fuels damaging classic MG fuel system components?
This is very much a topical issue for many classic car enthusiasts,
not least MGV8 enthusiasts. We are following this topic with
articles from fellow members, news items in the press and feedback
from the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC).
Experience with Shell V Power with added bio fuel
On reading our item on the difficulties with bio fuel, Mike
Haughton contacted us saying "regarding the issue you described
with bio-fuel and fuel pumps, I have just had the same problem.
I normally fill up with Shell V Power in my MGC and have had
no problems. But on Saturday I filled with Esso and I soon wondered
why I had used half a tank of fuel in 80 miles! The fuel pump
was spraying petrol everywhere! So maybe some brands of fuel
have more bio? (15.6.10)
Now confirmed Shell V-Power does contain some ethanol
In the last Newsletter from the Federation of British Historic
Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) published in December 2009 it was stated
that Shell V-Power petrol was guaranteed not to contain ethanol.
With that reassurance many V8 enthusiasts chose to use that
fuel, despite the higher cost. However the FBHVC has recently
reported on its website they have now learned that this is no
longer the case and we understand from that report that a statement
from Shell says: "Shell, like many other fuel suppliers,
has begun blending ethanol into some Unleaded grades, including
Shell V-Power at Stanlow, to comply with the legal obligations
of the RTFO". (Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation). So
corrosion concerns on fuel supply equipment and carburettors
with petrol containing ethanol are still concerns for for MG
enthusiasts with classic models like the MGB, MGC and V8. The
FBHVC say those concerns are being pursued further by their
team. (9.2.10) More
Shell V-Power petrol is currently guaranteed not to contain
In recent discussions between the Federation of British Historic
Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) and the DfT over ethanol in petrol, concerns
were raised in respect of fuel system corrosion and also high
fuel volatility, which has been causing operational difficulties.
At that time it was also reported that "it
is confirmed that Shell V-Power petrol is currently guaranteed
not to contain ethanol. It is not an exchange product, being
unique to Shell, so is under their close control, unlike most
other fuels sold at filling stations. Thus for the time being,
members wishing to avoid petrol containing ethanol can buy this
product, which also has the advantage of being widely available."
assurance changed in Early 2010. More
Response from Barrie Jones
It does annoy me that Government is forcing us all to use bio
ethanol as a fuel. Apart from the damage it will do to our classic
vehicles, it will also put up fuel consumption for everybody,
because ethanol contains a lot of oxygen by weight. Even at
10% ethanol, fuel consumption will increase by 3%. So, we will
all end up paying extra to carry around with us a chemical that
is freely available from the air. To add insult to injury, we
shall also be paying 200% tax on it. Yes, 200%. The cost of
petrol without duty and VAT is about 35p per litre. The rest
is tax. I do wonder if bio ethanol is just another stealth tax
disguised as a green measure. The numbers are massive, so even
a small increase in consumption raises millions of pounds in
Update from a meeting with the Department for Transport (UK)
The EU is pushing for increased use of renewable fuel blending
components and materials, and is also pursuing a vigourous reduction
in sulphur levels in all fuels. It means that we are likely
to see higher ethanol contents in petrol in the quite near future
raising further concerns over problems of seal swelling or shrinking,
leading to leaks from fuel systems, and fuel stability issues
which have resulted in blocked fuel filters and similar problems.
Chris Hunt Cooke, FBHVC chairman and fellow V8 enthusiast, spotted
an article in The Times on possible difficulties arising from
increasing the proportion of bio-fuel in pump fuel in the future.
The Times article (16.4.09) by Ben Webster,
their Transport Correspondent.
article mentioned the damage that might be caused to the fuel
systems of older vehicles. He felt it was something to keep
an eye on so had asked the FBHVC fuels expert to comment. (19.4.09)
The Times article - a link
and a copy
Update on the current topic: are modern fuels damaging rubber
Barrie Jones,TD/TF Technical Specialist with the T Register,
provides an update on the biofuels concern for classic MGs.
Response to modern fuels damaging rubber components?
John Targett, an English auto plastics specialist and V8 enthusiast
in the US, has sent in a contribution to the debate started
by Barrie Jones. (25.1.08) More
Wisdom of the rush to biofuels?
John Targett prefaced his comments on the ethanol damage to
rubber components with a brief digression on the wisdom of the
rush to biofuels saying it would be interesting indeed to have
a discussion on this topic, central Government interference
in the market place, and the law of unintended consequences!
Briefing notes on modern fuels damaging rubber components?
Following the release of a note setting out his concern that
modern fuels containing bio ethanol appear to be attacking the
rubber components in the carburetters and fuel pumps of our
MGs, Barrie Jones has provided the briefing note with useful
background information and reports of known problems on this
topic. (11.1.08) More
Modern fuels damaging rubber components?
Barrie Jones, who has an MGBGTV8 and is the TD/TF Technical
Specialist for the T Register, set out his concern that modern
fuels containing bio ethanol appear to be attacking the rubber
components in the carburetters and fuel pumps of our MGs. He
urges V8 members to inspect the carburetters and fuel pump on
their V8 for leaks as a regular safety check. (11.8.08)