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FUEL FACTS: GOOD NUTRITION EQUALS GOOD PERFORMANCE

Posted 4/24/2009

Just like your body needs the proper foods for good health, your Yamaha outboard needs clean, high-quality fuel to reach its performance potential. Contaminated fuel can make your outboard spit, sputter, idle rough, or in extreme cases, not run at all. It's very important to know what kind of fuel is best for your outboard so you can avoid major problems down the road.

Ethanol-Blended Fuel
Most of the gasoline you buy today contains up to 10% ethanol, a type of alcohol added to the fuel to help reduce exhaust emissions and our dependency on fossil fuels.

Ethanol is a wonderful solvent and it can remove all the accumulated debris that builds up over time in a boat's fuel tank. The problem is that the debris can pass through the fuel lines and into the engine, causing a great deal of damage to the outboard in the process.

In addition, ethanol has an affinity for moisture and, since a boat's fuel system is vented to the atmosphere, air flows into the gas tank via the vent as the fuel level drops. Air contains water vapor, and the ethanol in the fuel attracts this water. If the water absorbed into the fuel reaches just half of one percent of the total content, the ethanol/water mix settles to the bottom of the tank, where it can be ingested into your outboard. This is called phase separation and it can prohibit your outboard from running properly or, in some cases, may prohibit it from running at all, depending on the severity of the situation.

Ethanol has also been known to dissolve certain types of rubber gaskets, fuel hoses, and older fiberglass gas tanks. When this happens, the plasticized fuel gets into the engine and can do irreparable damage to the powerhead's internal components.

There is Hope
There are several things you can do to alleviate possible fuel hassles in regards to your Yamaha-powered boat. First, buy your fuel from a name-brand, reputable source and try to buy from the same place every time, if possible. Avoid filling up when the station is getting a load of fuel from a tanker; hundreds of gallons of gas being dumped into the tanks tends to stir up sediment, and you don't want to intentionally put dirty gas in your boat.
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Install a Yamaha 10-micron water-separating fuel filter between the boat's gas tank and the engine. These filters operate at about 95 percent efficiency, offer little restriction in the fuel delivery system, and most importantly, they filter out water, dirt, and nearly everything else that doesn't belong in the fuel.

Unlike other filters, the Yamaha 10-micron filter is a sealed unit, so you can't twist off the outer housing to dump the water out and then put it back, ensuring that the filter stays clean and efficient. .

Many gasolines have a short shelf life, as little as thirty days in many cases. To preserve your fuel and help prevent phase separation, put Yamaha Fuel Conditioner and Stabilizer in your boat's gas tank every time you fill up. In addition, you can also add Yamaha Ring Free into the gas to prevent carbon build-up in the engine. Ring Free is formulated to make it difficult for carbon to stick to metal surfaces.

If possible, try to keep the fuel tank topped off (reduces condensation) and change or service all the on-engine filters on your Yamaha outboard according to the directions in the owner's manual (or more often if necessary). These steps always help to keep your outboard running properly.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, use your boat a lot. If you make certain the gas doesn't have the opportunity to get old, you greatly decrease your risk of fuel-related issues