Ethanol Concerns

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Hi Guys from southern Manitoba! We need more snow here, right now about 4.5 inches.

I found out some information this past spring form our local Esso bulk dealer after I blew a piston in my 92 EXT SPEC… All of our gas, they told us, sold here in Manitoba by every fuel company has up to 12% ethanol in it!

Last winter I noticed that my 91EXT 530 and that 92EXt Spec. spark plugs were burning a nice chocolate brown colour or a tad lighter!

You and everybody else would say that is great, but before this they were dark brown to black and still performed great!! My 91 530 really likes this fuel! I am a bit scared!

I’ve been checking my tops of the pistons and plugs and things are looking good, just to the fact that the plugs are looking this chocolate brown colour! ESSO also told me that some of the other gas companies’ gas can range from anywhere from 0% to 12% ethanol, NO CONSISTENCY!

I also have a mint 80 JD Liquifire and on all 3 of them I have raised the needles up 1 notch and on the Cat’s I have jetted up from 310’s to 320’s. I would like to know if any one has ever informed you about this, if this is everywhere in Canada, why the government does not inform us about this on the gas pumps, and what our fellow snowmobilers should do about preserving and looking after our sleds from ancient to the late 90’s and early 2000’s?

Your help would be appreciated! The guys at RV SPORTS in TRF have told me that at some gas pumps in the US you can still buy unleaded gas with no ethanol! Thank – YOU!

PS: Esso also told me that 2-3 years from now our gas will be 30%, what will we do then? Should we now use some blend of race gas or an additive like Torqo?




I don’t blame you for being worried; the price of pistons isn’t getting any cheaper! There’s nothing much we snowmobilers can do about increased ethanol use except to take the steps you’ve already taken ie: upjetting and adjusting the needle to make the air-fuel mixture a bit richer.

We’ve found that up to 12 percent ethanol won’t bother most EFI or electronically controlled 2-strokes and certainly not any 4-strokes. If you have an older sled and have been tuning it for more power with new jetting specs or the addition of an aftermarket pipe, I’d certainly suggest re-jetting immediately. You’ve been wise to keep your eye on the plugs and the top of those pistons.

As for race gas, it is very expensive and will only increase the octane level so you can jet leaner. Make a mistake once, add pump gas and you’ll seize. Not worth it.

Fortunately, these ethanol quotas don’t apply to every province and state. Ethanol levels are supposed to be posted on the pumps in the areas they apply. Good luck.

Kent Lester

Supertrax Online
Supertrax Online
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