It doesnt matter where you go on the internet lately, there will be discussion regarding Fuel Hose. There is a lot of mis-information, and a lot false claims regarding fuel and fuel hose.
There will be scare stories and pictures of burning vehicles... demands that you CHECK YOUR FUEL HOSE NOW!!!!
Yes, its not a bad idea. Check your fuel hoses... thats the easy bit. Getting your head around all the "facts" regarding replacement fuel hose is impossible. Try and decipher the specs and you'll be baffled by a series of acronyms and abbreviations that when you try and cross reference them will just result in a even more acronyms and abbreviations!
We know. Weve tried! This is what it boils down to based on information from the people actually make the hose we supply... more of that later.
Fuel is changing. The pumps may look the same, it even kind of smells the same, but its different. Huge pressure is being placed on fuel producers to use a renewable source for a percentage of their fuel. This means Ethanol in Petrol, and "Biodiesel" for Diesel fuels.
At the moment in the UK we have around 5% Ethanol (E5) in Petrol and the same Biodiesel in Diesel.
We say "around" because fuel manufacturers since 2013 have been allowed to increase this to 10% (E10), and by 2020 10% of all transport fuel must be from a renewable source.
There is already discussion regarding E15 pump fuel, and in fact in some areas of the USA its already available... as is E20 - Some parts of South America have had E20 fuel for over 30 years!
So... where does this leave us trying to keep 30+yr old vehicles on the road?
In simple terms, if you have the original fuel lines on your vehicle you'll be lucky if its still running.
If youve replaced them in the last 10 years then there is a very good chance that they will all ready be perished and degraded and not always visibly as the fuel runs down the inside... obviously!
Which brings us to replacement fuel hose.
If youve looked into replacing your fuel hose, you'll be familiar with a few terms.
One is SAEJ30R... followed by a number. The most common one used now with regard to Ethanol content is "R9" or SAEJ30R9.
The R9 Spec doesnt just relate to its resistance to Ethanol and Biodiesel. Its more complicated than that... its just that its the SAE spec which has the highest resistance to them, and which also requires other requirements for the main fuel connections such as pressure resistance and strength.
"R9" is not some magic E10 fuel hose!
SAE by the way is the Society of Automotive Engineers... basically an international body who set the specs that the Automotive industry works to.
If you want the actual data, its here... and we quote this only because its not the easiest piece of information to find, not to cloud the issue more than it already is...
"Hose primarily intended to meet the demands of fuel injection systems. These would include, for example, electronic fuel metering (EFM), electronic fuel injection (EFI), throttle body injection (TBI), and the like. Other areas of utility are those applications requiring fuel permeation resistance exceeding 30R8 and ones which require fuel resistance greater than that obtainable with 30R6, 7, and 8. Exposure of this hose to gasoline or diesel fuel that contains high levels, greater than 5% by volume, of oxygenates, i.e., ethanol, methanol, or MTBE may result in significantly higher permeation rates than realized with ASTM Fuel C. This hose may be supplied in either a coupled or uncoupled form, and is useful in the transportation of gasoline, ethanol extended gasoline, diesel fuel, lubrication oil, or the vapor present in either the fuel system or the crankcase of internal combustion engines in mobile, stationary, and marine applications. This hose has a maximum working pressure of 0.69 MPa (100 psi) up to and including 12.70 mm (1/2 in) ID. This hose may be furnished in long lengths, specific cut lengths, or as a part preformed to a specific configuration. This hose is suitable for use in normal operating temperatures of 34 to 135 °C (29 to 275 °F) and intermittent use at 150°C (302 °F)."
See what we mean! Now... the important bit in all that, and really the point of this post is the sentence that states:
"exposure of this hose to gasoline or diesel fuel that contains high levels, greater than 5% by volume, of oxygenates, i.e., ethanol, methanol, or MTBE may result in significantly higher permeation rates than realized with ASTM Fuel C."
Basically, if you buy hose described as R9 or "SAE J30 R9" it should comply with this specification. What its actually complying with is a 5% Ethanol/Biodiesel content (based on test fuels) and exposure to greater concentrations of Ethanol may result in higher permeation rates than those specified. There are other spec that this hose complies with, but thats the relevant one as far as Ethanol and Biodiesel.
And thats our issue with the whole "R9 Spec" fuel hose thing. You can go on eBay, and buy "R9 Hose" for pennies. You can buy it from a lot of suppliers. We can buy it for about half the price of the hose we currently sell. Whether its what it claims it is or not, who knows. If it is, it meets the minimum spec as stated above. 5% Ethanol or Biodiesel, more than 5% "may result in significantly higher permeation rates".
This brings us to the hose we sell. Our hose is sourced direct from the manufacturer. They make fuel hose for all the car makers youve heard of, and many that you havn't. They have supplied VW with fuel hose for a long time...
The reason we tell you this is that they have a good reputation, they sell a hose and it meets the spec they claim. They have no interest in passing of a hose as something its not, and they have no interest in selling a hose to a minimum spec. Their spec isnt "R9 Hose". It exceeds the spec. and many others, but its not just "R9". Thats why we choose to stock it.
The hose we sell meets all the requirements to allow them to state that it is SAE J30 R9, however if you read the data sheet regarding the suitability for Ethanol and Biofuels its safe with up to 100% of either.
The exception to this is the 5.5mm Braided hose we supply for the breather pipes. You'll read things like "Cotton Overbraid hose is no good for modern fuels". Which is nonsense.
The covering of the hose means nothing, it is literally what is inside that counts!
Our 5.5mm Overbraid hose complies (and exceeds) R6 spec, and at the same time is fine with 10% Ethanol content (E10).
Thats right... as far as Ethanol content goes its higher spec than "R9" hose you might see for sale... you wouldnt use it for high pressure applications, but for breather pipes... no problems.
You'll also note that the sizes of hose we sell are the exact dimensions VW specify. Well, they would be, they're made by the same people who supply VW!
We dont sell a slightly bigger hose just because its pound or two cheaper!
And there you have it... hopefully its a little clearer.
5.5mm Overbraid Hose
3.2mm FPM/ECO Hose
5.5mm FPM/ECO Hose
7.3mm FPM/ECO Hose
11.5mm FPM/ECO Hose