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Stabilizer in Ethanol-Free Fuel? (and other storage questions)

Post in 'The Gear' started by 120inna55, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. 120inna55

    120inna55 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    78
    Loc:
    Athens, TX
    I got a 22-ton Huskee splitter with Briggs & Stratton 675E engine in January of this year. I filled up the tank in January and put gas in it that had Sta-bil in it. The gas was probably 3 months old when I put it in the splitter.

    I ran the splitter long enough to split 2 logs. I was just making sure it worked, but wasn't ready to do much splitting.

    So, for the past 11 months, the splitter has been sitting under a tarp under 3' eaves behind my house. Rain cannot fall directly on it given the eaves and the tarp, but the temperature fluctuations are unavoidable.

    I recently tried to start it, but no go. Changed plug and all the basic elementary stuff I know how to do. It's still under warranty, so I took it to a local Briggs & Stratton authorized shop. They fixed it and said it was bad gas & that I should use at least mid-grade gas. (I never use less than 89). They essentially did a carb kit (they said I fouled the gasket when I looked at it, but I don't believe that. I've done it many times before with my B&S motors on my various lawnmowers over the years.) Either way, it wasn't covered under warranty since it was fuel-related. It was only $65, so I won't argue over that.

    My question is how to store it in the future to avoid a repeat problem. I've looked over the threads here and see there are differing opinions as to whether or not I should run the engine dry prior to storing for several months.

    I discovered a local station that sells ethanol-free gas. My limited understanding is that ethanol-free is the way to go if you can get it for engines like these to prevent the gumming/varnishing effects of ethanol and to avoid moisture collection that ethanol also promotes.

    It's probably inevitable that this question will yet again stimulate a "drain or no drain" debate, but I really want to know what you do when you put them away for up to a year at a time.

    And ultimately, is there any purpose in using fuel stabilizer in ethanol-free gas?

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Overall, it is probably best to run it dry. Then take the plug out and put just a tad of oil in it. Then crank just a little bit and leave it sit. However, we also have a B & S engine on our splitter and I've never run the tank dry and never had a problem. Yes, we do use stabil.

    For sure if I could buy ethanol free gas, I would.

    The purpose is to keep the gas in burnable condition. Some say sea foam is better as it has some cleaning effects but I've not used any yet.
    TreePointer and 120inna55 like this.
  3. ErikR

    ErikR Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2013
    Messages:
    100
    Loc:
    northern WI
    I don't have a splitter, but I have a mower and a snow blower that sit in my garage.... I always try to run ethanol free gas in them when I can. I buy only a couple of gallons and keep it in a 5 gallon can. I add Sta-bil to the can whenever I add gas to the can. At the end of the season, when I put them away, I run them until the tanks run dry and they die. This fall, when I went to start my snow blower for the first time in 6 or 7 months, I added fresh gas from the 5 gal can, set the choke, hit the primer bulb 6 times and it fired off in 2 pulls. It had sat all summer with fresh oil in it and the fuel tank dry.

    I store 3 fuel injected motorcycles in my garage over the winter too. On the last day of riding, I fill the tanks full with non ethanol premium, add a double dose of Sta-bil and drive them home. They sit all winter plugged into a Battery Tender Jr. with a new oil change before their winter's nap. They all fire up with the touch of the starter button in the spring.

    I've been doing it this way for many years and never had a carb/fuel problem..... Of course YMMV!


    If running your splitter dry isn't a possibility, you could always splice a small shut off valve in to the fuel line. That way, when you're done using it, shut off the fuel supply and let it run till it dies. It will save you from having gas evaporate in the carb and gum things up. Keep your fuel supply fresh and dump you old fuel into your car/truck and get new stuff once in a while...
  4. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
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    1,889
    Loc:
    SW Washington
    Yes. Fuel goes "bad" generally by oxidation. Gas, with ethanol or not, starts to oxidize right away and is generally okay for about 6 months without treatment, but that depends on temperature and exposure to air. Stabil is an antioxidant and is supposed to give you another 6 months or so.

    Best storage conditions are cool temps and with the container as full as possible to avoid air exposure.

    You may have gotten some water in the gas. Ethanol gas is okay as long as it doesn't get too much water in it. If it does, you have problems from phase separation. That's why boat owners hate ethanol gas.

    What I do is try to rotate my stored gas through the cars every 6 months so that the stored gas is always fresh. I do use Stabil in some containers if it has to stay there a while longer.

    And I agree, it's best to let the carburetor run dry if it's not going to be used for a long time. Learned that the hard way a couple of times....
  5. Nico1986

    Nico1986 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    60
    Loc:
    Shirley ny
    i always just run her dry take the spark plug out put a bit of oil in there pull cord a couple times put plug back in and ges in shed for the harsh winter usually run it into late december and sometimes break it back out if weather warms up a bit then do the whole process over again if im not gonna use it for awhile
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Jul 22, 2008
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    14,854
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    In any of my equipment that will sit for awhile I use a fuel treatment . . . generally StarTron. Two strokes and four strokes alike (splitter, sled, ATV, push mower, lawn mower, etc.) . . . so far, no issues after many years of "dealing" with ethanol in the fuel.
  7. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Make sure whatever treatment you choose, it doesn't have ethanol, methanol, or isopropanol in it and that it is a stabilizer. If you're using ethanol blend gas, you sure don't need any more alcohol. Many additives used to have some form of alcohol, and some still do, because it does absorb a little water which could sometimes be helpful (like "Heet").

    There are also additives like Techron that are detergent based cleaners and work well for that, but aren't for stabilization. There's so much hype in that industry, it's hard to know fact from fiction. If your aim is stabilization, just make sure that's what the product is.
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Ethanal free gas with sea foam added when it sets, no problems even with my splitter settingfor about a year.
    I guess where you live could have an effect on the luck you have with storing vehicles and gas.
  9. missedbass

    missedbass Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
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    Loc:
    long island
    +1 on the shut off valve. Forgot to close the valve once and used the splitter a couple of months later and had problems. Drained the bowl, restarted and engine is back to normal. always shut the valve and run it dry now and have not had problems since.
  10. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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    Bedford NH
    Use Startron.
    Problem solved.
    You can thank environmentalists and our Government for the awesome fuel we have now.
  11. mithesaint

    mithesaint Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    379
    Loc:
    NW Ohio
    I have always used plain gas, immediately added Stabil, and never had a problem. I've put fresh gas in the tank before I put something away for the season, and never had a problem.

    On the other hand...fuel can't gel or separate or go bad if it's not in the tank...
  12. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    250
    Loc:
    Bedford NH


    Unfortunately, it can separate. Phase Separation is what its called.
    The new fuel is actually more hydroscopic (absorbs water) than brake fluid.
    On the plus side, this wonderful new fuel is making mechanics a bunch of money. This season had me tearing into more bike carbs than any other ailment.
  13. cuttingedge

    cuttingedge New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2013
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    Maine
    I use Star-Tron for everything that is getting put away for any length of time. I also put it in my fuel cans before the winter. You should also be removing the plugs and fogging the cylinders as well as the intakes on any equipment before storage.

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