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Ethanol & Marine Fuels
I have heard of a lot of boaters having problems with fuel filters/water
separators this year and the one recurring cause for all the trouble tends
to be Ethanol in the fuel. I thought you might like to see this.
Here is a bulletin from Yamaha, But it pertains to ALL ENGINES, NOT just
SUBJECTS: Ethanol Fuel Blends � All Model engines.
Ethanol Fuel Blends � All Models
As of spring 2006, most gasoline refiners will switch to ethanol-blended
fuels. This may present a challenge for
boat builders, dealers, and boaters in the months ahead. Until recently,
refiners have primarily used the chemical
MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) as an additive "to oxygenate" fuel,
thereby, reducing emissions. Unfortunately,
the chemical has been associated with ground water pollution. As a result,
most refineries have chosen to remove
it from their blends. Using ethanol in place of MTBE solves the ground water
issue, since ethanol has a very short
life in the environment before it is broken down chemically by nature.
Both consumers and those in the boating industry should be aware of the
following characteristics of ethanol, even
when blended in ratios of as little as 10 percent:
1. Ethanol attracts and absorbs moisture from the air. That means boaters
will likely face more fuel contamination
issues from water absorbed through their fuel tank vents.
2. Ethanol can dissolve some solid materials (e.g., varnish or even
oxidation in steel and aluminum tanks)
commonly found in fuel tanks, thereby contaminating the fuel. Additionally,
it can loosen any corrosion or
particulate matter in the fuel sys-tem.
3. In some cases, ethanol has been known to dissolve components of the fuel
system itself (e.g., fiberglass fuel
tanks). However, modern fuel hose is made to withstand the effects of
4. Ethanol blends can react chemically with MTBE fuel blends, causing
Fuel blends using as much as 10 percent ethanol are appropriate for use in
all of Yamaha�s current outboard
models. Yamaha does not recommend the use of fuels with higher
concentrations of ethanol (e.g., E85, which
contains 85 percent ethanol) or any other fuel blend that contains more than
10 percent ethanol. In addition,
Yamaha recommends boat builder partners and boaters (as applicable) take the
following steps to mitigate the
potential impact of ethanol in motor fuel:
1. Use fuel system components that are compatible with ethanol blends or
replace those in use that are not
compatible (e.g., fiberglass fuel tanks).
2. Avoid co-mingling MTBE and ethanol-blended fuels. As a precaution,
boaters should be advised to use only one
supplier for fuel purchases in the months ahead to ensure constancy during
the industry changeover period from
MTBE to ethanol blends.
3. Install a Yamaha mini-10� filter or 10-Micron filter. The 10-Micron
filter is designed for use on boats with
Yamaha outboards. The smaller mini-10 is designed for smaller boats with
engines 115hp and under. Both
Yamaha products filter out contami-nants and separate water from fuel. The
mini-10 features an aluminum head
and is made from coated steel inside and painted steel outside to combat
corrosion. The 10-Micron filter features
either an aluminum or stainless steel head and is also made from coated
interior and painted exterior steel. Both
meet all U.S. Coast Guard and ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council)
standards. (This filter will work on other
engines besides Yamaha call the service department for details)
4. Consumers should be encouraged to carry spare filter cartridges in the
event the filter element becomes
clogged with contaminants while the outboard is in use.
All Yamaha products, rigging, accessories and parts, including Yamalube
lubricants and fuel stabilizers are
compatible with fuel blends using up to 10 percent ethanol.
Here are a couple suggestions:
1.You should run as much of the old fuel out of your tank as possible (with
out running out) before putting the
Ethanol fuel in your tank. You should not mix the two.
2.When you start using the Ethanol Fuel you should install a 10 Micron fuel
3. The fuel filter should be changed every 50 hours.
4. Carry an extra fuel filter with you on the boat.