Ethanol & Water

A number of techs have taken me to task on ethanol and its ability to remove water. Ethanol can hold water in suspension but only .05 percent by volume or about 3.2 ounces or .025 percentage of volume. This works out to a gallon in 200. In other words not much. The major problem comes from the fact that ethanol attracts water and when it reaches the saturation point it drops it to the bottom of the fuel tank where your pump picks it up and you have problems. NASCAR is taking many precautions as they make the switch to ethanol this year to protect it from water contamination. I don’t think it would cause a freezing problem as most fuel systems have too much pressure to freeze but it could easily freeze a injector more so a TBI than multi port. Still it could create a major problem. I have removed several defective injectors that were rusty and the majority of them used ethanol. In hindsight I wish I had asked more owners if they used ethanol or not when I found these injectors.With the cost and less mileage with ethanol being a trade-off I just don’t see any value in using it on a regular basis. I will use a tank now and then to remove any water I may have accumulated and also there are some fields of thought that it aids in keeping your engine free of carbon. As I put a lot of in town miles on in the winter I do think this helps some. No conclusive evidence as of yet but I feel there soon will be. The major drawback to ethanol is that once there is an abundance of water being burned it causes the formation of formic acid which can be very damaging to your engine over time more so with the use of synthetic oil. There is some evidence to support this, and I think more will be forthcoming, as we tear down engines and find problems from formic acid. Of course then it will be too late as the damage will already be done to your engine. I don’t think the damage will be significant more of a shorter engine life span. It may also be hard to prove the source, I am sure many will blame it onto longer oil change intervals when using synthetic oil.GMs new oil is supposed to address many of these problems. They also use the computer to calculate your oil life. I think this is a great idea; I use the oil life indicator on my wife’s Bonneville to figure oil change intervals I just run it through twice. I do change it twice a year, spring and fall and use 5-30 year round. With my pickup I also change it twice a year Spring and Fall. 5-30 in the winter and 10-30 in the summer.