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Small engine repair shops love ethanol because it provides them with a steady stream of business. But if you get one of these shop owners to open up with you, he'll probably tell you he doesn't use that gasoline in his own small engines.
Ethanol attracts water. Water enters your fuel system in the air that enters the fuel tank as the gasoline is burned by the engine. The water is drawn into the gasoline, making for a chemical mix that accelerates corrosion of metal parts in the engine.
When the fuel level is low in the tank, the water can condense on the cool surfaces of the tank. This water then runs down and gets into the gasoline. If enough water collects in the tank, it can get drawn into the engine, where it can cause the engine to run poorly. Ethanol-containing gasoline can deteriorate in just 30 days.
The good news is you can buy gasoline for your small engines that doesn't contain ethanol. Many businesses that sell machines with small gasoline engines stock cans of ethanol-free gasoline that already has the stabilizer chemicals in it. Most people are unaware of this resource. You can even get these fuels for two-cycle engines with the two-cycle oil already added as well as the stabilizer.
The ethanol in blends of gasoline sold at the pump sucks moisture out of the air and gums up fuel systems of small two-stroke motors, said Carol Fisher, office manager at Ridderman & Sons Oil Co. in Plainwell. The shelf life of gasoline with ethanol? About a month, compared to three months for the non-ethanol gasoline the engines operate best on, said Tom Izenbaard, co-owner of Hoekstra Hardware in Kalamazoo.
Izenbaard said that "since the ethanol has been out there... 70 percent of my work (repairing lawn mowers) is fuel-related problems." Izenbaard said manufacturers recommend not buying more gasoline than can be used in a month's time... "The ethanol, the alcohol, will eat through rubber hoses and gunk up the carburetor," she said. "The 90 octane that we sell here is pure gasoline. It's called recreational gas. A lot of people use it for chain saws, lawnmowers, boats, anything with two-cycle motor."
If you've been having trouble with your small gasoline power equipment lately, MSNBC reports that you're not alone: Small-engine mechanics nationwide are seeing a spike in engine damage they claim is attributable to the increasing use of ethanol in gasoline. We're not talking about E85 here either; apparently, it's the much more common (and in some places ubiquitous) E10 blend, which is 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline, that technicians are blaming for gummed-up carburetors, internal rust and lubrication issues.
Of course, ethanol trade groups are claiming their extensive testing showed no adverse effects from running E10 in small gas engines. But the mechanics' descriptions of what they're seeing, coupled with the known properties of ethanol, make for a compelling argument. Read pump labels carefully, and if you can find ethanol-free gasoline in your area, buy it.
originally posted by: cmdrkeenkid
I have this lawnmower, one which I have owned for about three years now. I bought it new from Home Depot, but it's nothing fancy. Basically the second cheapest mulch mower they sell; it doesn't even have the self propelled option!
This season it started acting goofy. It would run for awhile, I'd get maybe half the yard done, then sputter off. We have about as quarter acre, so the first time it happened I assumed it was out of gas. Refilled the gas tank, even though it wasn't empty, and restarted it.
It ran for about five minutes, then sputtered off again. Each restart would give me less and less time, to where eventually it just sounded flooded.
Well, being the matter of mechanics I am, I removed the air filter and every time it would start to sputter I'd spray some WD-40 in there. That worked great! It would spew thick smoke, but keep on chugging! Until the mower started overheating...
Then I tried priming it, mostly because I forgot I didn't normally need to when restarting hot. However, that seemed to work.
Instead of running for five minutes, now it runs for ten or so!
All-in-all, I've cleaned and rebuilt the carb, replaced the air filter, replaced the gas tank and lines, and replaced the spark plug. The gas is good, it has enough oil. (Parts came from the old mower.)
Priming it every so often and restarting it works, but it's a nuisance to have to do frequently.
So, my question to you, is: Any ideas? Because I'm all out.
I'll post some pictures of it tomorrow, in case that helps anyone think of anything. I'd do it now, but the mower is all the way in the garage and I know if I leave the bed my spot will be forfeit to the dogs. Not worth it!
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!