ETHANOL FUEL AND UTVs

— Sarge McCoy tells it like it is —

IS ETHANOL FUEL BAD FOR MY RANGER?

Dear Sarge,

Recently, my dealer told me to stop operating my Polaris Ranger on ethanol gasoline. He stated I would void my warranty and I would have to pay for a complete fuel-system rebuild. I have been using 91-octane ethanol gasoline for years with no apparent troubles. So, Sarge, what has changed?

Tommy Evans

Gillette, Wyoming

Boot, your dealer was partially correct. You are operating your Zooter on ethanol premix, ethanol, gasoline and water! If your fuel sits for as little as three weeks, you may experience “phase separation”. Phase separation is when ethanol comes in contact with any moisture and it will then absorb it. When the water-laden fuel reaches a saturation point, the ethanol and water will phase separate, coming out of solution and forming three layers in the tank—an upper gasoline layer, a layer of ethanol and water mix in the middle, and a third layer of just water at the bottom. Also note that this phenomenon occurs more during the summer when the ambient temperatures are higher. So, as I see it, Boot, you have three choices: The first is continue as you have been, because obviously you have not experienced any problems. The second choice is to add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel to prevent phase separation from happening. The third and final choice is switch to a non-ethanol fuel (at usually a higher price point). Finally, Boot, your fuel system will not require a complete rebuild, nor will the use of ethanol fuel void your warranty, mainly due to the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/magnuson%e2%80%93moss_warranty_act). If you choose “door #3,” Boot, you can download a free app to your smartphone called Pure Gas. It will give you names and addresses of stations near you selling non-ethanol fuel. So while you have three choices, all I need from you is a promise to stay away from that dealer and 25 sit-ups, Boot! Dismissed!

DOES MY REAR SEAT MAKE ME LOOK TAIL-HEAVY?

Dear Sarge,

I am in the market for a second-row seat for my Polaris XP 900 Ranger. My dealer is pushing the UTV Mountain unit with integral roll bar. It is called the Polaris Ranger 900 XP rear seat and roll cage kit. I test drove it, and when no one was on board, the Ranger felt okay. But, when loaded up with two people in the back seat, I felt the Ranger was tail-heavy. Short of purchasing a four-seat Ranger, do you have a better solution?

Dennis Johnson

Nampa, Idaho

Boot, any weight placed over the rear wheels will lighten the Zooter’s front end. And, your dealer is pushing the UTV Mountain unit because that is what he has pre-purchased and installed on a new Zooter. However, there are seat kits that place the passenger weight closer to the center of mass of the Zooter than your dealer’s choice. These seats are called Rumble or Jump seats. They are placed against the back of the front seats with the passengers facing rearward. This places the bulk of the increased weight directly behind the driver. An example of this style seat is the Great Day Standard passenger seat for UTVs as seen here: http://greatdayinc.com/products/utv-accessories-2/the-rumble-seats/. There are two models, the UVRS100BL Standard and the UVDRS200BL Deluxe. The main complaint with these style seats is branches coming over the top of the Zooter and hitting the passenger’s helmets. Because of that fact, Boot, I would also recommend the Great Day UVUR10MR rear utility rack (multi-fit), which consists of a telescoping aluminum framework covering from over the passenger compartment to the rear of the Zooter as seen here: http://greatdayinc.com/products/utv-accessories-2/utility-rack-utv/. Note that the bed-tilt mechanism is still functional when there is no load on the utility rack. Both of these units are designed and manufactured in the USA. Boot, since I have done all your legwork for you, I think you and your passengers need some PT. Five miles should limber you up! Laugh, Boot! Dismissed!

I FOLLOWED YOUR INSTRUCTIONS AND IT STILL LEAKS!

Dear Sarge,

Dean here again. I took your advice and purchased a Caltric replacement Mikuni carburetor (April 2018) and installed it. Problem is, Sarge, the carburetor leaks as bad as the one I took off! I thought these were suitable replacement carburetors per your recommendation. Now I have two carburetors that leak! So, have you changed your mind about these Caltric replacement Mikuni carburetors?

Dean Williams

Weedsport, New York

Boot, I have not changed my mind! The Caltric carburetors will work as intended, but I suspect you have done something wrong! Did you flush your fuel tank and lines as I ordered? If you didn’t, then your new carburetor is contaminated with foreign matter just like your original Mikuni carburetor. Flush your tank and lines. Remove the Caltric’s float bowl and remove the float and float valve and flush clean fuel down the fuel line until any foreign matter is flushed out. Reinstall the float valve and float. Hold the floats in the up position and turn on the petcock. No fuel should flow. Drop the floats and fuel should flow. If you can’t stop the fuel, then you have damaged the float valve or the seat. If everything is good, then when you reinstall the float bowl, I would expect to see no fuel coming out the carburetor’s over-flow stand pipe. Once the carburetor is reinstalled and the Zooter is operating properly, you have three choices, recruit—sandpit, quarterdeck or a phone call to my captain! In Marine Basic, there is zero tolerance for refusal of a lawful order! Dismissed! 

Email your questions to Sarge McCoy at [email protected]. You must include your full name, city & state and put SARGE in the subject line. Also, check out Sarge’s TROUBLESHOOTER page every month in the back of UTV Action magazine.

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