Ethanol is always a hot-button topic in the marine market. A quick YouTube search reveals dozens of videos about its negative effects on outboard-motor fuel systems, including cracked fuel lines and deposits that can cause the engine to quit running. Meanwhile, unstabilized fuel that has fouled the carburetor or fuel system also poses problems for anglers and other marine enthusiasts. Fortunately, AMSOIL fuel additives offer proven answers and help keep you on the water all summer.
Why Add Ethanol To Gasoline?
Ethanol is an alcohol fuel that’s derived from plant materials, such as corn, barley or wheat It’s mixed with gasoline at different ratios (El0. E15 or E85) to produce the fuel you buy at the pump.
Years ago, formulators added lead to gasoline to boost octane and help prevent engine knock, which can damage the engine. However, lead poisons catalytic converters and harms the environment, so it was replaced by methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) until it too was shown to damage the environment if leaked or spilled. Today, ethanol has replaced MTBE as a more environmentally friendly means of boosting octane.
Because it’s an alcohol, ethanol can …
- Degrade rubber and plastic fuel hoses and carburetor components
- Cause gaskets and fuel lines to harden, crack and leak
- Corrode aluminum and brass fuel-system components and form white, flaky residue that clogs fuel passages
The problem becomes worse the longer the fuel sits, which can be months in a marine motor during seasonal storage.
During that time, the fuel can absorb moisture since ethanol has an affinity for water. That’s why ethanol-related problems are so common in marine applications. Water can break the molecular bond between gasoline and ethanol, causing the water/ethanol mixture to separate from the gasoline and fall to the bottom or the tank. This is known as “phase separation,” and you can see an example in the image.
Problems Due To Phase Separation
Phase separation causes a number of problems
- The engine can draw the ethanol/water mixture into the carburetor or injectors, leading to a lean-burn situation that can increase heat and damage the engine.
- The gasoline left behind no longer offers adequate resistance to engine knock since the ethanol that provides the
increased octane the engine needs has separated from the gasoline.
- If the boat sits unused, the water/ethanol mixture can slowly corrode aluminum and brass fuel-system components, not to mention rubber and plastic fuel lines and gaskets. Eventually those components fail and require replacement
Prevention Is The Best Solution
Although some fuel additives on the market claim to reverse the effects of phase separation, there’s no way to reintegrate gasoline and ethanol once they’ve separated. Instead, it’s best to prevent it. One solution is to use non-oxygenated, ethanol-free gas in marine motors. It costs a little more, but it eliminates problems associated with ethanol.
Another solution is to treat every tank of fuel and container of gas with AMSOIL Ouickshot (AQS). It helps keep water molecules dispersed in the fuel to prevent phase separation. It also cleans varnish, gums and insoluble debris while stabilizing fuel during short-term storage up to six months.
Always Stabilize Gasoline
To ensure marine motors start up in the spring and run properly, it’s vital to stabilize the gas Over time, gasoline
changes, leaving behind gums, varnish and other solids that foul the fuel system and prevent gas from flowing into the combustion chamber. In severe cases, gasoline can change so dramatically that it no longer ignites. Anglers and boaters are left with motors that start hard, if at all, and run poorly.
AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer (AST) offers a solution. It fights oxidation, varnish and corrosion for up to 12 months to keep fuel systems clean and properly working.
Check out the full AMSOIL Marine Product Line and ensure you’re ready for summer fishing and boating seasons.
AMSOIL Stabilizer Fights Corrosion Better Than Sea Foam®
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