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dhoadley

Old gasoline

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dhoadley

I've taken up the hobby of small engine repair fairly late in life (mid-50s) and occasionally someone will give me a dead item (I've gotten my walk-behind rototiller and a push mower this way) or ask for help reviving something of theirs. I'm sure this is familiar to many of you. So a friend asks me to look at his snowblower that's not working. I always start with fuel. Well, when I popped the cap, I smelled something I've never smelled before, and hope never to smell again. When I asked him how old the gas was, he said "I bought it in '15 and used it a couple of times. In '16 there was too much snow so I had my driveway plowed. It wouldn't run last year." That gas is at least 3 years old! I don't know what its morphed into, but it ain't gasoline anymore. The fuel filter is plugged from age and there's rust in the tank. The Ultrasonic cleaner got a workout with that carb. So, lets hear your "old gas" stories. Thanx, Dave

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spi

I had 6 gallons of 3 year old 2 cycle gas in my old snowmobile. What I did with it was put it in a gas can and then mix in one gallon with every fill up in my truck. but that was an old 82 carbureted F150. I might have to go down to 1/2 gal. per. in my 02 F150

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AC716

Fuel pump on my truck went out 3 times in 1 1/2 years. $600.00 ea time. The last time I changed it my self. Dropped the tank. It was 3/4 full, 26 gallon tank. Started pouring the gas into 5 gallon bucket and transfering it to other vehicles. Third bucket showed some water in the bottom. The next was almost all water. Wound up with 5 1/2 gallons of water. That was several years ago. No problems since with gas.

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lugnard

I have a '55 chevy that I used to "race" back in high school. Last time I drove it was 1974 and it was filled with purple ethyl....the good stuff with lead. I drained it out I'd say about 10  years or so ago... maybe 15. It was pretty nasty but still purple. Asked my neighbor if he wanted it and told him to mix it with new gas...about 1 to 5 or more gallons. Well he dumped the whole lot in his old jeep and it was not running to good. Clogged the filter at the carb many times. Had to rescue him at least twice up town when it conked out. Still ran tho, it was just a completely plugged up filter.

 

Harry 

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a_sannine

My last BMW I bought a  year ago an old one from the late 80s , last time ran 2006 , tank had 10 gallons, I took them out  , the smell awful, clings on your cloth bad ,  color like dark vinegar, I mixed them with fresh gas 1 for1 , been mowing my law all summer  3 times a week to get over with that gas , my Deutz-Allis 912  love it lol 

 

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mp38allis

I was a mechanic for 39 years. The damage that gas-ahol caused to aluminum components it the 80's was extensive. Throughout the years, ethanol fuels have been tempered and are not as corrosive as they used to be. The last school that we discussed fuel properties in stated that ethanol based fuels start to degrade after 60 days. I live in WI and a lot of our equipment is seasonal. Mowers, tillers, boats and motorcycles in summer, snowblowers and snowmobiles in the winter. I add Seafoam to my fuel at the end of the season, dump it out, then run the equipment until the carb is empty. The major problem with old fuel is that it turns to varnish that gums up jets. It is very difficult to get this varnish out of the jets without disassembling the fuel system. All of that being said,  terribly old fuel does not need to be burned. I just dump it into my drain oil barrel and take it to any oil change place or auto dealer. In WI, any establishment that deals in waste oil is required to accept drain oil from the public. Most waste oil burners are set up to burn just about anything. Even though you have a fuel filter in your vehicle, intentionally contaminating your fuel supply is not a good idea. Fuel injector spray patterns are very fine and assist the atomization of your fuel/air mixture. At least run a bottle of injector cleaner in your vehicle after you're done burning the contaminated fuel.

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deebig

I have used old gas in lawn mowers and weed eaters. 2 stroke gas seems to last longer than straight gas and carbureated 2 cycle engines are not fussy about fuel. I would be reluctant to burn old gas in FI,computer controlled engines. I have burned everything from 4 year old 50:1 gas, kerosene and coleman lantern fuel in my lawn mowers. I had a 1968 F150 with a 240 six that ran out of gas while I was way back in the woods. I had 5 gallons of kerosene with me so I poured it in the tank (engine was still hot) and drove home!

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MrSteele

I refuse to use anything with ethanol in anything that is not ran every day or so. I always burn the highest test I can find, non ethanol in lawnmowers and especially a 2 cycle engine, and I have several of those! My shop is a no labor, kind of like I only work on what I want, when I want, for the public. The first thing you do is check for gas, either to see if it won't start because the tank is empty, or if the gas smells like old varnish. Had a McLane in here last week, owner swears he uses non ethanol like I told him years ago. NASTY, varnish smell. That gas was poured into a bottle I call BRUSH FIRE STARTER, where some of my used motor oil also resides. New gas, a quick cleaning of the carb, new fuel pump diaphragm, and it started in 2 pulls of the rope. He said he filled the tank in May of this year...... And I wondered, "Why do they always lie when they bring toys to my shop"? I agree with Mike, use the old gas for anything besides burning in anything that uses gasoline for motion.

And, since we are stuck with ethanol, if you cannot find pure gasoline, run the tank empty, remove fuel lines and drain tanks. Use an additive that might spare the innards of your carburetors or injectors before running the engine out of gas, or get ready to play with the carbs next season. Down here in the sunny south, marine fuel is available at several stations away from marinas that is still pure gasoline. I pay more for the gas, but very rarely work on a fuel system, and then, only if something inside has died from old age 

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a_sannine

Unfortunately in my town if you mix the old gas with used oil

no one will take it , I couldn’t find any one in town to take the old gas including recycling people .

Mixed with fresh gas burned with out any problem in my DA912 .

i would never use in a car though.

 

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Chris727

Dad had a boat that sat for twenty years in the garage. It had full tanks, (the fuel from 1998) . Earlier this year he pumped the old fuel out and it still looked OK, had stabil in it. He used it in the Landlord DLX (gas was literally older than the 19 year old tractor). Ended up with a bent push rod because it gummed up the guide preventing movement of the rod. Funny it only happened on one cylinder though. Cleaned it up and got rid of the old fuel and all is working now. 

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deebig
7 hours ago, Chris727 said:

Dad had a boat that sat for twenty years in the garage. It had full tanks, (the fuel from 1998) . Earlier this year he pumped the old fuel out and it still looked OK, had stabil in it. He used it in the Landlord DLX (gas was literally older than the 19 year old tractor). Ended up with a bent push rod because it gummed up the guide preventing movement of the rod. Funny it only happened on one cylinder though. Cleaned it up and got rid of the old fuel and all is working now. 

OHV? Old flathead Kohler would have survived that event!

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bnolte

That reminds me. I have my old Cub 102 that didn't see any action this year. I should drag it out, put some fresh fuel in it and run it for a while. I use it to plow my garden and Putt Putt around the local Steam Show. 

5bd4689dcfd10_plowsetuprtrr.jpg.63584d1904a9d0dabf075156e21894dd.jpg

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bnolte

Back in the early 90s I had a job as a small engine mechanic for a couple of months. One day the boss handed me a fairly new looking Stihl chainsaw. I knew I was in for trouble when I opened the gas tank. It was one of those things a homeowner would buy to clear some limbs after a storm, then put on a shelf. After dumping out the gas and airing out the shop, I tried to get it to run. The inside of the tank had thick sticky deposits over everything. After fiddling with carb cleaner and fresh fuel, I asked the other mechanic for advice. He said to fill the tank with laquer thinner and let it set for a couple of days. I went back later, the deposits were unmoved. I don't think they ever got that thing running. Looking back on it, the only way  to repair it would have been to remove and dismantle or replace the carb, fuel lines, and in-tank filter. The repair would have approached the cost of the machine. 

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MARK (LI)

Glad to see some intelligent comments on old fuel...on another forum I was taken to task because I said that I always use minimum 89 octane and never keep more than what I will use in 60 days on hand...not just for fresh fuel, but safety reasons also..I do as some mentioned here...run it all dry at the end of the season...with tractor that has snow blower on it I keep it fueled, with stabil or seafoam ...but start it at least every other day and let it run...despite what we all think...stabil is not really a very long lasting stabilizer...sea foam seems to have some more longevity....and there is another product Star tron 

http://www.starbrite.com/item/star-tron-gasoline-fuel-additive   )...that has even more chemical properties as a stabilizer and ethanol damage minimizer ( I have to look in to that some more)...a lot of guys do not realize that in certain EPA regions, the sale of ethanol free fuel is simply banned...so even if willing to pay more for it, it is just not available other than the Tru fuel at close to $25 a gallon at HD...sounds like in areas where ethanol free is available that it costs abut 75 cents to a buck a gallon more....so say you use 50 gallons a year...for that extra $50  wouldn't it be worth it?

Edited by MARK (LI)
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TimJr

I am pretty sure Sea Foam contains alcohol  - isopropyl alcohol.  I agree Sea Foam works good for cleaning a slightly fouled fuel system, but I would never use it as a stabilizer or storage.  Why add more alcohol to your fuel.  Check the MSDS - contains up to 25% isopropanol.  I am not a chemist, so if isopropanol isn't a form of alcohol, I apologize.

As for the comment above about 2 cycles being less sensitive to fuels?  I strongly disagree - a 2 cycle will fry from being lean or lubed poorly due to a poor mix or a carb that is a little plugged causing it to lean out.

2 stroke gas can last longer because many mixes also contain a fuel stabilizer.

In theory, a fuel injected engine could handle bad fuel better than a carbureted engine.  The theory being that a computer controlled injection system can adjust injector operation to richen up the mix.  A carb is not able to adjust itself to richen things up once jetting starts getting plugged.  In the real world, the fuel passages of an injection system are probably smaller enough that it takes less to start clogging them.

I am thrilled that a local gas station just did a remodel of their pumps, and added a rec 90 pump - 90 octane straight gasoline.  It is about 60 cents a gallon more, but I am going to start running it to keep the ethanol out of my tractors.  In Michigan, it is called recreational fuel.  The sticker on the pump is cool - it shows drawings of a lawnmower, snowblower, boat, snowmobile and a T bucket hot rod.

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TommyK1

Yup, varnish is derived from petroleum.  What you are smelling is varnish, the same stuff you slather on fine furniture.  Stabil keeps the varnish from settling out over time.  Most carburetors over 10 years old will have a certain amount of vanished clinging to the outside of the carb.  I guess it's from a small amount of evaporation, over time.  I once saw an old John Deere farm tractor with half of its glass sediment bowl full of the gunk.  As the gasoline volatilizes and finds its way to the atmosphere the small amount of varnish it contains remains behind.

Back in the day, fuel refiners would make fuels by the gigga gallon.  Fuel refiners had fuel stored in gargantuan tanks at tank farm scattered through out the country.  In order to keep the gasoline from varnishing out while being stored for months on end, they put fuel stabilizers in it.  In the latter part of the last century just about all manufacturers went to just in time manufacturing, where by they tried to match production to demand so as to not store billions of dollars worth of castings, machinery parts and completed machines, same goes for fuels.  Therefore the tank farms have diminished considerably.  Once the fuel manufacturers figured out that the fuel they were refining was being consumed within days or weeks, fuel stabilizers became an unnecessary expense, even the top tier fuel suppliers like Amoco, Shell and the like.  It doesn't take long for gasoline to varnish out.   While diesel fuel doesn't varnish out, bacteria likes to grow in it.  Too much bacteria will plug filters.  Diesel requires a different stabilizer to keep the bacteria at bay.

I've had great success by cleaning out a gunked up carb with spray carb cleaner with the little tube for pinpointing the application.  This stuff is more highly volatile than gasoline.  DO NOT DO THIS INDOORS. DO NOT SMOKE OR LET ANYONE OR ANY SORT OF FLAME WITHIN 100 FEET SMOKE WHILE YOU ARE DOING THIS.  Wear heavy rubber gloves as the stuff tingles quite a bit when it hits skin, don't get it in your eyes.  Do this over stacks of newspapers in the back yard or over a gravel drive.  This stuff will dissolve asphalt and leave a stain.  The news papers will absorb the effluent like a sponge.  After an hour or two the cleaner will evaporate leaving the gunk in the news paper.  Use the little tube to inject the cleaner into every hole and orifice of the carb.  BE CAREFUL as you don't know where this orifice leads.  Sometimes it makes a u-turn and sprays back at you from another hole. 

I've cleaned gunked up tanks by liberally spraying the inside of the tank, then getting in there with whatever brush I can, to scrub.  If the gunk stuck tight, leave it go.  It probably never will come off the tank wall.  Just leave it.  That's why God invented filters, to catch the gunk that flakes off.

Given the lack of fuel stabilizers in retail gas of late, I always, always add Stabil to a new can of gas.  I never have varnish.  At the end of the season, as much as I can, I drain all fuel tanks, then start them one more time to purge fuel lines.  In the late fall of the year, I keep my can gas inventory to a minimum, purchasing no more than a gallon at a time.  When the snow flies, the top tier fuel sellers switch over to winter gas.  In winter, my snow blower doesn't like to start with summer gas.  Try to use up summer gas before you put the mowers away. 

 

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AC716

I bought a used pontoon boat. The fuel system was gunked up to the point had to have injectors cleaned n filters changed twice. Pumped the tank out and washed it out.The tank was orange colored. Startron in every tank has slowly cleaned the tank back to white and see thru again.

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