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Author Topic:   Effect of Ethanol On Post-Classic Boston Whaler Boats
Yiddil posted 06-28-2006 09:54 PM ET (US)   Profile for Yiddil   Send Email to Yiddil  
What can I do as a Nantucket Owner to ensure I don't have major problems with my [engine--I belive it is a Mercury 115-HP two-stroke--jimh.] Thanks in a advance, Henry AKA THE YIDDIL
Marlin posted 06-29-2006 07:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
Henry,

Don't worry too much about it. Your boat has a poly tank, which is not affected by ethanol. Neither are your fuel lines, and your motor is approved for a 10% ethanol blend.

You do want to be careful about keeping water out of the fuel. For you, I think that means ensuring that your fill cap is tight, that your vent is oriented with the openings down/aft, and that you don't spray water into the vent when you wash down. If you don't have a cannister-type fuel line filter, you might consider adding one.

Some people suggest filling up at high-volume gas stations or fuel docks; seems like a reasonable idea to me.

-Bob

jbtaz posted 06-29-2006 07:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for jbtaz  Send Email to jbtaz     
http://www.mercurymarine.com/ethanol
Sal A posted 06-29-2006 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
Henry,

Ethanol is somewhat of a [problem] for older tanks. Old crud gets "cleaned" off and comes into your fuel lines and into your engine. It is also an issue for the gas stations when they intially turnover to ethanol, as the fuel loosens all sort of built up soot from the insides of their tanks, which you receive.

Consider a 10 micron in line Racor clear-bowl fuel filter, or similar, and check it often. And carry a spare one on your boat!

I think the ethanol will be less of an isuue as time goes on, as marina tanks, and your boats tank, are "cleaned".

Yiddil posted 06-29-2006 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Thanks guys...Yippie!!!! I just lost my Ethonal Blues:))))

I just topped off the tank and got Das Boat back in the water today...Had bought her back to the dealer for sand blasting and redo of prep and paint...she kept flacking....Dealer took care of it....seems much better........but a long haul from marina to Dealer and back....actually she sat in my driveway while it rained so hard here in Maryland...

But Im back in...and running...Marlin...Im ready when you are, but no trailering anymore for me..to hard on my recovery stuff:)

Im glad to hear the ethonal wont be a big deal for me...some of what I heard was really scary when you consider you could blow a gas tank, motor, carbs etc....

Thanks Sal, I checked and my boat ...can you belive this...dosnt have a fuel, water seperator, or am I looking in the wrong place???? Scott couldnt find one either...

jimh posted 06-29-2006 10:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Marlin--Good point about the polyurethane fuel tanks on the newer boats. Thanks for mentioning that. Also, most post-classic Boston Whaler boats were built after c.1990 (by definition) so the fuel lines used in those boats will be rated for gasoline diluted with alcohol. And, in most cases, the motors on those boats will be manufactured after c.1990, so their fuel systems will have been built with rubber components that can tolerate gasoline diluted with alcohol, or at least one would hope for that.

All other considerations about ethanol, such as its hygroscopic nature, will apply to post-Classic Boston Whaler boats just as they do to all boats. Therefore, you will find a great deal of prior discussion about ethanol and water in the fuel located in the other discussion areas of the website, mainly PERFORMANCE and REPAIRS/MODS. You should consult these areas for information on techniques to reduce water contamination in the fuel.

There is little reason to separate that aspect of the discussion into a pre/post Classic division.

highanddry posted 06-30-2006 03:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Your boat does not have a seperate water filter/strainer. This only comes with the four stroke Mercury install per my manual. The Optimax engines have their own filter strainer and per the Mercury site do not need additional filtering as it might restrict fuel flow.

"Im glad to hear the ethonal wont be a big deal for me...some of what I heard was really scary when you consider you could blow a gas tank, motor, carbs etc...."

It will be as big a deal for you as anyone, phase seperation and water contamination are going to be a continuing problem with these fuels.

Plotman posted 06-30-2006 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
High-

if it is going to be such a big ongoing problem, pray explain how it is that we in the midwest, in states where we have been buying much of our fuel with 10% ethanol in it for years, don't have all of these problems you mention?

Buckda posted 06-30-2006 10:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Wow David - way to beat me to it.

It's a case study in how rumors spread, are told to be true and then grow.

I had no problems in my 1986 boat/motor. I don't know if Texas was running the E-10 or not, but when the boat hit Michigan/Illinois three springs ago, it got all E-10 fuel and there have been no problems. I've not even found water in the fuel filter/water separator.

High -
If you are concerned about water in the fuel, then the small filter that is located on your powerhead is not sufficient protection for your engine. A cannister filter has much higher capacity for water (by volume) before it becomes overwhelmed and delivers that water-laden fuel to the motor.

With E-10, you should install a high-flow cannister fuel filter/water separator and change it at least once a season. In the case of the Mercury-equivalent Tempo filter, this is a $25 initial investment and $7 each filter change...so it is not a major expense. If I were buying "marina" gas every tank, I'd probably switch my filter twice in a season....but since I'm generally not doing so, I am comfortable with swapping that filter out in the fall or spring before the next season.

Regards,

Dave

jimmy c posted 06-30-2006 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimmy c  Send Email to jimmy c     
Here in New Jersey the ethanol is starting to be a problem...gas stations are having problems with thier filters and the pumps as well.

The best bet is the Racor filter with the clear bowl.
you can see if any water is presant in the fuel as well as being able to drain it out easly....great piece of mind.

Sal A posted 06-30-2006 08:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal A  Send Email to Sal A     
The changeovers in marina tanks, and in your older tank on your boat, are indeed a problem. It will get better after the crud from both tanks work its way through the systems. Just monitor/change your filters more.
highanddry posted 07-01-2006 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
"if it is going to be such a big ongoing problem, pray explain how it is that we in the midwest, in states where we have been buying much of our fuel with 10% ethanol in it for years, don't have all of these problems you mention?"

You better read again what I said,

"It will be as big a deal for you as anyone, phase seperation and water contamination are going to be a continuing problem with these fuels. "

To explain better, I should have said it will be the same--the SAME for him as anyone else--as big a deal as anyone else.

In the midwest people do have those problems but in a vehicle, car, truck, the gasoline is continually refreshed, the humidity is lower and the tanks it is drawn from are also constantly being refreshed. Still, living in the central US where these fuels have been around, people do have problems with them in their vehicles. Here, compared to florida and Louisianan and the Texas coast and other such places we have lived the humidity is very high compared to here. This alone may cause a problem with these fuels when introduced in such areas, then add to it the high likelyhood that in a marine environment water will sooner or later get into your fuel from something--it will cause an eventual problem.

Now, can we live with the 10% mix, yes, would I prefer not having to do so--yes.

highanddry posted 07-01-2006 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
High -
If you are concerned about water in the fuel, then the small filter that is located on your powerhead is not sufficient protection for your engine. A cannister filter has much higher capacity for water (by volume) before it becomes overwhelmed and delivers that water-laden fuel to the motor.

The Mercury website claims the filtering they provide is enough and they seem to definitly advise against a seperae filter.

Now, again, I suspect that you are right and that a wise application of a quality filter unit installed and sized so as not to hinder fuel flow would be an excellent addition. From Mercury:

"Should I add an additional fine-micron filter to the system to prevent debris from entering the engine?


The addition of another filter to the system will create another possible flow restriction that can starve the engine of fuel. Mercury already provides the appropriate level of filtration to protect the engine from debris."


From Mercury:

"Does ethanol affect horsepower or fuel-efficiency?"


"Ethanol has a heating value of 76,000 BTU per gallon, which is approximately 30 percent less than gasoline's heating value (which is approximately 109,000 to 119,000 BTU/gal). The result is E-10 gasoline which should yield slightly lower mileage – a decrease of approximately 3 percent. Fuels containing higher levels of ethanol will have a corresponding reduction in mileage. For example, E85 fuels produce mileage approximately 30 percent less than gasoline.

The octane rating of pure ethanol (200 proof) is about 100 and is therefore useful in elevating the octane value of gasoline. In E-10 blends the presence of ethanol provides about 2.5 to 3 percent of the overall octane rating. The effect on engine horsepower is determined by the octane result of the blended fuel. Care should be taken to select fuels having the octane rating recommended for the engine as indicated in the owner's manual for proper operation. "

Note the significantly lower energy density of the ethonal. With a 10% fuel mix the energy density of the fuel is not harmed significantly and is partially made up for by the octane enhancment. Fuels containing more than 10% will see noticeable reductions in performance and mileage. Physics will not be altered by PC politics, ethonal has only about 2/3s the energy density of straight gasoline. Liquid hydrogen has more and all battery/electric vehicles using the finest batteries made barely approach 8% of the energy density of petroleum. Fuel cells may --someday---equal or exceed gasoline energy density or at least be competitive.

You will not see battery powered airliners or blended fuels in aircraft because again, physics, fuel energy desnity is required to make power to lift weight against the force of gravity. Failure to account for this results in bad things like hitting mountains and plowing into the trees on the end of the runway or that cute little apartment complex sitting so jaunty just on the end of the runway.

Chuck Tribolet posted 07-01-2006 10:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
In an airplane, energy density in BTU per POUND is important
because the fuel has to be lifted. But to get off the runway,
max power is what counts -- see below.

In car or boat, other things come into play in determining
power output. Can the induction system deliver enough O2 (as 20.9% of air) for the available fuel? Can the fuel system
deliver enough fuel for the max air flow? How much O2 does the
fuel require? Consider an engine that is air supply
constrained (most are), and two fuels, G and E. E has a bit
less energy per gallon but a much lower O2 requirement to
burn. E is going make more max power than G. Note that G and
E are NOT necessarily gasoline and ethanol -- I don't know
how much O2 gasoline and ethanol require. I'm just pointing
out that a fuel with a lower energy density might make more
max power.

And MPG isn't what's really important. MP$ (miles per dollar)
is.


Chuck

highanddry posted 07-01-2006 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Chuck, nice try, please provide your specific equations showing low BTU, low energy density fuels providing more power/work per gallon/lb of fuel consumed.

This must be why in practical terms vehicles burning these fuels, greater than 10%, get notably less fuel economy.

Never mind, this goes way beyond the initial question.

jimh posted 07-05-2006 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Please limit this discussion to the aspect of ethanol and its effects which apply only to POST-CLASSIC Boston Whaler boats. The general impact of gasoline fuels diluted with ethanol is concurrently being discussed in other topic areas.
bsmotril posted 07-05-2006 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Highandry,
The problems with ethanal fuels is mainly at the point in time of the switchover. The ethanol is known to loosen sludge and deposits that have formed in fuel and storage tanks, and that material then passes through filters if present, and injectors if there are no filters. Once the new fuel has flushed that debris out of the systems, then you don't have those problems any more. I suspect y'all in the midwest got past that point many years ago while we're just starting to experience it. BillS

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