoxy sealer in multiple glass tanks. Correct preparation is important.

Ethanol will disolve polyester and vinlyester resins. That is what the original tanks are made of.

For original glass tanks to last, they need to be drained of ethanol laced fuel after riding.

Glass tanks are not for everyone, as they require an additional level of care.


Gary...........I think your "......need to be drained of ethanol laced fuel after riding".......is the key. Well, that and proper prep before sealing.

I'm curious though........did any of the tanks you've successfully sealed have an ethanol related leak/problem before you sealed them?

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/21/22 2:55 pm.

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Originally Posted by Gordon Gray
Originally Posted by Gary E
I've had good success with Caswells epoxy sealer in multiple glass tanks. Correct preparation is important.

Ethanol will disolve polyester and vinlyester resins. That is what the original tanks are made of.

For original glass tanks to last, they need to be drained of ethanol laced fuel after riding.

Glass tanks are not for everyone, as they require an additional level of care.


Gary...........I think your "......need to be drained of ethanol laced fuel after riding".......is the key. Well, that and proper prep before sealing.

I'm curious though........did any of the tanks you've successfully sealed have an ethanol related leak/problem before you sealed them?
One did, the Firebird Scrambler. Really gummed up the carbs. Since sealed, no issues. Some of the others had leak problems, but don't know if they were related to ethanol or not.

The most recent tank restoration, the '65 Spitfire Hornet, as posted on the Hornet etal thread, was real soft inside and resin starved with significant leak problems not only along the seam but also on other bottom areas, so it will be a good test tank for the sealer.


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Thanks for the reply Gary. I'm going to write off my sealing failures to bad prep. My Hirsch liner lasted for 5-6 years....with fuel left in the tank. But it finally failed. My attempts with Caswell didn't last long at all. I was wondering if some of it was because of the ethanol damage happening before re-sealing......but your results shoot that idea out of the water.

I've got a couple of NOS glass tanks and several used that have never been sealed......or had ethanol in them. I'm not completely giving up on them.....somebody might use them one day.

For me it was just too easy to switch over to metal since that's what BSA did.......so the swap doesn't look out of place.

Thanks again for going to the trouble to reply.

Gordon


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When I put my '66 Spitfire together, I used the original tank. It didn't take long for the ethanol to start doing its thing. I ordered Caswells and followed the directions, which included using the supplied solvent first (I think it was MEK, but I don't remember). I let it dry out for a couple of weeks after using the solvent. I then followed the directions about pouring in the liner and periodically changing the position of the tank to ensure full coverage. I then took out the plugs I had put in the petcock holes and drained out the excess. The first thing that drained out was more solvent (even though shaking the tank after putting in the solvent and letting it dry hadn't revealed any solvent left in the tank)! Recognizing that this wasn't a good sign I went to a local fiberglass guru (who sadly has since disappeared) who had previously been with NASA as a composites engineer. His view was that sloshing sealer about and hoping for full coverage was more than a bit hit or miss. He also felt that because of the differing coefficients of expansion of the sealer and the fiberglass tank, thick applications were doomed to eventually separate from the tank. He cut the bottom of my tank off along the seam with a utility knife, cleaned up the inside, roughed it up and painted the insides with Caswell using a brush in order to make the coating as thin as possible, but achieving full coverage. He then glued the bottom back together with fiberglass and used tubing and a syringe to put Caswells along the seams. His price was reasonable ($200) and included touching up the paint on the bottom where he had cut it. I used the tank for a couple of years without any problems. Then the powers that be jacked up the amount of ethanol in gas and I decided to investigate Indian metal tanks. I bought an unpainted one and the original tank went on the shelf. The Indian tank looks pretty original, but it is not exact. The center hole for the mount was slightly off, so I had to make an adapter. The petcock holes were sized for Triumph petcocks (which I prefer any how). It does not have indentations for the decals. It looks great and from 10 feet you can't tell the difference.

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You’d remember if it was MEK, it sends you loopy from the fumes.

…. So I’m told 🤪


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Originally Posted by edunham
When I put my '66 Spitfire together, I used the original tank. It didn't take long for the ethanol to start doing its thing. I ordered Caswells and followed the directions, which included using the supplied solvent first (I think it was MEK, but I don't remember). I let it dry out for a couple of weeks after using the solvent. I then followed the directions about pouring in the liner and periodically changing the position of the tank to ensure full coverage. I then took out the plugs I had put in the petcock holes and drained out the excess. The first thing that drained out was more solvent (even though shaking the tank after putting in the solvent and letting it dry hadn't revealed any solvent left in the tank)! Recognizing that this wasn't a good sign I went to a local fiberglass guru (who sadly has since disappeared) who had previously been with NASA as a composites engineer. His view was that sloshing sealer about and hoping for full coverage was more than a bit hit or miss. He also felt that because of the differing coefficients of expansion of the sealer and the fiberglass tank, thick applications were doomed to eventually separate from the tank. He cut the bottom of my tank off along the seam with a utility knife, cleaned up the inside, roughed it up and painted the insides with Caswell using a brush in order to make the coating as thin as possible, but achieving full coverage. He then glued the bottom back together with fiberglass and used tubing and a syringe to put Caswells along the seams. His price was reasonable ($200) and included touching up the paint on the bottom where he had cut it. I used the tank for a couple of years without any problems. Then the powers that be jacked up the amount of ethanol in gas and I decided to investigate Indian metal tanks. I bought an unpainted one and the original tank went on the shelf. The Indian tank looks pretty original, but it is not exact. The center hole for the mount was slightly off, so I had to make an adapter. The petcock holes were sized for Triumph petcocks (which I prefer any how). It does not have indentations for the decals. It looks great and from 10 feet you can't tell the difference.
I have always utilized Acetone to prep the the inside of the glass tanks. It is far more quick drying than MEK. Evaporates within minutes. Not that Acetone is human friendly, but MEK is far worse. I quit using it very early on in my fiberglass construction decades ago.

In terms of epoxy resin quantity, more is not better. It only adds weight and reduces interior volume, and is more prone to cracking. In the standard glass tank, 1/2 or less of the Caswell kit is utilized to seal the interior. I mix 1/2 of the kit, and still pour out some excess.


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Hi Gary,….. Not to HyJack this thread, but do you leave gas in your bikes or drain them for expected periods of non-riding?


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‘67 A65L numbers match, “best effort” from basket *
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‘68 A65L “red bike” basket, sold & made whole by BB member
‘68 A65F nice Tribute bike
‘65 A50L bitsa from spare parts, Son’s fun
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Originally Posted by KC in S.B.
Hi Gary,….. Not to HyJack this thread, but do you leave gas in your bikes or drain them for expected periods of non-riding?
I drain all of the British bike tanks...and then the petcock corks dry out. I also start the rides with clear preminum or avgas, but always drain the tanks no matter what fuel is left in them after the ride.


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[Linked Image]

Solved the cork leak/dry issue on a couple pairs of Ewarts for me.


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I had to ring in on this one.
First off, I have purchased two Indian tanks, both fit well however I did find rust inside so I used roofing nails and acetone to clean them then lined with Caswel. I’ve also used Por 15 tank liner kit
Second. My fiberglass tanks all get the Caswel treatment. Same deal clean with acetone
Third. Our all knowing liberal government always screws up everything they touch including our fuel supply. The corn fuel looses it goodness after thirty days but will continue to reek havoc on fiberglass and rubber parts. Lessons learned I never keep fuel in my bikes preferring to drain it for other purposes like killing weeds. It’s really good as a weed killer even at five bucks a gallon is cheaper then Round Up. Tip if your use it for weed killer don’t use a red can, your do good neighbor might get her panties in a bunch because your polluting the ground water, which isn’t really a problem because corn gas evaporates so quickly.
Finally in my classic cars it is not practical to drain the moonshine so I use STA-BILL

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Quote
Our all knowing liberal government always screws up everything they touch including our fuel supply


Yes it would be paradise on Earth without the Liberals
thankfully ,
Trump as a candidate , promised the continuance of corn subsidy in 2016
and corn and soybean subsidies increased , after his election and during his tenure .
" Swamp cleaning " did not include ... agriculture sbsidies that increased to 14 billion in 2017 .
and again in each year after
... agriculture subsidies help claim votes in farm states where farm animals outnumber people
and where agricultural subsidies help to make up for Donald's failed foreign trade War pricing

The majority of payments in 2020 went to just eight states –
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas.
Farmers in those states received more than $41 billion, ... 51 percent of the total.

... to be clear , good old fashioned Crony Capitalism , puts corn in your gasoline .
and Crony Capitalism rocks .

Last edited by quinten; 08/26/22 5:15 pm.
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Start lobbying for assistance in aluminium tank making rather
than crap fuel eh?

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If someone would bang out a Hornet alloy tank with badge indents I would be first on the list

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Crap fuel, geez where do we start. It’s the cause of all things crappy

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Originally Posted by Richard Phillips
If someone would bang out a Hornet alloy tank with badge indents I would be first on the list

That and with the correct caps. I noticed with Holtworks, they sell the correct cap for the later spitfires/firebirds etc (flip cap) but don’t give it as an option for fitting into one of their tanks.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

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Ask the question!
As all Holtworks tanks are made by Tony in his workshop in Essex, alterations to details are easy to accommodate.
The badge indents may incur extra cost as tooling will need to be made


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LIKE RELIGION, YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR POLITICAL PREJUDICES AND POLITICS TO YOUR SELF THIS IS NOT THE PLACE FOR THEM.


I APOLOGIZE FOR THE USE OF CAPS. I CAN ONLY TYPE WITH MY RIGHT HAND SO USING THE SHIFT KEY IS BEYOND MY CAPABILITES.

The Devil is in the details.

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Ken, history is history.

If you want to know what's happening, or what's going wrong today, you need to know what was done yesterday.
We correct problems with our motorcycles every day because we now know WHY past bad decisions made those problems happen.

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History is perspective.

"Fencerow to fencerow, boys..."

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I agree, about political statements but realty it has affected not only what is put into our fuel, but also limits our ability’s to drill for it and driving up the cost. Fuel is the essential product that moves our hobby. So much like an electric or mechanical failure one must go to the expose the source of the problem! If discussion about the fuel issues and the source of how we got here cannot be discussed we are failures. After all open discussions on the demise of the British motorcycle industry are published here, why should the foundation of who is responsible for what happened to creat this crap we fuel up with be fair game.
The Go Green philosophy comes at a huge price, one of those prices is the fuel we must buy ruins certain components on our beloved machines, and the so called contribution to clean air is questionable, and factually documented these additives poison the ground water. You all know it, you all know whose responsible for it and are very aware of the failure rate these individuals have in decision making. Top down just look around.
We bitch a lot here on how messed up EBay has gotten, the quality and price of reproduction parts, the pre conceived opinions of the Indian motorcycle tanks, and on and on.
Let blame be placed on the source of our fuel. Motorcycles are dangerous, and crap fuel enhances those dangers.

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Let's do be clear... Environmental justifications aside, crap fuel is here to utilize the glut of corn this country produces. Ever since Earl "loose shoes" Butz took us off the sugar standard and put us on the corn standard. To eliminate the "socialist" practice of farm subsidies, with promises to export all America could grow. Didn't work, so now corn is over-produced, and is put into everydamnthing, including fuel. Damage done is hard to undo. Even Butz, probably realizing the monster he'd created for the benefit of business and industry, warned of the difficulties of dismounting the tiger once you ride it.

Can't imagine anybody would ever consider Butz a Greenie?

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it is the conservatives who are promoting the use of ethanol to garner the votes in the red states not the democrats.


I APOLOGIZE FOR THE USE OF CAPS. I CAN ONLY TYPE WITH MY RIGHT HAND SO USING THE SHIFT KEY IS BEYOND MY CAPABILITES.

The Devil is in the details.

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Originally Posted by Spitfire Ken
it is the conservatives who are promoting the use of ethanol to garner the votes in the red states not the democrats.


When you get excited, it looks like your right hand starts working again. It's a miracle! thumbsup

Lannis


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Originally Posted by Spitfire Ken
it is the conservatives who are promoting the use of ethanol to garner the votes in the red states not the democrats.
Alaska doesn't grow very much corn.


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I didn't mention Alaska but most of the states that grow corn are decidedly red. This is why I said that politics do not belong here.


I APOLOGIZE FOR THE USE OF CAPS. I CAN ONLY TYPE WITH MY RIGHT HAND SO USING THE SHIFT KEY IS BEYOND MY CAPABILITES.

The Devil is in the details.

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Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by Spitfire Ken
it is the conservatives who are promoting the use of ethanol to garner the votes in the red states not the democrats.


When you get excited, it looks like your right hand starts working again. It's a miracle! thumbsup

Lannis

Ken is one of the members I follow. You musta missed where someone explained to him the world wouldn’t come to an end if he didn’t use caps……looks like he was listening.

Now he just needs to get rid of that apology.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/31/22 1:33 pm.

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[quote=Richard PhillipsThe corn fuel looses it goodness after thirty days but will continue to reek havoc on fiberglass and rubber parts. Lessons learned I never keep fuel in my bikes preferring to drain it for other purposes like killing weeds. It’s really good as a weed killer even at five bucks a gallon is cheaper then Round Up. Tip if your use it for weed killer don’t use a red can, your do good neighbor might get her panties in a bunch because your polluting the ground water, which isn’t really a problem because corn gas evaporates so quickly.
Finally in my classic cars it is not practical to drain the moonshine so I use STA-BILL[/quote]

Ethanol fuel like E5 or E10 (as labelled in the UK/Europe I'm unsure how the USA labels these fuels) actually keeps a higher octane for longer when stored than non-ethanol fuels, As Ethanol is very high octane it means they add less of the higher octane components into regular gasoline. These tend to be small molecules with very low boiling points and vapour pressures such as butane or methyl butane ect. Ethanol has a higher boiling point and vapour pressure than these (due to the hydrogen bonding of the Hydroxy functional group) this means that the ethanol sticks around longer when stored meaning the gasoline you have left after storage is higher octane.

The issues with ethanol fuel’s are yes it will eat through fiberglass and older rubber/plastic parts, Personally any rubber or plastic parts that aren’t ethanol fuel compatible should be replaced due to age as much as ethanol fuels have been around for 30+ years and I want to replace seals and fuel lines that are this old regardless of ethanol compatibility. Fiberglass tanks do need replacing or very well lining, but this is the cost of our hobby.

They can also pick up water which can in extreme cases cause corrosion and a water ethanol mix to come out of solution at the bottom of the tank, But this is in extreme cases, unless you live in an extremely humid place or leave your bike stood for 12+ months with fuel in it its unlikely to cause a problem.


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The Bad Gas excuse has always puzzled me. My lawnmowers ( both 4 strokes) sit all winter with corn gas in them. Come spring they start right up. 4 months?

Going bad in 30 days just doesn’t sound right. How long does it sit after being refined and delivered to the gas station? Realistically if it takes a couple of weeks….it’s going to go bad in another couple of weeks?

I know some of my bikes have gone longer than 30 days with corn gas left in them….I’d give up the hobby if I had to drain a tank after every use.

Not a corn gas fan…….most of the corn grown around here is used as deer feed and we all know how important that is.

PS…..I’m not saying gas won’t go bad….I’ve cleaned my share of carbs over the years. Just that 30 days doesn’t sound right.

Last edited by Gordon Gray; 08/31/22 3:41 pm.

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I CAN TYPE IN LOWER CASE BUT THEN THERE I NO UPPER CASE, IT A HIT-OR-MISS SITUATION.


I APOLOGIZE FOR THE USE OF CAPS. I CAN ONLY TYPE WITH MY RIGHT HAND SO USING THE SHIFT KEY IS BEYOND MY CAPABILITES.

The Devil is in the details.

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Ken, you've explained your situation well.

Good on ya for trying.

Try to ignore the cheap shots...

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