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Water in fuel. 500mls. What gives?


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Good friend of mine owns a 2009 Legend XGS powered by a 50hp Merc 4 stroke. A few weeks after spring opener, while on the water he notices the Merc running rough. Calls Central Outboard to explain the issue and is told of possible causes of which one would be the separator. Bingo!! 200mls of water. Drains and refills the on board tank, swaps in a new separator filter as well as the fuel filter and even plugs.

 

Runs good as new for a few weeks and then while out with him on Sturgeon Bay it starts to bog again with me at the helm. He gets home, pulls the filter once more and sends me a pic of Corona bottles filled with about another 300mls of water. Tank is usually kept on the half or fuller side, boat is stored indoors, has it professionally winterized each fall. Anyone ever have this issue? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Water in the gas from the filling station X 2. Had it happen too many times from old stations up north as well as the US off the beaten track. Once had a carb freeze solid outside of Blue Mountain on old 27. Had to chip it off with a ski pole. It happens, not as much today but back then often. It's a good habit to keep tanks full always.

Edited by Old Ironmaker
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Could be something a lot simpler than blaming the gas. If it is a re-occurring problem, I would look at the filling point. I dont know what you have but on any boat, they are usually exposed to the weather. If the gasket/seal is lost or broken, it will allow rain water in whenever it gets wet especially if its on a flat surface of the boat. Just my $0.02.

Edited by Kingsalmon
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Just our fantastic canadian fuel standards. Third world countries have cleaner fuel than us. One of the big reasons why manufacturers are so sketchy about bringing diesels to north america. Our diesel is so dirty the chances that the vehicles will pass emissions is very low. Not to mention with all the filters and cats with new cars, they'll never last the length of the warranty periods running our fuel.

 

Only thing to really do is drain the tank, alert the authorities of that particular gas station have a stupidly high water content in their fuel, and never give your business to that station again.

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Runs good as new for a few weeks and then while out with him on Sturgeon Bay it starts to bog again

 

If this fuel was contaminated from the gas station, it would have ran like crap right away; not after a few weeks.

If there's still concern that it's the gas station, go and talk with them and ask if they'll do a water dip for you.

It's this green paste that they spread on the long dip stick to measure the fuel level in the tank. If this green paste touches water it turns pink.

 

I'd be looking at the on-board tank for things like the fuel gauge sending unit seal that may have failed or filler tube hose connections; that the water is not getting in with normal use of the boat. Can't tell me water doesn't get splashed to the inside of the boat?

 

If I had a customer with this type of concern I'd connect my EVAP smoke machine to the fuel system. Pump it full of smoke; sit back and see if the smoke is coming out of places it shouldn't; like under the floor? The smoke machine only produces around 5Lbs of pressure, so there's no concern of damaging anything.

 

Dan.

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Does he use fuel stabilizer? Fuel Stabilizer will absorb water which can then condense and settle to the bottom of the tank. Running your boat on a hot humid day then parking it in a garage with a half full tank (the other half 80 or 90% humid air). You would be surprised at how much water comes out! I am a firm believer in fuel stabilizer but you should fill your tank after using and putting it away.

 

I would however take Dan's suggestion also!

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I would always suggest you fill your tank up to almost full if you're going to leave the boat sitting for any period of time. Hot and humid days can equal a bit of water in the tank. I would also second the filling station, be careful where you fill!

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Do fill at same station or fill with jerry can. Do u use ethanol fuel or non ethanol fuel. Portable fuel tank built in tank.

can always pour fuel into clear jar water will settle to bottom vent lines hook up properly lots of possibiltys.

Iso heat good product fir removing water. Startrob or phaseguard are products I use with ethanol and seafoam for non ethanol

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same gas station?

 

pretty common in small town Ontario

He has begun to take my advice and will run sunoco 94 from now on.

 

Drain the fuel, and fill it up again.

Tried that once before. Might have to do it again I'm afraid.

Could be something a lot simpler than blaming the gas. If it is a re-occurring problem, I would look at the filling point. I dont know what you have but on any boat, they are usually exposed to the weather. If the gasket/seal is lost or broken, it will allow rain water in whenever it gets wet especially if its on a flat surface of the boat. Just my $0.02.

Legend engineers thought it a good idea to place the filler cap in the splash well. Not!!

 

Does he use fuel stabilizer? Fuel Stabilizer will absorb water which can then condense and settle to the bottom of the tank. Running your boat on a hot humid day then parking it in a garage with a half full tank (the other half 80 or 90% humid air). You would be surprised at how much water comes out! I am a firm believer in fuel stabilizer but you should fill your tank after using and putting it away.

 

I would however take Dan's suggestion also!

I will use a bottle of Seafoam with every fill up and stabilizer over the winter. Suggested either/or to him as well.

 

I had water come in the vent of my tank and cause 5 liters in the bottom of the tank to be removed.

Bingo!! As all scenarios are contributors I suspect the placement of the filler cap might be the main culprit. Gonna let him know to check the gasket.

 

 

Would like to thank all who responded. Will keep you posted if and when we figure this out.

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Sunoco 94 has ethanol. The only gas station premium with no ethanol is shell. Check the vent and gasket for the filler. Fuel companies love ethanol because they add it to inferior fuels to boost the octane. Ethanol has an equivalent octane of about 108 I believe.

Edited by bigbuck
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