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#4507521 - 09/04/17 07:26 PM E10 in a 24y/o Car
B320i Offline


Registered: 03/18/15
Posts: 482
Loc: Australia
Okay, so to preface this, I thought I'd point out that I know people in the USA with E36 3-series BMWs seem to run the stuff without issue; not that many have much choice in the matter.

The difference is in Australia, at least in my state, E10 is only sold through one chain of fuel station (United Petroleum) and has an Octane Rating of 94RON (90AKI for our US posters). This meets the octane requirement for my '93 320i (although its worth noting this engine has a stock compression ratio of 11:1).

I don't have major concerns about the cleanliness of my fuel system - it gets a run of injector cleaner at every oil service and generally doesn't sit around much. The fuel filter is to be replaced shortly after an indeterminate amount of time in service.
But, after 24yrs, I'm slightly concerned experimenting with E10 after a steady diet of local Premium fuels could wreak havoc. Is my suspicion justified?

My "experiment" would be running a several tanks of E10 to ascertain the cost v. average economy and whether it would be a feasible choice compared with 95RON or even 98RON. Given the vehicle's compression ratio, I now realise why its sensitive to bad knock sensors, even with 98RON (U.S. 93AKI), so obviously this endeavour would take place after replacing those.
_________________________
'93 BMW 320i 217,000km - Valvoline Engine-Armour 15w40, Mann Filter.

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#4507529 - 09/04/17 07:32 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15436
Loc: OH
We have a few cars of similar vintage, including my '95 e36, and they seem just fine on E10.
No issues to report, so I'd not be concerned in your case.
Why has E10 made its way to your country?
We have cornfields everywhere here through a large swath of the country.
I don't think you have those in Oz.
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95 318i

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#4507531 - 09/04/17 07:33 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
hpb Offline


Registered: 08/28/14
Posts: 1193
Loc: Tasmania, Australia
You're a braver man than me! Rather than being the guinea pig, maybe ask the question at a specialist European car workshop, they'll know whether or not it's likely to cause problems.
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#4507533 - 09/04/17 07:36 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
JamesBond Offline


Registered: 12/13/06
Posts: 818
Loc: midwest
I always ran e10 in my e28 and e30s, like you said, I had no choice. I did replace some fuel lines but they were pretty old and had cracks on the outside but no leaks so who knows if they were harmed by the fuel.

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#4507534 - 09/04/17 07:39 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1273
Loc: WI
Run E10 in my 96 Cherokee and it's been ok so far. I'm guessing that's probably what it's had most of its life? Didn't start paying attention to ethanol content till the past 5 years.
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#4507544 - 09/04/17 07:45 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
CR94 Offline


Registered: 03/20/16
Posts: 976
Loc: Western S.C. since 1996
My Mazda had no apparent problems handling E10 when it was 33 years old.
_________________________
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#4507546 - 09/04/17 07:46 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
umungus1122 Offline


Registered: 02/12/08
Posts: 1006
Loc: PA
The vast majority of 25+ year old cars run E10 in the US. There isn't any choice in most places, outside the very few stations that sell non-ethanol gas at a large premium.
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'95 Chevy 1/2t 305 205k -DuraBlend 5w-20, Puro Gold filter
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#4507580 - 09/04/17 08:13 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
B320i Offline


Registered: 03/18/15
Posts: 482
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: "fdcg27"
Why has E10 made its way to your country? We have cornfields everywhere here through a large swath of the country.
I don't think you have those in Oz.
I'm not sure how much corn we grow here. The evidence suggests it isn't sourced from corn crops.

Quote:
Our ethanol is actually made from the waste starch of an integrated manufacturing process. As part of this process, the food components of the wheat, such as flour and protein are shipped worldwide to be used in food manufacturing which means there is no effect on our food resource.
What I do know is the fuel has become popular in the Eastern states due to the 91RON fuel (87 in the USA) being "banned," apparently because it is a "dirty fuel" (high sulfur?)

E85 is also available. Unfortunately, as this test proves, based on the cost of the fuel and loss of economy (some 20-30% over E10, if I read correctly) in a late-model Holden Commodore (GM/Chevrolet V6), it works out to cost ~13% more for an equivalent distance versus E10 (where E10 was about 5% cheaper in the same test than using 98RON fuel).

So, the cost issue, along with the fact its not easy to source E85 proves it isn't presently worth it in Australia. There is no point in even stocking the fuel when most vehicles don't support the fuel, and furthermore, despite environmental credits, costs far more than using high-octane E0 fuels, or midgrade E10.

You'd be better off with liquid-injection LPG, in my opinion. At least if you drove a lot of miles, the 25% or so savings would pay off such a setup in relatively short affair.
_________________________
'93 BMW 320i 217,000km - Valvoline Engine-Armour 15w40, Mann Filter.

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#4507843 - 09/05/17 07:52 AM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
Broo Offline


Registered: 04/11/15
Posts: 88
Loc: Canada
I read somewhere that cars built since the '80s can handle ethanol with no problem. Since I was not quite sure about that, I checked my car's owner's manual from 1984. I wasn't expecting to find any reference to ethanol, but there is. It says to avoid ethanol if possible. If not, don't use higher than 10 % and try not to use it often.

So I guess it doesn't like it that much, therefore I feed it E0 which is only available with 91 octane at a few stations in eastern Canada. The extra octane is useless for this engine, but I'd rather avoid ethanol if the maker says so. Since this car is a weekend fair weather driver for me, the premium for 91 octane doesn't bother me much. As a daily driver it would.

Since you car dates from the '90s, ethanol was more widespread already, your manual should have some information about it.
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1981 Toyota Tercel 1.5L I4 3AT

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#4507875 - 09/05/17 08:49 AM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: fdcg27]
Johnny2Bad Offline


Registered: 05/20/13
Posts: 1631
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
We have a few cars of similar vintage, including my '95 e36, and they seem just fine on E10.
No issues to report, so I'd not be concerned in your case.
Why has E10 made its way to your country?
We have cornfields everywhere here through a large swath of the country.
I don't think you have those in Oz.


We make ethanol out of the stalks (waste) left over after harvesting the oilseeds (crop) in Canola here (western Canada). The Brazilians use Sugar Cane. You don't need corn to make ethanol.

My '77 GMC ran fine on E10, my '90 Mazda runs fine on E10. I never replaced a hose, seal or fuel pump on the carburetor-equipped truck. Same with the Fuel-injected Mazda.

It seems to me that the problem with ethanol/gasoline mixes was more about marine engines (which typically consist of a much older fleet, due to recreational users) than automobiles. Fear not.
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'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]

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#4507921 - 09/05/17 09:31 AM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
SHOZ Offline


Registered: 06/28/03
Posts: 5603
Loc: Illinois
I had a '79 4 cyl Mustang that pinged like crazy on straight 87 octane. Then the came out with E10 and the pinging disappeared.
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#4508361 - 09/05/17 07:15 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: Johnny2Bad]
Spike555 Offline


Registered: 08/15/17
Posts: 36
Loc: West Michigan
Originally Posted By: Johnny2Bad


It seems to me that the problem with ethanol/gasoline mixes was more about marine engines (which typically consist of a much older fleet, due to recreational users) than automobiles. Fear not.


It has zero to do with the age of the boats and their engines, it has 100% to do with the water in the air, obviously the humidity is higher when you're on the water, ethanol attracts water, if you use E-anything in your boat often you will have a fuel tank full of water in about one boating season.
A guy I know owns a PWC repair shop, the number one no run problem he sees is water in the fuel, so he drains the fuel, lets it seperate over a few days, then throws it into the deep freeze, a couple days later he has gas for his pick up truck, then he thaws the water and pours it down the storm drain.

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#4508407 - 09/05/17 08:04 PM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: Spike555]
kschachn Offline


Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 9113
Loc: Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: Spike555
It has zero to do with the age of the boats and their engines, it has 100% to do with the water in the air, obviously the humidity is higher when you're on the water, ethanol attracts water, if you use E-anything in your boat often you will have a fuel tank full of water in about one boating season.
A guy I know owns a PWC repair shop, the number one no run problem he sees is water in the fuel, so he drains the fuel, lets it seperate over a few days, then throws it into the deep freeze, a couple days later he has gas for his pick up truck, then he thaws the water and pours it down the storm drain.

Here in a 5-county area in southeastern Wisconsin we live in an EPA non-attainment zone, where only E10 is available even at the Milwaukee Marina. I know two people that park (berth?) their boats down there and buy their fuel as well. So far they have not experienced any issues using E10. One wonders if the severe problems you mention aren't actually some mechanical issue with the boat.
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#4508617 - 09/06/17 12:01 AM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 9830
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
E10 is just about all we've got here in the U.S., I run it in a 1970 VW Beetle too.

I've actually never seen an Ethanol-Free pump in the following states:
California
Oregon
Washington
Idaho
Montana
Wyoming
Utah
Nevada
Arizona

And I was in all of these states in June.
_________________________
2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 76k PU 5w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 227k M1 AFE 0w30 & Wix
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 145k M1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra

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#4508623 - 09/06/17 12:25 AM Re: E10 in a 24y/o Car [Re: B320i]
B320i Offline


Registered: 03/18/15
Posts: 482
Loc: Australia
Turns out this is a moot point for now... United no longer supplies E10 in the Perth area - explains some fuel stations showing a price of 0.0.
They are still selling E85 - but for how much longer I cannot say.

However, I did crunch some numbers based on the prices I could find for E10 elsewhere (and simply considered how E10 is priced compared to Regular and Premium Unleaded). What I found was negligible or no savings when using E10 over regular Premium fuel.
In other states, there would be about a 2 saving per kilometre traveled over 98RON, and about 1 per kilometre over 95RON (E10 is 95RON); so there would be some point in this instance.

My calculations assumed about a 7% loss of economy.


Edited by B320i (09/06/17 12:28 AM)
_________________________
'93 BMW 320i 217,000km - Valvoline Engine-Armour 15w40, Mann Filter.

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