I have a 1996 Mazda Protege. Left for 3 weeks, came back and car is sputtering. Was very cold while sitting, below 0 at times. Ethenol in gas doesn't seem to be helping. Could there be condensation elsewhere? Car was just fine before trip. thanks
Your vehicle can't support e85 fuel or also known as flex fuel. The lines need to be lined with teflon to avoid damage to the fuel lines, that high amount of ethanol will eat through the fuel line. Is your valve cover leaking oil? Same issue as yours, customer came back after a trip, car had a hard start and hesitation under load. Valve cover leaking oil in to the spark plug valley, new plugs, coils and wires along with a new valve cover gasket. Fixed the issue. If you are slightly mechanically inclined, try and pull the spark plugs and check them for clean burning or fouling. My customers vehicle is a 1996 Protege with a 1.5 motor. A car your age might have a few oil leaks, they cause many issues if not taken care of right away.
DUDE! You can't run ethanol in old cars! The fuel lines are made out of plastic, and, as you have just experienced, crack when exposed to ethanol.
There are a whole myriad of other problems that ethanol causes. My suggestion would be to replace the fuel lines and injector(s)
Even if you are lucky, and Mazda used fuel lines and injectors that aren't damaged by the ethanol, the cars aren't equipped to handle air-fuel mixture and the changes that the ethanol causes to it.
Firstly, Try draining your ethanolated gas, and replace it with regular gasoline.
I know there will be people telling you that older cars CAN handle ethanol, but you need to remember that Mazda engineers were not designing the cars to handle it, so it might run in the short term, but I wouldn't chance it.