Mechanics: Ethanol Causing Problems for Small Engines

8:21 PM, Jun 7, 2011   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - Some mechanics say they're seeing many problems with lawnmowers and other items with small engines this year.

One garage is even handing out a flier detailing problems in small engines caused by mandated ethanol mix fuel blends.

The crew at Buffalo Small Engine Repair says they've been getting phone calls left and right about engines for things like lawnmowers and weedwackers. Repair shop spokesman Joe Busalachi says common problems are that the machines will either putter out or won't start at all. He and two mechanics at different garages 2 On Your Side spoke with say it's likely happening because of ethanol in the fuel, even at only 10-percent.

"The engines wont start, they'll have water in the fuel, another system is the bottom of the carburetor bowls would be all rusted out, " said Busalachi.

He says ethanol absorbs water and over time can eventually damage any rubber materials it comes in contact with. It even happened to his boat.

"Water came out with fuel when it got sent into the engine that's when it destroyed it," said Busalachi.

Craig Ehnes knows all about that.

"It just quit running," said Ehnes, referring to the engine in his motorboat. "The mechanic suspect's it's the ethanol in the gas solving some of the carburetors in the fuel lines."

It's a story most boaters 2 On Your Side spoke with are hearing more often especially in older boats. Ehnes' mechanic told him there's a solution.

"He claims the new fuel line and carburetor kits will all work with ethanol without having a problem," said Ehnes.

As for those lawnmowers and the like, Busalachi recommends an additive you can mix right in with the fuel.

"We have found that once the additive is put in there it stops the ethanol or slows the ethanol down from absorbing water and preventing from damaging any rubber diaphragms in the carburetor, rubber needles, rubber seats, fuel lines," said Busalachi.

There are several different additives on the market. Busalachi says you usually add one ounce per five gallons of gas. A bottle that treats up to 80 gallons will cost you about twelve dollars.

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