Problems with power dropping out, have I killed my engine?

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ChuckHunky
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Problems with power dropping out, have I killed my engine?

Post by ChuckHunky » Mon Oct 30, 2023 2:23 pm

I'm going to hold up my hands at the start here and say that I realise I've made a mistake, and I'm hoping things aren't as bad as I fear they are as a result! Please be gentle :(

I've got a 2002 V6 and, somehow, when E10 started appearing, I read (almost certainly mis-read) somewhere that E10 would be OK to use in my engine. As a result, I've been filling up with E10 consistently since it first appeared.

Over the past year or so, I've had periodic issues with idle revs being lower than I would expect and occasional reluctant power when accelerating, both when the engine is hot, things seem fine when it is cold. These issues have come and gone, I've mentioned them during services, but no problems have ever been found.

Over the past few weeks, the power has been becoming consistently reluctant when accelerating. Discussing with a friend, they mentioned fuel types and I re-checked the recommendations and realised my mistake. Since then I've put a couple of tanks of E5 through the van and the issues remain, in fact, they are much worse. To the point that when idling the revs are constantly going up and down and will sometimes stall entirely. Accelerating is very, very reluctant and power will often come in a burst after a few seconds, rather than gradually.

I've pretty much convinced myself that I've done something terrible to the engine as I can't think what else could be going on, but as you can probably tell, my technical knowledge of such things is very, very basic. So I'm wondering if some kind soul could please give advice on:
  • How likely it is that the symptoms I'm seeing are as a result of the wrong fuel type being used for two whole years?
  • Is there anything I can do to help with a determination of what's happening and why?
  • Would the best course of action be to take the van to a garage, explain the situation and request an assessment?
  • If "yes", to the above question, would this require a specialist Bongo garage?
I'm very grateful for any advice anyone could give me, many thanks indeed!
wwaveydave
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Re: Problems with power dropping out, have I killed my engine?

Post by wwaveydave » Mon Oct 30, 2023 2:31 pm

I'm nowhere near as mechanically inclined as some of the regulars on here but IIRC the issue with E10 was that one of the pinking agents that replaced the lead was corrosive to some of the pipes, as opposed to not compatible with the engine in general. But like I said someone with more knowledge will chime in I'm sure.

With regard to your issue, I had precisely the symptoms you are describing after not using the bongo consistently and it turned out to be the spark plugs needed replacing.
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g8dhe
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Re: Problems with power dropping out, have I killed my engine?

Post by g8dhe » Mon Oct 30, 2023 3:14 pm

Its unlikely at this stage. From the various links to threads below which are well worth reading in full there are two main concerns;
1. The increased level causes the fuel to be more hydroscopic and hence absorbs water from the atmosphere, this is likely to result in a gel forming where the fuel and water reacts. However this is quite a slow process but no specific timescales are mentioned.
2. The increased level causes certain rubber and seals to leak or fail, again this is a process that takes time it has been shown but again temperature, the materials themselves all have effects on the timing.
Have a read of these links;
https://www.igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum ... 06#p720006
https://www.hagerty.co.uk/articles/main ... assic-car/
https://www.igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum ... hp?t=76878
https://www.igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum ... p?p=721404
https://igmaynard.co.uk/wp-content/uplo ... etters.pdf

The problems you describe could equally be those of a variety of faults, but as for all faults of this type they are difficult to track down!
Your probably best taking it to a garage that you trust, explaining the problems and hoping that they can experience the problems themselves when taking it for a test drive, maybe find a garage that will come out with you whilst you show them the effects. But be aware that these problems can be difficult to diagnose in some cases to specific reasons, often a case of trying changes out to see what happens. However this can be expensive in time and new components with no guarantee that they will find the cause. Often you may find that "old school" garages where they don't rely on following the output of test equipment but use their knowledge to identify problems are better!

I must admit since it was introduced I try to always use E5, but on occasions only E10 has been available but in such situations I've always been able to use the fuel up within a few days as I travel between sites, hence little chance for water too be absorbed and seals and rubber components only get a the 5% increased level for short times. I've not experienced any problems since the introduction of E10 myself.
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ChuckHunky
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Re: Problems with power dropping out, have I killed my engine?

Post by ChuckHunky » Tue Oct 31, 2023 11:52 am

wwaveydave wrote: Mon Oct 30, 2023 2:31 pm I'm nowhere near as mechanically inclined as some of the regulars on here but IIRC the issue with E10 was that one of the pinking agents that replaced the lead was corrosive to some of the pipes, as opposed to not compatible with the engine in general. But like I said someone with more knowledge will chime in I'm sure.

With regard to your issue, I had precisely the symptoms you are describing after not using the bongo consistently and it turned out to be the spark plugs needed replacing.
Thanks for this. It's encouraging to hear that you've had the same symptoms, that gives me hope! The van has just had a service so it would be a bit poor if it was the spark plugs, but that's definitely something for me to get checked out. Thanks again :)
ChuckHunky
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Re: Problems with power dropping out, have I killed my engine?

Post by ChuckHunky » Tue Oct 31, 2023 11:57 am

g8dhe wrote: Mon Oct 30, 2023 3:14 pm Its unlikely at this stage. From the various links to threads below which are well worth reading in full there are two main concerns;
1. The increased level causes the fuel to be more hydroscopic and hence absorbs water from the atmosphere, this is likely to result in a gel forming where the fuel and water reacts. However this is quite a slow process but no specific timescales are mentioned.
2. The increased level causes certain rubber and seals to leak or fail, again this is a process that takes time it has been shown but again temperature, the materials themselves all have effects on the timing.
Have a read of these links;
https://www.igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum ... 06#p720006
https://www.hagerty.co.uk/articles/main ... assic-car/
https://www.igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum ... hp?t=76878
https://www.igmaynard.co.uk/bongo/forum ... p?p=721404
https://igmaynard.co.uk/wp-content/uplo ... etters.pdf

The problems you describe could equally be those of a variety of faults, but as for all faults of this type they are difficult to track down!
Your probably best taking it to a garage that you trust, explaining the problems and hoping that they can experience the problems themselves when taking it for a test drive, maybe find a garage that will come out with you whilst you show them the effects. But be aware that these problems can be difficult to diagnose in some cases to specific reasons, often a case of trying changes out to see what happens. However this can be expensive in time and new components with no guarantee that they will find the cause. Often you may find that "old school" garages where they don't rely on following the output of test equipment but use their knowledge to identify problems are better!

I must admit since it was introduced I try to always use E5, but on occasions only E10 has been available but in such situations I've always been able to use the fuel up within a few days as I travel between sites, hence little chance for water too be absorbed and seals and rubber components only get a the 5% increased level for short times. I've not experienced any problems since the introduction of E10 myself.
Thanks very much for your reply, I really appreciate it. Your comments are encouraging and make a lot of sense! Thank you very much for gathering together those links, I've had a read of them and there's a lot of useful info there. I completely understand what you're saying about it being a tricky issue to track down, I think you're right, I need to try and find a garage that will let me take a mechanic out to demonstrate the problem. Many thanks again for your help! :)
Bob
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Re: Problems with power dropping out, have I killed my engine?

Post by Bob » Tue Oct 31, 2023 6:53 pm

If you pop a rough location in your profile we may be able to recommend a garage.
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