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  1. #1
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    Ethanol, upgraded LPFP, lousy butt connectors and you.

    Hey guys,

    A while back (2-3 months) I upgraded my LPFP with the walbro 455. Works great, no issues. If it matters I regularly try to keep the car tank full or close to it. Yesterday I was clipping along about 80 on the way to work and the car shut off with a "fuel pump" error on the nav screen. It wouldn't restart. I assumed I popped a hose off the pump or something along those lines, but I was a little confused since if I let the car sit for a bit, and tried to restart it, it'd run for a while then sputter out. I watched low pressure fuel pressure and saw it'd hit ~90 psi cranking then a few seconds later sputter out at around 17 psi.

    I opened up the tank and saw that the butt-connectors I used, which were included in the common walbro 455 kit, were not ethanol safe. They gummed up, joined, and eventually shorted out. I solved the issue by disassembling the OEM BMW connector and soldering/crimping the walbro electrical lines directly to it, which is kind of a PITA since that BMW connector isn't real friendly to take apart. Staggaring the butt connectors would have helped in this situation but regardless, the material would have degraded and it would have ultimately ended poorly.

    So, heads up, be careful what you put in your tank. I assumed the parts that came with the ethanol pump were ethanol safe; I was incorrect. I consider myself fortunate that this didn't end up worse.
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    Last edited by SCGT; 02-21-2014 at 01:59 PM.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SCGT Click here to enlarge
    Hey guys,

    A while back (2-3 months) I upgraded my LPFP with the walbro 455. Works great, no issues. If it matters I regularly try to keep the car tank full or close to it. Yesterday I was clipping along about 80 on the way to work and the car shut off with a "fuel pump" error on the nav screen. It wouldn't restart. I assumed I popped a hose off the pump or something along those lines, but I was a little confused since if I let the car sit for a bit, and tried to restart it, it'd run for a while then sputter out. I watched low pressure fuel pressure and saw it'd hit ~90 psi cranking then a few seconds later sputter out at around 17 psi.

    I opened up the tank and saw that the butt-connectors I used, which were included in the common walbro 455 kit, were not ethanol safe. They gummed up, joined, and eventually shorted out. I solved the issue by disassembling the OEM BMW connector and soldering/crimping the walbro electrical lines directly to it, which is kind of a PITA since that BMW connector isn't real friendly to take apart.

    Regardless, heads up, be careful what you put in your tank. I assumed the parts that came with the ethanol pump were ethanol safe; I was incorrect. I consider myself fortunate that this didn't end up worse.
    Lucky these were submerged and not above the fuel level where vapor was present, your car would have burned down

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    Tony, if they weren't above the fuel level, they had to be pretty close. At the time of failure I had little more than 1/4 tank in the car. I thought I was in the clear with hoses popping off/etc because it had been months. I seriously recommend if anyone used the butt connectors that came with the package to open it up and look just to be safe. Maybe I got bum connectors, who knows... but I consider this solidly in the "$#@!ing terrible" category.

    I believe my first words when I saw the connector in that condition were "Sweet Jesus".

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SCGT Click here to enlarge
    Tony, if they weren't above the fuel level, they had to be pretty close. At the time of failure I had little more than 1/4 tank in the car. I thought I was in the clear with hoses popping off/etc because it had been months. I seriously recommend if anyone used the butt connectors that came with the package to open it up and look just to be safe. Maybe I got bum connectors, who knows... but I consider this solidly in the "$#@!ing terrible" category.

    I believe my first words when I saw the connector in that condition were "Sweet Jesus".
    Yes that is some scary stuff!

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    Damn. @fastgti69 What kind did we use? Scary $#@!.

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    This is very easy to go look at and determine if you're in the "getting ready to blow up" stage such as I was. FWIW I've been running E50 for pretty much the past year and a half.

    Edit: I just looked up when I bought the hardware to attach the elbows/pump. Pump has been installed for 5 months. It took that long being submerged most of the time in E50-E60.

    Once more guys, it's easy to check. I don't want my car to burn down and I don't want yours to either.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
    Lucky these were submerged and not above the fuel level where vapor was present, your car would have burned down
    Wouldn't the fuse in the glove box go out before that actually would spark something? I'm not that savvy but idk.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alpinedevil335 Click here to enlarge
    Damn. @fastgti69 What kind did we use? Scary $#@!.
    FML, Idk we used some ones from homedepot that looked fine. We heat shrink wrapped it as well...

    Now I'm scared for track day this sunday, I'll be hitting high g forces and hope nothing happens. Guess i'll take an extra set of everything just in case. God damn lol I'm scared as $#@! now @Alpinedevill335
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SCGT Click here to enlarge
    This is very easy to go look at and determine if you're in the "getting ready to blow up" stage such as I was. FWIW I've been running E50 for pretty much the past year and a half.

    Edit: I just looked up when I bought the hardware to attach the elbows/pump. Pump has been installed for 5 months. It took that long being submerged most of the time in E50-E60.

    Once more guys, it's easy to check. I don't want my car to burn down and I don't want yours to either.
    I assume you didn't heat shrink those connections?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by fastgti69 Click here to enlarge
    Wouldn't the fuse in the glove box go out before that actually would spark something? I'm not that savvy but idk.



    FML, Idk we used some ones from homedepot that looked fine. We heat shrink wrapped it as well...

    Now I'm scared for track day this sunday, I'll be hitting high g forces and hope nothing happens. Guess i'll take an extra set of everything just in case. God damn lol I'm scared as $#@! now @Alpinedevill335
    We'll be back in those tanks soon to install the pump straps.

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    I did not use heat shrink tubing. I couldn't find any that I was sure was ethanol safe, which in hindsight, is funny. I checked all the materials prior to doing this, I know alcohol is rough on everything, including me.

    I had a bud help me who used to be shop foreman at a BMW dealership, he'd done hundreds of tanks. He was amazed that the fuse didn't pop. Things don't always work the way you'd think. There is always room for some unknown outlier that'll change expected behavior.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alpinedevil335 Click here to enlarge
    I assume you didn't heat shrink those connections?
    You remember when we checked mine a week after when I came to help you out. All my connections and heatshrink wrap looked fine. So hopefully 3 months down the line it should still look the same.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alpinedevil335 Click here to enlarge
    We'll be back in those tanks soon to install the pump straps.
    We will do that and install an intercooler!
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    Well now I’m terrified…Ugh.

    FFTEC pump I just had the lines soldered directly to the bucket’s lines. But still scary stuff. Why on earth would someone package non-ethanol safe materials into an ethanol specific fuel pump? LAME.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by fastgti69 Click here to enlarge
    You remember when we checked mine a week after when I came to help you out. All my connections and heatshrink wrap looked fine. So hopefully 3 months down the line it should still look the same.

    I opened mine up a month and a half later to change my elbow configuration and all connections back then looked good. This was a definite time dependent thing. Not trying to scare anyone here, but I thought exactly the same thing... all hoses were holding, all connections looked good, I thought for sure I was in the clear; done deal. Nope.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by fastgti69 Click here to enlarge
    You remember when we checked mine a week after when I came to help you out. All my connections and heatshrink wrap looked fine. So hopefully 3 months down the line it should still look the same.



    We will do that and install an intercooler!
    yep! Your stuff looked damn good.. Didn't we get fuel resistant shrink? Or am I mistaken and thinking of something else

    Intercoolers are taking waaaay to long to arrive Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SCGT Click here to enlarge
    I opened mine up a month and a half later to change my elbow configuration and all connections back then looked good. This was a definite time dependent thing. Not trying to scare anyone here, but I thought exactly the same thing... all hoses were holding, all connections looked good, I thought for sure I was in the clear; done deal. Nope.
    Lul'z

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    Holy $#@! dude. I'd send an email/call whoever you bought it from and get some sort of explanation.

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    Is a metal paper clip safe from ethanol?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by E90Company Click here to enlarge
    Is a metal paper clip safe from ethanol?
    Not sure if serious or I'm just missing the joke, but basic carbon steel tends to get stress corrosion cracking in ethanol, so, no, I wouldn't use it for anything structural. If you just used a paper clip like Terry used black zip ties, you're probably fine, they aren't exactly stressed in the application.

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    This guy has put together a VERY nice install kit for those interested in doing it the right way. I should have mine sometime next week.

    http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23223
    Click here to enlarge
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    How can you tell if the connectors and heat-shrink are ethanol-proof?
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JStang Click here to enlarge
    This guy has put together a VERY nice install kit for those interested in doing it the right way. I should have mine sometime next week.

    http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23223
    In that link, he says the kit is NOT for the 5-series ... (just an fyi)
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JStang Click here to enlarge
    This guy has put together a VERY nice install kit for those interested in doing it the right way. I should have mine sometime next week.

    http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23223

    Nice kit for those who want an in-line solution, hope his butt connectors aren't from the same batch mine were. Click here to enlarge

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    You didn't keep the fuel out hence the heat shrink. I had the same thing happen to me and fried my Junction Box Electronics. I used the butt connectors only=fail. You need to use heat shrink on all that stuff.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SCGT Click here to enlarge
    Not sure if serious or I'm just missing the joke, but basic carbon steel tends to get stress corrosion cracking in ethanol, so, no, I wouldn't use it for anything structural. If you just used a paper clip like Terry used black zip ties, you're probably fine, they aren't exactly stressed in the application.
    I have a paper clip twisted around, holding that orange hose onto the top center of the oem pump. The little yellow plastic clip broke.

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    Shrink tubing is not ethanol fuel compatible.
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