Stale Gas question

trudi_dFebruary 11, 2006

Hi There! It's not often that I've posted on this forum but each time I have the replies have always been very helpful to me ;-)

I don't understand what "stale gas" is, or how it gunks up a motor. I actually never heard of it before until last year when we bought our first snow-blower. Over the years we've had a few lawn mowers, but I don't ever recall hearing that term when I bought them or had them serviced.

Last year we bought a new snow blower and the salesman had mentioned to us that we should use new gas to create the mix, and not any we had in the cans for the lawn mower--gas we had bought a few months back because that gas could be stale.

How does gas go stale and what negative effects does it produce if you use it?




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Basically,the gas breaks down from fuel to varnish or sheliac per then attacks the plactic and metal in the carb/ fuel system,then it tends to dry up and plug everything up and destroy it....gas starts to turn ,in about 30 days ,so long term fuel storage is an issue....this is why generators,snowblowers and lawn mowers have such issues .....they sit for too long,not being used,and the gas turns to crap....

Hope this helps....Jim

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 11:00AM
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That DOES help!

Thank you Jim, it's a good explanation that I can pass onto Hubs!


    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 11:16AM
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Id like to add something to.Gas stabilizers are a joke.While plain gas can go dead or stale in a month,fuel stabilizers can add maybe a month to gas.Figure the price of gas compared to gas stabilizer and you are better off just to drain the gas when you wont be using something for awhile.Like Jim said,dead gas is probably the #1 cause of small engine problems.The best thing to do is drain the gas out,start the engine to run out the rest of the gas in the fuel lines and carb.Doug

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 12:29PM
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Only trouble with "Running it dry" is this: It doesn't run dry! There is always a small amount of gas left in the carburetor which doesn't get burnt in the engine! This is what causes the problems with the fuel! The little bit left turns to varnish, and in the spring, when you pour in the new fuel, it softens this varnish and it gets into yer carb, to clog it up!
Better to add some Sta-bil to your fuel, so it will keep longer, and not turn to varnish!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 4:10PM
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For us folks in the northern latitudes, I think the stale gas is more of a problem with snowblower engines if gas is left in them thru spring,summer and fall. My theory,for what it's worth, is that gas tends to get stale while sitting unused thru warm weather.
I don't know if tecumseh still does or not, but the carb on my snowblower engine has a spring loaded drain on the float bowl.In the spring I siphon all the gas out of the tank and comepletely empty the carb. Haven't had any gas related problems in 8 yrs. Come to think of it, I haven't had any problem with this engine in 8 yrs.
My $.02,

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 6:00PM
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I use Stabaliser but I start the engines and allow them to run to full operating temp every 30 days or so.I feel this way there is a different bach of gas in the carb.I have never had a problem with gas going bad in a tank or gas can.But a carb holds a small amount of gas and air gets to it more then in the tank or in a sealed gas can.So by starting the engine and allowing it to run every 30 days there is a different gas supply so varnish does not have a chance to form.There are warm days during the winter and they come within 30 days.I start my snowblower the same way during the summer months.I just find cooler days to do it.I start my generator every 30 days and plug in a few items like a trouble light to excersise it also.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2006 at 11:48PM
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nevada_walrus(Boulder City)

What johndeere said is right on target. Fuel stabolizer will prolong the turning of fuel to varnish but the high ratio of surface air to the fuel in the carb will allow the rapid vaporizing molecules which allow easy cold starting to evaporate. Thus a properly stabolized engine may still be hard to start after setting several months. There won't be any gunk build up or damage when staboloized but the fuel in the float bowl may be dead when cold starting. Once a month starting to use up the fuel in the carb or draining of the float bowl prior to start up after setting is a good practice.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 9:44AM
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To answer a question not asked, I dump the can for the snow thrower into the tank of our car every few minths and refill it. I did this even with a couple gallons of premix I'd have leftover for my old outboard: diluted into a tank of 16-35 gallons, the oil is no issue for the engine or emission control system.

Fuel formulations are changed for the winter months to make them more volatile, so tanking up in November or after the changeover is a good idea, rather than earler.

Many boat owners swear by PRI-G in lieu of Stabil. Many other fuel additives and carb cleaners claim to stabilize gas as well.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2006 at 11:52AM
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predator1(Z5 MO)

i put sta-bil in every container of gas before i purchase the gas, and have never had a problem. have done this for years. the only gas i use without sta-bil is in my automobile. it's work for me, even on my outboard motors.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 2:31PM
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The only true story we don't get on this subject is the guy that filled the tank in his mower in 1951 and then went to Korea. Seems he forgot he had a mower when he returned and then discovered it in 1999 in a shed out back. Started right up with not even a hiccup and has run perfectly ever since. Did I mention he used synthetic oil?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 4:31PM
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machiem(Z8 WA)

I don't use fuel stabilizers and have had no problems with starting or running equipment that has sat for 6-12 months. This includes the string trimmer, chainsaw, generator and my 2-stroke motorcycle. The 2-stroke oil mix for 2 of the above may provide some stabilization but the fuel in the gas cans is well over a year old as well and I just used some in my chainsaw this past weekend and it ran perfect.

It's not quite as amazing as a 1951 engine running after 48 years, but good enough for me.

However, I recently cleaned out a garden tractor gas tank that sat outside for about 8 years. The gas was the color of orange kool-aid with caramel like goo in the bottom of the tank. Oddly enough, the carb was spotless.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 10:15PM
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firechief(N Ca)

I have never had a problem with socalled stale gas,since the lead was taken out.The gas sits in my Generac Emg. Gen.year in and year out .It starts on the first or second pull.The same goes for chainsaws lawn mower etc.I think the problem went away with the lead.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 10:48AM
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I'm in the same camp as machiem and firechief. Have never used fuel stabilizers in my mower, trimmer, fourwheeler and have never had problems starting either of them. Just got a new snowblower this year and after it sitting for over a month without any stabilizer in the gas I could not pull start it and had to use the electric start. It did start though and ran fine. I might have had the same issues with the stabilizer in the gas I don't know.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 11:09AM
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john_c(N.EAST GA.)

Posted by: ohmyrakinback KY (My Page) on Sat, Feb 11, 06 at 12:29

Id like to add something to.Gas stabilizers are a joke


    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 7:10PM
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Ha Ha Ha .I remember reading about a guy named John down south that dug up his dead dog and had his own way.Now that was funny.Your trailer musta been hot the other night and you needed to vent some steam at my expense,hope your welfare check gets to ya soon and you can buy a fan.Leave your dead cat buried please.Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 5:53PM
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