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Thread: Water in gasoline and ethanol

  1. #1
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    Water in gasoline and ethanol

    My son left his boat tank outside for a year and there was a small gap on top where the fuel sight glass is, but I was really surprised how much actual water was in there, out of a six gallon tank there was about 2 gallons of water! It doesn't rain much here and I suspect that some of that is the ethanol separated out and combined with the water that leaked in. I settled it out in a glass container and siphoned the gas off the top and ran it thru a filtration funnel twice, got good clean fuel with no signs of water droplets at all. Will treat with Star Tron as well. It was mixed 100:1 for the 2 stroke boat motor and I will burn about a gallon at a time to an 18 gallon fillup in the only gasoline burning car we own, a 2008 Infinity FX35 unless someone sees a problem with that such as fouling the 02 sensors?
    This has me thinking about separating the ethanol from gas for my small motors, anyone doing that? It's actually a lot easier than I thought. By the way I did this with another 6 gallons a couple weeks ago that was loaded with water and we ran it last week in the boat with no issues whatsoever, motor ran better than it ever has. I suspect we have had water issues in the past as we had intermittent motor problems the last two years of our annual fishing trip, never thought to check for water, both tanks were contaminated.
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    Last edited by bigb; 04-16-2022 at 04:13 PM.
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    I switched to non ethanol gas for all my small engines several yrs ago and have had zero carb problems since. Which includes 2 two stroke engines that can sit for a yr w/o being used.
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Quote Originally Posted by mla2ofus View Post
    I switched to non ethanol gas for all my small engines several yrs ago and have had zero carb problems since. Which includes 2 two stroke engines that can sit for a yr w/o being used.
    Problem is we can't get it where I live unless we want to pay $8/quart for Stihl Fuel.
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Don't know if it's fact but I read where someone put fresh ethanol gas in a glas container like you have and added some water, then marked the water level with a magic marker. After a while the water levl rose giving evidence the water absorbed the ethanol from the gas.
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Quote Originally Posted by mla2ofus View Post
    Don't know if it's fact but I read where someone put fresh ethanol gas in a glas container like you have and added some water, then marked the water level with a magic marker. After a while the water levl rose giving evidence the water absorbed the ethanol from the gas.
    Yep I been watching You Tubes, as the water molecules attach to the ethanol molecules the water level rises by about 12%. You got me thinking and I Googled for ethanol free fuel, even though there is none in Tucson I found a source about an hour from me that supposedly has it. If so that would be more convenient than making my own.
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Don't know if it's fact but I read where someone put fresh ethanol gas in a glas container like you have and added some water, then marked the water level with a magic marker. After a while the water levl rose giving evidence the water absorbed the ethanol from the gas
    If you use an accurate quantity of suspected ethanol fuel and add an accurate amount of water you can figure out the percentage of ethanol in the fuel once it separates out. Think it's called phase separation
    I bought a graduated bottle and check ours here every once in awhile, luckily we don't have it ....yet.
    I settled it out in a glass container and siphoned the gas off the top and ran it thru a filtration funnel twice, got good clean fuel with no signs of water droplets at all.
    It will separate out for sure, only problem being is the octane rating drops by removing the ethanol, think it's around 5 points or so. You have to watch for knocking if you run it in a higher compression engine...........M

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Quote Originally Posted by bigb View Post
    Problem is we can't get it where I live unless we want to pay $8/quart for Stihl Fuel.
    Try this map on E0 stations in AZ.

    https://www.pure-gas.org/extensions/...p?statecode=AZ
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Quote Originally Posted by bigb View Post
    Yep I been watching You Tubes, as the water molecules attach to the ethanol molecules the water level rises by about 12%. You got me thinking and I Googled for ethanol free fuel, even though there is none in Tucson I found a source about an hour from me that supposedly has it. If so that would be more convenient than making my own.
    After you pour off the hydrocarbon layer, leaving the water & EtOH mix, dump in some common salt (enough that not all dissolves) and see if you get further separation. I believe the alcohol should form a new top layer, as it is less soluble in the more ionized and polarized Na+, Cl- /water solution.

    I used to get free Coleman fuel, "Lead Substitute" and various other good chemicals from a Toxic Waste program. For years, I have used that fuel in various garden equipment, sometimes adding the lead substitute, sometimes not. Most of my chainsaws have no problem with it, although I do try to keep the octane rating high enough. FWIW, both alcohol and MTBE can themselves react with aluminum and moreso, with magnesium. So far, I've not seen evidence of any corrosion from my mixes and no signs of detonation. I may run them a bit richer that califorNIA would like, but "Their" politics have created more pollution than I could cause even if I tried to create it.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Ethanol blended gasoline will emulsify water to some extent.........thus allowing some water contamination to be suspended in the gas, which will allow it to safely run through the motor............or at least RUN.

    Regular ethanol free gas immediately allows any water contamination to drop to the bottom of the tank, and she ain't gonna RUN.........period. Unless, and this is the funny part for those who believe otherwise, you add some alcohol to the contaminated gasoline, which emulsifies the water.........allowing the water to run through the engine, and RUN. This is what HEET does. There is a point where it won't burn right, or starts to drop out in the fuel filter thus plugging it, but alcohol has always been used to help contaminated gasoline burn.

    Phase separation is when the ethanol blended gas won't hold anymore water in suspension, and it separates into a layer just like non ethanol gas. Then, she won't RUN.

    If you recall my fuel drained from the Ranger.............it was badly contaminated Non Ethanol gasoline. Condensation in the tank wasn't absorbed by the ethanol free gas, and it settled to the bottom of the tank...............she no RUN.

    So.......either type of gasoline will suffer from water contamination. I imagine the biggest drawback to an ethanol blend is that it carries water through the entire fuel system, and will corrode stuff upstream from the gas tank(if it's in suspension, and hasn't phase separated), whereas the non ethanol gas will just shut the engine down when the water at the bottom of the tank gets drawn into the line.

    I run water separators on all my diesel motors...........zero problems. And, luckily, all of my old tractors have bottom drains on the fuel tanks(the first line of defense for condensed water).

    I cannot, that I'm aware of, run a separator on my fuel injected gas motors(they have in-tank pumps)........and none of the gas tanks have drains. So I have problems.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    We have 3 lawnmowers. Two walk behind with Honda motors, and a rider with a Briggs motor. All of them are left sitting where parked when done mowing...........ALL WINTER LONG. The rider has never had water problems, her Cadet walk behind has never had problems, but my walk behind always has problems. Some mowers collect water, some don't. WE RUN THEM ALL ON ETHANOL GAS. Until last year.

    I switched my walk behind over to non ethanol, and it wouldn't run this Spring. Same same, water in the tank. It collects water regardless of the type of gas in it.

    I can't debate the merits of Stabil, or the other stuff out there. I've always run Stabil, and it works on motors that don't collect water, and doesn't work on motors that do collect water(shrug). But I keep on using it

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    I have a honda generator made in 1999. well used and sat on a trailer behind my vehicle for 12yrs and run only regular fuel. Carb only cleaned once a couple years ago, and that is because the $200 muffler wore out an rain got in through the muffler. Never an issue starting or running. I have a couple of kohler engine similar year on a walk behind and tractor and a new pressure washer, all foul in weeks if fuel left in them. Been using pure in them. Will probably try filtering too.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Some material for reading.

    https://cropwatch.unl.edu/ethanol-an...oval-additives

    The study itself:

    https://cropwatch.unl.edu/documents/...2009052014.pdf

    All of it pretty much supports the fact that the snake oil they sell ya, is just that...........snake oil. Most additives are not worth the money, but people still believe in them.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    We have 3 lawnmowers.
    All of them are left sitting where parked when done mowing...........ALL WINTER LONG.
    Not surprising...
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Is there a way to pull the fuel from the top in small engines. Or mound the petcock on the side so water can drawn off periodically. It would be worth the fuel loss to me? My larger engines have pumps but are gravity fed initially. Or maybe a giant centrifuge. We used to centrifuge oil to separate dissolved water from oil, the volume of water was huge in small vials.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    I run common gas.

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    Water in gasoline and ethanol

    It all falls under common sense and general maintenance.

    Ethanol gasoline or not, Always use an ethanol treatment (I prefer Star-tron) for in the machine and storage gasoline.

    If possible, always shut off the gas and let the machine run till it dies.

    For winter storage, shut the petcock off and drain the bowl on the carb. (literally takes 3 seconds with a screw driver or small adjustable wrench)

    I use this method and never have a problem with anything.
    Just yesterday I started my 15hp Ex-Mark mower after winter slumber.... and It fired up 2nd pull. same thing with the woodsplitter.

    All my machines are under cover from the elements.. but outside. woodsplitter gets a tarp.

    Again, this is all common sense and good maintenance ethic which I was taught as a young boy.

    BUT,
    If you just leave your mower out on the lawn all winter, well... frankly that's pretty stupid.
    but some guys never learn...

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    I look in fuel tanks changing pumps. Tanks look really clean and no water. Oy place i ever find water is open fittings.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Some people have more problems than others do with this sort of thing.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    I run all my small engines dry every time I use them, not just for long term storage. I also keep track of the dates I buy gasoline and I treat it, and replace it with fresh every couple of months pouring the old into the car. So I have had zero problems. But my son, he is not mechanical and all I can do is try to remember to deal with his fuel and battery maintenance which is not always easy as he lives on the other side of town. I am teaching him the best I can but you are either mechanically inclined or you're not, it's not in everyone's blood like it is for most of us here. He excels at other things like making lots of money and raising 4 wonderful kids so I can't really fault him. He was ready to buy a new 4 stroke boat motor when we started having issues, now I have the old 2 stroke running like new.
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    In Marana?

    https://www.pure-gas.org/extensions/...p?statecode=AZ

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldendum View Post
    In Marana?

    https://www.pure-gas.org/extensions/...p?statecode=AZ

    Circle K #9539
    11403 W Tangerine Rd, Marana, AZ; 520-682-1316; ethanol-free CIRCLE K 89;
    I found that one but now after reading Samm's links it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference, in fact the E10 can hold more water in suspension than E0.
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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    All of it pretty much supports the fact that the snake oil they sell ya, is just that...........snake oil. Most additives are not worth the money, but people still believe in them.
    I didnt read the link but pretty much come to that conclusion. I quit using all that stuff, seems to make less mess without it.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    My Fuel pumps does collect water. I also have a Honda push mower at my shop that cuts about .05 acres 10 times per yr. No routine maintenance and no additives for 9 yrs. Starts each year.

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    Re: Water in gasoline and ethanol

    Separating H2O from fuel:

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