Startron enzyme treatment- problems.

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1
Location
California
Sorry to hear you are having problems with your fuel. Your belief that StarTron removes ethanol is incorrect, as other blog posts noted. Starbrite certainly does not state that StarTron removes ethanol. Ethanol, or "ethyl alcohol", is dispersed in gasoline, but it is not chemically bonded. Ethanol is just close enough in molecular size and characteristics to remain suspended in gasoline, provided the gas is dry. Gasoline hates water, and the two will not mix. However, ethanol loves water, and E10 gas does attract moisture, so as your car sits for months, it builds up in the air space above the fuel, and some water condenses and runs down the tank sides to the bottom of the tank, and some water attaches to the ethanol suspended in the gas. All is fine if you drive the car occasionally, as the agitation kicks the water up off the bottom and it gets burned off harmlessly. Startron improves this as I'll note later. The problem comes from when you don't drive the car. Each day the fuel and air space warm up and expand, then at night, they (air and gas) cool down and condense, so in effect, your tank is breathing. The more air space (lower fuel level) the more breathing, which means more moisture. As it builds up in the tank and gasoline, eventually, the water saturates enough ethanol, which is now far heavier than the gasoline, and it separates, but not just the saturated (hydrated) ethanol. Again, the ethanol was not chemically bonded to the hydrocarbons, so it's like a tipping point, and the dissolved water, although quite small, causes a huge fall-out of ethanol. It only takes about 0.5-0.6% water to cause this phenomenon, which is called phase separation. However, there is usually pooled water on the bottom of the tank in significant quantities, plus you now lost up to half of the ethanol, so you have a water/ethanol layer on the bottom the car won't run on. This is likely what you are experiencing. Startron reduces the interfacial surface tension between water and hydrocarbons (gasoline), and has no direct chemical interaction with ethanol. Reducing the surface tension allows small amounts of water to be easily dispersed into the gasoline in ultra-fine drops, which enhances removal of the water during operation. But if the vehicle isn't run, it can't actually remove the water, so it continues to build up through condensation. If you have a full tank, it's hard to get phase separation, which is why boat owners are advised to fill their tanks after each use. Cars are often ignored because their fuel tanks are typically smaller and fuel turnover is faster. And fuel injected systems are pretty air- tight. Older carbureted cars are not as air-tight, and if they are parked for months, are more likely to experience phase separation. By using StarTron, your carburetor remains clean, as you have seen, and the hydrocarbon portion of the gas is protected from aging and oxidation, and if you run the vehicle once every couple of months, you will keep removing water bottoms (from condensation running down the tank walls) before it has a chance to reach phase separation. Also, keep the tank full, and you are well-protected against phase separation. Finally, regarding boiling points. Water boils at 212 deg. F. Ethanol, about 170 deg. F and gasoline is all over the board, because it's not a single chemical, but hundreds of hydrocarbons. Most of what's in gasoline will boil far below water. Older carbureted cars have problems with starting in cold weather as ethanol won't easily vaporize, and this also presents as a boiling problem in extremely hot weather. That's also beyond the reach of Startron, or any fuel chemical additive. When the EPA mandated ethanol in the fuel, they took the approach that these "legacy" cars are disposable. They want them off the roads because old engine technologies are as much as 10 times higher in emissions than new cars. Starbrite, as well as other additive manufacturers, design products to mitigate many of the problems caused by ethanol, which allows people to keep their older equipment running. Most of them have at least some impact. I feel that StarTron is the best additive for E10 because it is also a combustion catalyst which reduces emissions, and you can feel confident that you are doing all you can do to be environmentally sound, without having to throw away your equipment. That sets it apart from most fuel additives. However, regardless of which of the many fuel additives you choose, you will have to adopt "marine" fuel housekeeping techniques to keep your 1986 Capri operational.
 
Messages
329
Location
Manheim, PA
Thread starter
AWESOME info and thank you for that! It would seem that I did get to the point of phase separation in the fuel. We've had a very hot, humid summer this year- which probably is why I'm having the issues now. It makes sense that the water and ethanol is what I'm getting through the fuel lines as it really runs strangely and the exhaust smells very odd during these times. Today I did just refill the tank and drove the car. We're getting thunderstorms this evening and over the next few days, so it will sit again, but I think before winter hits I'll try to put some miles on the car. I also switched from Hess premium fuel down to Hess 87 octane. I want to see if the car pings at all and also what effect lower octane fuel will have on it.
 
Messages
7,553
Location
MI
Originally Posted By: greenisgood
By using StarTron, your carburetor remains clean, as you have seen, and the hydrocarbon portion of the gas is protected from aging and oxidation, and if you run the vehicle once every couple of months,.......
Folks, please read greenisgood's post VERY carefully. What he is saying is that Star Tron (like all "good" ethanol additives) is not a cure all, silver bullet for the "supposed" mythical problems of ethanol fuel. It cleans and it slows oxidation (aging). The same thing all others (the "good ones") claim. Surprise, surprise. Good write up, greenisgood, dispelling the mythical qualities of Star Tron (or any additive) and emphasizing that the real solution is in enhanced fuel management....keep it fresh, keep your tank full, etc.. IMO, these E 10 additives are just to "help a little".
 
Messages
329
Location
Manheim, PA
Thread starter
An update on this: The weather is cooler here in PA now, so the threat of fuel boiling is much less and I haven not had any further issues. I also switched from premium fuel to regular fuel for a cost savings and turned the base ignition timing down a few degrees. The engine runs fine and since I am using cheaper fuel now, I've been driving it much more that previously. I've had a tank or 2 of regular gas through it already.
 
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