Keith Holmes Discusses Ethanol Fuel for Sterling Performance Engines

Sterling Performance Engines Ethanol Fuel For Boats

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Cat Can Do Offshore Racing’s Keith Holmes answers questions, below, about Sterling Performance Engines as prepared for the use of ethanol fuel for powerboating.

As Ethanol percentages increase in American’s fuel supply, boaters wonder if ethanol is safe for boat engines. Keith Holmes, President and Owner of CK Motorsports in Nunica, Michigan – a Certified Mercury Marine Racing Technician – explored, with the hope of finding more power, reliability, endurance and speed for offshore racing.

When CK Motorsports switched their Sterling Performance engines to E90 American Ethanol fuel produced by Ignite racing fuels, there was quite a buzz from the offshore racing and marine community. Is Ethanol a positive fuel for boating? What are the benefits?

Was it a good move? Are there problems with using Ethanol? We asked Keith some questions.

Q: What changes, to your boat and engines, happened to prepare for higher Ethanol use?
A: Not much. Besides tuning the engines at Sterling Performance for the proper air/fuel ratios for Ethanol fuel, everything on our boat is the same. We haven’t touched the fuel pumps, fuel lines or anything else on the engines. But remember, these are big engines with a ton of torque – no matter what the fuel – these size engines are prone to fail. That’s why we refresh and maintain on a regular schedule. For recreational boaters, new products and systems are ready for install. These systems sense the ethanol mixture and adjust the air/fuel ratio automatically. 

Q: What is the history of Ethanol fuel?
A: Did you know that Henry Ford produced the first model T to run on both Ethanol and gas? Prohibition ended the Ethanol production and petroleum gas took over. In the 1940’s Ethanol was added to gasoline to stabilize and eliminate knock. Now E10 (10% Ethanol) is the current standard, and myths have been circulating. We at CK Motorsports don’t see boats lined up at the shop with Ethanol fuel related issues and excited about the results of using E90 in the race boat.

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