Life's tough for outboards on E street
Would you knowingly add a product to your boat's petrol or diesel that destroys fuel lines, feasts on polyester resin in fibre glass fuel tanks and corrodes aluminium tanks, causes deterioration of engine parts, rusting, clogging of filters and carburettor jets, and releases gunk and sludge throughout the engine?
It makes about as much sense as smoking a pack of ciggies a day, so most would say no! But at some stage in the future you may be asked to.
The use of 10% ethanol in unleaded petrol is pretty common nowadays, unless you pay for premium. Marine engines hate the stuff because they run under heavy load most of the time.
|High levels of ethanol are bad for outboards and the environment Belize Yachts|
What's more, it's a solvent that eats rubber and absorbs water. When mixed with petrol ethanol reacts to form a chemical that sinks to the bottom of the tank and corrodes the metal.
So what's being done about it? Well, rather than decreasing the level there's a push by the all-powerful Environmental Protection Agency in the US to increase the ethanol content to 15%.
In response, the US Department of Energy has released the results of two studies on the effects of using E15 in marine engines. Both reports show severe damage to engine components and an increase in exhaust emissions.
In durability testing, two of the three outboard engines sustained enough damage to prevent them from completing the test cycle.
Many modern outboards will run on E10 but when the fuel contains 15 per cent ethanol, all engines will begin stalling and exhaust gas temperatures are significantly elevated.
The irony is that ethanol contains less energy than petrol, so more of it is required.
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