Biofuel concerns for classic MG enthusiasts

Since the introduction of ethanol in motor fuels in the UK and overseas there have been concerns over the effects of biofuel on classic cars. There seem to be three areas of concern with biofuel in classic cars - corrosion, compatibility issues with rubber components and seals, and combustion issues.
The corrosion concerns arise because biofuel in petrol attracts water leading to corrosion in classic car fuel storage tanks and fuel supply systems, particularly when fuel is stored for lengthy periods if a car is laid up during the winter months. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs or FBHVC is actively working on these issues and has commissioned tests of corrosion inhibiting additives. The Federation has plans to encourage the distribution of an inhibitor for classic car enthusiasts once those tests are satisfactorily completed. FBHVC website

The compatibility concerns are over adverse effects of biofuels on the rubber components and seals in classic car fuel systems. A number of members have experienced difficulties with damage to those parts so we are trying to get clarification of what damage biofuels cause and what replacement parts are recommended by key suppliers like Burlen and other spares suppliers for SU fuel systems and where can they be obtained.

The combustion concerns are more complex and under serious technical debate. Current motor fuels are designed to suit modern fuel injected engines and may cause some tuning issues for carburettored engines together with other combustion issues. Petrol currently available at pumps in the UK contains a different mix of hydrocarbons to the mix in fuel available in the 1960s and 70s when Midgets and MGBs with their twin SU carburrettors were manufactured. As these issues affect a range of classic cars we await clarification from fellow Club members with relevant technical knowledge of the complex combustion issues and the views of the FBHVC from a review of the science on ethanol’s effects on the combustion process by an independent expert.
FBHVC website
Posted 060711
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