Captain Tony talks about the effects of Ethanol on marine gas engines.

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We have recently encountered an ever-increasing number of boat owners having fuel related problems and as some boat owners know, fuel related issues are one of the most complex problems to troubleshoot on a marine engine.

Marine gas engines rely on numerous fuel system components to operate properly and when something goes wrong it can lead to costly diagnosis related costs. Our goal here is to provide the boat owner with a basic understanding of how ethanol can negatively affect marine engines and fuel systems.

Ethanol is an ethyl alcohol, renewable fuel and is used to oxygenate gas. The standard mixture is 90 percent gas and 10 percent ethanol. This is known as E10. Ethanol is also a drying agent and octane enhancer. Gasoline that contains ethanol/alcohol will absorb water. Most marine manufacturers claim that up to10 percent ethanol in gas is acceptable. However, gas and water do not mix and this is the root cause of numerous marine fuel related issues that we see here at Intermarine’s Service Department..

Most marinas offer NO ETHANOL GAS, however, many small boat owners purchase regular gas at street service stations in an effort to save money over the cost of marina gas. However street gas contains ethanol and in many cases these “savings” eventually wind up costing boat owners substantial funds in repairs if the E10 is not treated properly.

If you use E10 there are necessary precautions that the boat owner should take, for example, the fuel systems and gas tanks in older boats were not designed to withstand the effects of alcohol. As a result, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of gas tank as well as fuel line replacements as a result of damage from alcohol/ethanol.

Prevention is your best weapon against the effects of ethanol gas.

If you are having engines problems on your Mercury, Volvo or Yamaha engine, or simply need routine service, Intermarine offers a full spectrum of marine services as well as new and pre-owned boat sales. We have three South Florida locations in Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach and Jupiter to serve boat owners.

Visit  Captains Corner next month where we will offer some tips on reducing the negative effects of Ethanol in your marine engine and fuel system.

Happy Boating!

Captain Tony

Intermarine Service Department.

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