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Old 09-28-2015, 10:38 AM   #1
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Dinghy engine techniques

Since the advent of ethanol in our gasoline, there have been horror stories about how they affect our dinghy engines. I have had the pleausre of experiencing some of those stories. Two times in 3 years I have had to rebuild the carburetor on my newish Yamaha 2 stroke.

Well this last time I took it to the dealer and he mentioned something to me that nobody had ever told me. It is common practice for us to run the gas out of our carbs when we are done using it. He said that while this was the way to do things before the ethanol debacle, it is not advised anymore. When you run the fuel out until the engine quits, there is still a little fuel left on the bottom of the bowl along with the water that the ethanol likes to attach itself to. Well the fuel will evntually evaporate and leave nothing but the corrosive water. Then you end up with the needle in the bowl getting fouled up with crap and sticking!!! I do not run my carburetor "dry" anymore and so far, this season, I have had no issues with the dinghy engine. I have had sit times for the dinghy of over 2 months...no issues with untreated gas.

There are times when I am around friends/people while they brag about not having any ethanol issues with their dinghy engines....I ask them if they pull the fuel line to burn the gas out of their motor....the answer is a resounding...NO!!! Not a scientific survey but it has backed up this line of thinking.

So for those that have ethanol issues with their dinghy engines, do you pull the fuel line and burn the gas out of your carb? And are there people out there that do not and what is your experience ref ethanol issues???
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:19 AM   #2
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Yes, we run all our outboards, 2 and 4 cycle, out of fuel whenever they are not going to be used again for a week or more. However, we do not burn ethanol gas in any of them. We get non-ethanol fuel from the farm grange near us. Once we started doing this all our issues with hard starting disappeared.

If an outboard (or lawn mower or power washer or generator) are going to be laid up for a season we also drain the carburetor bowl(s), remove the spark plug(s), spray WD40 into the cylinder(s), turn the engine over by hand a few times and replace the spark plug(s).

Running an outboard out of fuel before a period of non-use is the process recommended by the big Yamaha/Grady-White dealer in this area, particularly if one uses ethanol fuel.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:21 AM   #3
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All I've done, and I do it every time, is add Stabil to the fuel every time I buy fuel. So the fuel is "preserved" all the time. I'll probably jinx myself by saying it, but I have never had an engine not start right up, including things that have been sitting for a year or more. This includes outboards, lawn mowers, chain saws, cars, etc. I've just never had a problem, and don't think its because I'm lucky.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:24 AM   #4
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All I've done, and I do it every time, is add Stabil to the fuel every time I buy fuel. So the fuel is "preserved" all the time. I'll probably jinx myself by saying it, but I have never had an engine not start right up, including things that have been sitting for a year or more. This includes outboards, lawn mowers, chain saws, cars, etc. I've just never had a problem, and don't think its because I'm lucky.
So you are saying that you do NOT run your carb out of gas???...just to clarify
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:28 AM   #5
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Running an outboard out of fuel before a period of non-use is the process recommended by the big Yamaha/Grady-White dealer in this area, particularly if one uses ethanol fuel.
Marin, I am not going to argue with you about NON ethanol fuel. But I will argue your last sentence and say that the BIG Yamaha dealer here says that you should NOT run it out of fuel if you are using ethanol fuel. I have personal(if non scientific) evidence to prove it. I also have the logic of the dealer to back it up. Can you refute his logic? Because it goes completely against what you are saying.

Twisted, I have used every fuel treatmetn under the sun to no avail. I do not think you are lucky. And I do not think it is because you use fuel treatment. I think it is because you do not run your engine out of gas.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:33 AM   #6
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And this is how "most" of my ethanol issues have gone(and this is with a Merc 15hp and a Yamaha 15 both 2 stroke). It isn't normally a "hard starting" issue. Engine starts right up....runs fine. You putter around and then get on it up on plane. It is when you close the throttle that the float sticks and the engine floods. You go from humming along with a wonderfully running engine to an engine that completely goes dead and you go coasting down to nothingness. And THEN it is hard to start. Once you let it sit(or pull on the starter enough to clear the carb of excess fuel), then it will start up and the cycle will continue.

Other times...the engine starts right up like it should and then goes....bwhooooooop bwhoooooop bwhoooop bwhoop BWHOP!!!! ANd dies and is then hard to start because it floods(float stuck).
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:35 AM   #7
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If I don't use the dink for a week or so, I have to use the little bulb in-line primer to full the lines and I assume, the carb. So while I don't run it dry intentionally, I think it may end up dry due to evaporation anyway....
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:38 AM   #8
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Easy, use the dinghy more often. Pretty much all the gasoline I burn in my dinghy outboard (2 stroke Yamaha 15) is E10. I don't use any additives, but I do use the outboard at least once every couple weeks. If it's going to sit for more than a couple weeks (very rare), I run the carb dry. No problems so far.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:38 AM   #9
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So you are saying that you do NOT run your carb out of gas???...just to clarify

Thats right. I shut off the machine and walk away. Just the other day I pulled out a chain saw that hadn't been used for at least a year. It started right up after 4 or 5 pulls.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:40 AM   #10
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Thanks, Baker, that's good advice, it is getting my antique Honda too; explains the hard-start.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:40 AM   #11
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If I don't use the dink for a week or so, I have to use the little bulb in-line primer to full the lines and I assume, the carb. So while I don't run it dry intentionally, I think it may end up dry due to evaporation anyway....
Some evaporation, yes, but likely just the settling of fuel away from where it is supposed to be to support combustion. That is why they call it "priming"....to get it where it needs to be and not where it wants(settling/gravity)) to be.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:42 AM   #12
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Thats right. I shut off the machine and walk away. Just the other day I pulled out a chain saw that hadn't been used for at least a year. It started right up after 4 or 5 pulls.
All of my 2 stroke yard "implements"(blower and weedeater) work just fine after sitting for a season. In fact they are 10 years old and still work fine while sitting for 5 months a year. There is no easy way to run them out of gas.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:45 AM   #13
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I also have the logic of the dealer to back it up. Can you refute his logic? Because it goes completely against what you are saying.
No. However, before we switched to non-ethanol fuel we used the Yamaha dealer's advice and ran the engines out of fuel as I described before. Once we started doing that all our hard starting problems went away.

When I would pull the carburetor drain plugs after running the engines out of fuel and the engines were going to be laid up for awhile, perhaps two little drops of fuel would come out. That's it. So while your dealer's logic is perfectly sound, in our experience with our engines anyway, there's not enough fuel left in the bowl for his reasoning to be an issue.
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Old 09-28-2015, 11:53 AM   #14
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All the posts above is the main reason why I don't want a dinghy. Keeping my 42 OA and its 440 Yanmars healthy is all the engine maintenance I want!
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:05 PM   #15
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I switched to propane and plan to avoid small gasoline engines when ever I can.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:23 PM   #16
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While not having a dinghy at all certainly eliminates outboard problems, in this area it also eliminates the ability to use your boat unless all one wants to do is simply marina hop and never anchor or moor out. And since the best places to go along this coast are the places where marinas and harbors aren't, a dinghy/shoreboat/tender of some sort becomes almost essential. Particularly if one lijes to go ashore, explore, crab, fish, etc. To us, anyway, boating up here without a dinghy would be very boring boating indeed.

In places like southern California where it sounds like marina hopping is pretty the only option, a dinghy is perhaps not actually needed by most boaters.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:31 PM   #17
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One thing that has really helped me, is that I no longer use fuel that is more than a month or so old in the dinghy. If I know it is going to sit for a while I just pour the dinghy fuel from the tank into my truck.

I only use non ethanol fuel and I don't drain run the carb dry at my dealers instructions. 20 hp Suzuki 4 stroke.
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:43 PM   #18
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One thing that has really helped me, is that I no longer use fuel that is more than a month or so old in the dinghy. If I know it is going to sit for a while I just pour the dinghy fuel from the tank into my truck.

I only use non ethanol fuel and I don't drain run the carb dry at my dealers instructions. 20 hp Suzuki 4 stroke.
Thanks for the input, Doug. Another non drainer!! (Although dumping the tank does not directly impact what is going on in the carb...non ethanol fuel also).
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:45 PM   #19
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While not having a dinghy at all certainly eliminates outboard problems, in this area it also eliminates the ability to use your boat unless all one wants to do is simply marina hop and never anchor or moor out. And since the best places to go along this coast are the places where marinas and harbors aren't, a dinghy/shoreboat/tender of some sort becomes almost essential. Particularly if one lijes to go ashore, explore, crab, fish, etc. To us, anyway, boating up here without a dinghy would be very boring boating indeed.

In places like southern California where it sounds like marina hopping is pretty the only option, a dinghy is perhaps not actually needed by most boaters.
In full agreement, Marin. To me, being on the hook gives me a great sense of freedom. But let's not make this thread about WHY you need/want a dinghy.....
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Old 09-28-2015, 12:55 PM   #20
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We have 2-2 strokes and run the fuel out if we're not using them for a few weeks or more. The only carburetor I have rebuilt was the one that I didn't run out. The gas partially evaporated in the bowl and left a varnish type residue there and in the jets. Our 15 hp Yamaha 2 stroke we used daily for 6-10 months per year for 6 years. That carburetor has never been taken apart. We do try to get ethanol free gas.
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