Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ethanol...the Devil's Offspring?

I woke up at about 3:30 in the morning.  I was having a dream that I was Superman, and one of my enemies had secretly sprinkled Kryptonite on my Wheaties.  As you can probably guess, my dream had not been going well.  I had broken out into hives, I was wheezing, and it felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. 
I’d woken up from this terrible dream soaked with sweat and shivering.  Why would anyone want to put Kryptonite on Superman’s cereal, but more importantly why in the heck was I dreaming I was Superman. 
I started thinking and I realized that there was a convoluted connection to my dream and the recent drama that is going on in my life.  You see, an intruder has just stepped into my life.  That intruder is called E-10, or gas tainted with 10% Ethanol (corn alcohol). 

Kryptonite on Superman’s Wheaties is just like E-10 in a boat.  Superman doesn’t feel so hot  when his cereal is laced with Kryptonite, and your boat isn’t too happy when you put E-10 in its gas tank. 

Here’s why E-10 is bad for boats:
  1. Ethanol is hydrophilic, meaning that it absorbs water from the air through the boats fuel vent.  This is especially true when air is moving over the vent, as it naturally does when you are cruising along.
  2. It is a solvent.  It cleans all the gunk and dirt in your fuel system that has built up over the years and dumps it into your carburetor. 
  3. Ethanol likes to pull a stunt called “phase-separation” which means the ethanol and water pull out of the fuel in layers which may cause your engine to suddenly stop. 
  4. E-10 reduces overall fuel economy and performance because the net energy of the fuel is reduced. 
So, Ethanol is something to get serious about right now, as E-10 was only introduced this fall. 
Here’s what you can do to ensure that your boating is not ruined by a few creative politicians and corn farming lobbyists:
Make sure that you run the existing fuel out of your tanks before you put E-10 in your boat.  Last years fuel will not mix well with the new blend. 

If your boat is not equipped with an in-line fuel/ water separator make sure that you purchase a 10 Micron filter and have it installed before you hit the water.  Hamlin’s recommends a Yamaha or Racor manufactured filter.

Add Star Tron enzyme fuel treatment to your fuel.  One bottle costs $12.99 and will treat 128 gallons of fuel.  The enzymes in Star Tron allows for a more complete burn of E-10; the enzymes also fight phase-separation of the fuel.

Finally, this goes against what everybody’s told you about keeping your fuel tank full.  Carry only as much fuel as you need, and don’t let the fuel set undisturbed in your tank for long periods of time.  The best way to adhere to this rule is get out in your boat as much as you can.  Heck, I don’t even care if you blow off work.  Tell your boss that you’ve got a bad case of E-10! 

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