Ethanol for Outboards

October 29, 2008 By: Marshall Cutchin

Guide John Berry’s experiences with ethanol should raise some eyebrows for those who might think that when it comes to outboard fuel, all gas is the same. “It attracts water. Since outboard motors do not have sealed fuel systems they can take on water if ethanol is used. Water and gasoline don’t mix. The water settles to the bottom of the tank where it enters the intake tube and goes into the motor. You can imagine the results. Ethanol is also a powerful solvent. As we walked through Floyd’s shop, he showed me several fuel lines that had been put out of commission by the use of ethanol.” In the Baxter, Arkansas Bulletin.
Berry’s observations remind me of what the lead engineer at OMC told me many years ago about how to extend the life of outboards (admittedly, all two-stroke at the time): “Use the best fuel you can buy,” he said, “and run them constantly.”