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Old 03-07-2011, 08:14 AM   #21
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Seriously, a 1/4 cup? I hope you mean a few drops.
Agreed, a 1/4 cup sounds scary!!!!! Might even blow the piston rings or damage the engine some other way, since fluids do not compress.

I have an old 'encyclopedia' of Motor Cars published in 1911 or something. They talk about a 1/4 teaspoon of gas in the cylinders on cold mornings. Thank goodness for modern chokes, fuel injection and engine control modules!


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Old 03-07-2011, 09:43 AM   #22
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That has got to be one of the sexiest things I've ever heard a female say! Wow, you've got it right on!

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Aaaawww shucks

I was lucky enough to land a job as a small engine mechanic during summers off from college. I was trained by a master mechanic who did all the instructing while I was the grease monkey turning the bolts and taking apart engines for valve jobs. I also took the Sears small engine correspondence course. It was a lot of fun. Puzzle solving to the max!

It is a skill that I continue to use to this day. You can just imagine the looks I get from "the guys" when I offer to get their !*@# lawn equipment going and actually can do the work. Priceless!
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:46 AM   #23
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Seriously, a 1/4 cup? I hope you mean a few drops.
Kaboom!
I see a spark plug being blown out of its seating threads in someone's future.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:28 AM   #24
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Also, don't forget to "treat" your remaining gas before you shut it down for the season. In my case, it's my lawn tractor and snowblower. Here's what I add to the tanks:

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Yeah, I add Stabil prior to every off season and run the engine a few minutes to distribute the treated fuel. Still, some of my older equipment (15 yr old snow blower, etc.) can be balky after sitting for months and a little spray of starting fluid seems to be a shortcut to getting things going again.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:40 PM   #25
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I once heard a mechanic tell my dad that people like him shouldn't be allowed to buy ether (starter fluid). This was after dad started a fire under the hood of my old Jimmy with it and subsequently put the fire out with great handfuls of dirt. Said mechanic was the one cleaning all the dirt out of the engine.

I've started an old truck with the cupful of fuel option when it ran out of gas. The gauge didn't work and if you didn't have good math skills to keep track of the odometer reading (noted in pen on the back of the visor) you'd get stuck on the side of the road.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:40 PM   #26
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Seriously, a 1/4 cup? I hope you mean a few drops.
Ok, ok - 1/4 cup is overstated - I wasn't quite sure how to describe it - but I do put in much more than a few drops. Probably more like 3/4 of those little coffee scoops - so I guess 1 to 2 tablespoons +/-. I actually just drizzle some in from the small gas can - rarely measure it but usually just wing it.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:54 PM   #27
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Ok, ok - 1/4 cup is overstated - I wasn't quite sure how to describe it - but I do put in much more than a few drops. Probably more like 3/4 of those little coffee scoops - so I guess 1 to 2 tablespoons +/-. I actually just drizzle some in from the small gas can - rarely measure it but usually just wing it.

I think the others thought you were putting 1/4 cup of starter fluid directly into the cylinder. It sounds like you're putting gasoline directly into the cylinder. That's different.......

1 to 2 tablespoons of gasoline still sounds like a lot though...... Liquid gasoline will seep past the piston rings so I suppose the surplus is just flowing down to the crank shaft area. You'd probably get the same or better results with just a few drops. I use an eye dropper which I'd estimate holds 1/2 t.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:00 PM   #28
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I think the others thought you were putting 1/4 cup of starter fluid directly into the cylinder. It sounds like you're putting gasoline directly into the cylinder. That's different.......
If you put too much gas directly into the cylinder, it won't start. Remember the term "flooded" engine from when you were a kid? Not enough oxygen in the cylinder to explode all that gas and spark plug gap is filled with wet gasoline.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:05 PM   #29
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I think the others thought you were putting 1/4 cup of starter fluid directly into the cylinder. It sounds like you're putting gasoline directly into the throat of the carburetor. That's different.......

FTFY
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:18 PM   #30
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Thanks, but no. Pull a plug, put the fuel directly into the cylinder, not the carb throat.

EDIT: On second thought, let me clarify. I'm talking about small, single cylinder lawn appliances. OP's lawn tractor might be more like working on a car engine. Then, yeah, try the carb throat.
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:23 PM   #31
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If you put too much gas directly into the cylinder, it won't start. Remember the term "flooded" engine from when you were a kid? Not enough oxygen in the cylinder to explode all that gas and spark plug gap is filled with wet gasoline.
That's true. You read my post correctly. I use much less than the 1/4 cup or 1 - 2 T that pb4uski mentioned. But with single cylinder 2-stroke engines, complete with their loose fitting rings, a few pulls of the starting cord usually clears up clylinder flooding (as opposed to carburator flooding) and she starts up, so flooding isn't a major issue.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:16 PM   #32
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Sorry I wasn't clear. When an engine won't start if I don't have any starting fluid handy I pull the plug(s), drizzle some gasoline into the cyllinder, put the plug(s) back, and then start. That procedure frequently, but not always, does the trick.

Or if it runs for just a few seconds then I know that the problem is not lack of fire, but is lack of fuel. Have done this with lawn mowers, lawn tractors, snowmobiles, inboard and outboard marine engines, etc. over the years and haven blown myself or any equipment up yet.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:08 PM   #33
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Thanks for the tips, discussion, and funnies. In this case, the mechanic used the spray because the tractor would not come out of our garage to be worked on. I agree that stale gas was probably implicated. I also agree that "quick fixes" aren't fixes - like thinking WD40 has actually "fixed" a squeaky door hinge. If tractor refuses to start in future, I will ask husband to run through the troubleshooting steps you all have suggested...or if it's on a weekend, we'll run through them together.

Thanks again,

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Old 03-08-2011, 11:30 AM   #34
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any gas being stored for say 45 days or longer should have Stabil added to it. all my stored gas has Stabil in it except in summer when i use the gas fast enough to not need Stabil.

NO equipment should EVER be stored at the end of the season until you drain the gas from the tank (buy a siphon at auto parts store) and run the engine dry AND the gas used at the end of the season should have Stabil in it so it runs thru the carb because you can't get every drop out of the system.

failure to so this may (almost assuredly) cause you a lot of aggravation and money! gas today is CRAP and goes bad very fast.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:11 PM   #35
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any gas being stored for say 45 days or longer should have Stabil added to it. all my stored gas has Stabil in it except in summer when i use the gas fast enough to not need Stabil.

NO equipment should EVER be stored at the end of the season until you drain the gas from the tank (buy a siphon at auto parts store) and run the engine dry AND the gas used at the end of the season should have Stabil in it so it runs thru the carb because you can't get every drop out of the system.

failure to so this may (almost assuredly) cause you a lot of aggravation and money! gas today is CRAP and goes bad very fast.
This is not my experience. I've never used any product in the gas for my mowers. For at least 20 years, all I've ever done with my garden tractor is to start it up 2-3 times during the winter. Let it run for ten minutes to charge up the battery (which is best to do anyhow). Always starts, runs just fine. And the same gas is in the tank all winter ( ~ 5 months). Never had to perform any engine maintenance on either mower, and got 12 years on the first before I replaced it for non-engine reasons.

Have you ever tried not using it? I guess it can't hurt, but I don't find it necessary at all. Saves me money and time and the pain of siphoning.

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Old 03-09-2011, 10:28 PM   #36
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erd50 ll i can say is your experience is not the experience of countless stories i have seen on the tv news, heard of on the radio and heard of directly. we have 10% ethanol in our gas and it is $h!t.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:55 PM   #37
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erd50 ll i can say is your experience is not the experience of countless stories i have seen on the tv news, heard of on the radio and heard of directly. we have 10% ethanol in our gas and it is $h!t.
I can't speak for others, I can only convey my own experience. We also have 10% ethanol. Never used a gas stabilizer product, never had a problem using my procedure of a few starts over the winter. Did it just the other day, started up fine. Probably won't do again until mid-April, which is lawn mowing season here.

I see you didn't answer my question:

Have you ever tried not using it?

So if you have tried some years not using it, and you had problems, and no problems in years you used it, then of course it seems like you should use it. But if you've never not used it (the double negative is intentional), you really can't say if it helps or not.

So many times, I also see countless stories of this or that, and they simply are not true - so that carries little weight for me. Between the news media and the internet, stories get repeated as if they are fact, but few 'journalists' today actually seem to do any fact checking.

Along those lines, I'm still looking for an actual study that shows that the commonly sold driveway sealers extend the life of a blacktop driveway. You will find tens of thousands of stories on-line about how you should use it for this, and they insist it works, but I had trouble finding any data. I did find one rather poorly controlled study that indicated no difference after 15 years. And personally, I prefer the softer weathered gray to the stark black of a freshly sealed drive.

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:02 AM   #38
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no i never did not use Stabil and i will never forgo using it in gas i'm storing. as i said the only time i don't use Stabil is in the mowing season when i go thru gas fast enough to not worry about it sitting long enough to cause problems, a 5 gallon can lasts a month but in september i'm adding Stabil to the gas as i don't mow every week and i want treated gas running thru the carb so when i am ready to drain the system i don't have to add Stabil then run it for 20 minutes.

i'm glad you have not had any problems. i know someone that runs a small equipment business and the crap gas has brought him a LOT of business. he's a reliable source of info. i've seen many reports on the local tv news of problems in small engines like mowers, chain saws, weed wackers, snow blowers and motorcycles. seems anything with a carb is going to have issues if you let this crap gas sit in it for several months untreated.

all these stories on tv and radio in addition to my friend who runs a small equipment shop bears out that there are serious risks to not using Stabil. i keep it in my truck all the time, i mix it for long term storage not short term storage but i drive it only once a month for ~ 20 miles. it is not driven in winter and has been sitting since 11/14, i don't see starting it until at least a month from now.

i think it is cheap insurance because the damage from the gas can be expensive and inconvenient.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:43 AM   #39
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Late to this thread... Recently started my mower after a 2-3 year "rest". Ran it until it died for lack of fuel before storing, but still needed some carb cleaner spray to get it to start/run.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:01 AM   #40
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Late to this thread... Recently started my mower after a 2-3 year "rest". Ran it until it died for lack of fuel before storing, but still needed some carb cleaner spray to get it to start/run.
I bet your grass is long.
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