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Old 10 August 2010, 13:33   #1
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Ethanol - Arrrrrrrrrrrgh!

Just a heads up to you all to be extra vigilant about where you are getting you fuel and to stay up to date on what those fuel companies are doing. Last November the local gas supplier who I usually buy fuel from (Co-op) switched their 87 & 89 grade gasolines to include ethanol with very minimal notification (a VERY tiny little sticker saying 'may contain ethanol' on the pump). I was not aware of this switch and continued using the same pumps.

This weekend I was having some engine problems and noticed that the my fuel pickup lines going into the jerry cans were delaminating. Additionally all of the fuel line quick clip fittings (I use 4 20L NATO Jerry cans each with fuel line fittings) were corroding and their rubber o-rings were split. I'm getting the carbs looked over by my mechanic. Replacing my fuel line fittings and fuel pick up lines alone is costing about $ 150, not yet sure whatever carb work might be necessary will cost.

The point is regardless of whether you run an older carb'd 2 stroke or a newer motor (carb'd or DFI, 2 or 4 stroke), make sure that you are putting ethanol free fuel in your boat tank. If your boat has a fiberglass tank ethanol will give you problems with breaking down the resins. If your boat has a non-stainless steel tank, ethanol will cause it to corrode. Ethanol will destroy the rubber o-rings of all fuel line connection fittings and will cause corrosion of those fittings if they are not stainless steel. Virtually all of the aftermarket $ 10-12 fittings (Sea Sense and the like) are just plated ferrous steel. Honda is the only manufacturer I know of that makes stainless steel fuel line connection fittings. The local Honda dealer quoted me $ 54 for 1 female fitting and $ 46 for a male fitting! Their is no way I am going to spend over 1/2 a grand to convert 4 jerry cans + 4 conecting lines + main line to Honda fittings, besides, the rubber o-rings on those fittings would also get destroyed by ethanol just the same.

Bottom line - avoid ethanol like the plague and be extremely vigilant about who you are buying gasoline from and what is in it!!!
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Old 10 August 2010, 13:58   #2
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'Kin 'eck.
Would adding ice, lemon and a little tonic help?
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Old 10 August 2010, 16:28   #3
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'Kin 'eck.
Would adding ice, lemon and a little tonic help?
Gin? Filthy drink!

Mine's a Sapphire, thnx.
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Old 10 August 2010, 17:52   #4
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Gin? Filthy drink!

Mine's a Sapphire, thnx.
Screenwash and Tonic.
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Old 10 August 2010, 18:09   #5
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Technically, I should be drinking Cork Dry Gin, but ever since the Special Waves episode, I don't have the stomach for it...

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Old 11 August 2010, 10:02   #6
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Off to the bilges with the clowns and back on track with the ethanol in gasoline (aka petrol in some parts) issue.
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Old 11 August 2010, 11:51   #7
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If your boat has a fiberglass tank ethanol will give you problems with breaking down the resins.
The reports of this happening have (AFAIK) been limited to a specific set of 60's and 70's vintage boats - mainly largish cabin cruisers such as Bertrams; seems to be a specific vinylester resin used in molding those tanks.

If you've got first hand knowledge of damage to more modern glass tanks, I'd like to hear it.

Apart from the delamination of those tanks, I think most of the remaining damage comes from the rubber/alcohol imcompatability (in the case of O-rings, hoses, and other rubber parts), or the water that alcohol carries (in the case of metal fittings.) Personally, I've found that coated ferrous steel doesn't last long in a marine environment no matter what fuel you use.


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Bottom line - avoid ethanol like the plague and be extremely vigilant about who you are buying gasoline from and what is in it!!!
You may have problems doing this. Feds have granted approval for (I think) all gas to contain up to 10% ethanol as of now. They're in deliberation to up that to 15% in the near future, with 85% being an eventual possibility. As far as problems with that, well, talk to our Brazilian friends (I seem to recall there was someone on this forum from down there?) who have been running E-85 for quite a while now.

jky
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Old 11 August 2010, 12:24   #8
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You may have problems doing this. Feds have granted approval for (I think) all gas to contain up to 10% ethanol as of now. They're in deliberation to up that to 15% in the near future, with 85% being an eventual possibility. As far as problems with that, well, talk to our Brazilian friends (I seem to recall there was someone on this forum from down there?) who have been running E-85 for quite a while now.

jky
My understanding is that the situation with ethanol legislation in the US is worse than in Canada right now. We can still get ethanol free gasoline with most premium brands, though that may change in the future. I understand that their is a large class action suit brewing in the states over the issue.


http://marinelink.com/news/article/329488.aspx
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Old 12 August 2010, 11:08   #9
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Unfortunately, we're talking about a small percentage (boat owners who have had problems) of a fairly small subset of people (boat owners), who will be going up against a very large and powerful political lobby (agriculture.)

I wish them luck, but given the current push in the US to become less oil dependent (despite the spate of muscle cars still being designed), I don't see a lot of inroads into the lawsuit.

Don't know.

Ethanol has never caused problems for me, but I live in a non-freezing area, and rarely store the boat for extended periods (the cold and idle time both contribute to ethanol related problems.)

Sorry about your troubles, PT;

jky
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Old 12 August 2010, 21:02   #10
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Here in New England we have had ethanol for a while. I have never had problems per say, I have always used stabilizers and fuel additives, but winterizing is much more of a job. Used to be just stabilize the H*** out of the gas in the tank, run the engine dry and oil the cylinders and you were good to go, now you have to get rid of as much gas as you can, still add stabilizer to the tank, totally remove all traces of fuel from everything in the engine and injection system then finally oil the cylinders. It takes twice as long to do the job.
I'm afraid to see what will happen if they increase to 15% ethanol, Honda does not warranty damage if it is the result of over 10% ethanol in the gas.
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