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Old 03-10-2011, 01:13 PM   #41
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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.
Late too but recently had an issue with lawn mower and bad gas gumming up the carb. Engine was surging. I could see the throttle moving back and forth and the engine reving up and down almost stalling. Had carb rebuilt cleaned for $50.00. Dumped bad gas got new. 2 months later it started again and I used stabil. Then I found SEAFOAM.

Incredible stuff. Dumped in carb and stalled engine. let sit 5 minutes and start. repeated several times and the engine purrs.

Google seafoam and small engines and you tube has videos as well.

I wish I knew about this stuff when I had cars with carbs.

You can get it at Walmart.

See ya

Wally
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:04 PM   #42
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You can also use SEAFOAM on cars with injectors, Wally.

I regularly run it in my 2004 CRV, 93 f150 and 1976 Monte Carlo.

Sure did smoke when I treated the Carb in the '76.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:18 PM   #43
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I bet your grass is long.
I have illegal aliens a lawn service. Besides, I'm good at disposing of excess grass...
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:18 PM   #44
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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.
And I'd take the word of someone like that over all the 'journalists' out there.

But, to overly-belabor this point beyond what I already have (but now I'm curious about something, so hang in there...), I would still wonder if the people with problems kept the tank mostly full, and started it several times over the off season? Or were they the ones that left an almost empty tank all winter - I think that would be more likely to cause problems.

I don't think I mentioned that I keep the tank pretty full over the winter - I think this may be important. For one, less problem with condensation. And now, to the point that I was curious about...

People keep talking about build of of gunk. But with a full tank, I don't really experience any significant evaporation (I never really measured it, just going be what I recall). Now, I could see if you left a quart of gas evaporate down to a 1/4 cup - that 1/4 cup could be pretty sludgy and varnish-y. But with 2 gallons in the tank, let's say even 10% evaporates (I doubt it is anywhere near that), that leaves gas that is only slightly concentrated. It can't be all that much different, but losing the most volatile components can make for harder starting (hence the need for starter fluid sometimes). And with a full tank, there isn't much head space to evaporate in to.

So anyhow, I think a full tank and a few starts is why I haven't seen any problems. If you can't do that, or don't trust it I'm sure Stabil will do the trick, I just think there are options - plus the starting and running a while gets the oil distributed around and the battery charged.

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Old 03-10-2011, 10:52 PM   #45
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Over the last couple years we have had loads of problems around here with the 10% ethanol fuel and snowmobile and marine engines (both 2 cycle and 4 cycle). I've had to have carbs rebuilt on my Mercruiser and on my snowmobile. It got so bad that last year I went a bit out of my way to buy no ethanol gas - but it is now no longer available anywhere.

Recently, I've been using a fuel stabilizer recommended by my mechanic. It's not Stabil - it is a aqua blue color - I'l post the name of it later - but he swears by it.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:49 PM   #46
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And I'd take the word of someone like that over all the 'journalists' out there.

But, to overly-belabor this point beyond what I already have (but now I'm curious about something, so hang in there...), I would still wonder if the people with problems kept the tank mostly full, and started it several times over the off season? Or were they the ones that left an almost empty tank all winter - I think that would be more likely to cause problems.

I don't think I mentioned that I keep the tank pretty full over the winter - I think this may be important. For one, less problem with condensation. And now, to the point that I was curious about...

People keep talking about build of of gunk. But with a full tank, I don't really experience any significant evaporation (I never really measured it, just going be what I recall). Now, I could see if you left a quart of gas evaporate down to a 1/4 cup - that 1/4 cup could be pretty sludgy and varnish-y. But with 2 gallons in the tank, let's say even 10% evaporates (I doubt it is anywhere near that), that leaves gas that is only slightly concentrated. It can't be all that much different, but losing the most volatile components can make for harder starting (hence the need for starter fluid sometimes). And with a full tank, there isn't much head space to evaporate in to.

So anyhow, I think a full tank and a few starts is why I haven't seen any problems. If you can't do that, or don't trust it I'm sure Stabil will do the trick, I just think there are options - plus the starting and running a while gets the oil distributed around and the battery charged.

-ERD50
i'm not sure if having a full tank would help to prevent the problem. you make a good point about evaporation but i question whether gas evaporates from a tank? seems unlikely as that'd be a hazard due to fumes possibly being ignited. also epa would frown on it that is why gas pumps have the boot to prevent vapors escaping during fueling a car. gas caps on small equipment are vented tho, there's a small hole in the cap so maybe a tiny amount of vapor can escape.

the problem with the gas is the compounds in it break down into a varnish like substance. this clogs the ting passages in a carb and small equipment have small carbs but this can happen in a car too. iirc no cars made after 1986 have carbs but for older cars this is a problem.

i had sea foam and it is supposed to be fantastic stuff. i used it but not as a carb cleaner just an additive.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:04 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by veremchuka View Post

the problem with the gas is the compounds in it break down into a varnish like substance.
OK, maybe that's what I'm missing (assuming it works that way, I dunno).

If the varnish/gummy stuff just 'forms' even w/o evaporation (like stuff settles out on the bottom of a can of paint or varnish), I suppose that could clog things up. For me at least, I guess the occasional start flushes it out before it can build up and cause problems? I'll probably throw some kind of fuel additive in this spring, just as a precaution against any build up that may have occurred.

But wouldn't I see some of this build up on the bottom of the tank? It's milky-white plastic, and it's spic-and-span clean - no build up of any kind at all. It looks factory-fresh, not even a hint of a even a stain on the inside. How can that be? My curiosity is really getting to me on this one - is it a fable (despite what seems like good evidence), have I been lucky, what?


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Old 03-11-2011, 11:47 AM   #48
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Started my mower yesterday for the first time since October. Started quick but the engine surged for five minutes then settled. Had stabil in a full tank.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:47 PM   #49
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.....If the varnish/gummy stuff just 'forms' even w/o evaporation (like stuff settles out on the bottom of a can of paint or varnish), I suppose that could clog things up. For me at least, I guess the occasional start flushes it out before it can build up and cause problems? I'll probably throw some kind of fuel additive in this spring, just as a precaution against any build up that may have occurred.

But wouldn't I see some of this build up on the bottom of the tank? It's milky-white plastic, and it's spic-and-span clean - no build up of any kind at all. It looks factory-fresh, not even a hint of a even a stain on the inside. How can that be? My curiosity is really getting to me on this one - is it a fable (despite what seems like good evidence), have I been lucky, what?


-ERD50
i am not a chemist so what i'm going to say is just my logical analytical option.

if the problem is created by compounds in the gas that break down/change chemically and create a substance that clogs lines then i don't see how starting your engine periodically protects you because the gas is getting older as time passes. Stabil is designed to prevent this chemical change keeping the gas fresh.

adding additive in the spring is not going to solve anything assuming the gas is breaking down over the time period that it is sitting without any Stabil in it. you need to prevent the problem from happening not try to cure it after the fact. this is why adding Stabil to the gas when you buy it and then store it for x months is the right way to approach this. if you're going to use the gas in say 2 months i'm sure you are ok but beyond 60 days Stabil is cheap insurance against expensive repairs. an oz of prevention....

who's to say anything settles out? maybe the varnish problem is not visible to the naked eye but is a problem when trying to run that gas thru a carb.

maybe you have been lucky, based upon what i hear you are playing russian roulette. since this problem surfaced several years ago here (it was big news on tv) i have used Stabil for gas that is stored whether in my gas cans, small equipment like a snow blower over the winter with infrequent use or in the gas tank of my truck that i drive once a month then park all winter until spring. talk to people that own antique cars and i'll bet you that every single one of them uses a gas stabilizer.

like i said i'm not an expert but i wanted to warn people here in view of the op post that gas is not what it used to be and i am certain that ethanol is the problem.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:00 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by veremchuka View Post
i am not a chemist so what i'm going to say is just my logical analytical option.

if the problem is created by compounds in the gas that break down/change chemically and create a substance that clogs lines then i don't see how starting your engine periodically protects you because the gas is getting older as time passes. Stabil is designed to prevent this chemical change keeping the gas fresh.
Could be, I'm no chemist either. My thought was that any build up that settled into or clung to the small parts might be flushed out by the larger flow of gas.

Quote:
adding additive in the spring is not going to solve anything assuming the gas is breaking down over the time period that it is sitting without any Stabil in it.
I was thinking of a cleaning type additive in the Spring, not a stabilizer type. My thought here was, in case there is some build up, maybe not enough to keep from starting and running well, but a build up that might cause trouble over time, that some cleaner would take care of it.

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you need to prevent the problem from happening not try to cure it after the fact.
I'm just not convinced that there is a problem that needs curing.

Quote:
who's to say anything settles out? maybe the varnish problem is not visible to the naked eye but is a problem when trying to run that gas thru a carb.
Well, there simply isn't anything in the tank, visible or not - I looked at an old tank that had a tiny, tiny leak near the top (only leaked when completely full - being a pack rat, I kept in case the new one developed a major leak, I could use this until I got a replacement), it was in service for 6 years, and I just scraped at it - there is no build up in there, no powder, no residue of any sort.

So, if this chemical change is homogeneous, and stays in solution and doesn't settle out, then when I get my engine started and that gas is used up the first few mowings, the problem is gone too, right? Nothing is left behind. This is why I'm not concerned. If I couldn't get it started, I'd be concerned, but that hasn't been a problem for me over the 20 years or more that I've been doing this.


Quote:
maybe you have been lucky, based upon what i hear you are playing russian roulette.
Perhaps, but I haven't seen any evidence of any bullets. I'm actually a real pro-preventative maintenance guy. I do far more than most people do, hoping to avoid the bullets. But I agree with Nords take on from his military experiences - pick and chose and do it as appropriate.

Here's an example of that - my manual says change the fuel filter every year. Hmmm, I went to the store and they were not in stock, so I took the filter out, gave it a good look and blew backwards through it, and nothing was in there. I figured - what's the worst that could happen? If it clogs, it stops, I clean it out and I'm good to go. Since then I've never replaced the fuel filter either, and I've never had a problem. I pump filtered gas into a plastic can (no rust), into a plastic tank. What's to clog the filter? It's CYA for the mfg to cover everyone, including people with dirty gas cans, but if you understand what you're doing you can adjust to your circumstances.

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talk to people that own antique cars and i'll bet you that every single one of them uses a gas stabilizer.
As I said earlier, lots of people do lots of things w/o having any evidence that what they are doing helps or not. They do it "just in case". Or maybe these people are not starting their vehicles a few times in the off season as I do? It might make perfect sense in that case. All I'm saying is I don't think it is for ceratin that you have to do it, I think my process is an alternative. Them doing it has no bearing on whether it is appropriate for my situation whatsoever.

We always heard of people who swore by changing their oil every 3,000 miles. There is lots of evidence these days that that was wasteful and didn't help one bit over a less intense schedule.

Quote:
like i said i'm not an expert but i wanted to warn people here in view of the op post that gas is not what it used to be and i am certain that ethanol is the problem.
You're certain that ethanol is the problem, but you're not a chemist?

IIRC, the problem with ethanol is that it absorbs moisture and that it can attack some plastics. But most engines accommodate that now. I'm not aware that ethanol causes any gummy varnish problems, it might actually help clean them. I think that might be one of the problems in adding ethanol to a system that had not used it in a long time, the ethanol loosens the build up, and that clogs things, but I'd need to look that up. Brazil is using a minimum 20% ethanol blend, and has cars that run 100% ethanol. If ethanol is so bad, how do these cars run at all?

BTW, I'm not typing all this to be argumentative - I'm looking to have my ideas challenged and I'll change if I see evidence that there is a problem with the method for me, but I haven't seen that, just claims that 'everybody does it' and unfounded theories about how it might be causing problems (that I've never experienced).

If you'd like to continue, any chance you could add capitals to your sentences? It is proven to make them easier to read, the eye looks for those visual clues. Thanks.

-ERD50
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:52 PM   #51
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From Cecil Adams, the Mr. Knowitall at The Straight Dope:

The Straight Dope: Why does gasoline go stale so quickly?
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Old 03-12-2011, 03:46 PM   #52
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From Cecil Adams, the Mr. Knowitall at The Straight Dope:

The Straight Dope: Why does gasoline go stale so quickly?
Thanks, pretty good article.

So it seems that part of the problem is what I'd expect - the most volatile components evaporate off, and you need those for easy starting. So that's where the ether spray comes to the rescue.

Quote:
If it sits unused, however, its more volatile components waft away, leading to poorer engine performance. ... though your car might start a little harder, it'll still run (assuming it ran before), and there's little risk in burning the fuel if this is all that's gone wrong.

The second he mentions is oxidation:

Quote:
... some of the hydrocarbons in the fuel react with oxygen to produce new compounds, ... When oxidation becomes a problem, you'll know it without lab tests — the gasoline gives off a sour odor. If you pour some into a glass container, you'll see it's turned dark, and you might find small, solid particles of gum. Using oxidized gasoline is a bad idea, since the gum can clog your fuel filter, create deposits in your fuel system (especially the injectors), and generally hurt performance.

Since I've never seen these symptoms, I'll assume my gas is not getting oxidized in the time I store it. Makes sense, I keep the tank nearly full and it is stored in a cool/cold garage. Oxidation reactions typically increase with temperature, at least when it comes to beer - this is something home brewers concern themselves with, handling beer in small batches makes the O2 exposure more of an issue, and oxidation gives beer a stale/cardboard taste. It's not uncommon to find, and storage temperature have a big influence.

I think I'll continue my process, and not worry. Not saying it's right for others, their conditions may be different.

-ERD50
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