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Author Topic:   Symptoms of Water in Gasoline Fuel
mikeincanada posted 07-04-2008 09:00 PM ET (US)   Profile for mikeincanada   Send Email to mikeincanada  
Greetings and happy 4th of July. Before I go charging off and changing things, what are the symptoms of water in gasoline fuel? After a while of smooth running and when I slow down to dock, I frequently get smoke [in the outboard motor exhaust] and very rough running. Might this be a water in fuel? Any ideas? Thanks
Hoosier posted 07-05-2008 07:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
What engine do you have? Do you have a fuel/water separator in the fuel line?
Peter posted 07-05-2008 08:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Water in fuel is easy to figure out. Put a sample (say 5 to 10 ounces) of fuel from the fuel hose into a clear water bottle. Let it sit. If it separates into two layers, you have water in the fuel.
HAPPYJIM posted 07-05-2008 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for HAPPYJIM  Send Email to HAPPYJIM     
Is the separation still as evident with ethanol type fuel?
AZdave posted 07-06-2008 01:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for AZdave  Send Email to AZdave     
Separation is still evident with ethanol blend fuel. Mine was premix with a yellow layer of water and alcohol on the bottom, and green colored oil and gas mixture on the top.
sraab928 posted 07-06-2008 07:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for sraab928  Send Email to sraab928     
Left is seperated - right is not - ethanol fuel with plenty of water in it... 0619081718.jpg

jimh posted 07-06-2008 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Testing blended fuels for ethanol content is described in a reference article and this procedure can also be used to test for water content.

Gasoline can only hold a very small amount of water in solution. Once the concentration increases above about 0.5-percent, water separates from gasoline fuel.

Smoke in the exhaust of an engine is generally not considered a symptom of water in the fuel.

Rough running is generally not considered a symptom of water in the fuel.

If the water concentration is above 0.5-percent and the water has separated from the gasoline blended fuel, the engine will stop running when the fuel supply delivered water instead of gasoline fuel.

Peter posted 07-07-2008 07:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Rough running at idle speed, frequent stalling out and hard starting can be a symptom of water in fuel.
jimh posted 07-07-2008 08:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I should explain my previous comment: if your engine is running rough, there are many possible explanations. I don't think that having water in the fuel is immediately indicated as the most likely explanation. There can be many causes for a rough-running engine. Bad fuel is one possibility.

You can eliminate the fuel in your vessel fuel tank as a cause of poor engine performance by temporarily running the engine from a different fuel source. A six-gallon on-deck fuel tank which has fresh fuel of known quality can often be easily connected to the engine. Run the engine of a that fuel and compare its performance.

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