Q: Have you had fuel/engine problems with your boat on LP in 2016/17

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After reading the "San Juan" thread mentioning some fuel/engine issues, I have a question for WW members - the responses may help me and others.


Have you had issues on Lake Powell in 2016 and 2017 with fuel/engine, specifically, engine dying inexplicably, engine won't start after running for a while/won't start when hot, fuel pump gone bad quicker than it should, etc.

I've personally had several 'fuel' and/or 'engine' related issues last year and this year in 4 different boats I've operated - 1 with an EFI outboard, 2 with I/O - one single screw EFI and one duel i/o carb houseboat, and 1 large cruiser with 2 carb inboard. In each case, finding the fix has been elusive/expensive; in each case I suspect the problem is stemming from either bad fuel, water in the fuel, ethanol in the fuel, or a combination of these; and in each case although I've completed repairs, the engines still don't seem to be operating as smoothly as I like. My problems have left me stranded several times for several hours with vapor locked motors and just generally poorly running engines, all of which are maintained in excellent working condition. I have some good (meaning bad) stories to go along with these problems that I'll mention later - including a San Juan story. For now, I'm just curious if others have been having similar issues beyond "normal" with their boat fuel/engines/fuel pumps/fuel lines on Lake Powell in 2016 and 2017. -Doug

p.s. - if you have had abnormal issues, where did you purchase your fuel, and what was the ultimate solution to your problem?
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Last year had similar problems in the San Juan area after getting gas at DR. Replaced fuel filter/water separator and thought I was good to go after subsequent trips resulted in no problems. Then in late July this year both the 150 and the little kicker cut out on me and wouldn't start until the next morning. Ran great after that for the next 2 days and got home without incident.
Each time I fuel at DR, I cringe. Not knowing the condition of the barges that haul it and the various stages of handling before
it arrives at DR. But I never have had trouble like others talk bout.
I try never to run E-10 but can't avoid it sometimes on the water. The big problem is not just using it but if you have water in your tank 'it gels with the alcohol pretty quickly'. Then you gotta figure out where the water came from. And that may be DR.
Makes you wonder why non-ethanol is not offered on the lake.
As mentioned in other threads, after fueling in DR and the kid there saying I was getting the last few gallons of the tank (after I was half full), I had mega-issues that are still unresolved. I take excellent care of my engine and use 360 on all fuel that goes in. I will have to see what the final answer is on my boat.

I use the 360 too and no problems. When I know I'm going to burn off most of a tank in a day or two's time,
I use Marvel Mystery Oil. Basically Naptha. Don't like it to set for long periods in fuel system.
It's probably about the same stuff as Sea Foam but it's Red in color and prettier.:D

Good luck on you fuel issues cause that can be very frustrating when you take such good care of your boat and have to deal with this kind of thing.

E-15 is coming they say.
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I've also had some "questionable" fuel at DR in the past. My current strategy is to use DR for "top-off" only. I always try to arrive with a fair amount of gas left in the tank. My goal is to pull in with 1/2 of a tank. It seems to have worked, but I haven't done any scientific analysis. I'm on vacation after all.

On a side note, speaking of additives: after replacing 3 fuel pumps in my (now retired) Ford Explorer, I did some research and found some claims that detergent-style fuels and additives had an anti-lubricating effect on fuel pumps (and other fuel system components) - even though they were great for valves, cylinders, etc. One solution that I came across suggested adding one ounce of marine TC-W3 grade oil to each five gallons of gasoline as a lubricant. I never got to try it on my Explorer because we moved on to another vehicle. However, when the fuel pump on my bowrider began making the infamous Volvo fuel pump sound (which usually means a failure is coming soon), I started this process on it. Within one full tank of gas the sound had decreased by easily 50%. Now, two seasons later, I'm still running on the same pump, still adding the oil to the gas.

I know this sounds like voodoo. I hesitated even posting it, but it has worked for me. I've even started it on my RAM truck. It could be all in my head (like how you think your car runs better after an oil change or thorough deep cleaning). On the truck, which keeps it's own fuel economy metrics, it would appear that I've picked up a mile or two per gallon. Again, I'm not ruling out being a bit "touched" in the head. In fact, my wife can... nevermind. :)
I've had huge problems with either water or possibly ethanol "phase separation" ever since ethanol was introduced. My solution was to drain the "water" at the bottom of the tank frequently. Fortunately the bottom of my tank was easy to reach, I would tilt the boat so one corner of the tank was low, and with a tube zip tied to a long dowel inserted through the fuel fill, I could siphon off the bottom corner of the tank. The diesel tank in my sailboat has a drain petcock and a sump at the bottom, a drain petcock is not legal on a gasoline powered boat.

I also now run racor filters on all my boats, so I can drain the filter easily as well.

When I first encountered this problem, the clear racor bowl on my outboard powered boat, was completely full of water thus I couldn't see the water/fuel layer. Thus, I assumed it was all fuel and everything was fine. I got just outside the harbor and the engine died. After a tow in by BoatUS, at the slip I discovered it was all water in the filter and subsequently pumped out "1 gallon of water" out of my tank.

Hopefully you can easily get to the bottom of your tank, those with built in tanks with long fill hoses will have to find another option. I've not found any additive that will "recombine" the water/phase separation back into solution so it can simply be run through the engine and burned.

Check for and drain water frequently. Good luck.
Good post above. I was going to recommend the siphoning through the gauge sender access hole but it can be dangerous with just one spark so be careful! Disconnect batteries first.
As pointed out above, once phase separation occurs and water is present it's game over until you clean the entire system.

Wife is telling me to stop repeating myself. But she don't have to fix and maintain boats either.
I talked about our houseboats current problems that may be fuel related in one of the San Juan threads. Pretty much all the gas in that boat comes from Bullfrog, although I left it with more than half the fuel coming from either Ticaboo no-ethanol, or fuel from the Chevron up top.

The boat is still down, with another owner trying to diagnose this weekend. Current thought is that it might be the anti-siphon valves.

My Malibu (which is supposed to run 91 or 93 octane) had a fuel related problem last year with gas from Bullfrog. Bad enough that it was running so rough it shook the whole boat, and turned on a service engine immediately light. Dealer diagnosed as bad fuel, got rid of it, and filled with fuel from home. It hasn't had trouble since.

It seems like every time I am at the lake, I speak with someone having problems, and blaming it on poor fuel quality.

I wish Aramark would bring ethanol free fuel to the marinas. I would gladly pay more to have the option.
I had some odd issues my last trip that I could not help but think might be fuel related. We had sort of a "rolling idle" condition where the idle would bounce up and down quite a bit. I wondered if some bad fuel was passing through the system. And after fueling specifically at Bullfrog, my sending unit in the tank would not read correctly at all. Neither had ever happened before this trip, and the sending unit performed perfectly for the 95 miles up to Bullfrog. I thought that maybe something in the gas screwed up the float.
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Water separators are a relatively easy addition to a fuel system that if maintained(drained) could make a big difference. Bart, I don't think the the improvements to the engine is in your head but actually in the engine.
We started having problems with our 7.4 Mercruiser EFI when only E10 became available on the lake. It would vapor lock anytime you stopped after a run uplake. Our mechanic in Page at the time turned us on to a product made by Starbrite called Star Tron fuel additive. I launch with a full tank of alc free and carry 5 or 6 5 gallon containers of non alc from Sinclair in Page onto the lake. I then add 1 oz Star Tron per 16gal of make up fuel after a fill at the marinas. It's expensive in small bottles, but in gallon jugs it's $100+ which is enough to treat 2100+ gals of fuel. Works great. Problem solved. I'm not familiar with "360".

Just checked...the price is about $30 less than what I paid a few yrs ago..~$84/gal now with free shipping

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