Non- ethanol needed for mower?

vieja_gw(z7NM)April 4, 2013

We have had Honda & Toro (Briggs & Stratton engine) gas self-propelled mowers & the Toro self-propelled with elec./battery start has worked the best for me in mowing small lawns. Took it in recently to be serviced before mowing begins again & was told if ethanol gas is used in the mowers the work will not be warrantied! Is ethanol gas hard on the engines ... & where to buy the non-ethanol gasoline for the mowers then? Was told the mower we bought at Home Depot was 'bottom of the line' models of the name brand mowers sold at places like that; best sold at dealers... true? Our Toro ($200) has worked well (not the Honda though!).

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Ethanol has problems.
Mainly, it absorbs moisture.
One thing I do is fill the tank to the brim after use. This reduces the "dead air" space in the fuel tank. Less air is exchanged during the heating/cooling cycle during the day while in storage. Less air exchange means less "fresh, moisture laden air" is drawn in.
During mowing season, this really isn't a problem, since you are refilling the tank frequently.
During the winter/infrequent use, I use stabilized fuel.

Refill the fuel can frequently. Dump any fuel over 30 days old into the cars gas tank.
I only use a 1 gal. can and get $3 worth at a time. (no car to dump the rest in)
My 23? year old Honda started first pull this Spring. A pleasant surprise. Usually, it's 4-5 pulls.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:15AM
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Thanks! We do use sta-bil in the fuel (ethanol) fuel for the mowers & run them dry end of season or dump the rest into the car tank as you mention! Since I do most of the mowing ( small bermuda mix lawns) I have found the Toro to work best for me (esp. the battery/electric start gas mower) but had trouble with the Honda & the Snapper ... hard to start & they wore me out... but they both were the pull rope type-not battery/electric start (all bought at Home Depot). The saw/mower place says: 'you get what you pay for'! For these small lawns of ours it doesn't make sense to spend a fortune on the models they carry & the Toro we have has been very dependable as long as the battery is charged once a month. Our saw/mower places we have gone to are not friendly at all ... & we have gone to three different ones here now!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 3:46PM
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As if their Honda mowers use a different engine than the Honda mowers at the Big box Stores.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 6:11PM
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That's amusing the shops that told you not to use ethanol gas. I would have asked them to kindly refer me to a gas station in the area that carries non-ethanol gas and where they buy theirs from.

In my area I too find shops don't treat homeowners as nicely as they should but they do it for their Landscaping commercial customers.
You will be hard pressed to find any stations in the USA that have non-ethanol gas.

As for box stores selling mowers, they do not do warranty work, thus if you need work you will need to bring to an authorized dealer which would be reluctant to repair since you didn't buy it there. Their own customers get top priority so if they agreed to repair you go to the bottom of the list.

I have a Toro Personal Pace (pull start) purchased from Home Depot, it's going into it's 13th season and still starts on the first pull, and that's using ethanol gas.
I also have a John Deere rider with a Kawasaki (electric start) and it too runs on ethanol gas without issues.

I follow the philosophy of running engines dry before storing. I let the engine run dry then drain the gas tank.
I also remove the spark plug and shoot a few squirts of oil in then hand tighten. On the Toro I pull the chord until I feel resistance, this is Top Dead Center of the piston. It serves two purposes, to seal the valves to prevent moisture from entering the cylinder and also to relieve the stress on the valve springs. It may be overkill but I'm anal as my wife would say.

During the mowing season I use Stabil in the fuel and when the dayâÂÂs mowing is complete, I top off the fuel tank. This procedure has worked for me for over 39 years and I will continue doing it.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Our last Toro mowser had a defect fixed under warranty & the Toro Co. had the local Toro dealer fix it free. As for not using ethanol gas ... the local Toro dealer said they sell the 'non-ethanol gasoline' for $6/gallon there (I didn't have the nerve to ask where they bought theirs as this dealer was so unpleasant anyway! Yes, we always use sta-bil in the gasoline for the mowers & run the engines dry end of season or siphon all of the old gas out for our car. We used to have a 'mom & pop' small mower/saw engine shop foot of our street & they were great & treated their customers like neighbors too... sad to have them retire!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Since I don't know where you live you can check out Gas Stations that sell Ethanol Free Gas in your area from the included link.

There are none near Long Island in NY where I live.
I'm curious to know if there are any in your area where the authorized Toro dealer may get his from. 6 bucks a gallon seems mighty expensive to me.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Live in Albuquerque, NM & I see from the site you posted that we have two places in the City that sell regular gasoline for about $3.20 a gallon... if that is where our mower dealer gets their's, then they sure make a profit! Our ethanol gas at Sam's is $3.29/gal. today. Couple of weeks ago it was just under $3/gallon.

Thanks everyone for the advise! Wish these dealers were more customer friendly & not so aggressive & hot-headed to a non-business person!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 6:25PM
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I don't use much Stabil , I do use MMO . I use a shut off and run the carbs dry after every use. I have had to replace 40 yr old fuel hoses and such. A lot of my stuff burned regular when it was new . I have had trouble with my newest OPE, a 10 yr old Husqavarna weed whacker. I replaced the fuel line twice. I also had to tear down the carb to clean out bits of old fuel hose. I went to a shop across town and bought some ethanol compatible hose. The Husqy is well made and easy to work on IIRC the shrouds were held on with a few 4mm allen screws. I groaned when I saw the China made Zama carb. But it was a simple job to take it apart and clean it .

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Am I the only one in the world that does not use Stabil, just run everything dry at the end of season.
What gas I don't use snow blowing, I use for mower till it's gone.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 1:50PM
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