What kind of gasoline (and additives) do you put in your Spider? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Question What kind of gasoline (and additives) do you put in your Spider?

I have an '86 Veloce and between my local parts place and on the forums I've heard:

"Get Ethanol free gasoline - cars from the 80's weren't built to burn corn!"
"Only high octane" (on the label where you fill the car - think it says 90 or higher)
"Ethanol is fine - just put a little of the stuff that comes in the blue bottle - it's the water that's the problem."

Thought it would be helpful to have a thread where folks weighed in on what gas to use in their cars as a topic. (If there's another thread already, apologies. I haven't found it in searching for a bit - please point me to that discussion :-))

What do folks do for gasoline in their Spiders - and do they use any additives?

Thanks for your input!
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 09:38 AM
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I use regular grade gas - 87 octane. If available I'll buy ethanol-free but I don't go out of my way to find it. Our '84 Spider & '81 GTV6 run fine on the 10% ethanol stuff.

As for the octane requirement note there are two ways gas pumps are labeled. In the USA our 87 octane is about the same the European 90 octane.

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Last edited by ghnl; 09-02-2019 at 06:17 PM.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks @ghnl! Value your opinion.

I've been putting the high octane (91 or 93 depending on what's available) with 10% ethanol in the car and feeling okay about it until I started to talk to folks. The price difference between 87 and that isn't a big deal b/c I'm not using it as a daily driver - worth the difference if it makes a difference :-). I use 87 on my "normal" cars.

I've never driven it with ethanol-free gasoline so wouldn't really know the difference. I'd use it if I could find it, but from asking around (we're fairly rural around here) there's no place that has it.

Didn't know if that would/could be causing any issues with the car - hence the question to the community to see what everyone else does.

(Was also a question I had as someone new to this whole thing and figured if someone else goes and searches for it - this could make it easier to find a quick answer)

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 05:57 PM
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100% Pure Gas + Marvel’s mystery oil + Sta-bil.

https://www.pure-gas.org/maps
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balocco211 View Post
That is super helpful for anyone looking for ethanol-free gas. ty!

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balocco211 View Post
Marvel’s mystery oil + Sta-bil.
Quick clarifier -
I'm guessing you use the M.O.O. for fill ups and the Sta-bil for storage? Or do you use both on fill-ups?

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 06:23 PM
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I've had my 87 Graduate for 10 years and 53,000 miles and never used anything but 87 octane 10% ethanol and have had no problems
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 06:29 PM
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If driven regularly the ethanol laced gas doesn't seem to cause a problem. (if your fuel lines are very old it is possible they may not be ethanol resistant.) If not driven often, it is possible that the ethanol stuff may cause problems. But all pump gas does not seem to store well now-a-days. Solution: drive your car often, keep the gas fresh.

Now if your car's engine has been modified (higher compression) then it may need higher octane. And the Series 4 Spiders do call for higher octane gas - they have higher compression than the Series 3 Spider engine.

From the Series 3 Owners Manual: (in the US gas is rated using the Pump Octane Number)
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2019, 07:30 PM
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I always just use 93 octane.

As others have mentioned, 87 octane has worked fine for them.

Thanks
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 07:30 PM
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I dont worry about ethanol, all my fuel hoses are new. On older cars a bit more, complex and difficult to work on, ethanol can be a bigger issue. I think as far as Alfas fuel system, the Fispa fuel pressure regulator is the only older part than can be broken down over time by ethanol, the rubber diaphragm inside. BUT I am not an expert on the subject and many Alfas have had this replaced or the later gen's that didnt have Fispa regs at all.

As far as octane, my 74 spider will run on lower octane, but doesn't seem to like it a whole lot. I put "regular" in when I first got my car running again, and it ran and started up okay, but it wasn't the same as running on "premium".

Just my .02$
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-06-2019, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgbalfa View Post
I always just use 93 octane.

As others have mentioned, 87 octane has worked fine for them.

Thanks
It depends on the year and tune of the car. You car has the 10:1 compression ratio Motronic engine, those mentioning using lower octanes have engines with lower compression ratios.

I use 91 octane ethanol-free premium in my 1990 Motronic Spider - at 6000 ft altitude.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-06-2019, 07:39 AM
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Since new, I have always used 92 or 93 octane premium gas in my 1991 Spider, and once a year I dump a bottle of Chevron Techron injector cleaner into the tank.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for their answers - summary it looks so far is:

* Lower than 90 PON (pump octane number) is fine - needs to be 87 PON or above.
* 10% Ethanol hasn't really caused anyone issues (tho, be sure to see @GV27's note for lower compression ratios)
* Injector cleaner once a year for maintenance.

Sounds like for the octane/ethanol it comes down to preference and desire, really.

I'll likely use this pref order ethanol-free > high octane > lower octane when I can get them, but will fill it wherever I need to and not wait to "only" use a particular fuel type.
and add injector cleaner once a year.

Mainly because I don't have the skills yet to diagnose & fix issues - I'll give the car better quality fuel for now to help ensure it runs cleanly. As I get more comfortable I might lean on 87 more, but this feels like a solid start.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts!

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 02:04 PM
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My opinion,

No ethanol, just pure gas on whatever octane you decide on.

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msiert View Post
My opinion,

No ethanol, just pure gas on whatever octane you decide on.
Thanks msiert! Yeah - there's two stations near me that have the ethanol-free gas but it can be dedicated trip to get there due to their locations. It'd be my preference, but I wouldn't let the car run too low "waiting" to get to the ethanol-free station. I'd do a higher octane to tide me over.

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