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Ethanol vs Ethanol Free?

Old 10-21-2020, 02:20 AM
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Default Ethanol vs Ethanol Free?

I have have been told that Ethanol can cause engine problems over time but have not had any issues. However, this article Ethanol or Ethanol Free list some solid arguments against it, was curious what the community thinks?
Old 10-21-2020, 04:00 AM
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Ethanol gas causes problem in fuel systems, especially if you don't use the engine regularly. True for weed eaters,lawn mowers,generators etc. as well.
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Old 10-21-2020, 05:25 AM
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This is primarily a two stroke issue that is being carried over to the four stroke engines. As long as there is regular use in your four stroke engines, no reason to pay extra for it.
Old 10-21-2020, 05:41 AM
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I would just use ethanol now and take that savings and pay a mechanic later.
Old 10-21-2020, 05:48 AM
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Ethanol sucks for daily use and is just a bipartisan way for politicians to add to their bank accounts! Sure you can make some serious power with vehicles that have forced air induction but for every day use it SUCKS...period! People up north or in dry climates just don't understand how bad it is!
Old 10-21-2020, 05:50 AM
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I've been using E10 87 octane in my Honda 250 for 7 years and 950 hours. Never an issue. If you store and don't use for a few months you should add a fuel stabilizer (I use Techron Marine).
Old 10-21-2020, 05:53 AM
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I ran my last boat on nothing but E10 for the last 10 years I owned it. That is all that is available here in NJ. I never had any issues. I used the boat weekly during the season, April to December and laid up with a full tank with stabilizer for the winter.
Old 10-21-2020, 06:06 AM
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So what are the ill affects of Ethanol on two stroke motors other than the stated carb gum up from sitting long periods.
Old 10-21-2020, 06:11 AM
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If you have the option, ethanol free is better.

Saying “I have used it for 10 years without issues” is like saying “I eat McDonalds daily and haven’t had a heart attack.”

It isn’t just an issue for 2 strokes.

Here’s a good list, but it also doesn’t talk about how E10 makes less power and gets worse fuel economy (there is less energy in E10 gas than Ethanol free).

https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...nol-Fuel-Myths
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Old 10-21-2020, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Fine Catch View Post
I ran my last boat on nothing but E10 for the last 10 years I owned it. That is all that is available here in NJ. I never had any issues. I used the boat weekly during the season, April to December and laid up with a full tank with stabilizer for the winter.
Originally Posted by grey2112 View Post
I've been using E10 87 octane in my Honda 250 for 7 years and 950 hours. Never an issue. If you store and don't use for a few months you should add a fuel stabilizer (I use Techron Marine).
Unless you run your boat after you add stabilizer you’re going to eventually have problems even with stabilizer. The stabilizer will only be in the fuel tank, but not in the fuel in the lines, and other areas outside of the tank. Given the small amounts of fuel in the lines, etc, phase separation will occur more rapidly, and in areas that are more likely to cause problems.

Stabilizer also lowers the octane of your fuel. Unless you compensate by using premium gasoline, the low octane gas will increase engine wear over normal marine fuel, or fuel without stabilizer.
Old 10-21-2020, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 69Mach390 View Post
If you have the option, ethanol free is better.

Saying “I have used it for 10 years without issues” is like saying “I eat McDonalds daily and haven’t had a heart attack.”

It isn’t just an issue for 2 strokes.

Here’s a good list, but it also doesn’t talk about how E10 makes less power and gets worse fuel economy (there is less energy in E10 gas than Ethanol free).

https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...nol-Fuel-Myths
I can only relate my personal experience, since I'm not a petroleum engineer. I think everyone understands that ethanol in fuel, especially marine fuel is not good. My point is that not everyone that uses E10 has problems. In NJ, we have no other choice, E10 is all that is sold here.
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Old 10-21-2020, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by AFBoggy View Post
Unless you run your boat after you add stabilizer you’re going to eventually have problems even with stabilizer. The stabilizer will only be in the fuel tank, but not in the fuel in the lines, and other areas outside of the tank. Given the small amounts of fuel in the lines, etc, phase separation will occur more rapidly, and in areas that are more likely to cause problems.

Stabilizer also lowers the octane of your fuel. Unless you compensate by using premium gasoline, the low octane gas will increase engine wear over normal marine fuel, or fuel without stabilizer.
  • B.S.! Ethanol fuels will NOT “increase engine wear”.
The only issues with ethanol are that it may harm OLDER fuel systems not designed for it.... and it will not store for as long a period as non-ethanol fuel....which ALSO has a short storage-life... but both storage problems can be addressed with stabilizer. DOH!

While some folks believe it causes carburetor problems when carbs are not run dry or drained.... that is actually a problem with non-ethanol autogas as well.

What does happen with ethanol fuels however is a greater incidence of moisture-absorption when stored in a marine environment because the fuel is slightly more hydroscopic.

Vantaredoc... instead of just spewing out a bunch of B.S. about politicians and how much you think it sucks... why don’t you explain WHY you believe that. Let me guess: You have had corrosion and water in your fuel system and you think it MUST be the E10 you used. The fact that water in your fuel likely was from some other reason....and that ANY water in your fuel will cause corrosion, you just mindlessly blame E10... and it must be a political plot.

The REASON E10 has become so common is because ordinary gasoline production and performance is helped with an oxidizer and the one traditionally used has been proven to seep into ground-water and cause serious problems with public health. Ethanol is inexpensively produced from many things...not just corn, for example but also from bio-waste... Ethanol IMPROVES octane rating of fuel and mixes easily and is easily accommodated with proper fuel system design.
It’s the lesser of three evils.

If you use E10 regularly...the stoopid comment above that the fuel lines will suffer “phase separation” is also B.S. because the lines will also have E10. (Most people have a muddy conception of what constitutes phase separation and should not post opinions about it until they’ve studied qualified articles about it. This thread is an excellent example of how last week’s internet-economic-experts are this week’s expert-chemists.)

OP: Whatever gasoline you buy... use it short-term or better-yet, always use stabilizer with it. That is applicable to ANY gasoline.

Originally Posted by AFBoggy View Post

Stabilizer also lowers the octane of your fuel. Unless you compensate by using premium gasoline, .....
Prove it. (That stabilizer lowers octane in any quantifiable amount... that 1-oz in 20 gallons (the typical recipie) can be shown to lower octane. More B.S.)

Last edited by Fishinado; 10-21-2020 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 10-21-2020, 10:48 AM
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3 key potential issues with ethanol gas.

1) material compatibility. If you have a late model boat....it's pretty well a non-issue. Mine is 20 years old with a factory tank....and it's a non-issue. When I was running a carb 2 stroke I ran non-e just to avoid having to fool with the carbs, as they were of the age where material compatibility might have been an issue.

2) Phase separation/shelf life. Really not an issue at all if you go through your fuel.

3) Ethanol is an excellent solvent. This has caused some folks heartaches when they shift to ethanol laden fuel after years of using ethanol free. Short version is ethanol free gas leaves a tarnish residue on many surfaces. When ethanol containing gas is introduced, it breaks up and can clog stuff up. Best workaround is having a supply of fuel filters on hand, and change them a time or two after making the switch before they can clog up.


All of that said, my mechanics recommendation is to pick one and run with it. He recommends non-ethanol if the boat will be used less in the winter for that period of time, but not to do non-ethanol for more than about 6 months at a time if both will be used to avoid tarnish build up, unless sticking with it all the time. He runs the much less expensive ethanol containing gas in his own stuff. I personally run year round, but much less in the winter. Typically shift to non-ethanol a bit after laborday weekend, and switch back about spring break (march).
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:57 AM
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Show me in ANY Mercury manual where it says NOT to use ethanol fuel.
Old 10-21-2020, 01:13 PM
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[QUOTE=Fishinado;14154
Prove it. (That stabilizer lowers octane in any quantifiable amount... that 1-oz in 20 gallons (the typical recipie) can be shown to lower octane. More B.S.)[/QUOTE]
99.999% of THTrs have no idea what octane is, what it does or how it works.
Old 10-21-2020, 01:17 PM
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Non-issue as far as fuel is concerned. I even stored it for long periods of time with no stabilizer without issue. Stabilizers are the boat equivalent of snake oil.

However, it is criminal that we are turning food into gasoline when we have a very large supply of domestic oil reserves. Ethanol fuel makes the cost of our food higher and the cost of our fuel higher, in addition to the fact that ethanol has a lower energy density compared to gasoline.

I think we need to outlaw ethanol fuel, but that has nothing to do with marine use.
Old 10-21-2020, 01:26 PM
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Unfortunately, like the person who lives in New Jersey, here in Maryland many of our counties do not offer non E10 fuel for sale. So I run stabilizer and use some extra over the winter and hope for the best.

There's a YouTuber "Project Farm" and he did two videos about ethanol and fuel stabilizers - it's pretty eye opening to see some of the results.
Old 10-21-2020, 01:27 PM
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Older boats do not have the build in the fuel system to deal with the corrosiveness of ethanol. That's why the old push for non-ethanol.

The modern problem is that after about a month of sitting still (i mean stationary - not sloshing around or anything) the ethanol begins to separate from the gasoline. Ethanol is lighter than gas so it rises to teh top. By chemical make-up, water is attracted to ethanol, The moisture in the air of the gas tank, especially if that tank becomes vented to the atmosphere, will being to be absorbed into the ethanol on top of the gas. If you go to run it again and the fuel re-mixes, it can allow small amounts of that water to enter the fuel system and engine. Now, normally, it's not enough to cause any trouble and evaporates instantly in the heat of the cylinder, but in extreme cases it can cause damage and other corrosion issues.

Personally, i run non-ethanol because it's stable for a longer amount of time. But if you're a charger captain or you use your boat every weekend, it doesn't make a difference on new boats.
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:33 PM
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Ethanol can damage your engine if the amount is more then 10%, your service manual will explain this to you. So hopefully the fuel suppliers mixed it correct and you never get a bad batch.
Ethanol is hygroscopic, so storage and use in high humidity environments is not the best. The more moist the environment the less the self life of the fuel and increases the probability of phase separation.
No matter what sales pitch anyone gives you fuel stabilizers do nothing to stop ethanol from being hygroscopic.
Old 10-21-2020, 01:37 PM
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I think that simply, the answer is "it depends". I had an '87 Boston Whaler Montauk with a fiberglass (Pate Plastics) fuel tank and a 90HP Honda 4 stroke on it a few years back. Ethanol absolutely ruined the fuel tank, and put so much gunk into the carbs that I had to replace them they were so gummed up.

A newer boat/engine is much more likely to be ethanol friendly, but if you have an older rig and you have the ability to run non-ethanol fuel (I do not where I live), do not use ethanol.

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