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  • The Problems With Ethanol

    I got this yesterday from White Lake Marine. It is also posted on their website. It is (IMHO) very important that everyone that owns a boat read this.


    The Problems With Ethanol

    A must read for boat and other vehicle owners.

    In the spring and early summer of this year (2010), we at White Lake Marine
    have experienced no less than an epidemic of boat owners complaining about
    ethanol related fuel problems. These problems range from poor performance
    due to hard starting, rough running, hesitation, and even stalling -- to clogged up
    fuel filters and injectors, and also gummed up carburetors. In addition, more and
    more customers are continuing to bring their boats in for repairs for the same
    symptoms.

    In the meanwhile, we have spent many hours researching this new dilemma
    for our dealership and valued customers. Besides reading much material on the
    subject, we have spoken at length with officials at Pleasure Craft Marine and
    Indmar, well known manufacturers of marine engines. We have also consulted
    with personnel at oil and gasoline distributors, including one terminal where
    ethanol is actually blended with fuel. And last but not least, we have consulted
    with personnel with the manufacturers of Sea Foam and Marine Sta-bil which are
    special stabilizers for ethanol gasoline.

    After doing the research and collecting facts and opinions from many different
    sources, we have come to realize there are several common sense questions
    that need to be answered. The following is a brief overview of these issues:
    Why is ethanol just now becoming such a huge problem?

    Prior to 2009, ethanol was not in all the fuel we use in many regions of the
    southeastern United States. However, in the summer and fall of that year -- and
    particularly in the first six months of this year -- all the gasoline distributors began
    converting their stations over to ethanol fuels. Also, bear in mind that, thanks to
    our politicians, there is no notification required by law unless more than ten
    percent of ethanol is added to fuel. Even premium gas now has ethanol.
    Unsuspecting boat owners purchased this ethanol blended fuel and stored
    their boats for the winter. As it turns out, vehicles which sit for long periods of
    time, such as boats, lawn mowers, weed eaters, tractors etc are more
    susceptible to ethanol problems.

    The reason is as follows:
    Ethanol is a magnet for water. It attaches itself to water, whether from the
    bottom of the tank where natural condensation has occurred, or even from the air
    in the tank. Normally, water falls to the bottom where it is out of harms way until
    it reaches an unsafe level. However, ethanol actually “pulls” the moisture out of
    the air into the gasoline and suspends this water in the fuel, contaminating the
    whole tank. Being suspended in the fuel, the engine is then burning a mixture of
    gasoline and water -- all the time. Eventually, the ethanol separates from the
    gasoline (phase separation) and falls to the bottom of the tank still attached to
    the water, forming a “glob” of sticky material. When this substance accumulates
    high enough in the tank, then the engine is drawing in pure ethanol and water --
    stalling the engine.

    Cars and trucks are generally used every day, and therefore, use up the
    ethanol fuel in a more timely fashion, giving it less time to cause problems.
    However, be sure it is in fact accumulating moisture in those tanks as well over a
    longer period of time, and if allowed to accumulate, water can wreak havoc on
    the entire fuel system.

    Another potential problem exists with the gas stations:
    Bear in mind that ethanol is very corrosive and attacks aluminum and
    fiberglass tanks. It also attacks rubber fuel lines and other fuel system
    components unless they were manufactured specifically for use with ethanol.
    According to the oil and gas distributors we spoke with, they cleaned their station
    tanks before adding ethanol fuels. However, it is true that some station owners
    did not, and as a result, the new ethanol fuels scrubbed and scoured their tanks
    free of old rust and accumulated debris. Then this loosened material actually
    went into many vehicles causing much damage. We know of one person whom
    this has already happened to, and reports of many others.

    It is also noteworthy to mention that, due to the problems with ethanol, the oil
    companies refuse to allow ethanol fuels to be pumped in their main pipelines.
    They insist it be blended at the terminals where trucks are loaded for shipment to
    gas stations. It is not good for the oil companies -- but it is fine for our vehicles.
    Another potential problem with gas stations is the fact that whereas ethanol is
    separating from fuel and collecting moister in our vehicles, it is also happening in
    the tanks at the gas stations -- a fact you won’t hear much about. However, it is
    common sense, as the same conditions exist in those underground tanks as
    does in vehicle tanks. As long as the station owners are vigilant and check their
    tanks on a frequent basis, and then pump out any ethanol and water collected on
    the bottom, then perhaps all will be well. However, when left to accumulate to a
    certain level, a concentration of water and ethanol is pumped into vehicles, again
    causing much harm. One station attendant at a large Exxon station confided
    they must check their tanks every day because of this very problem.
    Other harmful effects of ethanol.

    While the purpose of ethanol is supposedly to lessen our dependence on
    foreign oil, and since it burns more cleanly due to its plant (non petroleum)
    origins, it is also used as a less expensive method of boosting gasoline octane.
    When the ethanol separates from gasoline, then the fuel looses its octane rating,
    causing pinging or spark knocking in engines, again causing potential harm.
    Also, ethanol is a dry fuel in that it scours the oil film from cylinder walls,
    causing piston rings and other components to wear prematurely. Reports of
    ethanol damage to engines are being made more frequently, and lawsuits are
    becoming more common. A search on the internet for ethanol problems will give
    pause for serious reflection. However, beware there are some websites that give
    false information such as one which states that vehicles manufactured since
    1970 can safely use ethanol. Don’t believe it -- as experience has proven
    otherwise.

    What can I do about the problem with ethanol?
    Generally speaking, the gasoline distributors have left a few stores scattered
    around that still have non-ethanol fuel. For our local customers, there is only one
    in Elizabethtown and two country stores where farmers have specifically
    requested non-ethanol fuel. The gasoline at White Lake Water Sports (the
    marina pier on White Lake) has always been and continues to be ethanol free,
    and signs are posted to that effect. The stations mentioned are the Happy Mart
    (Atex gas) near Dorman Chevrolet in Elizabethtown, Longs Store on Hwy 210
    near the intersection of Hwy 41, and Potters Store in Kelly.

    You should immediately try and locate an ethanol free store in your area and
    use it in everything you own -- especially those vehicles that sit idle for long
    periods of time. It would be wise to call a few gasoline distributors in your area
    and they will advise you which of their stores have non-ethanol gas. The station
    attendants often do not know for sure, since it may not be posted on the pumps.
    Secondly, you should get a can of Sea Foam or the new Marine Sta-bil and
    put it in every vehicle. (Sea Foam can be found at automotive parts stores,
    Super Wal-Marts, and marine dealers. Marine Sta-bil can be found at marine
    dealers and some parts stores.) This will help disperse the water already
    accumulated in the tank and help to make it burn with minimal harmful effects.
    These special stabilizers literally take the water away from the ethanol by
    isolating the water molecules. They also have cleaning agents and emulsifiers to
    liquefy the gum and varnish already formed in the system. If problems still persist
    you will have to have your tank cleaned and new filters installed. By the way, the
    stabilizers used in the past, including regular Sta-bil, have only a minimal effect
    with ethanol fuels.

    If you must use ethanol gasoline in your boat or other vehicles that are idle
    for long periods of time, you will have to use one of these stabilizers in every tank
    of gas -- or else pay someone to remedy the inevitable problems which will
    occur.

    According to Sea Foam, for your everyday car or truck, you should use a can
    of their stabilizer in your fuel tank every 3,000 or 4,000 miles. This will ensure
    the moisture and phase separation will be reduced to a minimum, thereby
    preventing or minimizing any long term ill effects.

    Another point to be made is ethanol causes poor gas mileage, especially
    when phase separation occurs. We have found that a tank full of non-ethanol
    fuel and a can of one of these special stabilizers will restore fuel economy and
    give a noticeable increase in performance.

    You will probably be interested in knowing there are at least three
    contenders for the best treatments for ethanol gasoline. The following websites
    may be helpful. Sea Foam Marine Sta-Bil Startron

    Why are our local and federal governments allowing this travesty?
    Our only answer is “don’t forget to vote.” This is a serious matter, as are
    many other things being imposed upon us as a nation. The EPA is actually
    entertaining the idea of allowing fifteen percent ethanol in gasoline. However,
    they have postponed their decision until the fall of this year -- most likely until
    after the elections. We hope you don’t develop voter apathy as it will make you
    stay home on voting day, and voter “amnesia” could make you forget this and
    many ills plaguing our society and cause you to vote the same problems back
    into office. We at White Lake Marine treasure our constitutional freedoms and
    our Christian heritage as a nation. We wish the best for every one of our
    customers and friends alike. Happy boating.
    Life is Short, Live it!
    http://www.teamcarolina.us/index.htm

  • #2
    Exactly right

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I have been saying this to people about Ethanol for the last year or so, and get told I'm crazy.
    I just ran a tank of ethanol free in my Sierra truck, and got 17mpg! I had been getting about 13mpg on E10 crap. And I did more in town (stop and start) driving on the the Ethanol free tank, so it may have even been better...

    Ethanol is a joke! Somebody sure was a good salesperson........

    Comment


    • #3
      wow, thats just frightening ... will get on the lookout for somewhere ethanol free !
      2003 SANTE - "OG 210"

      Comment


      • #4
        In NE Wisconsin we are still able to get ethanol free gasoline, downside is that it is premium (93 octane). It goes in everything I own as well as our club boats.

        It seems that since the inception of alcohol supplemented gasoline there has been a ton of promises, broken promises and exaggerations. First I read that this was going to save the consumer money, that it was energy positive, meaning that more was gained from the use of alcohol than consumed during its production, that it was cleaner burning and lastly that it would help us gain more energy independence.

        Now the only positive I hear is from the agricultural associations stating that it "keeps America free" by reducing oil imports, locally they run aggressive radio and print ads. Pretty thin when you consider the initial promises that were made.

        I confess to some ignorance when it comes to the economics and politics of alcohol fuel production so I have a couple of questions. Does anyone know if the government is still subsidizing the production of the fuel and the construction of the plants?

        Just an opinion but if this country was truly interested in energy independence there would be a new nuclear plant being built in every State, people back to work and less oil consumed.
        2009 196 Team ZR 409 Zero Off
        2005 196 Limited ZR 375 PP/Stargazer
        2003 196 Limited Excalibur
        1999 196 Masters Edition
        1995 ProStar 190 LT1 (Bayliner)
        1987 ProStar 190

        Comment


        • #5
          "Just an opinion but if this country was truly interested in energy independence there would be a new nuclear plant being built in every State, people back to work and less oil consumed."

          I agree 100%.
          Life is Short, Live it!
          http://www.teamcarolina.us/index.htm

          Comment


          • #6
            Ethanol subsidies were roughly $5 billion in 2009, and continue in 2010. (Econ 101: If a product needs a subsidy, it can't survive in the open market.) Many corn growers have shifted from feed and human consumption to ethanol due to this kickback. Anyone who grocery shops can see the effect this has had on food products, and anyone who drives should be able to see the reduced engine performance. Apparently we've forgotten the lessons learned from Carter's gasohol ambition? Maybe drilling for our own oil would be a solution to helps us break free of foreign oil, versus these silly gimmicks that'll never suffice as a real solution!!
            '12 200TE
            '08 196LE (previous)
            '07 196LE (previous)
            '06 196SE (previous)

            Comment


            • #7
              I will be using marine stabil in my tank from now on.

              Comment


              • #8
                Shag, I thing we're relatively close to one another if I recall correctly from a previous post. Where are you finding the ethanol free gas? Haven't had any luck in my neck of the woods, but I believe I travel through your area on occasion for work. Thanks
                Last edited by Ceruzziracing; 08-17-2010, 09:47 AM. Reason: typo
                '97 SN 176 GT40

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                • #9
                  I run my boat 5-10 hours a week. We usually run it dry at least once a week (sometimes on purpose). Never have any problems.

                  Once winter hits I run the gas out of it and put 5 gallons of airplane gas in and run it. In the spring we fill the tank with regular gas and are back in business. Never had a problem. Airplane gas does not contain ethanol and degrades very slow.

                  I won't waste any more $$ on seafoam or stabil.

                  Tim

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                  • #10
                    Very interesting read.
                    I found this site after a Google search.
                    http://www.buyrealgas.com
                    1997 Ski Nautique

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is this a partisan issue? You really never hear much about it from the candidates (local, state, or federal). I would think that ethanol in the gas eventually increases our foreign dependency, in that, fuel economy goes down = buy more gas, as well as harder on the engines = need new car = approximately 40% of new cars today which are purchased are foreign. GO FIGURE the brilliance behind ethanol. Pay the farmers to produce grain for starving third world countries, not to screw up out vehicles.
                      Eric, Phoenix AZ

                      G23 550 hp (finally here)
                      2002 Super Air
                      1994 Sun Tracker Party Barge 115 hp

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                      • #12
                        I read about the dead zones yesterday created by Ethanol:
                        http://www.nytimes.com/info/biofuels/
                        1994 Sport Nautique

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                        • #13
                          That is a very scary article. It just shows that when you incorporate big business into anything it gets corrupted. If they would build huge algae farms out here in AZ, with 335 days of sunshine and divert a tributary from the colorado river, I am pretty sure they could grow the stuff without increasing nitrogen content in the ocean etc.
                          Eric, Phoenix AZ

                          G23 550 hp (finally here)
                          2002 Super Air
                          1994 Sun Tracker Party Barge 115 hp

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd rather have "big business" at work anyday over big government.
                            '12 200TE
                            '08 196LE (previous)
                            '07 196LE (previous)
                            '06 196SE (previous)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              i recently discovered the greers grocery/shell station sells marine ethenol free gas. it's .15 more than 87 octane. i will be filling up here only from now on. i tried to tell my buddy with a nautique he should too, but he doesn't really care to take what i say as truth. he thinks i tend to be over cautious with my boat's performance. it comes out to 7$ more per tank for real fuel for me so i think it's a great investment.

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