Ethanol Gas!?! - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Ethanol Gas!?!

My father has had to replace a fuel tank and carburetor in his cabin cruiser boat since the greenies started screwing with the gas that you can buy in the US. It has become a real issue for boat owners. Basically, almost all US gas now contains 10% ethanol. In engines and tanks that sit still a lot and also run lower temps (like boats) the ethanol starts to separate from the gas. Also, there is water in all ethanol and once separated, this can cause issues too. My dad is using an enzyme treament in every fill-up now to hopefully deal with the ethanol & water. Also, I know there are gas stations near lakes that only carry non-ethanol gas, but I hate to have to drive 30 minutes to the nearest lake everytime I fill up. Has anyone heard about what this crap does to motorcycles? If anything?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 03:32 PM
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Ethanol can screw with rubber hoses, gaskets, runs a bit hotter, and in any of my vehicles gives slightly less mileage than gasoline without it. Back in the '70's, when gasohol first hit the scene, garages were doing a bangup business in carburetor work and replacing fuel line filters, particularly in older cars/trucks. What was happening was the alcohol in the fuel was loosening up sediment that had settled to the bottom of the gas tank over time. This sediment was then pumped into the engine and plugging up fuel filters and messing up carbs. Todays engines are alleged to be ok with up to 10% ethanol or 5% methanol in the fuel blend. I run it occasionally in my Tacoma and the only difference I see is that I get about 18.5mpg instead of the 20 I normally get with non-ethanol fuel. My regular fuel stop for the bike is a non-alcohol station just up the road from my home.

Tell your dad that Sta-bil is making a marine grade product that may help. SeaFoam may also do the same thing.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 04:37 PM
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I read somewhere, probably a forum that one of the NE states is trying to pass 20% blend which motorcycles won't run on. It was talking about a movement to try and stop this because it would open the door for the rest of the states to do so.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 05:36 PM
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I fortunateally live by a large lake so there is a station that does 91 non-oxygenated gas. It does cost more, but I would rather not have the worries.

Also, from what I have heard Stabil is not meant to be burnt, it is meant to keep the gas from going bad. That way you can leave gas in the carbs over the off season. But when you go to run it you are supposed to drain out the bowls and the tank and put in fresh gas.
Now Seafoam you can burn. And it does a great job at cleaning and lubricating things. And it keeps the gas fresh for storage.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 07:45 PM
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I've used Stabil for 25 years or more, I never drain it, I run whatever's in the tank in the spring. I've never had a problem with that.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 03:15 AM
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E10 dissolves the varnish left behind by MTBE fuel mixes. Most fuel systems after 1987 should be able handle E10 except a few outboards. I didn't have any problems with my boat and I run over 1000 miles year. When the engine sits with the varnish now mixed with the fuel it create a clog when the fuel evaps, bad for small orifices like those on the CVK carbs on Kaws. Don't mix E10 and MTBE fuels unless you plan to run the tank empty. You'll end up with jello in the fuel tank if left stored for long periods of time. 10 micron filters do a good job of removing the junk from fuel systems that E10 loosens up. I run a 20 micron filter w/water separator on Mercury outboard and haven't had any problem. The enzyme treatments work good, I'm assuming your father is using something like Pri-G or Startron. My outboard likes Pri-G and Chemtool B-12.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 07:34 AM
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Fuel injected bikes, no problem at all. Carbureted bikes have had some major issues after storage for only a few weeks. Clogged pilot jets usually. I've experienced this 1st hand and stabil does seem to help. Ethanol attracts water so you can get plenty of corrosion in float bowls. Also had needle valve o-rings deteriorate in another carbureted bike. Gas goes bad much sooner with ethanol so be sure to add a stabilizer when storing for winter months.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-16-2009, 09:04 AM
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I am fortunate to have a marathon station here that has pumps with a dedicated hose (only premium goes in the tank then) for each grade of gas. Also, their premium is ethanol free. I go out of my way to always fill up here if possible.

Jeff, Twin Cities, MN

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 04:40 AM
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I also have a pontoon boat which gave me running problems when I was filling up with plain old 87 (10% ethanol) available everywhere. Then when I switched to only using non-oxy 91, problems went away. I have only filled the 900's tank once so far, and just used plain 87 regular. I figure the gas doesn't sit in there long enough to get varnishy because I'm constantly running it through. But when it comes time to think about putting it away for winter storage (ugh!) I'm thinking I'll probably be sure and run my last tank or two with non-oxy 91 and a dose of Seafoam for good measure.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2009, 05:30 AM
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Forest - the oxy is for emissions and not related to ethanol. Your pontoon problems were not related to oxygenated fuel. Put a good Racor (or similar) fuel filter/water separator system on the boat. If the engine is a 2-stroke use a decarbonizer like Mercury Power Tune to clean the cylinders. Ethanol is corrosive and absorbs moisture which is a big problem for boats. If there was any pitting in your fuel tank, most are aluminum, the E-10 will continues to eat away at it and leave milky & gritty crud in the fuel system. Many pre-injected outboards don't like 87 because of unsophisticated timing systems causing detonation. Engines like the older Mercury's get around that by using surface gap plugs which leave no place for carbon to collect.

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