Piston Slap: E15 and The Kiss of Death?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Robin writes:

Sajeev, here is a possible line of discussion: ethanol fuel. It’s hard to find straight gasoline now and impossible in the more populous counties of Texas. E15 is around the corner. My old D21 is still running strong at over 200K (previously discussed here and here —SM) but I fear that adding E15 might be the kiss of death for its early ’90s system.

Additives, alternatives and a point of discussion?

Sajeev answers:

I wouldn’t worry about it. If this was a problem, there’d be more upset people writing about the dangers of ethanol in EFI-motivated vehicles that weren’t designed for it.

The best information I found was via the boating scene, as they use far more E10/E15 than we do. Boats tend to keep more fuel sitting around for months, so their input is pretty valid. And while this test is interesting, I question its relevance to a small truck driven regularly. You aren’t letting fuel sit around to get wholly contaminated (so to speak) by water, and have it eat up gaskets in a carburetor, etc.

While your fuel system may not be designed for ethanol-infused fuels, at your age and mileage, any fuel leak is from age/deterioration exacerbated by ethanol. You can fix the leak with new parts and it’ll last for years to come.

Any E15 ethanol insight, Best and Brightest?

[Image: Shutterstock user FUN FUN PHOTO]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
6 of 95 comments
  • Raph Raph on Oct 26, 2015


  • 05lgt 05lgt on Oct 26, 2015

    Until and unless we're motivated and committed enough to change the BS fixed order of presidential primaries, we have to pay off big corn. Maybe we could work something out where we pay them to not contaminate our fuel instead of this? It's uglier in that it is more transparent, but at least we'll get the range back from a tank of fuel.

  • 50merc 50merc on Oct 26, 2015

    The guy asked for alternatives. Here's one: move to Oklahoma, where non-adulterated gasoline is all over the place. Gas stations put up big signs that say "Real Gas", "100% Gas", or the like. Typically costs about twenty or twenty-five cents more per gallon. Ethanol mandates are the offspring of crossing Crazy Greens with Corrupt Government.

    • See 1 previous
    • 50merc 50merc on Oct 26, 2015

      @28-Cars-Later That's from Progressive Fuels Limited, with the emphasis on "Progressive", the ideology in which greenhouse gases are a Chimera, and socialist utopia the chimera.

  • THX1136 THX1136 on Oct 29, 2015

    I've run ethanol blended fuel in an 86 Ford Escort wagon (200K + miles) and a 98 Dodge Stratus (currently 178K miles), both with no ill effect. It's the least expensive fuel here in Iowa due to the "price support" it receives from the state (I think). Both vehicles were - and the Stratus still is - daily drivers (23K+/year). I realize I get less mpg with ethanol, but, for me, it isn't significant enough to not purchase it. I make less than $36K a year so the pocketbook somewhat dictates what I buy - or don't buy. I get around 33 to 35 mpg with the ethanol fuel. My thought is Sajeev is on the money with his assessment.