Topic: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

Most people I've talked to recommend emptying your cell after a race to preserve the foam. Some recommend flushing the cell with water, others say to open the cell and remove the foam to make sure it's clean and dry before storage.

I guess my main question is this: is it only the ethanol in gas that eats the foam, or will pure gasoline break it down as well? I'm thinking I could use an external electric pump to empty the cell via the Hydramat pickup (which would get it pretty damn empty), then throw in a few gallons of non-ethanol gas from the racetrack pumps to flush the cell and drive the car onto the trailer.

Thoughts? I don't mind opening up the cell to rinse off the foam and pickup every year or so, but I'm hoping to avoid having to do it after every race.

Command Pilot/Flight Director, Escape Velocity Racing
Index of Effluency, Heroic Fix, Class C Trophy, now hopelessly gunning for Class B.
Currently 1-2 vs. Team Fairlylame in the Class of 1964 Championships

2 (edited by Guildenstern 2018-04-15 07:55 PM)

Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

I think the prevailing wisdom is just keep it empty and dry. Contact with fuel is just going to make it break down sooner since it's basically surrounded by solvent, especially 10 - 15% ethanol.

I was told a while back that a Fuel Cell is NOT a fuel tank. For it to do its job properly and for the full 5 years of its life you basically have to MINIMIZE the time it spends in contact with fuel.

Even so, you'll still mostly only get 2 - 3 years out of foam. Luckily it's the "Cheapest" part of a fuel cell system.

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Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

I think that if you drain/pump out the fuel you'll be fine.  I had a Fuel Safe cell in a race car and I had it for 10 years with no issues. This was a period of time before the ethanol was added to all fuels so take that fact for whatever you want.

Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

If you do flush with water, pull the fuel pump out and run more fuel through it, or find some way to ensure it's 100% dry. I killed a brand new in line walbro by flushing with water, then popping the hose and assuming I got it dry. Seized up completely over the winter.

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Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

FWIW, I just pulled the MetSHOs Fuel Safe cell out after 7 seasons of service. Original foam still in great shape. No special maintenance performed, usually dont even empty it.

Mike @ Charnal House Inc.
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Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

shamwow wrote:

FWIW, I just pulled the MetSHOs Fuel Safe cell out after 7 seasons of service. Original foam still in great shape. No special maintenance performed, usually dont even empty it.

What type of foam? I’ve had foam break down after 2 years and clog the fuel filter. Now I drain after each race and even doing that you can see bits of foam in the hydramat.

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Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

Brett85p wrote:
shamwow wrote:

FWIW, I just pulled the MetSHOs Fuel Safe cell out after 7 seasons of service. Original foam still in great shape. No special maintenance performed, usually dont even empty it.

What type of foam? I’ve had foam break down after 2 years and clog the fuel filter. Now I drain after each race and even doing that you can see bits of foam in the hydramat.

I'd also like to hear the answer to this question. Also, what kind of fuel are you guys running? Ethanol-laced pump gas or pure track fuel? I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Command Pilot/Flight Director, Escape Velocity Racing
Index of Effluency, Heroic Fix, Class C Trophy, now hopelessly gunning for Class B.
Currently 1-2 vs. Team Fairlylame in the Class of 1964 Championships

Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

The black ATL "large pore foam" in our ex-NASCAR cells has held up very well to regular E10 pump gas.

Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

Hey guys,

We use the yellow foam that comes in higher end Fuel Safe cells.  The cell mentioned above was a Fuel Safe Enduro cell. For fuel, just pump gas (premium).  In addition to the filter sock, we have an a fuel filter from an OEM car (10um i believe) and I have cut them open before and no signs of foam.

(knocks on wood).

Mike @ Charnal House Inc.
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Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

Good to know. My brand new ATL cell has yellow foam, so hopefully it's the same stuff. Even so, I went ahead and pumped it dry since it'll be sitting for a few months.

Command Pilot/Flight Director, Escape Velocity Racing
Index of Effluency, Heroic Fix, Class C Trophy, now hopelessly gunning for Class B.
Currently 1-2 vs. Team Fairlylame in the Class of 1964 Championships

Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

We use the large pore black stuff and the California fuel has certainly taken it's toll.  The canister filter would have quite a lot of foam bits in it.  Now that we have a Hydramat, our filter never gets clogged up, and it would take an awful lot of foam bits to clog a Hydramat.  I do try to drain the tank regardless, but sometimes forget.

Re: Preventing Breakdown of Fuel Cell Foam

I have a couple cells, one with black foam and an ATL with yellowish white foam. I haven't had breakdown issues and have not done anything special.

Troy

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