Important Marine Fuel Alert From Westerbeke

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Fishers of Men, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

  2. freyedknot

    freyedknot useless poster

    my mechanic at knox marine said it was bad for my vro system too. cost $500.00 for a new one this past summer.

  3. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    I'll bet you the $500 he can't definitively prove that the fuel caused the VRO failure. That sounds like a mechanic placing blame somewhere when he couldn't determine for certain what caused the problem.

    The fact is that gas has been blended with ethanol for a long time now (I remember it in the 80's) - at first it was just at the "cheap" stations. Carry-outs, Mom & Pop places and "discount" gas stations. I remember Marathon advertising "100% pure gas" at their pumps. I used whatever was convenient and can honestly say that I could never tell a difference between the two fuels. I can't say that I was overly vigilant about using fuel stabilizers like I should have but I never really had any issues. Maybe I just got lucky. But that's not my main point.

    That being said, I find it amusing that in the same article the author states that ethanol is a solvent and tends to clean any dirt or contaminants with which it comes in contact. Then in the next paragraph he states the the ethanol, when left for 60-90 days, breaks down and forms deposits in the fuel system. Which is it? Does it clean deposits or form them? If I put fresh E10 in the tank will it "clean" the deposits it left when it sat there before?

    If someone tells you that the damage to whatever is due to the ethanol in the fuel today, they're making an excuse. It's been around for a long time.
  4. UFM82, I agree with some of your points. But to claim "If someone tells you that the damage to whatever is due to the ethanol in the fuel today, they're making an excuse." is wrong. I am an automotive technician and can tell you first hand that it does effect certain components in a fuel system. Ethanol has been around for a long time, but gas companies are adding more and more because the government is giving them kick backs for the amount they use. I personally have seen fuel pump failure and fuel sender failures on the increase which coincides with the increase in use of ethanol.

    For one instance, we use a machine called Motorvac that decarbonizes the engine and cleans the fuel system. It uses a small amount of fuel from the vehicle and a cleaner. I change the filter on the machine once a year. The last 2 times I have noticed that the seal inside of the filter was almost like gelitan rather than rubber. The first time I figured it was faulty material. The second time I called the company. It turns out it is the ethanol causing the problem and from what I have seen it do to other seals in older cars I do agree.

    Now with that being said, it is something that we are going to have to live with. I feel the companies that make these products for both automotive and marine applications should step up and start making products that will withstand the ethanol.

    Just my 2 cents:)
  5. freyedknot

    freyedknot useless poster

    he did tell me the main companent on the vro is a small rubber bellows and that the ethanol eats rubber . my vro did last 7 years though. at $500.00 to replace it i would hope to get a little more life out of it ? or next time i will disconnect it and go to premix.
  6. Thats what I mean, they should replace that bellows and any other part on the VRO to withstand the ethanol. I am in no instance a marine technician, but your mechanic has probably seen just as I have the effects of ethanol on certain parts of the fuel system.

    On the other part of your post, me being mechanically inclined. I would disconnect a VRO and pre-mix on any boat I owned. Not saying that it is the right thing to do for all, and I am in no way recommending it, but to rely on a warning buzzer for something that can cause catastrophic engine failure very quickly is something that makes me uneasy. The newer systems are more reliable though. It's just a personal preference.


    if u are to bypass the vro system, should u still use the 50:1 mix?
  8. If you bypass the VRO than yes you have to mix your gas according to the manufacturers recommendations. Your question though is bothering me, do you have a VRO system and still mixing your gas:confused:


    yes i have a vro and no i am not mixing my gas.:mad: from what i have read with a vro system it ends up with a 50:1 mix and if u eliminate the vro it should be a 50:1 mix in the fuel tank. thought maybe someone might be useing a diff mix
  10. freyedknot

    freyedknot useless poster

    the vro does not always give a 50 to 1 ratio. it is gib=ven as needed as per rpm's.
  11. Sorry num1fire, didn't mean to insult. I believe all newer motors are 50:1, it would be wise just to check and make sure on your make and model. Again, no hard feelings. I was just a little confused:)
  12. NUM1FIRE


    none taken sometimes i talk or type what i want to say but it doesnt come out right. as far i know my vro is working correctly i just thought about bypassing it so i dont have to worry about it.
  13. freyedknot

    freyedknot useless poster

    when mine went out the system worked orrectly. i had a warning horn and would not run for long and only at low spped as intended with the warning system. i always carry oil just in case.
  14. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    What about the claims on the ethanol against aluminum? Also, I had about 5 gal of water I took out last year from the seperation setting over the winter and had stabil and seafoam in it.
  15. KaGee

    KaGee Monkeywrench Staff Member

    Anyone using an internal fuel tank, I/O or Outboard, needs to be regularly checking the separator/filter if the fuel you use contains ethanol. You will have a greater chance of water build up.
  16. On another post I mentioned that it is a good idea (must) to seal your fuel tank vent when you store your boat for long periods of time such as over the winter. With ethanol even shorter periods (6 weeks) can allow absorbtion of moisture to a point that it could be a problem. Ethanol will absorb the moisture until a saturation point is reached. At that time both the ethanol and the water will separate from the gasoline and settle to the bottom of the tank. (known as phase separation) This is not good. If you pump or drain off the bottom you can remove the ethanol/water mixture. However you will be left with fuel that has a much lower octane than was previously in your tank. (ethanol raises octane). One solution would be to purchase premium to bring the octane back up to the minimum level needed for your particular engine. Added note: You will never see water in the bottom of a tank when using gas with ethanol added to it. You will have ethanol/water mixture. It would be milky.
  17. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    Isn't there any way to stop the separation? I have a tight sealed tank and I was going to start putting some in but don't want to, due to the probs. I hold 200 gal. If I could, I was going to use the 30 gal giant eagle deal and let it build up. I always run 92 octane or the highest I can get. These are outboards and they don't like anything under 91 octane. I emptied it before winter this time.
  18. If your fill cap is tight and you sealed off your tank vent then there is no way for any air to move in/out of tank. I use duct tape to seal the vent. Come spring when the weather warms and the fuel expands the vapors will be able to push past the duct tape. If you have sealed off your vent in the past and still had drop out in your tank(s) then a possibility could be that when you purchased the fuel it had already absorbed some moisture and a small amount may have pushed it to the saturation point.
    In the fall of 2006 I filled my fuel tank (34 gallons), added stabil, taped the vent, made sure the fill cap was on tight and had a good seal. I did not have any problems in spring 2007. I usually use Speedway gas as it is convenient to my location.
    If fuel is left in tanks over winter, and if if tanks have bottom drain, it is wise to drain some fuel into a clear container and view the fuel. If it is crystal clear you are good to go.
  19. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    Thanks Gene, I have a fine threaded stainless locking pop up cap with an "o" ring. It seals tight. I get my best GPH with shell. I guess I'll just start putting some in. I get more gas than I use right now, and drain some in april to see.