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BIGFISH.JZ

If Your Boat Motor Runs On Gas... Read This

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BIGFISH.JZ
Posted (edited)

This post is meant to HELP save money and keep boats on the lake, not in the shop.

Where do I start? Lets start with the things that you probably already know. Boats are used in the most moisture rich environment possible, such as humid summer air and being on the water. In MN there is generally a change in air temps from day to night. Most boats do not get used every day, like our cars and trucks do.

 

Now for some things that you should know. Most gas contains ethanol, normal 87 octane is usually 10% or E10. A student did a science experiment and found gas in his hometown contained up to 30% ethanol. The EPA is to thank for this, because it produces less pollution. Ethanol fuels absorb 50 times as much water as non ethanol gas. Ethanol is a degreaser, solvent and antifreeze. Under PERFECT conditions shelf life of gas is about 90 days. With fluctuations in temps and high humidity this reduces shelf life to a week or maybe only days.

 

Now here are some shocking facts that most people don't know. Phase separation begins when gas absorbs 0.5% water. The bottom layer is a non combustible mix of alcohol and water, the top layer is basically non ethanol gas BUT since the octane boosting ethanol is removed, it has a reduced anti-knock index or octane. That means that it can cause engine failure. As a solvent ethanol can break down fuel tanks, fuel lines and seals. At 70° gas can dissolve 7000 ppm water, when night comes and temps drop, the water becomes insoluble and separates. There are NO additives that prevent phase separation!!!

 

There is SO MUCH MORE that I want to say about the use of normal pump gas in your boat but I hear the crappies calling my name!!

 

FYI- I have run 87 exclusively in a couple of my boats but they are equipped with high micron, high capacity water separating fuel filters and I like living on the edge. Also being a marine technician with 9 boats, I can be out a boat or two and I get parts cheap and labor ($100/hr normally) free. Remember this- YOU WILL PAY MORE BY BUYING THE CHEAP GAS.

Edited by BIGFISH.JZ
Additives do not prevent
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Borch

When I installed a 10 micron water separator on my older outboard my motor issues disappeared.   I'm convinced that the issue you explained leads to a lot of failures as well as poor performance.  With the newer 4 strokes many have an integrated water separator filter and I still run non oxy fuel.  It's a cheaper insurance policy for all my small engines than buying the cheap fuel.  I've read where the breakdown can happen in as little as 2 weeks with the oxygenated fuels depending on conditions. 

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BIGFISH.JZ

"Buy your gas where they sell a lot of it! Today’s ethanol-blended gasolines have a notoriously short shelf life and actually begin to degrade in a matter of days after refining and blending."

 

That is a direct quote from Yamaha... I have references for all my info.

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gimruis

Good information Bigfish.  I use ethanol-free premium in all of my engines except my truck (outboard, snow blower, lawn mower, etc) and I have my outboard professionally winterized every fall.  Preventative maintenance goes a long ways in keeping these engines running smoothly for a longer period of time.

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BobT

My experience has been quite different. 

I use 87 octane 10% ethanol blend in everything including my 90hp Etec, ATV, riding lawn mower, push lawn mower that gets used maybe twice a year, garden tiller that is used twice a year, chainsaw that gets used maybe every other year for brush work, ice auger, and my automobiles. 

 

In all of my 40+ adult years I have had gasoline go bad one time. My old ice auger wouldn't start one fall before season so I checked the gasoline and it smelled like diesel. I poured some of it into a metal container and tried to ignite it with a match and it wouldn't light. I put fresh gas in the tank, primed it a couple times, and fired it up. Ran fine. 

 

I keep my chainsaw gas in an old anti-freeze container and there are times when the gas I'm using is a few years old. Still works fine. 

 

Am I just lucky or is there an agenda spreading myths about 10% ethanol blended gasoline? I admit that I do add a fuel stabilizer in my boat when I winterize it in the fall but otherwise I rarely use the stuff in anything else. Might occasionally put an injector/carburetor cleaner in once in a while but that too is uncommon.

Edited by BobT

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BIGFISH.JZ

Hi Bob, you must be lucky....? If you think people (me) are spreading myths about ethanol blended gasoline, go to your local boat dealer and ask them. Or search marine tech forums for fuel related issues. If you think that I wrote all these "myths" to make you spend $0.50 more on 1 gallon of gas, that will last you for years apparently, then you don't have to believe ANY of it. I don't generally waste much time convincing skeptical people. I have been draining crap gas from tanks for 20 years. The customer has to buy the crap gas, haul boat to a shop, pay $100/hr plus hazardous materials fees, buy new gas and drive back to pick boat up.... Do the math on that. As I stated in a previous topic. I have used that gas in a number of cars, trucks and boats with few issues. I am only using this platform to prevent issues for folks and save them money. I have read hundreds of pages on the subject. I have been taught these so called myths by engine manufacturers. I see it on a daily basis April - November. If you can't afford the proper fuel, how are you paying to get your boat back on the water??? What the f#ck do I know??!!? My boats (9) were all bought with money earned from people who knew enough to get them in trouble but were clueless as to fixing their own problems.

Myths....??!!?? Hahahahaha 👌

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AlwaysFishing23

I run non oxy premium in almost everything I own. Snowmobile every fill up, leaf blower and ice auger. I’ve found holidays non oxy premium is the best. I do run it also for the most part through my atv But somtimes I will put just 87 regular in as it doesn’t seem to make a difference being a four stroke. Truck I run 87 as well. I think spending the extra few penny’s on the better stuff is worth it. I wasn’t a believer a few years back but I am now in that engines run better and the gas doesn’t go bad “ as” fast as regular gas with ethenol in it. 

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BobT
On 3/19/2019 at 10:56 AM, BIGFISH.JZ said:

Hi Bob, you must be lucky....? If you think people (me) are spreading myths about ethanol blended gasoline, go to your local boat dealer and ask them. Or search marine tech forums for fuel related issues. If you think that I wrote all these "myths" to make you spend $0.50 more on 1 gallon of gas, that will last you for years apparently, then you don't have to believe ANY of it. I don't generally waste much time convincing skeptical people. I have been draining crap gas from tanks for 20 years. The customer has to buy the crap gas, haul boat to a shop, pay $100/hr plus hazardous materials fees, buy new gas and drive back to pick boat up.... Do the math on that. As I stated in a previous topic. I have used that gas in a number of cars, trucks and boats with few issues. I am only using this platform to prevent issues for folks and save them money. I have read hundreds of pages on the subject. I have been taught these so called myths by engine manufacturers. I see it on a daily basis April - November. If you can't afford the proper fuel, how are you paying to get your boat back on the water??? What the f#ck do I know??!!? My boats (9) were all bought with money earned from people who knew enough to get them in trouble but were clueless as to fixing their own problems.

Myths....??!!?? Hahahahaha 👌

Wow! Sure got your shorts all knotted up. Sorry about that. Just shared my own experience over the past 40+ years. I also find that my boat, ATV, and truck all perform better on 87 octane. Makes sense since this is what the engine emission controls are set up to perform on. The engines start easier and run smoother. 

 

It's funny. I remember when unleaded gasoline hit the scene. There were all kinds of talk going around about how our engines were going to fall apart. Then lead substitutes hit the market at about $3.50 per qt. When I bought my Farmall M tractor in 1994 I was concerned about using unleaded fuel since the tractor was designed and built in 1948. So I bought into the lead substitute alternative until one day I happened to look at the ingredients on the bottle of lead substitute I was using and there was only one ingredient listed - Kerosene. I was paying $3.50 per quart for kerosene when I could have been getting it at the pump in town for $1.35 per gallon. What a crock that turned out to be and since kerosene is just a little higher refined diesel, I just used #2 fuel out of my diesel tank and doubled the amount to 2oz. per gallon of gasoline. I did that for a few years but over time I discontinued doing that too. My 1948 tractor runs just fine without the lead and with 10% ethanol. Go figure.

 

I remember too when 10% ethanol appeared and the stories floated around about how bad that was. Some were telling about how the alcohol loosened rust particles in the tank causing plugged filters and whatnot. Yet, I never had to replace a fuel filter any sooner than I had previously experienced. Then there were the issues with diaphragms in carburetors not liking the alcohol. The funny thing is, I bought my Stihl chainsaw during my logging years back in 1984 and I still use it today. It's seen its hours of use for sure but I have never had to replace the carburetor diaphragms. I did have to replace the fuel line once because it cracked. Alcohol related? Maybe, but if it was, it took almost three decades to finally give in. 

 

 

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BIGFISH.JZ

Sorry I got a bit defensive, Bob. I just don't want people thinking that these proven facts are bogus myths. I agree some motors will never miss a beat with cheap gas, I admit that I run cheap gas in a couple of my boats, but I simply don't recommend taking the gamble. People who think luck is on their side should buy a Powerball ticket instead.

 

I can remember spending hundreds of summer days repairing the damage caused by ethanol fuels, in order to get my customers back on the water. 

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BIGFISH.JZ

I know many smokers that have NEVER died from lung cancer.... That doesn't mean that everybody should smoke.

😀😋🎣🐋💦📷😉

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BobT
33 minutes ago, BIGFISH.JZ said:

Sorry I got a bit defensive, Bob. I just don't want people thinking that these proven facts are bogus myths. I agree some motors will never miss a beat with cheap gas, I admit that I run cheap gas in a couple of my boats, but I simply don't recommend taking the gamble. People who think luck is on their side should buy a Powerball ticket instead.

 

I can remember spending hundreds of summer days repairing the damage caused by ethanol fuels, in order to get my customers back on the water. 

If you don't mind, what are the damages you or the industry has attributed to ethanol blends?

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SkunkedAgain

Have any boaters died from ethanol cancer?!?

 

I've switched over to non-oxy for all of my small motors. They generally sit for long periods. My 1997 Polaris snowmobile needed a carb clean every season for the first five years that I owned it. Around 2008 I started feeding it non-oxy gas only. I never cleaned the carb until it died a few years ago.

 

I'm in the camp of spending a few extra bucks on the gas since I go through so little of it per season. As you said, cheap insurance.

 

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BobT

I will share this experience I had with biodiesel in the last year. 

 

I have a 1968 Allis-Chalmers 190XT Series III diesel tractor. About 10 years ago I started having issues with it. It was getting hard to start. It has an intake manifold heater for cold starting but I never usually needed to use that unless it was colder than about 35 degrees but it was getting to where I needed to use it even at temperatures in the 60s. At temperatures below 40 I had to plug it in. I tried various injector cleaners, cetane boosters, and even tried using #1 fuel to see if I could improve its performance. The engine was rebuilt just 1200 hours ago today so it should still be plenty solid. 

 

Two years ago I decided to have the injectors rebuilt and was told that they needed it. It helped a little but still wasn't what I had been accustomed to. Then last spring I began to have more issues with the engine. It would lunge up and down while idling and lacked power. I began to suspect the fuel injector pump and after talking to mechanics determined it was time to rebuild the pump. 

 

When I got it back I asked what the problem was and the report said, "biodiesel damage."  I didn't know I was using biodiesel until I talked to my supplier about it and he told me it has been the law for about 10 years. 

 

If I understand my research correctly, biodiesel damage is the result of mold and bacteria growth in the fuel due to the soybean oil properties. Soybean oil is an organic material and bacteria and molds can grow on it especially if there is any moisture in the fuel. 

 

Here's where my problem comes from. I only use about 130 - 150 gallons of diesel per year and my tank has 260 gallons capacity. So, I only buy fuel once per year. Biodiesel apparently has a potential shelf life of less than 6 months, especially if stored where it can be subject to significant temperature extremes over short periods of time like in a fuel tank exposed to the sun. Mine is sheltered but because I use such a small amount, my tank is still subject to mold and bacteria growth. Now, I have my supplier adding a product to inhibit mold and bacteria growth since I don't have an option to purchase pure petroleum diesel. Guys that use hundreds of gallons per year don't have this problem as much.

 

Was my pump really damaged by the fuel or was it just that, like me, it was old and it was time? I can't be certain. 

Edited by BobT

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BIGFISH.JZ
13 hours ago, BobT said:

If you don't mind, what are the damages you or the industry has attributed to ethanol blends?

This is from Chevron lubricants, released in August 2018, listing the 3 main problems with ethanol blends.

"Phase Separation: Gasoline oxygenated with 10 percent ethanol is capable of dissolving far more water than conventional gasoline alone. When this gasoline, ethanol and water blend is cooled, both the water and some of the ethanol become insoluble. The result is that the fuel separates into two layers or phases: an upper gasoline layer and a lower, ethanol-rich water layer. The gasoline layer will have a lower octane number and may cause knocking. The fuel also is less combustible; an engine will not run on the water-ethanol layer.
 

Corrosion: When water finds its way into the fuel system and combines with air, corrosion of iron and other metallic surfaces can occur, potentially affecting fuel pumps, injectors, fuel tanks, and other metallic components, causing them to degrade and decreasing their useful life. Water resulting from phase separation can also cause rust or corrosion over time.
 

Deposits: When gasoline components react with the oxygen in the air, the result is the formation of peroxides or gums. Soluble gums can lead to engine deposits, and insoluble gums can plug fuel filters. Deposits can also form throughout an engine’s intake system, including the fuel injectors, carburetor, intake manifold, intake ports and intake valves. The result is a noticeable decrease in engine performance, power and fuel economy, while increasing emissions and drivability." 

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BIGFISH.JZ
13 hours ago, BobT said:

If you don't mind, what are the damages you or the industry has attributed to ethanol blends?

This is from a major marine engine maufacturer, YAMAHA, perhaps you have heard of them...

"Not long after the introduction of E10 gasoline, boats using it began experiencing problems. Almost immediately mysterious substances began clogging fuel filters that were later identified as a byproduct of mixing fuel still in the tank containing *MTBE with ethanol-blended gasoline, but that was only a harbinger of things to come. Fuel lines approved for gasoline engines on boats reacted badly with the ethanol additive and started breaking down causing clogged filters; and in cases where the problem was not identified quickly, possible fuel leaks were the result. Any sludge deposits in older fuel tanks began dissolving and were pumped into the fuel system, damaging components and making a mess of filters. And boats with fiberglass fuel tanks were subject to the added nightmare of ethanol actually eating away the resin, which required replacement of the tank and in many cases, serious damage to expensive engine components like valves, carburetors and injectors."

*MTBE was used to boost octane pre-ethanol.

We won't even go into my opinion of damage I've personally seen in the last 20 years. But if you would like more direct quotes from big name industry leaders let me know.

 

As I stated before I won't comment or advise unless I have first hand knowledge on the subject... I know NOTHING about biodiesel. Until boats are powered by it, it doesn't even exist in my world. Sorry Bob, I got up early to slay some slab crappie, not research diesel issues. Crappies don't catch themselves!🎣😉

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gimruis

My point was that I don't want ANY ethanol in an engine/motor that gets used for a while and then sits there - that's why I run ethanol free premium in them.  The ethanol sits there and gums up vital engine parts.  All of my irregular use engines are modern 4-strokes that run very smoothly and use a minimal amount of fuel and I'm going to do everything I can to keep them like that.  I use normal 87 or 89 octane unleaded in my truck because I use that almost every day all year round.

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