Is Ethanol-Rich Fuel Safe For 2-Strokes?

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Is it safe to run fuel that contains up to 10% Ethanol in 2-stroke snowmobiles?

My family currently owns 3 Yamaha sleds. A 1994 Vmax 500, 1997 Vmax 600 & a 2002 Venture 600.

Will the ethanol blended fuel affect engine performance or cause engine damage?


Thanks for your email!

I have included our friend from Yamaha Canada in this email. With the wide range of model year sleds you’ve asked about I thought it best to get an official response on this important question.

Motorhead Mark

and here it is…

Ethanol blended fuels have been around for awhile… at least 15 years. Sunoco Ultra 94 being one of the first to be up to 10% Ethanol. When I was racing “droolers” on the MX track, we’d always use Shell Gold, which at that time did not have any Ethanol. But Shell is known to have a fairly high sulphur content, which is less E-friendly that the Ethanol blends.

Up to 10% should not create a problem though.  Any more than 10% and you might have to increase the amount of fuel in your “jetting”. (bigger jets, or richer map)

As you know, jetting can change dramatically depending on many variables including temperature, humidity, elevation, etc. And 2-strokes tend to require more accurate jetting to run properly, compared to normally aspirated 4-strokes.

So it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your plugs and on top of your jetting when running a 2-stroke, regardless of fuel brand. That’s not to say you can ignore jetting on a 4-stroke, just that they are more forgiving and have a broader range of acceptable jetting before detonation or plug fouling.

Jon Blaicher
Yamaha Canada

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