August 23, 2006
What To Do with E10 Fuel Over the Winter
Successfully preparing your fuel system and boat for winter storage is really a two-phased approach. Step 1 involves your boating and fueling habits during the boating season, while Step 2 has to do with the final steps just before winterizing the boat and engine.
Step 1: Basically, the more you use the boat, the better off everything will be! E10 gasoline (fuel w/ ethanol added) loses its volatility when exposed to air over time; the average shelf life of E10 is only about 60-90 days if not treated with stabilizers. As such, adding a good non-alcohol based fuel stabilizer to your fuel is a very good idea.
As we’ve mentioned before, the main problem with ethanol is that it absorbs water, in fact, scientist say that ethanol can absorb 2-3% by volume of water. This leads to the major issue with E10: when it sits for long periods of time “phase separation” occurs. In layman’s terms, this means that waterlogged ethanol begins to separate from the gas settling to the bottom of the tank while the fuel floats on top. This results in two solutions – neither of which is good. The gasoline left has no oxygenate, so it shouldn’t be burned by the engine and needs to be disposed of and pumped out, while the water left behind contains a high concentration of ethanol; a “cocktail” that is extremely corrosive and damaging to the fuel system; tanks, fittings, hoses, and filters. Once this separation occurs, the only thing to do is to dispose of all the fuel, clean the tank, and start with fresh E10 gasoline. Hence our dilemma when it comes to winter storage.
The first step to successfully preparing your fuel system for winter storage is to reduce the amount of water in your tank during the boating season. This can be done by running the appropriate amount of non-alcohol fuel drier and stabilizer through the system a few times each season. Chevron Techron, Starbrite StarTron® , and MDR Water Zorb are among the best products to consider. The other key to a healthy fuel system and tank is to not leave a boat with a lot of fuel for extended periods of time during the season. If you use the boat only periodically, then it’s best to run the boat with less fuel in it and just fill the tank with only what you need for the day before heading out.
Step 2: When it comes to actually preparing the boat for winter storage, the tank should be run completely dry or at the very least as dry as possible. Then treat the small amount that’s left for the winter. What I’d recommend is adding the same high quality fuel stabilizer/ dryer that you’ve been using throughout the season with some high test gas the last time you put fuel in the boat for the year. Then, run the boat completely dry with this final combination. This goes against traditional thinking - but it’s probably better to have a small amount of water from condensation that can be relatively easily dealt with than a tank full of bad gas that is highly corrosive and damaging.
Posted by ribcraftusa at August 23, 2006 05:01 PMBack To Index