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Ethanol goop?

Old 08-27-2020, 05:51 AM
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Default Ethanol goop?

Haven't had any fuel/ethanol issues since installing new tank about 3 years ago. New motor this spring, zero significant issues. I think 7-11 sold me bad gas last monday. I treat with startron/stabil or seafoam maybe every other trip.

Broke down on me twice last week, not getting fuel. Shop cleaned out bunch of ethanol goop and trash from the carb that was getting by the water seperator.

Installed a glass screen filter before the wat sep at their suggestion. Ran good most of the day yesterday and started starving for fuel again on the way home.

Can someone confirm this is ethanol related from the pic? Hopefully screen helped stop it from reaching the carb again. I probably have 60 gal still in the tank. Do I need to pump it and get rid of it?

Old 08-27-2020, 06:11 AM
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I never had it, but several friends that did have described it as "mayo"..........so I guess that is what your photo looks like to me.
They all had to pump tanks to rectify. And most I've known who had it, later found a leaky fuel cap or vent or something on the boat letting water in.
YMMV
Old 08-27-2020, 07:08 AM
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You need to pump out the tank and clean it out. Otherwise you’ll be dealing with fuel issues for a long time.
Old 08-27-2020, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by wstanford277 View Post
You need to pump out the tank and clean it out. Otherwise you’ll be dealing with fuel issues for a long time.
Understood. Going to pump tank.... How do I clean it out? Only access is through the sending unit under deckplate.
Old 08-27-2020, 07:26 AM
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I had a boat that needed the tank cleaned and the shop ended up taking the tank out. But if it is hard to get out, I would imagine you could do it through the fill. Maybe after draining treat it with one of the drying agents and fresh ethanol free gas and drain again. Rince and repeat until what is coming out looks clean.
Old 08-27-2020, 08:31 AM
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With that much in tank, I’d rig up a fuel polisher with a couple of filters with larger (20 micron) filters to start with and let it recirc for a while. Change filters and recirc some more. That mayo is gasoline and water molecules Emulsified. After sitting a while the water will drop out to the bottom of the tank.
Old 08-27-2020, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Grunts N Grits View Post
I never had it, but several friends that did have described it as "mayo"..........so I guess that is what your photo looks like to me.
They all had to pump tanks to rectify. And most I've known who had it, later found a leaky fuel cap or vent or something on the boat letting water in.
YMMV
As said above, you need to find and correct how water is getting into the fuel tank.

Last edited by DoubleDose; 08-27-2020 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Correction
Old 08-27-2020, 10:24 AM
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Phase change, pump the tank time.
Old 08-27-2020, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by DoubleDose View Post
As said above, you need to find and correct how water is getting into the fuel tank.
Thats the thing, nothing has changed. Boat has been outdoors since April. Ran the boat all day 20+ trips since memorial day.

Only feasible thing could be the fill cap. I can see slight deterioration on the o-ring, but still looks like a good seal to me. I'm going to replace regardless.

Only x-factor, maybe stupid but was still odd; Bought gas the morning of first incident. Same station, same pump as always. Usually fill on the slowest setting, but that morning the tank couldn't fill that fast and would spit up fuel, I had to VERY slowly. I know it sounds stupid, but I literally do the same thing every trip and it was odd to me I couldnt fill at same speed. Vent isn't plugged, so its not that.
Old 08-27-2020, 11:09 AM
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I suspect its phase separation over the past three years, and its just coincidental it popped up at the recent fillup.
Old 08-27-2020, 11:21 AM
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I've been using nothing but ethanol for the past 15 years and never had that happen. I'd clean the filter and run it again to see how it goes. If you used 5 gallons running it yesterday and it looks like that, run it the same amount again and see if it improves. If it gets goopy but not as bad, then clean filter and repeat. If it's just as bad and gets there just as quickly, then I'd see about pumping it out.

Gasoline is a pretty aggressive solvent and e10 even more so. It looks like the gas dissolved something somewhere, either in your fuel system or even before it ever made it onto your boat, contaminating the fuel. Then your filter started collecting it, until you eventually plugged it up. That looks nothing like any phase separation I've ever seen.
Old 08-27-2020, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TurdFerguson View Post
Thats the thing, nothing has changed. Boat has been outdoors since April. Ran the boat all day 20+ trips since memorial day.

Only feasible thing could be the fill cap. I can see slight deterioration on the o-ring, but still looks like a good seal to me. I'm going to replace regardless.

Only x-factor, maybe stupid but was still odd; Bought gas the morning of first incident. Same station, same pump as always. Usually fill on the slowest setting, but that morning the tank couldn't fill that fast and would spit up fuel, I had to VERY slowly. I know it sounds stupid, but I literally do the same thing every trip and it was odd to me I couldnt fill at same speed. Vent isn't plugged, so its not that.
Drain the gas tank. Once it’s drained out take water hose and test the fill cap by running the hose around it. See if any water gets into the tank.

Search fuel tank cleanouts on THT, there are several threads with good techniques.
Old 08-27-2020, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by phillyg View Post
I suspect its phase separation over the past three years, and its just coincidental it popped up at the recent fillup.
We tested the fuel back in may and I've been running it pretty frequently. The bad stuff settles at the bottom, correct? Not sure how deep my pickup goes.

Its a 100 gal tank and I've easily run 500 gal through it since May. I rarely add more than 40 gal at a time and have never filled it, if that makes any difference.

Was hoping the gunk in the carb was cumulative from running it all season, but the fact that this screen caught that much in the first use tells me this is completely a new thing, not ongoing.
Old 08-27-2020, 12:11 PM
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Thanks for the guidance everyone, I'm thinking dump the screen filter, run the boat on the trailer for an extended time and see if the goo keeps coming.

Ordered siphon pump in the meantime, and replacing the o-ring around the fill cap. Fill cap is the only possible way water could be entering. I'm still not convinced its not bad fuel from the station. This was after an extensive week of rain, not sure if its realistic for tanks at the station to have rainwater enter.

Seems like this started overnight, not gradually like most of you are suggesting. But I also don't know everything.
Old 08-27-2020, 12:28 PM
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One of the biggest problems with using e10 is that ANY time you have any sort of problem, everyone wants to just blame e10 and move on. The problem is that boats had ignition and fuel problems long before everyone started using e10 in boats. While it indeed causes its share of problems, it's gotten to the point where some folks are blind to any other issues.

Water in fuel doesn't make mayonnaise.
Phase separation to to ethanol reaching its max saturation level of water doesn't make it either.
Water settles to the bottom, and that's where the fuel pickup is. So if you got crappy fuel, the first few gallons will be the worst. That's why you want to see if it starts tapering off before taking the nuclear option.

So far everything is pointing towards contaminated fuel, and NOT water intrusion.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Old 08-27-2020, 12:33 PM
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Water is heavier than gas so it settles on the bottom. Separated ethanol is the next layer then gasoline is the lightest. I’d pump it all out and use a gun rod to wipe up all the junk left on the tank thru the fuel sender hole. After that add 4-5 gallons of E85, take the boat for a ride on the trailer to slosh the E85 around and let it sit overnight. Pump out the E85 and fill with non ethanol. Then purge out the rest of the fuel system until it pumping clean fuel at the engine.
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Old 08-27-2020, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jobowker View Post
One of the biggest problems with using e10 is that ANY time you have any sort of problem, everyone wants to just blame e10 and move on. The problem is that boats had ignition and fuel problems long before everyone started using e10 in boats. While it indeed causes its share of problems, it's gotten to the point where some folks are blind to any other issues.

Water in fuel doesn't make mayonnaise.
Phase separation to to ethanol reaching its max saturation level of water doesn't make it either.
Water settles to the bottom, and that's where the fuel pickup is. So if you got crappy fuel, the first few gallons will be the worst. That's why you want to see if it starts tapering off before taking the nuclear option.

So far everything is pointing towards contaminated fuel, and NOT water intrusion.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Hot damn, makes me feel like I'm not so crazy now. Asking around if anyone else has gotten bad fuel from the place recently.
Old 08-27-2020, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by TurdFerguson View Post
Hot damn, makes me feel like I'm not so crazy now. Asking around if anyone else has gotten bad fuel from the place recently.
I got a half tank of water from a station I used frequently years ago , shut me down 300 yards from the ramp.
Old 08-27-2020, 01:36 PM
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OP, my Dad had an auto service station for 45 years, and one of the regular procedures I recall being done was to extend a wooden pole into the underground storage tank with a product called Kolor Kut smeared on the end of it. The Kolor Kut product turned different colors for different content and was developed for tank welders. I use it to examine my boat gas if I have any concerns. It can be bought in a small toothpaste like tube from a welding products store. The Kolor Kut test was done primarily after deliveries from the refineries. After college I worked for an oil and pipeline company for a few years, and if I haven't learned anything else from the experience it's that gasoline goes through a lot of different containers before we ever put it in our boats. My Dad was a fisherman/boater, as I am, and I recall he always used a funnel with a cloth filter in it while filling any boat gas tanks, and that was way before ethanol. I've not seen a funnel with a filter in it for years, but maybe that's what we all need to do. I realize filling a 100 gallon tank with 100 gallons or 40, as in your case, is a lot of gas to put through a filtered funnel, but it's what we need to do. Putting non-ethanol gas in a tank results in deposits on the walls of the tank, and then putting ethanol in the same tank results in the alcohol in the ethanol cleaning all of the deposits off the walls. Although I'm sure the oil industry tries to segregate the pipeline and tanks for each type of fuel, but I'm also sure mistakes are made. You may have bought some's mistake, unfortunately.
Old 08-27-2020, 02:33 PM
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White milky is usually a result of a fuel additive mixed with water whereas there is more water than additive.

Here locally I tell all of my customers to purchase their fuel from WAWA only because they have such an outstanding guarantee policy.
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