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Ethanol/Gasohol Problems with 2 Cycle Engines


2 Cycle gasoline engines have new challenges when used with gas containing Ethanol.

A 2 cycle engine gets all of its internal lubrication from a special oil mixed with the gasoline. This premix of oil and gasoline can have serious problems when Ethanol is added to the gasoline. Lubricating oil normally creates a bond with the metal components of the engines. The oil molecules create a boundary layer that protects the metal and reduces friction.

When Ethanol is present it will actually get between the oil and the metal, preventing the boundary layer from forming. This results in little or no protection for the moving components, and little or no reduction in friction forcing the engine to work harder, run hotter, and often to destroy itself.

Also many small engines have plastic carburetors, fuel tanks, and other components that Ethanol can soften or dry out which will cause them to fail. Many rubber fuel lines, o-rings, gaskets, and other parts can be delaminated or turned to a gelatin like material often failing very quickly.

Storing this type of equipment with Gasohol (Ethanol blended fuel) can lead to catastrophic failure in a relatively short time.

There are a very small number of additives that can reduce the negative characteristics of Ethanol in the gas.

We recommend that everyone operating 2 cycle engines switch to a pure synthetic two cycle oil.
The synthetic oil will provide the boundary layer lubrication in spite of the Ethanol.

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Diesel Doctor

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Last modified: 04/06/09
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