Ethanol Acting as a Detergent...? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 05-16-2006, 01:31 PM   #1
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Default Ethanol Acting as a Detergent...?

well it'* been about a month or two since we switched to ethanol blended fuel here in the richmond region, and in that time i've had a problem develop with the car. It'* a 1993 Bonneville SE I believe.

lately, whenever i go to a cold start, the engine will crank up, turn over, and start to idle, but then after about 10 seconds or so, it will stall out. it has only started to do this after the introduction of ethanol, so i suspect that the fuel is acting as a detergent and whatever gunky stuff is in the system has clogged the fuel filter. I can keep the vehicle alive if i floor the pedal, but this is good for neither the fuel system nor the fuel economy.

I suspect it'* the fuel filter because once everything does finally get going, performance is better than ever, and no problems whatsoever.

I've used several fuel system cleaners and they work for a few days, but really I think it'* time to replace the fuel filter. Keep in mind that I've no problems whatsoever with the car except for this.

All this said, I'm not very vehicle-repair capable (I can do things to it, just lack most, if not all, of the tools I've seen mentioned here in my search for information), thus I kind of have to go to a maintenance facility.

What'* the recommended way to go about replacing the fuel filter? Is it included in a tune-up? If so, that'* great because I need one of those anyways.

Car has about 207k miles; bought it used from a family when it was about 160k? I forget the exact number because it'* been a few years. According to the prior owner, they bought the car new in 1993, used it for their kids, and maintained it pristinely, and when i purchased it there wasnt a blemish on it, so i am inclined to agree. The oil was changed just last month, and it is due for new brakes in mid-June, if that could have any bearing.
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:40 PM   #2
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oh yes another reason i believe it is the fuel filter is i've never had it done.

and why does the GM manual say it does not need "periodic" replacement? what does this phrasing mean, that it only needs done when it needs done?
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:46 PM   #3
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Many have posted great pictures and experiences for fuel filter replacement. Please use the search function to get many good posts about changing it.

The Does not require periodic replacement means that they don't want to put an actual mileage on paper for a needed change when the conditions you drive in are different than someone across the country.

Therefore they say "as needed". My recommendation is about every 30,000 miles you replace it.
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Old 05-16-2006, 02:03 PM   #4
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I have heard that fuel filter replacements are expected when owners switch to ethenol based fuels. One person I talked to said he went through 3 filters before it was over.
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Old 05-16-2006, 06:02 PM   #5
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When you take it in for the tune-up, ask them if they do the filter at the same time. Some will and some don't. They will do it for you if you ask. On the Bonneville'* it is a very easy procedure and should add almost no time to the tune up.
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:24 PM   #6
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Yes, the ethanol is a powerful detergent and solvent, and you now have a very clean fuel system at the cost of a fuel filter.

About $12 at the parts puppies and should swap out in 15 minutes.
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:28 PM   #7
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we do fuel filters with every 30k mile service, just clarifying that means every 30k miles so at 30, 60, 90, 120, etc, so id say u shud def replace that fuel filter, lol
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Old 05-23-2006, 03:30 PM   #8
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well got it done and it'* back to near peak performance... took about 10 minutes to do, if that.

next up is brakes & tune-up
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Old 05-23-2006, 04:12 PM   #9
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Just replaced the FF in my van sun. with 28k on it and i just wasted my $9 bucks.
i was able to blow threw it very very easly.

I cut it open and it was likebrand new inside.

I woundn't think twice about letting it go 40 to 50k or more next time.
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Old 05-23-2006, 06:20 PM   #10
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This also may add some light on the Ethanol subject
http://www.ethanol.org/conversion.html

"Water is the worst enemy of ethanol, and relatively small amounts of it in tanks can cause phase separation
The preferred method for switching a tank from storage of straight gasoline to an ethanol blend is to empty the tank completely and pump the water bottom until the tank is completely empty. The tank should be filled as close to capacity as possible, to minimize the effect of any small amounts of water that may remain following cleaning. In areas where MTBE is in use, and/or where RVP restrictions are a concern, this is the only acceptable method for switching products."


Now do you really think your local gas jockey is going to perform this procedure so that your Pontiac doesn't run crappy a few miles down the road just after you filled your tank?
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