Your Marine Sanitation Device Experts Recommends Considering a Switch to Ethanol Gas
Raritan Engineering Company your marine sanitation device specialists would like to share with you these topics we thought would be of interest to you this month regarding whether or not to switch to ethanol gas.
It’s time we get to the bottom of how E10 is affecting our engines.
Your marine sanitation device analysts know that in the few years since ethanol began to be widely used in the United States, a lot has been written about its properties, the problems it’s created, and how to best cope with its possible effects. Some of the advice has been based on science, some on hearsay.
Myth #1: Ethanol-enhanced gasoline (E10) loses octane much faster than regular gasoline.
Many mechanics believe that octane loss during winter storage could be great enough to damage an engine when it’s run in the spring. These same mechanics will often recommend leaving the tank almost empty so that fresh gasoline can be added in the spring to raise depleted octane levels.
The recommendation to leave a tank mostly empty is bad advice; it could significantly increase the amount of water that gets into the tank. When enough water enters through the vent, the ethanol will separate (“phase separate”) from the gasoline. Leaving a tank mostly empty does three things to increase the chances of phase separation:
Your marine sanitation device dynamos know that it increases the volume of open space in the tank (its “lung capacity”) so it can “breathe in” damaging moist air. An almost-empty tank leaves more space on tank walls for condensation to form.
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If phase separation occurs, the highly corrosive ethanol/water mixture will settle to the bottom of the tank and remain there even after fresh fuel is added in the spring. The only way to remedy the problem would then be to drain the tank and add fresh gasoline.
Myth #2: E10 attracts water, so it’s important to install a water separator to prevent the water reaching the engine.
Mercury Marine, which recently hosted a Webinar on ethanol myths, noted that ethanol does not “grab water molecules out of the air.” It is hydrophilic, which means ethanol holds water. With regular gasoline (E0) as well at E10, the primary cause of water collecting in tanks is condensation on tank walls. Note, however, that a fuel filter (10-micron) is essential to keep gunk from reaching your engine.
Myth #3: Certain additives can prevent phase separation?
Both Gibbs and Simnick said that the additives that eliminate water may work incrementally to protect against phase separation, but Joe Simnick stressed that no additives will stand up to a good slug of water. Lew Gibbs added that the best way to prevent phase separation in E10 is to “keep it dry, keep it dry, keep it dry.”
E10 is certainly not as trouble-free as E0, especially the first few tankfulls. But for newer engines, those built after about 1991, there’s no reason the initial problems can’t be overcome.
So don’t forget these helpful pointers when deciding whether or not to switch to ethanol gas. 1) Ethanol-enhanced gasoline does not lose octane much faster than regular gasoline; 2) ethanol does not attract water; and 3) the best way to prevent phase separation in E10 is to keep it dry.
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