Fishing tip of the week

Is ethanol still an issue for the new 4-stroke motors?
by Mike Gerry

Since the onset of the mixture of gasoline and ethanol, there have been tons of problems popping up all over the country. Injector issues, motors running rough, gas breaking down and more have plagued the bass boat owner.
Ethanol is hygroscopic meaning it absorbs water from the environment, which can lead to phase separation in the fuel tank causing engine problems.
There have been four major problems caused by E-10 ethanol fuel, the first being that the fuel tends to have debris in it, and as the fuel ages it tends to gum rapidly in the fuel tank.
Ethanol itself is a strong cleaner that will strip away this gumming of the fuel. The problem is it disperses it back into the filters and injectors or carburetors, robs the motor of performance and causes your motor to run and act differently than it did before the E-10 fuel was used.

Next ethanol tends to collect moisture and cause large amounts of water to build up in the tank. Ethanol normally holds .5% water in suspension, and as the gasoline collects moisture in the tanks, it exceeds this percentage and causes the engine to run rough, stall and causes internal combustion issues in the engine. The problem is that ethanol provides the fuel with its octane and when it builds water, the water is heavier than the fuel so it drops to the bottom of your tank and hence you’re using a fuel that has a different octane rating than you anticipated.
Ethanol can be corrosive to many of the materials used in marine engines like aluminum and rubber causing deterioration of the fuel system components. The likes of fuel lines gaskets and seals can break down and create motor issues.

Ethanol has a shorter life compared to pure gasoline; this is an issue and is problematic for 4-stroke marine engines as it degrades performance and causes your engine to miss at high RPMs.
Lastly, ethanol actually decreases fuel economy. Yes; ethanol gas produces less energy than fuel without ethanol, so you get an inefficient combustion response, changing the engine timing and reducing throttle response. So, you have the choice use an additive or use gas without ethanol for the best performance.
Captain Mike

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