After years of treating gas the same way two of my small engines refuses to start.

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Apr 22, 2018
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MA
I'm so annoyed right now. For years, I have been purchasing 87 octane fuel and adding Sta-Bil without any problems. I follow the directions on the packaging. It has been a few months since I used my ride on lawn mower and generator and today neither one would start. Last time I used them they started right up. A squirt of carb cleaner and they both turn right over for a few seconds meaning both carbs are probably gummed up. This fuel was purchased in the summer (I believe there is no ethanol here during summer months) and the Sta-Bil was added right away into standard plastic gas containers. I even use the fuel shutoff value each and every time I use the lawnmower and generator to make sure all the fuel is used up in the carburetor.

This happened after the first year I owned my snow blower 10 years ago and using the method above I have since had 10 drama-free years of operation and most of that gas was E10. I'm only buying 10 gallons of gas at a time and I go through that in less than 6 months. What the heck else can I do to prevent this situation? Is the Sta-Bil 360 ethanol and storage a better product?
 
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If the carbs have bowl drains you should open them and drain the bows even if you run them out. Often there is a small dribble of gas left sitting in the bottom of the bowl.
This is not to be argumentative with you - I'm just can't believe every time I stop my small engines I have to drain the bowls too. Is this what every small engine owner has to do?

I guess I just don't understand how I can go years without a problem and then within a couple months it happens to two engines?
 
Try a bit of gas in the cylinder (remove spark plug) and see if it starts. I usually have to do this to my snowblower to get it to start with old gas
 
would they start with fresh fuel? If its summer fuel the RVP would be very low in winter and its aged too.
I did not pump out the old fuel and put fresh fuel in mostly because I don't have a hand pump to do it. Also, both are electric start and I cranked them for an awhile - if gas was getting into the cylinder wouldn't I at least smell fuel after a while? No gas small whatsoever but it turned right over within a few seconds with carb cleaner.
 
Sometimes the polymeric end of the needle in the fuel bowl will swell over time and get stuck in the seat. Hence, I keep a carb rebuild kit or a spare needle and seat on hand for this reason. While the polymers are resistant to fuel infusion, over time I believe they develop microscopic scratches which allows some fuel intrusion and thereby results in swelling.

Good Luck!
 
I have 2 stroke and 4 stroke ope, 2 husky weed wackers, a Husky back pack blower 2 generators, a power washer 2 wheel lines and 2 Honda mowers with the oldest being 23 years old and have never used anything than pump gang and no Stabil I just start them up in the spring and they run fine.
 
I have similar issues . Wouldnt think a couple months and using Stabil would degrade the fuel . Gotta wonder
I had gas in my pressure washer for 3 years. I drained the float bowl and it startes right up after that , Honda 13 Hp engine.
 
Pink sta-bil and run dry. It's still a lottery if I'll have issues. I think the environment has something to do with it-- my stuff is stored under cover but in a situation where humidity can get in. (and out!) My newer mower with its unvented (less-vented?) gas cap is better than most other stuff.

Presently dealing with it by being better at cleaning carbs out. On chondas it's pretty easy, just pull the bowl, wipe the green goo out with a paper towel, run a bread tie wire up the main jet, slam it all back together.
 
i saw all the crud in the carb bowl after a couple years of not running it dry.
Of course if you run it dry (fuel valve) after every mow etc your starter life is greatly reduced.
Takes the 316 about 30s of cranking to pump up after run dry.
 
This is not to be argumentative with you - I'm just can't believe every time I stop my small engines I have to drain the bowls too. Is this what every small engine owner has to do?

I guess I just don't understand how I can go years without a problem and then within a couple months it happens to two engines?
I don’t do any of that stuff - I do start them at least twice a month …
Have used Chevron Marine for many years - and for the last 6 years I have bought E0 for around a buck or less more
(depending on octane of E0)

 
You can't fix crap fuel plain and simple and no it has nothing to do with rvp I run a Vpracing c9 in 0F to -20f Temps that has a much lower rvp than any pump gas runs and starts any engine I put it in summer or winter. In the end garbage in garbage out.
 
Stabil360 is a start. Its added to the gas container prior to filling. I also alternate among various brands... Quicksilver, StarTron, Briggs, Biobor, Lucas....

Toptier premium fuel is a must IF ethanol-free isn't available. So, find an ethanol free station. I use the local walmart for ethanol free but I'm in a boatramp/ocean/lake/river area. We have smallengine/marine gas everywhere.

If you're lucky, the fuel didn't have any crud in it. I run Briggs(Lowes) and STP(autozone) inline fuel filters(simple small bug screens) on my small engines. Finding garbage in too many carbs these days. The fuel filters are pretty cheap.

E10 is pretty much everywhere year round. Unless the pump states ethanol free, assume that it has ethanol.
 
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