Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Sputtering drops speed to 20mph in moving traffic

My Fabulous 1992 190E 2.0L Mercedes-Benz, a fine comfortable ride, that has since my possession(2014); had gas to gel and required blowing out! Initially using ANY premium, my mechanic advised three gas brands- I chose shell in 2015.

Since Spring, 2018 it has been sputtering -off and on (came very close to completely stopping New Years Eve night 2018). Sputtering most notably occurs following pull-off after coming to a full stop and on this occasion continued for about 1 mile- in traffic. After accelerating car drives with no sputters-40 minute or 4 hour drive-until next full stop. Wondered if gas line again needs blowing out?

Recently read article “Why are we using blended gasoline and ethanol?”. What is the potential that "Ethanol (being) a hydrophilic, meaning it holds water- cause my problem in a car of the era?

Your Benz might need more than a “blow out.” It wasn’t designed to run on ethanol. The fuel lines, filter and more may be suffering the effects of ethanol dissolving the internal rubber parts. A close look by a mechanic is in order. Don’t be surprised if he recommends replacing all the rubber lines, maybe the fuel pump and certainly the filter. The fuel injectors may also be clogged.

The repair will likely not completely solve the ethanol problem as not all parts will be available that are ethanol compatible. I don’t know if ethanol free fuel is available in your area like it is in mine but use it if you can find it.

Good Luck!


A fuel pressure test makes sense imo. The shop can hook up a fuel pressure gauge so they can read it as they do a test drive. If the fuel pressure misbehaves at the same time the symptom occurs, they are well on the way to a cure. The symptoms definitely seem to be fuel system related. Fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, fuel filter, fuel injectors, etc. The brand of gasoline you use won’t have any effect in the short term, so experimenting w/different brands isn’t a good way to solve this problem. If you like the service at the Shell station, just keep using that brand until the issue is resolved. As mentioned above, avoid gasoline pumps which post a significant amount of ethanol if possible.

Mustangman, Really appreciate your prompt response, pointing my mechanic in right direction is certainly appreciated. Finding that ethanol article helped inform my suspicion that ethanol had something to do with sputtering and you put the icing on the cake! Hopefully the parts can be found. Have located two stations that sell ethanol in my town


Will certainly share with my mechanic this potential cure.
Many Thanks

I am surprised that a 1992 Mercedes is not E10 compatible, what country are you in? Where I live in the U.S. E10 was the winter blend in the 1980’s and became year around use in the 1990’s. Our vehicles are E10 compatible.

It shouldn’t be difficult for a technician to diagnose your cars problem.

Driving an old car teaches me some lessons every time there is a situation.
Your analysis helps begin better understanding of that E10 and I certainly must pay close attention henceforth.

Tidewater, in southeast VA is where I live.

Thanks for you knowledge perspective.:slightly_smiling_face::hugs: