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Hello All...

It's getting time to think about putting your boat up for the winter months. Of all the things that you will do to your boat, resolving gasoline storage issues will come across your mind. What is the right thing to do??? Who do I believe about possible Ethanol issues???

There is a great article in the Boat US magazine on the history and storage of ethanol gasoline. You should read the article.

For the sake of this post, I would like to share my experiences with you and then maybe you can make your decisions on how you will address this issue. First of all, a little history...

I have a 2000 Merc Opti-Max 225 DFI Saltwater engine. I have had zero issues with this motor until the switch over to ethanol. I carry 142 gal. of fuel on oard and NEVER let my tank fall below 1/2 tank. For those of you who know me know that I fish the Susquehanna Flats 85% of the time, mostly at idle or just above...

I had noticed that after filling up my boat at the marina in the spring just after the introduction of ethanol, I was experiencing rough engine performance issues. A long story made short is the fact that I was allowing my fuel to GO BAD in my tank and adding good fuel to bad...

Merc took a sample of my fuel and determined that my octane had fallen from 87 octane to 77 octane. We pumped my tank dry, went to the gas ststion and put in 100 gals. and put her back into the water...The engine ran like NEW...all issues disapeared...

All in all Merc recomended for me not to store more gas than I will use in a 30 day period in my tank. I was suffering from ethanol related issues that were NEW to the boating people...That 87 octain gas can degrade in just 60-90 days to 77 octain and suffer from Phase Separation...

This is a quote from the Boat US Article:
Avoiding Phase Separation
Another, perhaps larger, test will come this winter when boat owners prepare their boats for seasonal lay-up. One of the unfortunate properties of ethanol is its ability to attract and absorb water. Ethanol-enhanced gasoline can absorb roughly 10 times as much water as MTBE and still burn safely through the engine. But if ethanol becomes saturated, which can happen when it sits for long periods, the ethanol separates from the gasoline, forming two separate solutions. This is called phase separation and it's bad news for the engine. An engine won't run on the (water-soaked) ethanol solution, which sinks to the bottom of the tank and is highly corrosive.
There is no quick fix. When MTBE becomes saturated with water, it remains chemically bonded to the gasoline-MTBE doesn't phase separate-and a water separator can eliminate the excess moisture. With ethanol-enhanced gasoline, however, once phase separation occurs, additives and water separators can't help; the only remedy is to have gasoline/ethanol/water pumped from the tank.

There is much more to the article which should be discussed but for my post, I am addressing outboards.

This has worked for ME...

I keep fresh fuel in my tank and when I expect my boat to sit for while, I will pump that gas from my boat to my car/truck with a rig that cost me around $90.
I went to the auto parts store and purchased a fuel pump, 25' of fuel line...used a 30' electrical cord w/clips and a quick disconnect for on/off operation to pump the fuel out.


One ther thing of note...My pick-up tube in my gas tank had a screen on the bottom. This screen was covered with a jelly-like scum which caused issues while running at 4000RPM...Blocking my fuel from getting to the engine(primer bulb collapsed).

I WILL NOT get gas from the marina until mid to late season...let someone else get that stale gas that has been sitting in the pipes and tanks over the winter...
Quote from Boat US...

In the summer of 2003, marina owners in New York and Connecticut were warned by distributors to prepare for the arrival of ethanol-enhanced gasoline: "It has been determined that ethanol fuels may cause sediments present in underground storage tanks to mix with the fuel and, as a result, plug filters, and potentially plug customer vehicle fuel filters. Additionally, the presence of tank water bottoms during normal operation may reduce the oxygenate content and octane rating below product specifications. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative (distributor's emphasis) that each tank be properly cleaned prior to the delivery of ethanol-enhanced gasoline. ..."

Remember that adding NEW fuel to OLD fuel will not help you...
You may need to clean/pump out your tank(s)...
Fire Dept doen not recommend storing boats w/empty tanks...Vapor issues...My boat is kept outside and I feel that I am safe..I may be wrong I admitt...
Higher octane gas may void your warranty...burns hotter and pitts top of pistons. Most outboards run on 87 octane...
Get your gas from a gas station...
If you adopt the pump out system above, get a "high volume" fuel pump...shorter time to pump...

Please look up the article in Boat US...It goes into much more detail than I can on this post...

Hope this helps someone...I have avoided issues on MY outboard...

Bruce
 

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Last year I had about 40 gallons left in the tank. Dosed it good with Stabil for Ethanol in the last 2 tanks I ran thru the system, and still had problems this spring.
This year I'm gonna drain the tank completely and start fresh in the spring.
 

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Fuel Filtration

I had a horrible time with dirty fuel/tanks when I first bought my boat. My fuel filters would clog quickly and stall my engines. I have twin Diesel Perkins 4.236M engines.

I built a fuel filtration system using a high capacity fuel filter from Gulf Coast Filters, Inc. Specializing in Bypass Oil filters, Fuel filters, Hydraulic filters and Custom filtering. It has worked great. I can filter my fuel and transfer fuel between tanks. My do it yourself version was a lot less expensive then the pre-made models Gulfcoast advertises. You can use rolls of paper towels as the filter (it works:thumbup:). Works for both gas and diesel.

I know most of you don't run twin inboards but if anyone is interested in pics, prices, or other details let me know.
 

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Bruce thanks for the info. I don't know how often I have googled this topic. One thing I am hearing is people are mixing Stabil-Marine and Star-tron together in there gas? Anyone doing this and what are the results? Also just FYI WAWA guarantees there gas. I pumped 75 gallons of gas there this year and 30 of it ended up being water. Went to there website and submitted a claim. After all work was complete and a investigation was done they cut me a check for $4600 and some change. Only place I go anymore.
 

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If you have an older tank, and you're new to e10, the e10 may dissolve deposits (varnish, etc) from your fuel system. And suspend them in your fuel. And they will clog your filters etc.

Further, if you already had water in your tank, and you add e10 fuel, then the e10 will expose the problem quickly.

The other pieces about the hydrophilic properties of the fuel are just not an issue. There is very little exchange of moisture laden air through your fuel vent over the winter from which the fuel can absorb water.

This will be my third winter of e10. I will continue to keep the tank about 1/4 full, and then add fresh fuel in the spring. And it will run like a top.
 

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My solution is to run the boat from March at the CCNPP rips through the next Jan at the CBBT. Never let the fuel get stale. I can get away with that with an aluminum tank that is only a few years old. If I had a fiberglass tank like some of the older cruisers do, I'd be in deep kimshee.

Dave

aka
 
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