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  #71  
Old 01-29-2014
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

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Originally Posted by matthewwhill View Post
The instructions for my outboard specifically recommend using only ethanol-free gasoline. Around here I know where I can get it, but I imagine that when cruising it will not always be readily available.

What do you guys recommend doing? Are there particular additives I can use that reduce or mitigate the risks to my outboard posed by ethanol.

I tend to believe the manufacturer's warnings.... but is this an exageration? Is ethanol really a big deal? I have read anecdotal reports on sailnet of significant problems with ethanol.

Interested to learn more. Thanks!

Let me preface this by saying that some of what I'm about to write is based on speculation.


I have an outboard that pre-dates ethanol gas. I started having problems in the last few years. Every time I went to start it, I would have trouble getting it running and keeping it running. If I backed out the idle jet and put it back, the motor would start and run fine---- until the next time. If I repeated the idle jet exercise, I'd be back in business. I had read about how ethanol dissolves the insides of hoses and the the bit clog something, or re-congeal somewhere downstream. This seemed like a reasonable cause and effect in my scenario, so I replaced the hose from the tank to the motor and the hoses inside the motor with hoses rated for ethanol. This seems to have resolved my problem. I've read that on carbureted engines that you need to run them a little richer on ethanol. I don't know if this is true or not, but I backed out the idle jet a little bit and so far, so good.


I've read that in general, condensation alone can't easily cause phase separation, but those vents to prevent it sure can't hurt. I think the main thing is to keep water out of the tanks. To my knowledge, once water gets in and phase separation occurs, nothing will undo it other than emptying and cleaning and emptying and cleaning. For my power boat, I made little covers to go over top of my fill caps to further reduce the chance of water getting in there. Sadly, that boat has sat idle for the last couple of seasons and I've seen no evidence of phase separation with 1/2 full tanks. I empty them before putting the boat up for the winter. There are two schools of thought on this; one says keep them full, the other says empty them. I've chosen to go the route of emptying them, figuring a small mess is better than a big mess.
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  #72  
Old 01-29-2014
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

I use a website called pure-gas dot org to find ethanol free gas. It's plentiful here in SC, and only about 50 cents more expensive per gallon for 87 octane.
I looked up Maine, and was surprised to find 4 stations in the state!!
I wonder what state laws or regional differences are affecting availability?

For my Honda OB, it ran rough when I purchased it. Did a carb rebuild last year and I only use non ethanol gas now (not sure what PO did). I try not to leave it for extended times, and use Sta-bil too. Seems to be working so far.
I swear by Seafoam, and use it in my OB and vehicles, but I don't have any scientific data to support that product. Seems to work

Now if I could only get the chainsaw, weed eater, mower and generator to act right, life would be good.
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  #73  
Old 01-29-2014
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

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Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
I have an outboard that pre-dates ethanol gas. I started having problems in the last few years. Every time I went to start it, I would have trouble getting it running and keeping it running.
The thing is, though, that the components in the fuel system are probably 30+ years old too. So old age gets them when in reality it had nothing to do with ethanol. The ethanol just gets blamed for it.
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

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Originally Posted by 06HarleyUltra View Post
I use a website called pure-gas dot org to find ethanol free gas. It's plentiful here in SC, and only about 50 cents more expensive per gallon for 87 octane.
I looked up Maine, and was surprised to find 4 stations in the state!!
I wonder what state laws or regional differences are affecting availability?

For my Honda OB, it ran rough when I purchased it. Did a carb rebuild last year and I only use non ethanol gas now (not sure what PO did). I try not to leave it for extended times, and use Sta-bil too. Seems to be working so far.
I swear by Seafoam, and use it in my OB and vehicles, but I don't have any scientific data to support that product. Seems to work

Now if I could only get the chainsaw, weed eater, mower and generator to act right, life would be good.

Do you add Seafoam to the gas every time you fill up?
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  #75  
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
It is a legitimate question. I really don't know if I should make a point of going to that one place that has ethanol-free, or if I should just fill from wherever is handiest.

I do have the service manual, but it doesn't mention a fuel type. Being a 1974 I assume it was designed to run on gasoline without ethanol, but with plenty of lead. That is obviously not available....

The nattering nabobs of the internet seem pretty evenly split between "whatever, gas is gas, pour it in and fire it up" and "oh my god gasohol has caused every evil since Moses." I imagine the truth lies somewhere between the two.
Well the only really well documented issues seem to be with the "new" outboards. For various reasons including emissions and fuel mileage (both good things to be concerned about) the carburetors have extremely small orifices. These orifices seem to be more prone to clogging, and getting fouled up. For these motors, even though designed to work on E10 likely would do better on Avation fuel as it tends to be cleaner and more stable than the E10. As long as you keep your E10 fresh, as in less than a a few weeks old, and clean there should be no trouble at all even on a new motor. The problem is not the alcohol itself, but the phase separation that it causes. Once the alcohol absorbs water and pick up crud it starts causing issues. Seems hard to find clean gas to, especially in marinas.

Older outboards seem to run on just about anything short of straight water. So you should be OK with E10, but it would not hurt to keep it fresh and even possibly us a stabilizing additive. Heck the thing would likely run on Rum if you got really desperate. Well you would have to be really desperate to use rum!
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  #76  
Old 01-29-2014
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

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Originally Posted by CruisingCouple View Post
It's interesting that unleaded fuels were never mandated for the aviation industry. It was determined that the economic impact of converting aviation recips to being able to use unleaded fuels was too great. To this day 100LL aviation gasoline contains 5x the lead that old regular grade leaded automotive pump gas used to have.
Close, but not quite right: it's a fuel quality standards issue.

The fuel quality specification for any type of aviation fuel is very - well, specific. Piston engine aircraft engine manufacturers for decades have been designing, building and testing their engines for use with one specific grade of fuel and since aircraft (even small ones) can and do fly internationally, the engine needs to run, guaranteed without failure, on fuel available globally. Given that aircraft engines are only overhauled every x-thousand hours, to change the global specification would mean many thousand light aircraft world-wide would be grounded until their engines are "re-certified" for the new spec.. and, politically, that is never going to happen.

Here's an example of what happens if someone gets it wrong:
http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/stories/s84262.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by CruisingCouple View Post
The marine industry got caught in the middle and nobody cared. Back then marine engines were one of diesel, outboards were two-stroke (very forgiving on what fuels they use) or Crusader/MerCruiser et al engines that have a short life by their very design. So somebody said, ah screw 'em - the marine people can adapt.
Over here at least, they cared alright. Backed by the professionals, Joe Average Boater kicked up enough of a stink that marine fuel distributors in this country simply do not sell E10 or Bio-diesel for use on boats.
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Last edited by Classic30; 01-29-2014 at 06:46 PM.
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  #77  
Old 01-30-2014
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

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Originally Posted by 06HarleyUltra View Post
I wonder what state laws or regional differences are affecting availability?
I think it is a federal regulation based on population density. I'd have to drive six hours for non-ethanol gas at a pump other than the 20 minute run to the local airfield. $6/gallon isn't so bad compared to driving so far or getting way too good at rebuilding outboard carbs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
Well the only really well documented issues seem to be with the "new" outboards.
Does my 9-year-old Honda outboard count as "new?"
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  #78  
Old 01-30-2014
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

Here's something to think about. The us epa mandate says minimum volume of renewable fuels however methanol is more caustic than ethanol. Ethanol is grain alcohol ( the same stuff we drink) and methanol is wood alcohol ( deadly to drink) and the mandate does not differentiate between the two it just says must contain 10% renewable fuel and look at the sticker at the pump next time you buy gas it says may contain up to 10 % ethanol not must contain ethanol so some of the issues experienced may be from methanol not ethanol
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

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Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
Heck the thing would likely run on Rum if you got really desperate. Well you would have to be really desperate to use rum!
If it came to that I'd drink the rum myself and paddle the boat!
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  #80  
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Re: Ethanol in gasoline questions

I use ethanol gas, 10%, I believe, in everything I have. I change the gas in my generator once a year, and run it once a month. "Year old" gas runs just fine with this added:

Fuel Additives / Treatments | Berryman Products

No affiliation, and other additives may work as well as, or better. I do, however, drain my generator, snow blower, & outboard carbs after each use unless I am going to use them within a week or so.

Paul T
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