WATCH OUT for the new ethanol fuel in NE

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FOUNDER of Classic Parker Forum
Feb 16, 2006
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Newbury, MA
FYI: My brother's friend fillled up his Hydra-Sport with a F150 on the stern with 1/2 tank of the new-to-Mass ethanol fuel ... and now his engine bogs down repeatedly and won't get over 4200 RPMs ... :shock:

If you don't have a Racor-type fuel/water separator installed ... put one in now!

A good Racor f/w element should prevent any larger crap from getting into new tech 2-S or 4-S injectors. Keep an extra spare f/w cartridge element on hand (which SHOULD be on your boat anyway). On-line from Surplus Unlimited you can buy a complete Racor fuel/water separator filter setup with a stainless steel head unit, cartridge element, and see-thru/drainable bowl for $69, see here. This has the 10 micron element that Yummie is now advising for use on their newer 4S models.


Less specific solvents made for fuel/carbon removal, like Ring Free or Seafoam, one proven aftermarket fuel conditioner you could safely add (but only when warranted) would be PRI-G, see here. TomS reports that some people that have been using Starbrite's Startron fuel additive along with the ethanol fuel seem to be happy with their results. Note that fuel storage solvents like 'Sta-Bil' and the like are safe for end-of-season/off-season storage.
Wow, that is a GREAT price as the wholsale price is just under $15 each.

Get this ... back on land, my Ford Explorer just started acting up, stumbing and hesitating (tuned up last Spring, all new wires, plugs, and everything) so I hit it with a dose of Seafoam. Still stumbles and not much carbon burned off. Now I remember that I was driving on fumes and filled up at a Mobil station, so I drive by there. It has new yellow stickers stating "ethanol mix fuel".

Great, so I call my auto guy and he says that my SUV's fuel filter probably needs to be changed. This ethanol fuel will wash ALL of the old crud in your tank off the walls and try to put it thru the motor!!!!!!! And ... you get to pay ~$3 per gallon for a fuel that has LESS octane and causes MORE pollution and MANY headaches. This country is f#$ked ...
Welcome to the ethenol club, guys. We've had it in Ct. for a year and had all the typical problems. (despite what the naysayers tell you) The positive side is, with more folks using the ethenol mix, we might have more input with the best way to deal with it.
stonebuster":1g6lywl0 said:
Welcome to the ethenol club, guys. We've had it in Ct. for a year and had all the typical problems.

So... what's the you proactively change your fuel filter during the season? Like say....every 30 days....or every 45 days? Or is it...every 3 tanks of fuel....? Can you actually see the crud in the bottom of the Racor bowl?
Is the issue better, worse or the same for the carb 2 stroke? My '04 2120SC came with a seperator filter installed (Sierra??). Will definitely keep 1 or 2 filters on board, just in case.
cbigma":17g78xu8 said:
stonebuster":17g78xu8 said:
Welcome to the ethenol club, guys. We've had it in Ct. for a year and had all the typical problems.

So... what's the you proactively change your fuel filter during the season? Like say....every 30 days....or every 45 days? Or is it...every 3 tanks of fuel....? Can you actually see the crud in the bottom of the Racor bowl?
Jury is still out with final verdict since we've only had it one season. Right now I use the Racor and drain it every few trips and keep an extra filter on board. Over winter, my layup (Dec-April), I keep the tank near full to prevent alot of condensation and put the prescribed dosage of sta-bil in before my last two trips to get it worked into the engine. Most of the folks who had trouble with filters getting clogged seemed to be from the crud in the older tanks loosening up from the ethenol. Storage tanks as well as their own on board gas tanks. Most of the problems seemed to be early in the season before most of this crud was flushed and filtered out. Now it's more of a water being drawn into the fuel problem. I'm only speaking from personal experience and that of other boaters I know locally and am not well versed on some of the other more technical issues of ethenol mixes.
A word of warning for those of you with an older boat and who are thinking of trying the Startron. I thought it might help the ethanol issues I was experiencing down here in CT. The twin 454 Crusaders in my Blackfin started acting up after I filled up at a marina near the RI border. Turns out they had just started using gas with the ethanol mixture. The manager at the yard suggested the Startron, and so I added it to the tank at my next fill up. HUGE mistake :x . The Blackfin is an '82, and as soon as that stuff mixed in with the gas in my 180 gallon main tank, 24 years of crap came loose and tried to run through my filters. You wouldn't believe what the "gas" looked like that I emptied out of my filters. Kinda like chicken noodle soup. The boat wouldn't run, and I ended up having to pump out all the gas in my main tank (which I'd just filled...) and then pay over $1000 dollars to have the "hazardous waste" hauled away.

Very painful.

So, if you have an older boat, with an older tank, you might want to weigh the inconvenience of the ethanol mixture against the very real possibility that you'd have to drain your tank as I did should you decide to use one of the products marketed as a fix for ethanol.
I own a gas station and have just switched over to ethanol. My tanks were certified as being water-free and relatively clean prior to getting my first load of ethanol-laced gas. I put on 10 micron water and alcohol sensing filters which immedaitely clogged up, forcing me to change filters at an alarming (and expensive) rate. The worst problem is with plus-grade which is the slowest seller. The slow movement of this product apparently created a lot of buildup on the tank walls over time. I'm told this shellac/varnish buildup trapped particulate material on the tank walls as well. Now the ethanol is cleaning the stuff off of the tanks and sending it through the nozzle. If your gas retialer is not conscientious about using 10 micron sensing filters, the junk is going into your car/boat.

In our area, there was little education provided to car gas retailers about the changeover, and from my research, marina gas guys are even farther in the dark. One of the big dangers is water. if there is a significant amount of water in the storage tank, the gas/ethanol mix can "phase separate" and all of the ethanol wil be drawn out the gas into the bottom of the tank. If you are the unfortunate customer to arrive after this event, you will get pure ethanol/water in your tank with bad results. This acutally happened at a local station affecting 40 or so vehicles that stopped running.

In hindsight, I can see that the ethanol conversion should be relatively painless, but the retailer cn't do all of the cleaning that results - you have to plan on changing filters frequently for a few months unitl the supply sytem gets cleaned out. Ethanol is here to stay - get used to it.

Great info here, thanks. We are all slowly getting educated about ethanol and gasoline here on Classic Parker, thanks to our members willing to share their data.

Maybe you can answer a question for me. A few guys down at my marina are older model Bertram owners who are really freaking out about the ethanol because they have fiberglas gas tanks. They have been told that ethanol will really screw up their tanks, to the point that they will need to replace them.

Are your underground storage tanks at your station made of fiberglas? In the 80's I worked in the environmental remediation field, and saw a lot of old steel USTs being replaced by Owens Corning fiberglas tanks at gas stations. Did the info you got from your distributors mention anything about ethanol and fiberglas tanks?

If ethanol-fortified gasoline is so toxic for fiberglas tanks and older boat owners will need to replace them, why don"t gas station owners have the same issues?


I'm almost topped off with the last load of MBTE that the station had. The next day they got their load of E-10.

But based on what I read here and on, I guess I'll run her almost dry, put about 20 gal of E-10 into her, and take her out on a choppy day for a sloshing good ride. Will see if I can get the junk in the tank (only 5 years old) to sluff off with a small amount of fuel, just in case I have to have pay big $$$ to have it pumped and hauled off as HAZMAT. I've already got a pair of spare 10 micron filters to support this festivity. :cry: :cry: :cry:

ethanol is an INDUSTRIAL SOLVENT of the first is able
to "attack" (bring into solution) a number of compounds which gasoline
cannot.......putting ethanol in your gas is simply nuts, and is not even
close to an ENERGY POLICY for the is, as is all too common,
a symbolic, tokenism gesture at "energy independence".

ethanol will seriously damage many boats with continued use....
it has at least three separate mechanism to screw you

[1] it hold WATER far beyond gasoline, so that your gas will go stale
and collect water far faster in the bottom of the tank than before...
a racor, clear-bowl, drainable fuel filter is the first line of defense,
as it was before the ethanol was added......frequent boat use,
frequent fill ups, and adding STABIL or other preservative to each
tankful will also help with this, the least of the ethanol problems.

[2] it will take "varnish" and other scum which may be lining your
fuel tank and hoses and carb and cylinders and put it into solution
again......burning this crud will yield heavy particulate matter to clog
the valves and cylinder walls......the newer and pricier gas will have
"detergents" for this purpose, but the first tankful of ethanol gas can
"clean" your fuel system more aggressively than it can handle at one will then go on to clean your bank account....

[3] the newer engines have carefully engineered gaskets, hoses,
seals, and parts to be resistant to ethanol (it can be done), but
older engines may have fuel pump diaphragms, gasket, or hoses
that will go into solution by ethanol.....your minimal move now is
to REPLACE ALL HOSES!.....use only the finest "trident" or other hose,
and replace the fuel vent hose, the fill hose, the feed hose......if you
have fuel pump, i would replace that too (the diaphragm ).

[4] ethanol will attack SOME gas tanks, depending on how carefully
they were chemically engineered to begin with.......aluminum is fine...
monel is fine.......if you have a fiberglass tank on your boat, you have
some sobering options!.....either pull it and replace with aluminum or
monel, or wait for it to leak into the structure of the boat, ie the foam
around the tank, the laminate of the bilge, the wood framing of the
bilge..........fiberglass tanks WERE great...until ethanol.....dan
Good point in the Yamaha bulletin about watching what fuel is at the particular gas dock or station you use.

I still have 50% left in my tank from the winter and will refuel after some use this weekend.

Have an I/O and stopped in to 3A Marine in Hingam today to ask them what they've seen. Repeated the usual, of run the MTBE fuel down low and then add the 10% ethanol. I also bought a larger water separating fuel filter that I'll install this weekend ahead of the smaller Volvo fuel filter.

I also mentioned a month ago and I haven't used it yet, but I'm going to toss in Startron gas additive when I refuel.

For kicks, I drained my Racor a couple of days ago. I poured out about 1/2 cup. It looked and smelled like gas but I let it stand for a couple of days to see what happened. All the liquid has evaporated but there is maybe a teaspoon full of that orange crap Dale found.

Does this tell me that the Racor is doing it's job?
If I wasn't seeing the orange crap in the bowl then does that tell me that the components to make it are getting past the filter and into the motor?
SamR":blnhnta5 said:
Does this tell me that the Racor is doing it's job?
Yup :D !

SamR":blnhnta5 said:
If I wasn't seeing the orange crap in the bowl then does that tell me that the components to make it are getting past the filter and into the motor?
No, what you saw after the fuel evaporated is what was in "suspension" and trapped by the Racor.

No worries ...
I have a 150 gallon tank. I got it down to under 25% and filled up with my first E10 in Saturday. I added Ringree and Startron. I ran my boat for about an hour at varied speeds on Saturday afternoon, as well as for about 2 hours running time today with my family, again at varied speeds. I came back in smooth. I pulled the cowling off, and the red ring was on the bottom.

Hope it keeps up. Glad to have this "event" behind me.
I ran the E-10 all year I didn't have any issues. My mechanic told me to replace the water separtor every 30 hours this year just for a check. Everything was OK.
I'm picking up my "new" 2004 2120 this week. Anyone know if it has a fiberglass gas tank? I'm gettin' freaked out.