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E-10, MTBE, and my 2320/F225

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Peregrine

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The following is a history of my experience with the apparent challenges of the switch from MTBE based oxygenated fuels to E-10/Ethanol based oxygenated fuel in my 2002 Parker 2320 DVSC.

The boat was purchased new and launched in mid-September of 2002. It is powered by a Yamaha F225. Since new it has had a Racor fuel filter/water separator (10 micron). It is used ~150 hours per year. Most years it has seen use every month of the year at least once a month. The exception is the winter of 2004/2005 when the El Nino rains prevented use in January and February. I generally store the boat full or near full of fuel. I always use Ring Free and until recently Sta-Bil. I have now replace the Sta-Bil with Startron. All at the recommended rates. The boat is stored on a trailer at my home behind a locked gate.

California has been in the process of phasing out MTBE for several years. According to the data I was able to find, MTBE has been banned in California since January 1st 2004. My understanding is that there was some allowance for MTBE into 2004, but I cannot find the reference, so that may not be accurate.

The boat has been serviced at ~100 hour intervals. First by a now retired Yamaha tech in Huntington Beach, California (20 and 100 hour service only) and now by 5 Star Yamaha certified Maurer Marine in Costa Mesa, CA.

The boat had the high pressure fuel injector pump replaced, under warranty by Johnson Marine of Ontario, CA, the selling dealer, at 65 hours (December 2002). Thank you Vessel Assist for the 35 mile tow. No reason for the failure was offered at the time. Later, in discussion with Maurer, it was suggested that it was related to not pressurizing the system with the fuel bulb prior to starting. The low pressure pump was replaced by Maurer Marine, under warranty, at ~150 hours (Fall of 2003). It was during this replacement that the above referenced fuel bulb conversation took place.

Maurer noted a milky white substance in the Racor at the 200, 300, and 400 hour services. Each time it was a bit more. Never did it seem to affect performance. Following the 400 hour service (Summer 2005) Maurer recommended adding a clamshell vent cover over the fuel vent and having the fuel polished. I engaged The Fuel Oil Polishing Company of San Diego, Roy Rozok to perform the polishing. Roy noted nothing dramatic in his efforts but did second the recommendation of the clam shell vent cover.

The 500 hour service was similar to the 200 and 300 in quantity of the white powdery substance. The 600 hour service was substantially different in the quantity was dramatically up. The filters were virtually clogged and the VST screen has a small amount on it. The performance was not compromised. Maurer again recommended fuel polishing. I again hired Roy Rozok. This time I had him leave the tank empty. I had run the tank down farther than usual prior to this. I had noted the increase in material in the filter and started doing filter changes every fifty hours and I expected to need to do the polish and drain based on what I had learned doing research on the internet. In removing what we expected to be 60 gallons of fuel, we got 57 gallons of fuel and 3 gallons of water. Roy was kind enough to taste the water and it was fresh water.

We checked the fuel filler gasket and it was/is fine. This leaves the vent, a loose filler cap, and fuel as the source of the water. Initially I sought to blame condensation, but have subsequently discounted this due to a logical article by David Pascoe on the subject. It would take a concerted effort to introduce 3 gallons of wash water or rain water to the tank via a loose cap or the vent so my current opinion is that the water was from bad gas. I had been using one local Shell station very consistently and have now changed to a not quite as local Mobil station.

The next trip was a short one. The boat fired up as usual on the trailer, backed off, and died. Low pressure fuel pump died. Back to Maurer. Maurer pulled both pumps and bench tested them. The low pressure one had rust inside and had failed. The high pressure pump did not pass the bench test and also had rust inside. Both pumps replaced.

Back to the ocean and a successful 120 mile trip and another ~15 hours on the motor and ~60 gallons through the engine. Next trip, two weeks later, after running out of the harbor at ~1400 rpms for 50 minutes I went to throttle up and get on plane. No joy over 2800 rpms. Without load I could get ~3200 rpms. Ran ~1.5 miles to the first reef, at 1600 rpms, fished for a couple of hours on the hook. Fired her back up and went go back to our fine cruising speed of 1600 rpms and promptly ran out of gas-at the engine. Pumped it back up and refired, same result. Third time I only ran it up to 1200 rpms and it was fine. Chugged back into the harbor, against the ebbing tide, at ~ 4 kts. Back to Maurer.

The findings were clogged Racor and clogged VST screen. After extensive discussions with Robin and Ferrin (?) at Parker in Beaufort, NC, Sundance Marine in San Diego (the current Parker dealer in CA), and Maurer we are trying a new filtration set up. It will now be dual, switchable, 2 micron Racor cartridge filters. The theory being that I won’t have to open the fuel system at sea in the event one gets clogged while offshore.

All that’s left now is hopefully running enough fuel through to get all the junk out of the system. At least that seems to be the theory with E-10………….I hope so as I’d like to be spending this troubleshooting, polishing, and repair money on fuel, bait, and tackle.
 

Porkchunker

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Just went over 510 hours on each of my 2001 F-115s on my 2002 2510. Knock on wood, but I've had absolutely no problem with my filters plugging up, any evidence of white stuff in the fuel filters or bowls, and no evidence of water. You have to be getting the water from somewhere. Are you sure it isn't getting forced up through the fuel vent when you plow into a wave?
 

Peregrine

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The fuel polish was through the tank access port (the fuel sender location)both times. The guy is very thorough and sees alot of this issue.

The vent has a clamshell over it with opening at a 45* angle, the opening facing aft. The only way to get water in through that opening would be a frightening following sea. The fuel polish guy tasted the water and it was fresh.

Jeff
 

Megabyte

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Peregrine":k8ue9uog said:
The fuel polish guy tasted the water and it was fresh.
Given that info Jeff, I'd have to conclude that the water was being delivered in your fuel from wherever you were buying it.

I don't envy your position... :(
 

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