03-23-2006, 02:29 PM
I understand that RI is going to the new E-10 Gasohol by April 15th (10 % Ethanol blend) and I believe Mass is going the same direction as well. There has been a ton of information out there on this stuff with varying degrees of issues. The general consensus is that the Ethanol acts as a solvent and will do everything from clean out gunk in your lines (and those of the tanker trucks, pumps etc...) to dissolve the adhesives used in making older glass fuel tanks. I spoke with my dealer today and they are urging using a new 10 micron fuel filter and changing it often. In addition you should be keeping an eye on the fuel water separator under the hood of the motor for any signs of debris. Other issues include older boats experiencing degradation of the fuel lines if they are not rated for alcohol blends. I would definitely keep this in mind as you fill up this spring and make sure you are not experiencing any issues before making a long run. I know this made up my mind when considering renewing my Sea Tow membership. I will be happy to PM some links to anyone looking for more info. I am all for more environmentally friendly fuels but don't want to end up 15 miles out with no power. Lets keep each other in the loop if anyone experiences any issues.
03-24-2006, 11:55 AM
I read a few more things on this issue and of course the more you read the less you know! I spoke with RI DEM and apparantly there may or may not be Ethanol in our fuel this spring. RI passed a law last year that MTBE be removed from our fuel by July of '07 but at the same time the Feds passed two other bills that will affect what we see at the pump. The first was a bill that no longer required fuel to be oxygenated. The second was a bill that a minimum amount of ethanol had to be added to our gas by the refineries at the national level. So, whether or not we have ethanol will be somewhat up to the individual distributors more so than a state mandate. I'll certainly post if I learn more.
03-24-2006, 12:26 PM
03-24-2006, 01:22 PM
I was hunting around on the web site for Motiva which runs the major distribution center in Providence. Listed on their site were customer service numbers for Shell and Texaco. I figured it couldn't hurt to give the Shell number a call. To my surprise by selecting the right prompts I ended up with one of their chemical engineers on the other end of the line. While I was on the phone he was pulling up spreadsheets with formulations by month for all the New England states. As it turns out we are running MTBE in RI as of February data. He did say the pipeline that heads in our direction was going MTBE free and that he would expect Ethanol to be in our fuel before long. I was very surprised with his candor regarding the issues of the fuel in Marine environments. Water and the solvent properties I have read about he confirmed and even went on to say that they had warned "them" about it. Didn't want to push who "them" was but it was good to hear from the horses mouth if you will that I am not wasting my time learning about this stuff. He said there should be indicators on the pumps indicating the presence of ethanol in the fuel like there is for MTBE and also said to watch your local gas stations as their should be tank cleaning activity right before the switch due to the solvent properties of the ethanol.
04-09-2006, 04:29 PM
Conn. went through this problem last year. And from what I have heard it was a major problem for boaters. You may not be to bad off where your boat is newer. I would strongly suggest carrying a spare water seperater filter and spare engine fuel filter. You may also think about putting a stainless clam shell over your fuel vent. That is the number one place for water to enter your fuel on the boat. I would also run your tank down a few times during the season, so not to let the tank have old fuel sitting on the bottom creating the gunk. It can be so bad for the older boats that fueling up stirs up the gunk and they don't even get off the fuel dock before all hell breaks loose. I posted something about this on thehulltruth.com and got some replies from the Conn. boaters.
Edited to remove direct link.
04-09-2006, 09:28 PM
With all due respect, I believe the amount of agitation fuel gets sloshing around in the tank of a boat, would elimiate the problem of sludge and gunk settling in the bottom of the tank. Running the tank low is not a good idea, as most gauges are less than accurate. If you do, make sure your Sea Tow is paid up!
Do keep an eye, however, on your filters. When reformulated fuels were first introduced we saw a lot of problems with fuel line degradation, most of it was caused by MTBE though, so if you survived that,,,,,,,,,,,
04-19-2006, 09:16 PM
I just talked with my mechanic about this as well and he echoed what Rip Ryder said. Run down your tank until near empty before refueling with the ethanol fuel. New and old do not mix well. Keep an extra water seperator filter on board. You'll know when it is time to use it. It doesnt actually sound like any particles or sludge would actually make it through the water seperator filter (we hope). I have been using an alchohol based additive for a number of years , Evinrude 2+4(which has really helped the performance of the engine) but you do NOT want to use these with the new fuel. However, Yamaha owners can continue to use Ring Free. They also said not to leave the ethanol fuel dormant for 60-90days(not a problem for most fishermen). Which means next winter we will probably be storing our tanks empty. They also said, a little too seriously, to cross my fingers.
I would really like to hear from NY boaters that have already gone through this if you have any advice or warning signs to look for; especially with fuel line issues as mine are going on ten years this summer. Thanks in advance.
04-20-2006, 05:57 AM
Us Diesel truck owners went through this a few years back when the low sulfur fuels came out and the new ultra low sulfur fuels that are coming have the rumors flying that our older engines will not run on them, fuel pumps will lock up etc.. in the end everything was OK
The best thing to do is look to see what the engine manufacturer has to say about it. they should be issung service bulletins soon enough (I would hope). Carrying some spare filters & water seprators is sage advice and should be done regardless
I think we are going to see some wild speculation and hear some horror stories (some true, some not) about all this before it is over & done. But in the end I think everything will fine. If your fuel system is real sludgey or you were not too careful about keeping things clean you probably will encounter some problems with the alcohol. It also attracts water and imulsifies it....That is how dry gas works.
04-25-2006, 03:21 PM
TimSt sent me a very good link from Chevron outlining some of the issues with Ethanol Oxygentated fuels.
Attached is the link and some key points.
"The situation is different for gasoline oxygenated with 10 vol % ethanol. The gasoline-alcohol blend can dissolve more water (6000–7000 ppm at 21°C/70°F). When this blend is cooled, both the water and some of the ethanol become insoluble. Contacting the blend with more water also draws ethanol from the blend. The result, in both cases, is two layers of liquid: an upper ethanol-deficient gasoline layer and a lower ethanol-rich (up to 75% ethanol) water layer. The process is called phase separation and it occurs because ethanol is completely soluble in water but only marginally soluble in hydrocarbons. After phase separation, the gasoline layer will have a lower octane number and may knock in an engine. The fuel also is less volatile. The engine will not run on the water/ethanol layer. As the concentration of ethanol is decreased, the aromatics content of the gasoline is decreased, and as temperature is decreased, less water is required to cause a phase separation.
The potential for phase separation requires that gasoline oxygenated with ethanol not be exposed to water during its distribution or use in a vehicle. Because of this requirement, gasoline oxygenated with ethanol is not transported in pipelines, which sometimes contain water. Rather, the ethanol is added to tanker trucks at the terminal immediately before delivery to the service station. Housekeeping at the service station is very important to prevent water contamination. This water sensitivity also means that extra care should be taken when gasoline oxygenated with ethanol is used as a fuel for boat engines. Ethanol blends are hygroscopic (absorb moister from the air) and in time can phase separate during storage if the tank is vented to the atmosphere and is subject to breathing as a result of temperature changes. "
Well, because of all this I am actually installing a seperator in the boat this evening. Looks simple enough, and I figure its good security. Change the filter every 100 hours for a few bucks and peace of mind.
Other than that, it looks like i'll just need to make sure to use the boat so the gas doesn't sit!