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Boating Know How

Tanks Full - Tips for Saving Boat Fuel

We boaters are all guilty of carrying too much gear aboard. it accumulates one lure, one ski and one gadget at a time, during months and years of boating. One of the quickest ways to get more miles per gallon is to get the lead out! No, don't leave the dock without tools, spares or safety equipment, and don't go so far as to drink your sundowner neat instead of on the rocks. ... read more But don't stow the fishing gear aboard when the season is over, the water skis and wakeboards when your kids are back at school, and the 12 cases of fizzy stuff here and there "just because." That stuff has got to

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go if you want to save more gas. To prove the point, we loaded the Bluewater with a crew of seven and all the gas and water we could carry. Check the chart below for the dismal results.

Next, we ran the Bluewater "light." We drained the fuel down to 20 gallons. We stripped it of every bit of gear but for required safety equipment — and, yes, discovered we had more on board than we'd need on any three fishing trips. Then we set out with a three-man crew weighing 600 pounds and increased our economy by a whopping 27 percent.

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Such a dramatic increase isn't likely in normal use, since few boaters will either strip or weight their rigs to the extremes that we did for testing. Put in terms you can use, we added 1 percent to our cruise-speed efficiency for every 100 pounds we took off the boat. if this boat were run 100 hours a year, we'd save 16 gallons annually for every hundred pounds we didn't carry. If you're shopping for a boat, compare displacement carefully when deciding between models if maximized fuel economy tops your priorities. Ditto for comparing the weights of engines. Hundreds of pounds will cost you hundreds of dollars. Later Craters Also, "a clean, smooth bottom is a real efficiency enhancer," says product manager Karl Sandstrom, a 21-year Evinrude veteran. If you keep your boat at a slip or mooring, use a quality bottom paint. Traditional "hard" paints are effective anti-foulants, but they create a cratered surface after a few years of built-up coats. If your boat's bottom looks like the Sea of Tranquility, break out a scraper, or hire a bead blaster to remove that old cratered paint. Efficiency mavens select ablative

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paints, such as Interlux Micron or Pettit Hydrocoat. These wear away, leaving a smooth surface. If your boat has sat idle for a while, it pays to hire a diver to scrub the bottom or to don a mask and fins and do it yourself.

Of course, keeping an engine in top shape counts toward the economy total. Adhere to the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual. Send the prop out for reconditioning if you bend a blade. (Or learn to coax dings back to normal with file, mallet and the judicious application of double-wrenching.) The recipe for maximized efficiency is like stew, rich with many ingredients that add up to something good. Apply the techniques we tested, and watch your gas gauge move slower and slower and slower. Proving-Ground Procedures Our guinea pig was a 25-foot Bluewater 2550 center console, powered by twin 200 Evinrude E-TEC outboards. Our battery of tests were run in salt water, measuring fuel burn using Evinrude I-Command NMEA 2000 instruments reading directly from the engines' electronic control modules. Speeds were recorded from a Lowrance LCX-26 GPS. All runs were done in two directions, to negate the effects of wind and current.

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Dollars and Cents Tallying all gains and losses from the testing done with our Evinrude-powered Bluewater, and extrapolating that data, resulted in these eye-opening, albeit idealized, results based on running 100 hours at 30 mph. Back Off, Burn Less Simple but true: Back off the throttle to burn less gas. Naturally we don't expect you to troll everywhere, but unless you're in a tournament, are racing to make a bridge opening or have that momentary need for speed that afflicts us all, slow down to save fuel without costing any real time. Check out the 15-mile run

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numbers from our Bluewater test boat (shown above). Do You Know It Takes... 2 gallons of crude oil to make 1 gallon of gasoline

26 pounds of corn to make 1 gallon of ethanol

1/2 pound of fuel to make 1 horsepower per hour

1 gallon of gasoline = 6 pounds

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1 gallon of diesel = 7 pounds

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Article courtesy of Boating Magazine. To subscribe or view additional news from Boating Magazine, go to (www.boatingmag.com).

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Impact of Ethanol-Blended Gas on Boat Engines

Article courtesy of Tom Bingham, Gold Eagle, Co.

Warmer weather has finally arrived across most of the country, and it's time to clean up your boat and get it ready for the open waters. ... read more But, before you fill up your boat's fuel tank, there are some things you should know about ethanol-blended gasoline and its impact on your boat.


Research has found that as much as 75 percent of boats serviced at the beginning of boating season require carburetor cleaning due to build-up from oxygenated fuels. Oxygenated fuel is gasoline that contains oxygen, which is predominately caused by ethanol that is mixed into today's gasoline at the pump.

How Can Ethanol Impact Your Boat Engine?

If a boat is left in storage for more than three weeks with ethanol-blended gasoline such as E10 or E15 in the tank, you could experience any or all of the following:

Phase Separation - Ethanol is alcohol-based, and alcohol absorbs moisture from the atmosphere as it sits, causing engine corrosion. As time goes by, the mixture of gas and water separate, and the water sinks to the bottom of the gas tank, creating two separate solutions. When this happens, it's called phase separation, which is bad news for a boat engine. When a boat is first started and gets moving, the bow rises, and the water-soaked ethanol solution is pulled into the engine, which can lead to misfire and costly repair fees.

Deterioration Issues - Ethanol is a known solvent and can affect the interior of rubber hoses and cause deterioration of the materials. Tubes that run to the fuel tank overtime can become brittle, break off or flake. Broken pieces could travel through the gas lines and eventually clog the fuel system. For boats with fiberglass fuel tanks, ethanol can also corrode and even dissolve the fiberglass resin that holds the material together, causing major issues.

What Can You Do About?

Most of the country now has gasoline-blended with ethanol (E10) at their local gas stations, and finding non-oxygenated fuel is very difficult and expensive, costing as high as $5 to $8 per quart. But, before you empty your wallet and pound the pavement looking for ethanol-free gas, there are some things you can do to prevent the side effects of gasoline that contains ethanol.

Do Your Homework - Take the time to look over all systems of your boat, especially your fuel hoses and primer bulb. Take them in your hand and feel for stiffness or signs of the hoses becoming brittle. Prime the bulb several times prior to starting your engine and visually check as well as "feel" for leaks. Sometimes leaks occur in out of sight locations. Also, smell for fumes or possible leaks. A small amount of gas fumes are common, but if you smell a very strong odor of gasoline, there's probably a leak somewhere.

Fill Your Tank - If you are using ethanol-blended fuels, make sure to run your boat on fresh fuel and keep the tank 95 percent full (to allow for expansion). A tank that is nearly full reduces the flow of air in and out of the vent, which reduces condensation on the tank walls. Condensation that does form will be absorbed by the gasoline. If possible, park your boat in a shaded area during storage or at least cover the gas tank if it's exposed. This will aid in minimizing condensation in the tank and discourage corrosion.


Add an Ethanol Treatment - In response to ethanol-blended gasoline, there are new solutions on the market to protect your engine from the damaging effects above. Ethanol treatments like Marine Formula STA-BIL include corrosion inhibitors, cleaners and fuel stabilizer to help protect your engine. At every fill-up, add a bottle of ethanol-treatment to your tank to prevent the gasoline and ethanol from separating, attracting moisture and causing corrosion. By adding a treatment at EVERY fill-up, you not only protect your system from everyday problems with ethanol, but also the long-term problems should you not be able to use your boat as often as you'd like.

Drive Your Boat Regularly - Use your boat frequently during the season to ensure your gasoline doesn't get stale in your gas tank, which helps protect it from phase separation. If you're unable to physically drive your boat, for any extended time more than 30 days, at least make sure and start it up using a set of "muffs" available from your marine dealer and a common garden hose. Your engine should be run a minimum of 15 minutes per month to insure all fluids are warmed and circulated. This will discourage corrosion inside the engine and keep your fuel system fresh with the stabilized fuel.

Tom is director of marketing at Gold Eagle Co., industry pioneer and maker of America's No. 1 selling fuel stabilizer, STA-BIL®, and 303® Products. Tom has six years of experience in the performance chemical industry and seven years in the outdoor power equipment industry and is a certified small engine mechanic.
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Sierra Marine Fuel Systems (Video)

A video presentation on the Sierra Marine Fuel Systems, presented by Sierra. ... read more



Video Transcript

Quality fuel components including filtration, fuel line assemblies, carburetors, and carburetor kits are critical to long-term vessel operation. Sierra offers a comprehensive fuel solution that supplies the right combination of performance components for specific marine applications. Driven by industry requirements and fueled by years of expertise their unique products offer cost effective solutions to the demanding marine environment. The future of boating depends on better gas efficiency, enhanced engine performance and environmental responsibility. Sierra leads the charge in developing products which meet these criteria. Sierra doesn’t offer just gas components, they provide fuel solutions.

Today’s marine engines work in a demanding environment. Factors like ethanol fuel blends, higher combustion chamber operating temperatures, short gasoline shelf life and higher horsepower ratings necessitates the use of a high-quality fuel filter. Engineered for today’s stern drive and inboard engines as well as 2-cycle and 4-cycle outboard high and low pressure fuel systems, Sierra filters are the best in the business. Sierra filters are engineered to offer the ultimate in filtration, water separation from the fuel supply and provide maximum gas flow.

A filter’s efficiency is measured by percentage of dirt that a filter removes while maintaining flow without clogging. Higher efficiency results in a higher percentage of dirt retained by the filter. Micron rating measures the pore size in the filter paper. Its rating relates to the percentage of particles at a given size that a filter can capture. For example a filter with a 10 micron ratings and 90% efficiency will remove 90% of particles that 10 microns or larger in size. To put that in context, human hair is approximately 70 microns.

Efficiency and micron rating work together. A filter may be called 10 micron but have a very low efficiency, which can cause the engine to clog and severely damage the engine. Your boat needs a filter that will not only protect its engine but it’s also more than 90% efficient at removing engine damaging 10 micron and larger particles without starting the engine for fuel. As the industry leader in 10 micron technology, Sierra fuel filters are independently lab tested and approved and offers you the widest selection of OEM direct replacement fuel filters in the market. With a full line of cartridge, canister and inline filters to fit just about every engine in the marine market. Chances are we have a filter to protect your boat. Backed by the Sierra industry leading warranty which pays for parts and labor and incidental damage, you can install a Sierra filter with confidence.

Sierra canister fuel filters are designed to be an exact fit and performance replacement to your current OEM canister filter. With an extensive line of 10 micron filters, Sierra canister filters are tested to be ISO, SAE and JIS standards. Don’t be fooled by other 10 micron filters that don’t specify efficiency. Any filter can catch some 10 microns particles, but how many of the engine damaging particles do they let through. Sierra 10 micron filters are more than 90% efficient at removing dirt and debris you from your fuel system while not starving your engine with gas. The Sierra 18-7786 fuel filter is manufactured by a patent pending design and is endorsed for use on Yamaha high-pressure direct injection engines. Sierra offers the largest selection of inline and cartridge field filter to meet the requirements of your engine. Sierra filters undergo extensive testing in real world situations, and that’s why professional technicians and do-it-yourselfers around the world choose Sierra filters protect their engine. Tested and approved for ethanol based gasoline, our inline meet the demand of today’s high-tech high performance engines.

Water is commonly found in fuel systems and can come from sources like condensation, gas handling and human marine environments, but water contaminated gasoline can lead to severe engine damage. Sierra offers the largest selection of 10 micron ethanol approved fuel kits keeping today’s high tech engines running strong. Stainless steel filter heads for salt and brackish water conditions. Aqua-Vu above deck drainable bowl kits make inspection and draining of water easy and convenient. Metal drainable bowls offer the same water draining abilities as their clear bowl counterparts but are fire tested and designed specifically for installation below deck. Sierra canister kits come complete with brass plugs to allow easy flow through or one-sided in-out installation. Bonus filter kits give you an extra spear filter for peace of mind and security.

All Sierra filters and brackets are designed to meet or exceed OEM specifications. And in many cases, Sierra is the OEM supplier to boat and engine builders worldwide.

Today’s high-tech engine requires precise amounts of fuel, oil and air to operate at peak performance. Older carbureted engines do not use filters because their environment was considered clean enough that they didn’t need an air filter. However today’s fuel injected and computer-controlled engines monitor every aspect of engine operation, that clean air is no longer clean enough. Air filters have become more prevalent on today’s outboard engines and Sierra offers OEM quality replacement filters that or exceed the OEM for those needs. Sierra outboard and diesel air filters are designed and tested for the marine environment, and just like everything we do they are backed by the best warranty in the marine business - the Sierra limited lifetime warranty.

In 2011 the EPA required all primer bulbs and primer bulb assemblies utilize low permeation components to reduce pollution causing hydrocarbon permeation through the hoses in primer bulbs by as much as 85%. In response Sierra introduced a new EPA approved primer bulb that exceeded the mandated permeation rate while maintaining Sierra’s traditional look feel and operational characteristics. Manufactured from a unique FKM material to prevent swelling and sticking even with ethanol gas, Sierra’s primer bulb meets both EPA and carb standards while providing outstanding warm-cold weather flexibility. All rubber compounds are batch tested before they are shipped. They feature FKM construction, superior UV resistance, double check valves and stainless steel springs which resists both corrosion and sticking, superior fuel flow. And they are available in 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch and 3/8 inch fuel lines.

Shield series 365 and 368 fuel hose complies with EPA and carb very low permeation requirements. It meets US Coast Guard type A1-15 requirements for pleasure boats, SAE J1527 type A1-15, ISO740 type A1 and NMMA CE type accepted standards.

The Silverado 4000 is a non-fire retardant rubber fuel line with fabric reinforcement that features a PVDF layer to prevent permeation. Designed to meet all EPA and carb requirements, including SAE J1527 type B1-15 and ISO standards. It’s comfortable with all blends of ethanol every reformulated fuel. The Silverado 4000 is extremely flexible and kink resistant in all weather conditions. Utilized in the Sierra fuel line assemblies, the Silverado 4000 is also available in 5/16 inch and 3/8 inch in 300 feet bulk coils, 50 foot and 25 foot shield rollout cartons and 10 foot polybags.

The fuel system would not be complete without mentioning the age old fuel-air mixer – the carburetor. Although new carburetors are not available for the majority of applications, Sierra has most of the popular applications covered with their new and remanufactured carburetor program. These new carburetors from the Sierra are built to original factory specs and not rebuilt or manufactured products. Housings are cast from corrosion resistant aluminum and machine using Sierra’s own specialty engineered tooling. Components are anodized and carefully assembled to provide season after season of reliable performance. New Sierra carburetors are available in popular Mercarb 2-barrel and Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel models. Like all Sierra engine and drive parts, these new carburetors are covered by Sierra’s limited lifetime warranty.

With Sierra’s new carburetors you can easily replace your old carburetor and once again enjoy the original performance of your boat and motor. Starting with select cores, Sierra’s re-manufactured carburetors brought back to exact OEM specifications. Following a thorough cleaning and inspection process, each unit is reassembled utilizing state of the art equipment and advanced techniques. Once reassembled, each unit is flow tested to ensure proper operation out of the box with minimal adjustments required. So, when looking for the best re-manufactured carburetor in the business, look for the blue Sierra tag.

Returning carburetor cores makes it possible to continue Sierra’s re-manufactured carburetor program, so we have simplified the process. First the core charge is built into the price of the carburetor eliminating multiple charge for the item. Second, to return the old core simply place the old unit in the box the new re-manufactured unit was shipped. Fil lout and attach the supplied core tag and ship to Sierra at the address on the return tag. Once we have received and processed the core return, we will issue a $75 check direct to the returnee listed on the tag.

Sierra has the right carburetor kit for the job. In fact no one offers more kits for more engines than Sierra. Utilizing superior ethanol resistant materials, matched with unsurpassed quality control. Sierra carburetor kits are designed to get you on the water in a hurry. Backed by our industry-leading warranty, you can be sure Sierra will have the kit you need when you need it, all with the quality and protection you demand.

Good gas management begins with preventive maintenance. If you have an older boat, inspect all fuel lines and replace any old hoses with new hoses that meet current standards. If you have not installed a fuel-water separator filter, now is the time. As they say “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Match your fuel purchases to your consumption. Don’t buy more gas you will use in one or two months. Store gasoline in a tightly closed container, in a cool dry place. Use a good quality fuel stabilizer like Eguard by Sierra and install a Sierra 10 micron fuel separating filter. With the right products and some advanced precaution, you can fill up with confidence and enjoy your time on the water.

You can find a full line of Sierra’s fuel components in the attachments tab.
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