Ethanol Effects

IMG_8861After two years operating a boat with fuel containing ethanol, the boat owners savings with fuel cost was destroyed by the cost of repairs. Fuel with Ethanol can be mostly than corrosion. This is why we recommend using REC 90 fuel, fuel without ethanol.

Ethanol is an alcohol made from corn that fuel companies are mandated to add to the gasoline we all purchase. By law, the companies are required to put a minimum percentage, which varies depending on where you live, in regular pumped gas. Most cars on the road today are built to handle ethanol. However, outboard marine engines, especially carburetor models, do not like ethanol at all.

Ethanol is hygroscopic, meaning it is capable of absorbing moisture. Ethanol attracts and absorbs moisture from the atmosphere or from the vent in the fuel system. Once this absorbed water enters the gas tank it contaminates the gas and begins to separate. This is called phase separation. This means that there is a layer of gas and a layer of water in the gas tank. Water is denser than gas, meaning it is heavier; therefore it sinks to the bottom of the tank. Since the fuel pickup in most gas tanks is at the bottom, any water at the bottom of the tank gets picked up by the engine’s fuel system. Not only can this water damage the engine by causing electric fuel pumps to rust but it is notorious for clogging fuel injectors.

Water entering the fuel system can also result in performance issues; rough idling, stalling when you demand acceleration (WOT), misfire, hesitation, difficulty maintaining boat speed and the engine’s inability to start. Water will also eventually corrode the metal in the fuel system. Little chunks of corroded metal can be carried through the fuel system into your engine. Water will also begin to corrode the inside of the engine’s crankcase. Over time, ethanol will deteriorate plastic fittings, such as filter cups, fuel separator bowls and can break down fuel lines.

Most boats use a 10 micron water separator filtration system between the boat’s gas tank and engine fuel system to help prevent water contamination from entering the engine. Some people use additives to “counter” the effects of ethanol. These measures are not always enough to avoid the negative effects of ethanol on your engine. Here at Eric’s Outboard we strongly suggest that our customers to use recreational fuel (REC 90), because it does not contain ethanol. 

-Written by Will Miner, article published in The Villager


Looking for REC 90 Fuel? Click here - Ethanol Free Gas Stations. This site also shows apps that can be downloaded. The site does not shows prices.

As a temporary measure, you can add the K-100 Fuel Treatment. K-100 Fuel Treatment is a bio-based (green) formula which encapsulates every water molecule dispersed. It makes water burn! Other benefits include: Prevents Phase Separation, Complete Injector Cleaner, Superior Lubricator, and Octane Booster. The mix ratio is 1/2oz per gallon of fuel. We sell this product at Eric's Outboard Marine Service in the 32oz bottle.