Bad gas causes problems for boaters


Jarrod Craft, lead mechanic at Ravenna Marine, has a big cardboard box full of bad news. Bad news to boaters that is. The stuff Craft collects represents lots of ruined boating days.


His bad news box is packed with costly pieces and parts, things like plugged fuel filters, degraded fuel pump parts, carburetor floats that don’t, fuel lines that eat themselves from inside out, trashed gaskets, and all kind of things that lead directly to motor trouble in River City.

“I’m seeing and repairing more and more motor problems caused by ethanol and bad gas,” Craft said while he carefully inspected the inside lining of a gas hose that was falling apart like a piece of bread crumbling in water.

“The pieces of the lining that flake off follow the flow of fuel and that’s the beginning of a problem, “he said.

Biggest problem

Carburetor problems top the list according to Craft. Anything plastic or rubber is subject to degradation caused by ethanol, he said.

Craft also points to bad gas as a major problem for boaters. Some mechanics feel that Ohio has become the dumping ground for gasoline that doesn’t meet the quality standards of neighboring states. It’s no secret that today’s gasoline does not last long before it begins to lose its potency and begins to varnish and cause other damage.

In fact, most experts feel that two months is about the time it takes for modern gasoline to start oxidizing and breaking down. Some stabilizing additives claim to keep gasoline fresh for two years.


There’s only a couple ways to prevent certain problems Craft said. He suggests that the best way is to seek out a filling station that sells ethanol free gas.

“It may cost more but it is the surest way to avoid problems,” he said.

His second choice is to use additives designed to stabilize gas and eliminate the effects of ethanol. In past years boaters could store unused gas for months but that’s yesterday and not today. Cautious boaters are using fuel stabilizers and ethanol treatments in every tank.

And don’t think the new gas problems are limited to boat motors. Mowers and other gas-powered garden tools are not immune.

Recently, several brands of gas stabilizers and ethanol treatments have appeared on dealer shelves, all claiming to be the answer to the ethanol curse. Most eight ounce bottles treat more than 100 gallons of ethanol-laced gas at an average cost of about $11.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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