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Old 10-09-2008, 08:07 PM
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Default E-10 and vapor lock

Found an interesting article on vapro lock and ethanol. I am still having a random stalling problem at low speeds, and my nose cones and low water pick ups cause the engines to run a little hotter at idle.

ETHANOL PROBLEMS

By Robert Van Brunt
Chief Petty Officer U.S.G.G. ret

ETHANOL AND VAPOR LOCK

Short description:
When the engine compartment becomes hot either by climate or idling, and you use ethanol-blend gasoline it can cause excessive vapors in your fuel line and starve the engine of fuel. The engine can run poorly or stop and will not run until the fuel condenses.

THE PROBLEMS

Vapor Lock

Fuel containing 10% ethanol is called E10. If you have ethanol in your gas, you run the risk of creating vapor lock because of excess vapors.

Ethanol “boils” at 87ºF (at normal atmospheric pressure) and turns from a liquid to a gaseous state. By comparison, most automobiles have their fuel pump in the gas tank, so the whole system remains under pressure unlike boats whose fuel tanks are vented. In a closed system, the higher pressure raises the flash point of the ethanol reducing the amount of vapor that is produced. In addition, most automobile fuel lines are outside of the vehicle allowing them to stay cooler.

Since most boat fuel lines are in the enclosed space (sometimes even insulated) of the engine compartment, normal ventilation will not cool the fuel significantly enough to avoid the potential problems of vapor lock. Furthermore, since the fuel pump in a boat is mounted on the engine (versus a car where the pump resides in the tank) the action of the pump can reduce pressure in the tank to below atmospheric pressure and further reduce the flash point.

Boat engineers are aware of this problem and are reducing the likelihood of this occurring by reducing the suction required by the fuel pump, minimizing hose fittings and bends, and including a quality anti-siphon valve. In existing boats, fuel lines and filters should be kept as low in the boat as possible and tank vents should be cleaned and open.

Heat Soak

Most boats have “forced” ventilation. Air moves through the engine compartment when the boat moves forward. Heat soak happens after you have been at high RPM and then stop or drift on idle for a while. Because of heat soak the engine compartment will rise to a point where the ethanol will boil

THE CURE

To prevent vapor lock (i.e. boiling ethanol):

1. Make sure the engine compartment has adequate ventilation.
2. Relocate fuel lines to be low in the bilge. (The bilge is cooler because it is in direct contact with the water.)
3. Monitor the engine compartment temperature.
4. Add (or turn on) engine room blowers.
5. Keep the tank vent clean and unobstructed.

http://www.used-boats-canada.c...gines

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Old 10-09-2008, 10:47 PM
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Default RE: E-10 and vapor lock

Quote:
ScarabChris - 10/9/2008 8:07 PM
ETHANOL PROBLEMS

By Robert Van Brunt
Chief Petty Officer U.S.G.G. ret

ETHANOL AND VAPOR LOCK

Short description:
When the engine compartment becomes hot either by climate or idling, and you use ethanol-blend gasoline it can cause excessive vapors in your fuel line and starve the engine of fuel. The engine can run poorly or stop and will not run until the fuel condenses.

THE PROBLEMS

Vapor Lock

Fuel containing 10% ethanol is called E10. If you have ethanol in your gas, you run the risk of creating vapor lock because of excess vapors.

Ethanol “boils” at 87ºF (at normal atmospheric pressure) and turns from a liquid to a gaseous state.
This is nothing more than a case of incorrect information - no harm inttended I'm sure. But I see it all too often, time and time agin. I suppose it's proppagated by the confussion between deg F, and deg C. There is QUITE a difference between the two. Review the facts yourself. Review any Etahnol MSDS, and you'll soon see that ethanol does NOT start to boil (Intial Boiling Point) IBP untill much later, normally well over 170 deg F.

Referrence:
Boiling Point: 78 deg C which EQUALS 172.4 deg F
https://fscimage.fishersci.com/msds/89308.htm
http://www.csgnetwork.com/tempconvjava.html

78 Deg C = 172.4
Boiling Point: 173.3 deg F
https://fscimage.fishersci.com/msds/89308.htm
http://www.mathsisfun.com/temperature-conversion.html

Bottom line is, ethanol will not weather off as easily as the lighter ends in gasoline. It happens to be a very stable compound. However aromatic components will weather off first, which however, due the Federally regulated reformulated fuels, require even a LOWER aromataic content, making the newer reformulated fuels being able to store BETTER that previosly gasoline blends...not to mention the newer reformulated LOWER olefinic content - the component which more easily "turns to gums"...

So in a nutshell, regardless of what anyones says, the newer reformulated gasolines store as good or BETTER than the previous blends of gasoline.

Quote:
"Federal and California reformulated gasolines will survive storage as well or better than conventional gasolines. The regulations require reformulated gasolines to have less light ends and less olefins (federal, later; California, now) thanconventional gasolines. As explained above, it is the oxidation of olefins that leads to gum formation. Reformulated gasolines also contain oxygenates. The common oxygenates are stable molecules that do not form gums.
http://www.chevron.com/products/ourf...g_storage.aspx
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Old 10-10-2008, 12:00 AM
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Default RE: E-10 and vapor lock

However, some late model Volvo Penta's with EFI systems, can see a vapor lock condition, from a "too hot" engine compartment condition, resulting in a vopor lock situation. It is rare (but I have experienced it), and only occurs during "hot start" condition, only during a "hot start condition". When the EFI engines are restarted within maybe 15 of shutting down, while at normal operating temperature. The symptons are, much more starting revolutions required. Similar to a "flooded condition" with a carbureted engine. It is thought that the fuel vaporizes in the fuel runners, disrupting the designed injection quanity of fuel.

Mine personally, starts and runs fantastic cold, or if started after maybe 30-minutes of being *off*, after a hot shutdown.

This condition has been diagnosed by a few hot rodding, racing tech guys, which I cannot locate the post. But they were very respectable, and senior factory reps. Why VP hasn't addressed this, I have no clue...

This is NOT related to fuel or fuel volitillity, but rather a "too Hot" condition in the engine comartment of the engine, and the FI runners, etc. In fact, newly reformulated fuels are now "less volitale", due to new environmental standards...

Mercruiser had the same problem reportedly, but quickly made adjustments, reducing the T-Stat setings to ~165-170 deg F, thus having alleviated the problem.

Does anyone else have any info regarding this condition?
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Well....I'm just searching for answers to my issue. And the description above describes it perfectly.

Only when I run E-10 do my engines stall out. And they only stall out at idle/low speed after idling for a good amount of time. And they will only start after a few mins and pumping the primer bulb feels like there is no fuel in the systam. All symptoms of vapor lock.

I would instantly blame the engine or fuel system but they run perfect on non ethanol blended gas.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Chris,

If you want to test your vapor lock theory maybe try running around with the engine covers off.. or pull out the t-stats all together for a while.

Here's another crazy idea.. cool the fuel. Maybe get a couple extra feet of fuel line and coil it in a 5 gallon bucket of ice.

I know I'm going out on a limb here, but you seem convinced its a vapor lock problem. Personally, the way you describe the primer bulb as feeling empty until you pump it a while... I want to say you have an air leak in the lines. That combined with e-10, are causing your problems. JMO.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Well....just so I can say it was done I am putting all new fuel lines, clamps and primer bulbs in today....even though it runs perfect on non ethanol gas.

Some of the fuel lines and primer bulbs are original to the boat (1994). Also....I have the fuel flow paddle wheels in the fuel lines, they don't even work anymore so I'm taking them out. Who knows if they are clogged up. Doing that will also eliminate a pretty big loop in the fuel line.

If the problem persists after this I'm at a loss. What else can I do? I'll just have to take the boat in and demand that it be taken care of, its under warranty. For some reason they are stalling out only on E-10....the techs will have to figure out why.

This has become standard in my boating day, I have learned to deal with it. I already have the tecnique down to get them restarted pretty quick. And its doesn't happen all the time, a couple times a day maybe....but its getting old.
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Old 10-10-2008, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Chris, honest I just don't think thats it, now I don't know exactly what it is but vapor lock probably isn't it. That article is referring to I/O's and inboards with enclosed engines, your fuel is only under the cowel a very short time and really has no place in the system to do it.
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Old 10-10-2008, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Quote:
eggsuckindog - 10/10/2008 5:10 PM

Chris, honest I just don't think thats it, now I don't know exactly what it is but vapor lock probably isn't it. That article is referring to I/O's and inboards with enclosed engines, your fuel is only under the cowel a very short time and really has no place in the system to do it.
I know....I'm just covering all the bases. I'm at 5th base already.

So I did change all the fuel lines and primer bulbs. I split open a few sections of the old lines and they looked perfect inside. Oh well, now everything but the tank is brand new.

The one thing I found that didn't look good were the fuel flow sensors. These are the ones with the paddle wheels in them for the I-Command guages. Well after removing them I was blowing in them (hold the jokes please) and I found it very restrictive. Recently I have been having trouble getting the engines RPMs to max out, this could be the cause. Doesn't explain the stalling out only at idle and only with E-10 though.

Once I got all the new lines and primer bulbs in I pumped them up and started the engines. These engines never have a problem cold starting. But I ran them for a while at the dock and I noticed that the primer bulbs stayed very tight, the old ones never did that. They wouldn't flatten out but they would be soft and pumpable (hold the jokes again).

I will be putting a good amount of hours this weekend. If or when they stall again I'll make a note of the engine temps, RPMs ect.

If anyone has any ideas I'm all ears.
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Old 10-10-2008, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Quote:
debugger - 10/10/2008 6:23 AM

Chris,

If you want to test your vapor lock theory maybe try running around with the engine covers off.. or pull out the t-stats all together for a while.

Here's another crazy idea.. cool the fuel. Maybe get a couple extra feet of fuel line and coil it in a 5 gallon bucket of ice.

I know I'm going out on a limb here, but you seem convinced its a vapor lock problem. Personally, the way you describe the primer bulb as feeling empty until you pump it a while... I want to say you have an air leak in the lines. That combined with e-10, are causing your problems. JMO.
Good ideas. Cooling the fuel line might be the easiest, with more bang for the buck.

Also might consider using one of those IR temp guns, and checking the fuel system or fuel lines temps.

Weird problem. Please keep us updated, and good luck!
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

For what it is worth, a good many years ago prior to E-10 we had a 32' Chris Craft on a trip when the engine bogged down in the middle of Lake Erie on the way to Canada. We limped into Canada and after a lot of checking found out that the small screens in the fuel flo sensors had gotten gunked up from all the sediment stirred up in the fuel tank by the rough conditions on the lake. We had recently installed the sensors and found out that thet fuel did not go through the fuel filters prior to reaching the sensors. We subsequently added filters in front of the sensors.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Quote:
chiselchst - 10/10/2008 7:17 PM

......................... Cooling the fuel line might be the easiest, with more bang for the buck.
Back in the "good old days", many of my friends would clamp little flags of aluminum foil onto the metal fuel lines of their cars to cool the fuel and reduce vapor lock.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

FWIW - One place that I boat the air temp can be around 110+ F for days. In these conditions I would have really bad vapor lock issues. I had a 8.1L kodiak and kodiak in 07 began installing fuel coolers on the fuel system. They told me the boiling point of the new blended gas was around 136deg F (not c). The last time I was in this area and had the cooler, I did not have any issues with vapor lock with temps around 105 F. I've since repowered with a diesel but that is another story.
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Chris
Any update? How does she run now with new fuel lines?
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Same shit. I put quite a bit of hours on the boat this weekend. I ran a total distance of 110 miles, some idle speed and some balls to the wall.

Again...any high speed running was fine, the engines produce plenty of power and it seems like they are even running a little better at the top end after taking out the clogged fuel flow sensors. But it is still stalling out at idle/slow speeds. It happened to both motors but not at the same time and only after idling for a little while. It happened about 4 times the entire weekend.

It doesn't seem like engine temp is a factor, it was happening at temps as low as 150 F, and thats head temp, I doubt there is that much heat in the fuel system but who knows.

One thing I did notice.....once when I felt the engine starting to stall I went back and pumped the primer bulb and it didn't stall.


I just wish I knew why it happens with only E-10. If it was doing it with non ethanol blended gas then I would no choice but to believe that both engines have the exact same mechanical problem and they both occured at the exact same time.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:14 PM
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Default RE: E-10 and vapor lock

You have already changed all the fuel lines back to the tank.

What about the fuel pick up tube in or on the tank. It could have a crack or a small hole somewhere above the level of the gasoline in the tank. It could be in the anti syphon valve or even in the elbow or fitting connection.

I know that this is a long shot, but you have tried nearly everything possible.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Both pickup tubes, elbow fittings or anti siphon valves?

I have done about all I can do, I am going to take it in and let the pros take care of it. Thats what the warranty is for.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:47 PM
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Default RE: E-10 and vapor lock

I had about the same problem you describe with my 2002 Evinrude 200hp DI motor. It only happened when the water temp and air temp were very warm, water above 80 degrees and air in the high 80s and 90s. I took out the anti-syphon valve and it helped alot. I spoke to a good Evinrude mechanic at the boat show in New York a few years ago and he said the problem was the water cooled vapor separator. There is supposed to be an improved replacement but it's expensive. My problem was just the restart after waterskiing or a long run. Removing the Anti-syphon valve worked well. I justified removing it because the fuel line never falls below the top of the tank, so creating a syphon is highly unlikely.
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Just a thought. Why dont you carry a 5 gal tank with you and the next time the problem happens draw fuel directly from the little tank on one motor and isolate the problem from the motor foward if it fixes it or you will know its the motor if the problem continues.
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Old 10-13-2008, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

Quote:
Here's another crazy idea.. cool the fuel. Maybe get a couple extra feet of fuel line and coil it in a 5 gallon bucket of ice.


Any hot rod heads remember those Moroso cool cans? I had one in my Z28 and it worked awsome. My vapor lock was eliminated on mt BB chevy. Can't see any reason it wouldn't work in a marine application. You just fill with some ice from your cooler and its good for the day.

http://www.moroso.com/catalog/catego...?catcode=32030
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: E-10 and vapor lock

I thought about removing the anti syphon valves from the tank. Maybe the E-10 is slightly more dense than non ethanol blended gas and the old anti syphon valves are causing just enough restriction to starve the engine at low speed.

Its acting more like lack of fuel than vapor lock. When it was about to stall I pumped the primer bulb and it stayed running. Very strange, there has to be something just a little different between the two fuels that the engine or fuel system just doesn't like.

I'll keep eliminating the little things until it either stops or I run out of things to try and have to take it in for service. I'm going to try removing the 14 year old anti syphon valves next.
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