The gasoline we use in our vehicles and boats is not the best and not the way it used to be. As the resident old-timer here at Wired2Fish, I remember when the octane levels were better: You could readily buy leaded fuels and engines didn’t need additives to make sure carbon deposits and plastic parts didn’t have issues. The positive in leaded fuels was better lubrication but the negative is how they affected the ozone.
Today, ethanol-based fuels still allow our engines to run but honestly it seems like magic that they do. Tolerable levels of moisture in old fuels was minimal but today fuel that sits for a short period of time can separate and moisture is a big issue. I am from a farming family so I am all for ethanol and todays trucks and cars have been built to utilize these blends effectively.
But boats? Not so much.
87 and 89-octane fuels are tolerable for outboards but no more than E-10 rated ethanol fuels should be used. Combustion and better fuel efficiency is attained with non-ethanol based gas but it is getting harder and harder to find.
Ethanol is an alcohol-based blend and can degrade plastic parts and hoses of older engines at an alarming rate. Ethanol treatments can assist the conditioning of fuel to make it more efficient and less harmful to engine parts. Some like Lucas Safeguard and Sea Foam have become mainstream for boaters.
For years, I’ve been using Yamaha Ring Free Plus. It’s a treatment that’s specifically made for Yamaha motors and honestly, I haven’t found any treatment that is better. One ounce of Ring Free treats 10 gallons of fuel and although it’s not cheap ($22.50 for 12 ounces) it goes a long way. You can find it in larger quantities up to 32 ounces and I use it on every fill up.
Ring Free not only helps with carbon build up but also prevents ring sticking, cleans injectors and removes varnish from entering your fuel system. It also prevents misfires and fouled plugs and actually, I believe, helps plugs burn fuel more efficiently and last longer. I have seen it cure sluggish take-offs, too.
I recently had an older 9.9-horsepower motor that was bogging and was terribly sluggish when running down the lake. After the first tank with a “shock” Ring Free treatment of 2 ounces, that motor now runs like sewing machine.
Ring Free is especially effective with engines that are run at idle speed for longer periods of time. It can be used in both two and four-stroke engines. It can be found at Yamaha Marine dealers, Walmart and better automotive stores that carry high-end performance products.