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Where to buy the BEST gas for my saw...

Post in 'The Gear' started by Big Donnie Brasco, Apr 22, 2013.

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  1. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I agree you can get a little more out of better fuel. But when your already bringing the right tool for the right job its just an no-issue. No if you jump on a project that put your saw to its very limits I will run it and wished I passed on the job. ;)

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  2. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    You can run regular gas in saws, and many people do just that. I used to myself. However, according to all the techs that I know that tear down saws every day, they can always tell when a saw has been run on regular gas. They tend to have more carbon in the burn chamber, more gunk in the crank case and more scoring on the piston skirts and cylinder walls. Yah, they will run on regular, but in general the engines do not last as long that way. Its up to you. Ethanol can and does do a lot of engine damage, especially with marine engines and in wet environments where the ethanol picks up water and separates from the gas (called phase separation). Yah, again, you can use it.

    Me? I run pure non-ethanol supreme gasoline with 100% synthetic oil (Elf) and I add StaBil red to the gas ASAP. Non ethanol super gas is not that much more expensive than regular E10 gas, and it is available at several stations in town. In my truck I use regular E10 gas... its a 4 stroke, designed to run in that stuff. Its not like I burn through 20 gallons of chainsaw gas a week... I use maybe 5 gallons a month in my 2-stroke tools (saws, blower, trimmer, etc).
    mikefrommaine and Nixon like this.
  3. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Running my 2006 ms460 she has bright and shinny cylinder walls(Don't think there would be anyone saying it is less than top shape). Oh and I have had many weeks hitting around that 20 gallon mark. That's why I like other peoples fuel better. I also use mix that's on sale most of the time. Really its pretty hard to screw up a 2cycle unless you forget the oil.
    firefighterjake and Thistle like this.
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    And while we're talking two-strokes . . . I ran both the "high test" and regular ethanol fuel in my sled for years (and still do) without issues . . . not that it matters one whit (since I figure what works for you is what you should go with) . . . but my last sled had over 10,000 miles on it when I sold it . . . and two stroke sleds (even used ones) are quite a bit more expensive than most chainsaws.
    smokinj likes this.
  5. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Are there articles or studies that state that higher octane fuels have more energy in them?

    I have always followed similar thinking to this article:
    http://www.nicoclub.com/archives/gasoline-octane-myths.html

  6. charly

    charly Guest

    When I was at Harley's factory service school years ago, they explained the higher the octane the more stable and controlled the burn will be,,, so fuel is not starting to ignite as the piston is on it's way up to top dead center, trying to drive it back down against rotation. To low of an octane could put you in that situation.. I've always spent 10 -20 cents more a gallon and used premium..so it cost me a dollar more for 5 gallons... At least my engines are running fine with no tear downs needed..
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I think everyone has said that both ways. My 460 has seen alot of fuel and more than 150 cords over 7 years. So either way have at it. If it says mix use it and if it says bar oil than there you have it. Life good if you know. Doesnt matter what school your from. ;) oh and btw every harley rider around here has a favorite gas station and an oil that is the only thing they will run. God forbid anything else. Nothing has changed with this thread time for myth buster or maybe 10,000 hours on a snow machine.
  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Strap in. This is going to be a rough ride. ::-)

    Ding Ding Ding!

    Agreed that most of us here do not burn enough fuel to squabble over fuel cost of premium vs reg. However, "premium" gas isn't necessarily any better than "regular" or mid-grade. Some companies were using a different additive package (ie. Shell) in their premium fuel to make it "better". If your engine is designed to run 87, run 87. Running more won't usually hurt but there is no benefit just from adding octane alone. Stihl specifies 89 for for their equipment because mixing oil does in fact lower the octane rating a tad.

    The quality of "regular" can vary too. Usually the amount of detergent additives in the fuel is the major difference. But I add a stabilizer/detergent when I buy the fuel, and so do many of you. Hence I don't worry about it much. ;)

    Thats it in a nutshell. Higher octane = slower burn. If the engine is designed to take advantage of that, then yes it'll make a big difference. But if the engine is timed for regular (or mid) and you aren't getting pre-ignition/detonation/spark knock then you will make more power (and do no harm) with regular.

    Anybody remember cranking their distributor a few degrees and running premium when gas was cheap? ;lol

    Somebody is going to tell you to run AVGas (the 100LL variety most likely) in your saw. If your airport will sell it to you, you should be aware it contains lead, and lots of it. Even tho it's labled "Low-Lead", it contains around 2X the TEL that 60's automotive fuel did. Yes, AVGas stores forever, is equipment friendly, and the saws run great on it. Probably makes your manhood larger too. :rolleyes: But considering my outdoor power equipment exhausts within 3 ft of my face, I'll feed it a lead-free diet.

    Yeah, dumb luck. Your saws and mine ;) are probably going to sieze up or explode any day now. Still waiting........

    There is a lot of hype out there about 10% ethanol fuels "killing" your equipment. The ugly truth is that the fuel isn't what's doing the most damage. It's the poor storage habits of the end users. Ethanol fuels are workable, even if they aren't ideal. Don't leave your cans sweltering in a 130 degree shed, keep the cans sealed and full. Better to have 2 full cans than 4 half-empty ones. Use Star-Tron, Stabil, Sea-Foam, Yak-Piss, whatever, just some kind of stabilizer to keep new fuel fresh. Adding it 6 months after you buy the fuel isn't going to help.

    If you have older hand-held equipment (pre-2000 in most cases), then I would avoid storing the equipment with fuel in it to avoid issues with deteriorating fuel lines or swelling gas caps so tight that you need a 3 ft pipe wrench to get them out. (Very common with Craftsman or Poulan saws.)
    Bster13 and firefighterjake like this.
  9. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I used to believe that all standard gas had the same energy, but then I found several detailed analysis papers several years ago that showed that premium gas typically has (or had) a tad more energy that regular. Those were in the days of standard gas though, and not ethanol blends. I have lost the links to those sites, as they were on my old computer that has since died. The data that I find now online mostly list regular standard or regular E10 gas, and not premium. Standard and premium octane vary highly from brand to brand though, even in the US. In Europe gas has way higher octane than in the US. E10 is also highly variable, as in Oregon E10 is 10% ethanol and in California, E10 is 4% to 6% ethanol. Ethanol has only 60% of the energy of standard gasoline, and so the more ethanol you add, the less energy there is per gallon.

    That also holds true with standard gasoline though, with the lighter components in gas like butane and propane having lower energy than the heavier components like hexane and octane. That accounts for the difference in energy between summer and winter gas blends having different vaporization pressures from the mix of lighter and heavier compounds in gas. Winter gas has more lighter compounds, and summer gas is heavier. Winter gas used to also be oxygenated with ethanol (4%) in smoggy regions, but now it is blended with higher levels of ethanol all year. The bottom line is that gas is a blend and it is not not all the same, it varies by region and by country, it does not all have the same energy or octane rating, and gas octane starts dropping from the moment that the gas is blended at the refinery. That is because the lighter compounds waft off with time. Stabilizers keep this from happening, and that is why I use it.

    When I was a kid my mom used to buy 'a dollar worth of high test' at a time. That bought about 5 gallons of gas in those days. I remember regular gas being as low as 15 cents a gallon during gas wars in central Oregon in summer. By crackie, them were the good old days...
  10. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    100LL though. Not exactly something I want to be breathing much of. Pretty hard to not be breathing the exhaust of a saw.

    When I'm done using equipment for the season, I just park it. I don't mess with the fuel, oil, battery, etc, etc, etc. My Dad usually will pull the batteries and put them in the basement of their house (it stays 55-60* down there). I don't really have a safe place to put them that stays warm so I don't bother.

    The only time I've had problems is when the gas stayed in the tank for YEARS. I got a generator from a friend that had at least 15 year old gas in it. It caused a ton of rust in the tank which plugged the fuel filter. Otherwise it did run on that stuff. Not sure how because I dumped the tank out in my burn barrel and I may as well had dumped water in there.

    Leaving fuel in a tank for 6-8 months shouldn't case any issues. It will likely loose a bit of it's "kick" but on OPE with a couple gallon or less tank it's used up fairly quickly.
    firefighterjake and MasterMech like this.
  11. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I can understand how gasoline varies from state to state and also varies depending on how old it is. But I would think chainsaw manufacturers (and automobiles ones for that matter too) would understand the varied fuels their saws see and therefore spec something high enough to account for degradation for various reasons. Who knows..... I just keeping hearing guys at work talk about using their saws hard for X # of years and running this or that in it and "it's just fine."
  12. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My dad is as cheap as they come. Spending extra money on gas is blasphemy. He's run regular unleaded is his Homelite 360 for about 30 years now and cut at least 250 cord with it. It still has enough compression that it feels like you are pull starting a diesel.
  13. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    If you are near a lake or other boating destination the local gas stations are likely to have & advertise ethanol free fuel- if you're compelled to go that way

    As far as additives/stabilizers go - we've had good results in small engines running Stabil at work - nothing is 100% when people gun-deck quarterly reliability starts though.
    I use Seafoam at the house and the only issue I've noticed is it turns the last bit of fuel in the bottom of the bowl to a green booger clogging the brass bowl nut(main jet supply pickup in a B&S).
    It cleans out easier than crusty varnish
  14. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    The smell is awesome, but I have only ran a couple gallons of it.
  15. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Ever try that? I had an LCT single cyl diesel in here once. Damn thing nearly broke my arm. You learn to pay real close attention to the starting procedure and when you're ready to pull, you pull like it's your last dollar on the other end of the rope! You have a one and a half rotations to get enough inertia built up to get through compression or it tries to tear your arm off.


    You also live in Alaska, do you guys ever see 90 degrees? ;lol Isn't all of your fuel ethanol free up there?

    Boiling hot sheds, and stifling humidity are the big culprits down here in the lower 48. Lots of problems with machines that sit over the spring, summer, and fall. Very few issues with lawn and garden tractors as they sit during the cold, but relatively stable (temp wise) winter months.
  16. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Yup, we had an old diesel genny with a recoil (backup) starter on the farm I used to work on. Used it to run the welder when making "offsite" repairs, etc. The electric start went out years ago and never got fixed.

    "Tear your arm off" is a pretty accurate description. That, or it left a wicked blister on your hand when it completely yanked the rope handle out of your hand.
  17. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Yes, it gets in the 90s at times in Fairbanks. Yes no ethanol, but have lived in states that do have that crap too.
  18. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    There are no gas stations around here that have pure gas, zero
  19. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Same here, an in many other areas of the country. Which is why it's important to educate on how ethanol blended fuels are workable rather than just doom and gloom and your equipment is all going to be scrap, etc....

    Even without the ethanol, the fuel we buy these days is nowhere near as stable as it was even in the 90's.
  20. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Workable? I always prefer an alternative to bending over and spreading them wide myself. There are good reasons why there is a huge backlash against ethanol in gas nationwide, and sites like Pure-Gas and lobby efforts against it.

    As for a lack of ethanol-free gas being available, there are over 200 gas stations and marinas in NY state that sell it. I dunno where in the Hudson Valley that you live MM, but here is a list of NY stations: http://pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=NY

    As for 'zero' places around Grand Blanc that have ethanol-free gas??? I see one listed in Waterford (not far south of Grand Blanc on my map). The list for MI: http://pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=MI
  21. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Not one of those is within an hours drive of me. Most of them are very much so, upstate.

    I am in the Middletown area.
  22. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    I don't know all the science behind the gas wars, all I can say is I bought a case of 94 octane premix from Amick's and both my 455 Rancher and my Stihl 441run better. The 455 would hesitate until it warmed a bit; but with the 94 its off to the races as soon as she starts. The Stihl with the 94 in the tank sounds more like a 660 than a 441. But then maybe that's what I want to hear so that's why I hear it.:p I do wonder if I'm gonna burn a valve or something drastic like that using that stuff.!!!
  23. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Get 100LL AvGas from your local airport.

    It never goes bad. It won't gum up your carb. It'll make your saw easier to start.
  24. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    There are no valves in a 2 cycle so your good ;)
  25. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Dunno, Redd. I don't much care for the idea of leaded exhaust being less than 3 ft from my face. Even the LL av-gas has over double the lead that was used for automotive fuel. If it is of no concern, then burn on brother, but I am not a fan.
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