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View Full Version : Should I worry about Ethanol in my Fuel?


El Jeffe
05-04-2006, 09:30 PM
I've got an 00 Prostar 205...I'm in Seattle...

Should I ensure that i only run gas without ethanol in it?

Cloaked
05-04-2006, 09:36 PM
Personally, I'd not worry about it.

88 PS190
05-04-2006, 09:48 PM
Run the E85... vroom.

It depends on your engine etc. It shouldn't hurt anything, but it may not run well, and then you'll fuel economy will suffer, and ultimately the saved dime per gallon will get burned.

Tom023
05-04-2006, 09:52 PM
My 2001 owners manual says it's okay for 2000 and on engines as long as the mix is no more than 10%. When storing for the winter, better to get most of it out. It has lower energy content than gasoline, but at low mix levels not enough to notice a decrease in fuel economy.

H20skeefreek
05-04-2006, 10:12 PM
E-85 will eat your fuel lines and carb/throttle body/injectores/everything fuel related if they aren't designed for it. in 2000 they didn't have E-85, just E-10 (10%). Don't use it.

6ballsisall
05-04-2006, 10:22 PM
Myself I wouldn't get to fired up about it. You dont have a carb so no worries there. Over the course of 3k-4k hours maybe it will break down some but again personally I wouldn't get concerned about it.

88 PS190
05-04-2006, 11:01 PM
I was joking about the use of E85, btw.

Although I do support switching over to E85...

I can't remember the last i saw fuel without some ethanol around chicago.

Hoosier Bob
05-04-2006, 11:34 PM
If you run a GM I would check with UMP or someone who can give you some solid advice. Corvettes, TA's and Z's had verbage in the owners manual stating "DO NOT USE!" Something to do with the injectors. Just saying check, I am a carb guy!

El Jeffe
05-05-2006, 12:20 AM
Many thanks...

Consensus is that if I can I should stay away from it...Not that there is anything wrong with it...

AirJunky
05-05-2006, 01:25 AM
Funny you should ask. I ran across this bit (http://cl.exct.net/?ffcb10-fe64127575660d797414-fdde15787c6c0c797613787c-fef615717c6303) today.
According to this story, there are several problems with using it in a boat. One of the problems listed is with older glass gas tanks. The ethanol apparantly breaks down the resins, which end up in your engine & harden.
Another issue is the amount of water that will mix in your tank & ultimately end up in your engine.

Sounds like the bottom line is to swap out your fuel separator regularly & to use a fuel dryer/conditioner if your gas is very old. My tank (1994) is plastic but I have no idea when MC started using them.

michael freeman
05-05-2006, 11:29 AM
Many thanks...

Consensus is that if I can I should stay away from it...Not that there is anything wrong with it...

Since the Fed requires that all gas use 10% it will be very hard to avoid. :cry:

My 2006 manual says 10% is okay but warns about the fuel mixture collecting water worse then pure oil based gas.

JimN
05-05-2006, 11:47 AM
I don't know if I have ever seen a MC with a fiberglass tank nor have I heard that alcohol was a solvent for it (it may be, I just haven't heard this). The water issue is real, though. It's the basis for things like Heet, etc allowing water in the tank to be mixed with the gas and eliminated but under the right circumstances, driveability issues will occur due to the amount of water.

E85 motors definitely have different components that allow for its use and without changing over, it will damage the injectors but the fuel lines on the newer boats with in-tank pump are Teflon, so they aren't at risk. The pump may not like it and that's not a cheap part so E85 should be avoided.

If E10 can't be avoided, it won't be a problem. Just don't let it sit for a long time. I talked to someone at a shop that only works with fuel systems and he said reformulated gas starts to go bad in about 20 days. Adding fuel stabilizer delays it for a while but keeping the gas fresh is the best way to avoid problems.

Kevin 89MC
05-05-2006, 12:35 PM
Yes, this is another reason I run Sea Foam or Sta-bil in every tank. Often my poor boat goes weeks without running, and when it is run, it's not very long at all. This makes it easy on the wallet, but hard on the fuel system!

gimmemoedmb
05-05-2006, 02:14 PM
Around here at least you can find premium without any ethanol. Unless that has changed very recently?

mtrask
05-05-2006, 03:44 PM
I am a supplier of Fuel Tanks underground and above ground and currently certain tanks made with certain fiberglass resins will not hold up to the new ethonal gasolines. One of the primary reasons you see serious excavation in gas stations in the New England area. It is not just the stations doing maintanance--they are getting rid of those fiberglass tanks that have issues. Newer generation fiberglass tanks don't appear to have any trouble "1985"<

Bottom line is -- pay close attn: to the previous writer on that letter offered above. shown below as well.

Final Note: One way to keep some of the condensation out is to keep a full tank of fuel all the time!! Something I will be trying to do!!!
Good Luck


ETHANOL: GOOD FOR CARS, BAD FOR BOATS


With gas prices soaring and no relief in sight, the idea of using lower-priced ethanol from U.S.-produced corn is an appealing alternative. But boat owners should be aware than ethanol-gasoline mixtures can be dangerous to the health of your engine.

Gasoline mixed with 10% ethanol is in widespread use in states that have banned MTBE, a chemical that adds oxygen to gas and reduces air pollution. Unfortunately, MTBE has been linked to groundwater pollution and to cancer, leading to a ban on its use in about half of U.S. states. Ethanol is commonly used as a substitute. But boat owners in those areas - especially in New York, Connecticut and California - are reporting major engine problems associated with their use of ethanol-gas mixtures.

There are three problems, two that can affect all boats and one specific to older boats with fiberglass fuel tanks.

Everyone can be affected by the first problem, which is water dissolved in the mixture. Water is practically insoluble in gasoline. Even if the gas you get from your marina is completely dry when pumped into your boat, water will get into your fuel. There's likely a buildup of water at the bottom of your fuel tanks right now. That water comes from condensation that forms on the inside surfaces of the tanks with the normal fluctuations of humidity and temperature. Since the water can't dissolve into the gas and is heavier than the gas, it sinks to the bottom of your tank and sits there. As long as the level of water remains below your fuel pickup tube, it never affects your engine.

However, water is soluble in ethanol. This means that the water in your tank will dissolve into an ethanol-gas mixture and be carried along to your engine where it will degrade performance, corrode engine surfaces and can prevent your engine from running at all.

Adding fuel-water separating filters, like the Racor 10-micron separators, will trap dissolved water. Because ethanol-gas mixtures are likely to contain much more water than standard gas, you'll need to check the filters much more frequently - every time you go boating - and keep plenty of spare filter elements on hand.

Ethanol is much more dangerous in boats with fiberglass fuel tanks. Boats with fiberglass tanks built before the mid 1980s (which includes some Bertram, Hatteras and Viking models along with others) may be at risk as ethanol dissolves some of the resins in the walls of the tanks. The resins work their way through the filters, then separate out when the engines cool down and the gas flashes(evaporates) off internal engine parts. The resins stick to the engine parts and harden. The most common problem seems to be that the vales stick, resulting in bent or broken pushrods.

There have also been reports of ethanol causing problems in newer outboard engines. This is related to the third problem. Ethanol is a wonderful solvent. It's so good that when you put it in a fuel system that's not new, it dissolves the varnish and other gunk that has collected in there over the years. The newly dissolved gunk travels with the ethanol into the engine where it clogs fuel filters, carburetor jets and injectors. This isn't fatal to your engine, but can lead to engine failure while running (which can be fatal to your boat) and at the very least to costly repairs.

As the use of ethanol spreads from the Midwest - where it's widely used - to other areas, boaters should be aware of what's being pumped from gas docks they visit. If you don't see a sign, ask the attendant whether the fuel has ethanol added. If it does, take precautions and be prepared with spare parts and towing insurance.

jimmer2880
05-08-2006, 07:31 AM
I am a supplier of Fuel Tanks underground and above ground and currently certain tanks......

Wow - Very interesting read! - THANKS!

Looks like I'll be adding a fuel-water seperator to my fuel-line now.

jsonova99
05-08-2006, 07:55 AM
Where at the pumps does it actually state what the content of alcohol is in the fuel so that I know what I'm actually pumping?

mtrask
05-08-2006, 08:39 AM
Mandated by Law--Usually a yellow tag about eye level @ 4" X 6". Can vary from state to state!!

jsonova99
05-08-2006, 09:23 AM
Mandated by Law--Usually a yellow tag about eye level @ 4" X 6". Can vary from state to state!!

Thanks, I'll keep an eye out

bigmac
05-08-2006, 09:42 AM
Around here at least you can find premium without any ethanol. Unless that has changed very recently?Up here in lake country, outside of the Twin Cities, many (but certainly not all) gas stations carry non-oxygenated premium. Those pumps are clearly labelled as "non-oxygenated" and can't be used in cars, only boats, motorcycles, and other OHVs, as well as collector cars.

I have a 200 gallon tank on a trailer that I can haul down to the dock with my garden tractor to fuel the boat. A local oil company delivers non-oxygenated premium every couple of weeks to it for which I pay current pump prices. The only catch is that I have to tell them that I am a marina, ostensibly because they can apparently get into trouble for non-commerical delivery of non-oxygenated because of the possibility that the user might use it in highway vehicles.

stevo137
05-08-2006, 09:45 AM
Great info Mtrask.
I talked to the main mechanic at Pinecrest last week and he said that he thinks that this is the most boats that he has seen with carb problems. He said that if they sit for more than three weeks, the carbs are having float and other issues, especially some outboards.
I had a problem with a float that was stuck for the first time when I pulled it out of storage.
He said that he thinks that the quality of the fuel is not as good. Is this true? or perhaps it's just the ethanol?
What what be a good additive that would give the gas more lubricity?
Isn't there an additive that simulates lead?

mtrask
05-09-2006, 10:21 AM
Great info Mtrask.
I talked to the main mechanic at Pinecrest last week and he said that he thinks that this is the most boats that he has seen with carb problems. He said that if they sit for more than three weeks, the carbs are having float and other issues, especially some outboards.
I had a problem with a float that was stuck for the first time when I pulled it out of storage.
He said that he thinks that the quality of the fuel is not as good. Is this true? or perhaps it's just the ethanol?
What what be a good additive that would give the gas more lubricity?
Isn't there an additive that simulates lead?
Problem with the Ethonal is that it requires a different grade of seal. Newer generation vehicles will have this Viton seal or greater quality seal. Generally in the past a buna-n seal would have tolerated most products. The Ethonal product is messin up the works.

To answer your question: I do not believe the problem is in the quality of the product but in the seal material compatibility in your carb.

Also: Part #2 All underground storage tanks are "supposed" to be cleaned before starting ethonal usage in them. To clean debris and all water from them. Going back to your mechanic--If the tanks from which you are buying your fuel from were not cleaned, then this may relate to a poor quality of product. Ethonal will act and break down fungus? and alegea? in tanks if they were not cleaned previous to starting with the Ethonal blend.

**Going back to the original articale stated above Ethonal blend can break down resins in certain fiberglass tanks, so you can imagine it is testing all aspects of your fuel system!!

Talk about messin up the works!!