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 Post subject: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Aug Fri 21, 2009 7:45 pm
Posts: 741
Location: Port Dover, Ontario
I recently had to use my portable generator as our power was out for a few hours. It is now in my garage with some gas in the tank of its Briggs and Stratton engine. Hopefully, I am unlikely to have to use it again for some time.

It has been my habit to run my small engines (lawn mover and snowblower) until they run out of fuel before storing them until the next season of use.

It has been suggested to me that this is not a good idea and I wondered what members of the forum with more expertise than I have think of this idea. I have stabilizer in the fuel but wondered how long this is good for.

Thank you for your help.

Joseph


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 12142
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
Use the fuel stabilizer, this will keep carburetor and other seals at least wet and "swelled" Make a point to check the fuel periodically.

It can turn to varnish in 4 weeks.

It happened to me this Spring. Now I have 4 gallons of varnish or campfire lighting fluid.

I have to clean the Kohler's 1 com plugs because of the Sta-bil failure...

YMMV


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 7:05 pm 
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Location: Wayside, NJ Monmouth
+1 on Use of fuel stabilizer.


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
N2LXM wrote:
+1 on Use of fuel stabilizer.

And running the carburetor dry. Let's remember, the carburetor was dry when it came from Briggs and Stratton. I always do that, always have and the engines start, first pull... seriously!

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Aug Thu 20, 2015 3:09 pm
Posts: 706
Location: Albion, CA, USA
Run dry for sure. Yeah, seals and so on but bad gas will get you first.


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 8:10 pm 
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Joined: Jun Mon 22, 2015 6:21 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Bath, Maine 04530
DRY!!! There is nothing that needs to swell or be kept wet. Nothing. Most gaskets are NOT even in the gas. Over my 50 years of working on carbs I have seen unbelievable damage and varnish from gas being left in the fuel system. Drain the hole fuel system. DRY DRY DRY

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Last edited by Cwebs on May Wed 16, 2018 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 8:13 pm 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
Cwebs wrote:
DRY!!!
Drain the hold fuel system. DRY DRY DRY

+1

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 8:42 pm 
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Location: Somers, CT
Run dry, but I add a few ounces of the 50:1 ethanol free mix sold in hardware stores, etc. for over winter storage. If you run dry, drain the bowl.

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Apr Sat 22, 2006 10:46 pm
Posts: 1715
Location: Waterloo, Iowa
For an emergency generator or critical use equipment (storage) it's difficult to improve on Coleman fuel or Blazo. Naptha is a first distillate of gasoline with no additives so it will not sour or turn to gum or varnish. Costs far less than the aggravation or expense of a carburetor rebuild. Safe to leave for extended periods, will start right up, no stabilizer needed.


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Dec Tue 23, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 690
Location: N. Palm Bch, Fl.
+2 DRY. As said above. Mine starts right away also. I do run my generator 3 times a year though. Half a gallon of gas and run it DRY.

Freeman.


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 11:05 pm 
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Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
I start mine every two months at least, try for every month. That includes the chain saw. I have a manila tag attached to the generator and the chainsaw case and record every time I run it. Things tend to fuzz as time goes by...

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Feb Wed 07, 2018 6:52 pm
Posts: 240
Location: Stone Mountain, GA
Yes, run dry. There is nothing in the carb that needs to stay wet.

I also add a petcock to the fuel line and shut off when not in use. I see too many that the gas evaporates while the ethanol absorbs water. Ends up with carb full of water. Water corrodes the carb and I have even seen several with algae growing in the bowl.

Shutting the gas off also prevents the possibility of the carb float valve not sealing and filling the engine with gas.

Right now my Ninja has gummed carbs from using stabilizer. As the gas dried out it left a goo and got sucked into the jets. So don't use it anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Wed 16, 2018 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 635
Location: Crossville, TN USA
Obviously there are two schools of thought on this - Wet or Dry.

I have done both, and I have left fuel in there without treating it, and have had to have the carb rebuilt. Despite my best intentions to run the generator every month I sometimes forgot, and without treated fuel it will gum up and not start. I generally use Sta Bil and it does work.

The guy that rebuilds it says keep treated fuel in the tank, and he recommends a pack of granules you add to the gas. Says it will keep the gas good for 2 years. I treat the fuel in my Honda outboard, 4 stroke with Sta Bil, at the end of the season and when we start it up it appears no worse for the wear. And when I used treated fuel in the generator the same thing - so this stuff does work.

I too have heard about running it dry and gaskets shrinking and causing problems, so I don't know.

But one thing we can all agree on is you should use ethanol free fuel in all your small engines.

I use it in the boat, lawn tractor, generator, pressure washer, and tiller and all seems well. So perhaps use the system of your choice but do use ethanol free fuel all the time. The repair guy does echo that.

Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Thu 17, 2018 1:10 am 
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Joined: Mar Wed 16, 2011 10:44 pm
Posts: 669
Location: Peekskill, NY
An experiment:

1) shut off the fuel, run the engine till it quits.

2) open the bowl drain and see how much fuel is left in there.

A motor will stop running long before the carb bowl is empty.
"Running it dry" doesn't do it. Put the stabil into the tank. Run the
motor long enough to get it near operating temps. Shut down the
spark, shut down the fuel.

Drain the carb bowl.

Change the oil.


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Thu 17, 2018 1:30 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7096
Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
Power equipment was my trade for three decades. I made a pretty good living repairing fouled fuel systems. I used to think that run dry and blow the bowl dry was the best for long term storage, full with stabiliser was second best and only for short term storage.

I have since changed my approach. Now that synthetic fuel is available, my approach for short term storage (up to a couple of years) is to fill the gas tank full with synthetic fuel, run the unit long enough to make sure that the synthetic fuel has flushed the bowl of any other fuels that may have been used and then top off the tank again.

The synthetic fuel has no alcohol and has an "in the tank" life of two-plus years. As an added safety you can use two-stroke synthetic fuel. It has the same life span and contains a lubricant that will coat metal surfaces and slow oxidation.

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Thu 17, 2018 1:36 am 
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Joined: Mar Sun 01, 2009 10:27 pm
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Where do you get synthetic fuel?

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Thu 17, 2018 2:22 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7096
Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
Tom Schulz wrote:
Where do you get synthetic fuel?

I buy a fuel called "ASPEN" or ASPEN 2" (mixed fuel for two strokes). Most of the power equipment sellers have their own brand, so look at your Stihl or Husqvarna dealer?

EDIT :: I call it synthetic. There may be another, more correct name for it.

EDIT 2 :: https://www.husqvarna.com/us/accessorie ... 581158701/

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Thu 17, 2018 2:35 am 
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Joined: Mar Wed 11, 2015 1:46 am
Posts: 1086
Location: Boiling Springs, PA
I typically run mine dry for storage.

Now back in the day when I was flying planes regularly I would buy an extra gallon or two of 100LL Avgas when I filled up and always half filled the tank with it before storage since it wont go bad nearly as fast as auto fuel. It smells good and its blue in color but I digress. The only drawback is it contains no alcohol so it wont hold water in suspension so its possible you will have water in the bottom of the tank from condensation. A little fresh car gas added in next season will fix it.

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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Thu 17, 2018 2:41 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 07, 2018 6:52 pm
Posts: 240
Location: Stone Mountain, GA
John Bartley wrote:


That is regular gas. The synthetic is the oil. At about $25/gallon at local stores, expensive. I just use synthetic oil instead.

You can get ethanol free gas. check out pure-gas.org . Makes a huge difference and is usually near the price of regular gas.


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 Post subject: Re: Running gas engines dry - good/bad idea??
PostPosted: May Thu 17, 2018 3:22 am 
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Posts: 1715
Location: Waterloo, Iowa
SHenion wrote:

You can get ethanol free gas. check out pure-gas.org . Makes a huge difference and is usually near the price of regular gas.


Regular gasoline, even pure gas, is still going to sour and turn to varnish over time, even with a stabilizer.

The key is to avoid fuels for storage that exhibit this characteristic in the first place. The trend for generators is propane or natural gas, for just this reason. But if you're using gasoline powered equipment, I've bought camping stoves at garage sales with probably 25 year old fuel in it that the fuel was perfect and works fine.

The reason for that is there are no additives or chemicals in Naptha aka "Coleman Fuel" to cause phase separation or turn to gum or varnish. It evaporates with no residue. Long before the overpriced boutique fuels came on the scene, Naptha has been used for critical use emergency equipment - like "Jaws of Life" - items that are sometimes infrequently used, but must work first time, everytime. In fact that's how I first heard about it. It is just about perfect for storing gasoline powered emergency generators, and for the same reasons.


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