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  #1  
Old 11-25-2012
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ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

to start, I am an authorized OMC (Evinrude) Mechanic. Or, I was 15 years ago, but everywhere I worked was so unethical, I had to find a new line of work after 4-5 years working at a few different marinas... (this SHOULD explain why I own a sailboat, not a motorboat, but I digress! lol)

ANYWAY... I just got back from a 4-day sailing trip with my 12-year old daughter. I have a little 5-hp outboard Mariner on my 24' trailer sailor. Before I left, I filled the tank with 92-octane NON-ethanol gasoline (like I always do). After we arrived at our destination, I had to re-fuel and the ONLY fuel I could get was 10% ethanol gasoline. I didn't think anything of it since it was the same octane...

My tank was 99% EMPTY when I refueled. As soon as the 10% ethanol gas made it thru the fuel line, I lost power, performance and speed. I had always heard ethanol gas was bad. Previously, I had noticed a SIGNIFICANT increase in fuel mileage in my truck when using NON-ethanol gas, but I thought is was “circumstantial” – although it was “circumstantial” enough that I keep using NON-ethanol gasoline...

I plan on testing the outboard with non-ethanol gasoline latter this week...

ANYONE else notice a HUGE significance in performance between ethanol and NON-ethanol gasoline?
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Old 11-25-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnycatt View Post
ANYONE else notice a HUGE significance in performance between ethanol and NON-ethanol gasoline?
Oh yes. So much so that people who haven't experienced it think I'm exaggerating when I tell them the hell it's caused me. (We're talking 2-strokes, obviously.)

I chased phantom issues on a Johnson 60hp for most of a summer. (I'm a recovering stinkboater.) All summer long the story of my life was that the motor would run fine in the driveway and then have me floating dead down the river as soon as I got a mile from the launch. My best friend was a good battery because I'd lose count of how many times I had to restart the motor to get back. It would go like this: hard start... OVER REV...settle...engage fwd gear...run shortly...sputter...die. (repeat / repeat / repeat / repeat)

Had to be the fuel filter, then it had to be the mix, then it had to be a crack in the hose / bad bulb, then it had to be a coil, then it had to be the harness, then it had to be.... What it actually turned out to be was the ethanol fuel. And by God, don't let it sit in a gas tank for a few weeks before you run it. The ethanol evaporates and the chemistry goes completely to pot.

Ethanol fuel is da debbil!
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Old 11-25-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

This is a known issue with E10 gas. You get about 10% less bang for the buck with E10 gasoline than E0, or 100% gas. Your old outboard is probably more sensitive to the E10 than my old flat head Atomic 4 is.
Even in a car designed for ethanol you have to burn more fuel to go from point A to B with E10 than plain, pure gasoline. This is only one of the reasons why the whole corn ethanol in gasoline thing is a boondoggle for some farming groups and oil companies at our expense.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

It's not all bad. Alcohol fuel has less BTU's (energy) than gasoline but it has advantages too. It has an essentially unlimited octane level so you can run G.O.D.'s compression levels and make up for the lower energy level of alcohol.

It burns extremely cleanly as well - fewer pollution add-ons needed and engine internals stay cleaner.

This doesn't help when it causes problems in an existing engine but it's not "bad fuel", it simply has its own requirements, just as unleaded gas does compared to leaded - ask anyone with an old 11:1 CR muscle car if you're too young to have experienced that changeover.

There's a reason why some of the top racing classes, particularly drag racing, use alcohol fuel.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

No doubt alcohol fuel has it's place. Just not as a 10% additive to already-crappy pump gas. John Force isn't running E10. The other component that makes alcohol racing fuel so wonderful is that "nitro" prefix in front of the methane, and then the nice little methanol as a finish.

John B is right on. Today's "race gas" for bracket cars was known as regular when I was a kid. I have to admit, it is quite amazing the amount of power engineers have managed to squeeze out of the near-water we buy today at the pump. But for folks like me running 2-strokes that honestly qualify as antiques, modern pump gas was never part of the original design spec.

And I am not a fan of turning our food supply into fuel. But that's off-topic and I'll drop it.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

My experience: 10% ethanol fuel + 9.8 Hp Tohatsu outboard = Constant problems and repairs. Specifically, the idle jet would clog. Not fun to fix, but I got good at it. When we finally got far enough south to get non-ethanol fuel, the problem stopped. After that, I went out of my way to get non-ethanol fuel. I found that it was available at small airports in states (e.g. Maryland) where you couldn't get it anywhere else.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

I hate to drop names but I have been running stabil marine formula ethanol treatment and have been relatively happy. When the last gas station i could find in my area that had no ethanol replaced their tanks I had no choice. All of the small engines in my life were giving me significant problems, even the 4 cycle ones. Since I started running the addative my problems have gone away. Or at least the ones associated with the ethanol. I dont think I got any power back they just started running a little smoother and would still go back to straight gas if I could find a reliable source. Dam tree huggers.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryandSusanMacDonald View Post
Specifically, the idle jet would clog.
What is it about a little ethanol that clogs the idle jets?
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

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Originally Posted by ShoalFinder View Post
John Force isn't running E10. The other component that makes alcohol racing fuel so wonderful is that "nitro" prefix in front of the methane, and then the nice little methanol as a finish.
I wasn't referring to the nitro classes, only the alky classes. Nitro is a whole different thing. I won't even mention hydrazine.
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Old 11-26-2012
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Re: ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
What is it about a little ethanol that clogs the idle jets?
Ethanol eats away at fuel hoses and rubber gaskets,etc ...I suspect that as they dissolve the microscopic bits of inner hose liner or gasket rubber make a sour mash of residue that clogs idle jets methinks...just a theory but no amount of stabile is going to strain out that residue...Oh wait..that's what your idle or needle jet is for.......Maybe a really good fuel filter might help but then a short stretch of fuel hose is always the last place your fuel has been before it heads into a carb...so...

Last edited by souljour2000; 11-26-2012 at 03:20 PM.
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