Too much alcohol !!

Help Support

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
TinBoats Supporter
May 15, 2010
Reaction score
Central Florida
Lake County, Central Florida
Had a boat "come back" after doing the complete boat fuel system and carburetors. Engine is a late 90s Johnson 175 in the 60-degree configuration.
Anyway...ran fine when it left.
Customer came back in with a less than stellar mood claiming that the engine ran perfectly for almost exactly 4 minutes then fell on it's face and would not accelerate on plane. "You guys ruined my weekend"
Now....keep the 4 minute time span handy in your brain.
4 minutes is probably about the amount of time it takes for the engine to run out the fuel in the fuel lines from the tank, through a large water separating fuel filter, into the engine fuel pump and fill the vapor separator tank and carburetors.
After this amount of time the engine is on whatever the customer filled his tank with or if the tank had water, etc.......
Took a fuel sample. Something was strange about the gasoline in the sample. Did not smell right and did not "feel" like gasoline. Was not rotten gasoline.
Took the gasoline and did an Ethanol test on it. Results are below !!

pic host

The percentage of ethanol in his gasoline was approx. did not read that wrong.
Turns out the customer filled his tank or added to his existing fuel in the tank with...... E85!
Running on a shop tank produced the normal good running characteristics the engine left with. Switching back to his tank again produced all of the symptoms outlined by the customer.
Customer claimed that we had told him this was the best gasoline to run. That did not fly well and he was charged for pumping close to 100 gallons of fuel and disposal plus troubleshooting time.
To give you an idea of what kind of energy Ethanol produces compared to gasoline there have been many studies done. In general 1 gallon of E85
has 73% to 83% of the energy of one gallon of gasoline. The variation is due to the amount of ethanol in E85. In essence the E85 leaned his engine to the point it would no longer run high speed nor did it have the proper mixture to accelerate.
And there are those that think "gasahol" is the savior-of-the-planet-fuel. #-o Too funny.

Sounds like the guy was trying to cheap out on the gas and when it didn't work out he thought he'd try to swindle you. What a bunch of bull.
I would think Pappy has seen way more than most of us when it comes to boat motors, you would be surprised at what some people do!
I remember talking to a guy whose kids replaced a valve in a car motor and now it had a miss. Asked him if they lapped/seated the new valve to mate with the seat and he said that they should know that much. Turns out they didn't, they just installed the new valve without seating it, they ended up removing the head and seating the new valve, put it back together and the miss was gone! #-o
yeah been there, done that.

we techs are never the good guy, always the bad. Too expensive too slow dirty flunkies. At least that is the general consensus.

E85 runs fine in a lot of things but not without increasing the fuel flow through the engine. Jetting, injectors, etc.

I run a newer efi 25hp and love it, but I also have an old 3 cylinder 25 2 stroker that I toss on the boat about once a year to excercise it. I probably need to let my brother have it like I said I would but anyway, I had an issue once where it had E85 in it. Pulled the choke to get back to the ramp. It ran ok, very slow but it was ok to get back to the ramp at 15 mph. That deal was done by an idiot who filled the tank at the gas station with E85 rather than gas. It happens. We ain't all perfect. I didn't go nuts on the gas station either, I just called them to make sure they were aware and left it alone from there. Big deal, throwed the 3 1/2 gal of E85 on the burn pile, let it soak in over night and touched it off the next day.
Ethanol is the enemy! Lol. In all seriousness, I have a friend who owns a powersports shop, snowmobiles, ATVs etc. We've seen all kinds of fuel related problems even with E15 87 regular. He writes right on the receipt to use premium non ethanol, which is available here in Ontario. Use puregas website. I've seen fuel 3 months old poured on the shop floor and it wouldn't burn with a lighter on it!

Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk

So with my old motors...let's just say I was able to get my hands on some ethanol free, 100 octane, leaded would say...???
Piomarine said:
So with my old motors...let's just say I was able to get my hands on some ethanol free, 100 octane, leaded would say...???

Make a deal on a bulk purchase, before it gets outlawed, or deemed "outdated" by the refinery.

Seen this plenty of times in the automotive shop I work in. Most customers seem to have no idea that they filled their car tank with E85, as the nozzle fits normally. The bigger surprise is the ones that are able to get diesel fuel in!

I personally source Non-Oxy 91 for all my small engines, and power sports toys, as a lot of stations carry it in MN.

Latest posts