Winterizing Essentials – Fuel Stabilization
When Winterizing your marine engine for off-season storage, stabilizing your fuel over the several months of non-use has to be a top priority.
Today’s ethanol enhanced gasoline ( E-10 ) is very susceptible to moisture as it will absorb any condensation on the inside surfaces of the fuel tank that forms when large temperature changes occur.
In hot weather gasoline can absorb up to 0.5% water but as it gets colder, the moisture in suspension will cause the ethanol to un-bond with the gasoline and will form an ethanol-water combination which is more corrosive than ethanol alone.
This new mixture is heavier than gasoline and settles to the bottom where it proceeds to eat away at aluminum tanks starting at the welded seams. It can also strip the anodizing off the sides of the tank.
When the engine is run again in the Spring the carburetors or fuel injection system may accumulate the particles of aluminum oxide in the fuel which looks likes white sludge. The same scenario happens to the gasoline inside of the engine which affects the internal metal, plastic, and rubber parts of your motor’s fuel system.
Gasoline also decomposes over time and oxidizes, forming gummy deposits that can harden and smell like varnish. This is where a quality fuel stabilizer comes in, its ingredients slow the decomposition of gasoline and retard – but not prevent – the phase separation of ethanol and water. In addition most stabilizers contain anti-corrosive additives to minimize rusting of steel parts and the freezing up of expensive electric fuel pumps.