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Author Topic: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?  (Read 990 times)

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Offline Drew62

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Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« on: March 01, 2019, 07:08:35 PM »
Fascinating forum all,and I'm learning a lot.After reading endless forum topics about ethanol,which seems to keep a lot of peeps up at night fretting about the age and state of their fuel, I'm pondering-here in the U.K.,you never hear a word about it,I have phone/ face to face contacts with mainly stihl,but also husky dealers about twice a month.Have any of them mentioned it to me? Nope.I read a lot of newspapers,have I ever stumbled across a single article about it,that will be no again.No word or info about it on our petrol forecourts.After googling on it,I discover its 5% in our unleaded/generally not in our premium unleaded at all.I always use standard unleaded and have just gone from standard mineral stihl 2 stroke @50 to1,to the semi synth stihl @40 to1,just to baby my machines.But in all honesty I'm not aware of having a single bad/stale/corrupt fuel mixture issue in 30 odd years.Admittedly my machines have a short lay up season,say 6 weeks tops.But equally,some of my saws may go to bed at the end of feb,and not emerge blinking until mid oct-with fuel+oil in-I'm thinking of my 038av in particular there.What puzzles me is you get the impression ethanol is murdering hundreds of chainsaws on a weekly basis on forums?
A slave to the machines.

Online lxskllr

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2019, 07:28:51 PM »
I wrote in another thread that I had a saw and lawnmower die pretty much at the same time. They had run corn gas their entire lives(the mower actually predated corn gas, but it had it since it was released here), and only died when I started giving them real fuel. Both were stored for longish periods of time with fuel in the tanks, and could be a little balky when first started after the sleeping season, but ran fine afterward. Not sure what the implication is.


Probably more objectively, older equipment wasn't designed for corn fuel, and the rubber components suffered. Presumably that's been straightened out. Personally, I won't use corn gas in my equipment anymore, unless it's the only choice. I don't trust it, and I don't like the policy implications of its' existence. It isn't in fuel for any technical merit. It's socialism that benefits companies. A subsidy for "farmers". No, not farmer Bob down the road on his old Massey. It's for enormous companies that would be doing strip mining or something else if they weren't doing commodity grain production. If corn gas is so great, let it stand on its' own merits, and let the market decide.


edit:
Reading around, people's experiences seem to vary widely. Some guys have run corn gas for years with zero problems, and others are constantly replacing fuel lines, and rebuilding carbs. Maybe it's environment. Perhaps some weather keeps the fuel better for longer periods of time. Might be something else. In any case, it seems there's more /potential/ for problems. Better to avoid it altogether when feasible.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2019, 07:51:46 PM »
Drew, I can tell you this. For years my Dad always told me fuel was important and to run the best and cleanest in small engines to save a lot of work down the road. What did I know? He was always harping on something or other I did that was sub-standard, so I ignored that too and ran regular gas in all my stuff, mowers, lawn tractors, generators, weed whackers, hedge trimmers, and the whole bit. Each spring it was expected to clean or rebuild carburetors to get things running. Well about the time that Dad got ill I started to pay attention to what he said. After he passed, I switched to the non-ethanol for all my small engines. I have not had to touch a carb or rebuild one since that day. I buy that gas, add a product we call Sta-Bil over here, and then do whatever mix is required for the equipment. Not a single lick of trouble in 5 years. As my Dad got older, he got a lot smarter, it seems. Would that I can do the same. Over here we also have other additives in the fuel that is governed by regulators which change based on the season of the year. This stuff also does not help the small engine folks, I am sure, but it has to do with statistical emissions output. (I will refrain from adding the political comment that is screaming in my head at this moment because we don't do that on this forum.)
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Offline barbender

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2019, 09:44:16 PM »
It's weird how Dad gets smarter as he ages😁
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2019, 10:19:21 PM »
It's weird how Dad gets smarter as he ages😁
No doubt, but my Dad was a bit unique in that my whole life other people were telling me how smart, good, generous, and gifted my Dad was, as if it would make a difference in how I perceived him. it should have, of course been at least a clue for me, especially when I would run into folks in the trade who would realize who my Dad was and then go on for 20 minutes about how smart he was or tell me some story about how he saved their butt on a job. But NO, I was a smart arsed kid who resented that and the implication that I should be as smart or as talented as him. SO like any kid, I resisted that and did things that were as contrary to what he would have done as I could think of. For a while, then I got tired of the fight and came around to what was 'conventional' and eventually started to look for the smart things to do. Before long, I was consulting with him every day of my adult life and bouncing all my thoughts and decisions off of him. I would say probably too late, but really, it wasn't. I was lucky and got a lot from him. When he died in my arms, I thought, "this is it, I am on my own and so very alone, there is no way I can do this by myself." But soon I realized he gave me all the tools, I just needed to use the tools. On that score, these days, life is good, and my Pop is here with me every day on every task. I know there are many, who would give much, to say the same. I am a lucky guy.
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Offline Rebarb

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2019, 08:15:48 AM »
If your equipment sits....ethanol will bare its teeth.

Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2019, 09:27:59 AM »
No problems here.
My 1973 super xl12 sat for months at a time at my adk camp and started on the 4th or 5th pull right until I retired it 4 years ago.
It now occupies a spot in the corner of my shop.
Only issues with my other small engines, both 2 and 4 stroke, were a couple of fuel filters and one carb rebuild on my leaf vacuum.
Just lucky I guess.
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241 acres of woodland

Offline knuckledragger

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2019, 08:54:33 AM »
I almost passed on this response... generally I will use 93 mixed with stih, fossil fuel, oil in the orange bottle. However, when a saw is running sorta rough and I know it's fuel related. I'll go buy a quart of stihl timbersport fuel. Run the entire quart through the saw. The results are the same every time. The saw will go to running smooth again. I do enough saw work for the loggers and tree removers in the area that this statement should have merit based on the experience and number of people who have taken my advice to do the same. I would be interested in reading holmentree take on timbersport fuel.

Offline pabst79

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2019, 11:06:52 AM »
I had issues with my ice auger and weed eater 2 years in a row with hardened and brittle fuel lines, both at the start of the season after sitting. I blamed the ethanol, then I asked a buddy who runs an atv/boat shop, he said as long as you use a stabilizer like sea foam or stabil, the fuel will be good for at least 6-8 months. I started using that stuff in everything that burns fuel, 2 stroke or not, haven't had a issue in 4 years. 
4th Generation Plumber/Fitter who used to collect chainsaws,firearms and mostly useless iron things, now I mostly collect diapers that my wife throws off the deck...

Offline gspren

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2019, 07:19:20 PM »
Drew, you say your fuel is 5% ethanol while here it's 10% so twice as much which could be a reason that problems aren't as common there.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2019, 08:23:54 PM »
Maybe I have dumb luck. I have at least 5 small gas motors. Some use a oil mix,some straight gas. I buy high grade,super,high test,whatever,at my local gas station and have very little problems that I can blame it on fuel. I feel the small motors need all the help they can get.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Tasha

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 12:01:35 AM »
Drew, you say your fuel is 5% ethanol while here it's 10% so twice as much which could be a reason that problems aren't as common there.
You are lucky we are at 15% most of the time

Offline sharp edge

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 05:35:14 AM »
I worry about the nut holding the saw, what is best for it.  :new_year:

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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2019, 08:23:19 AM »
Started my "old" Troy built pressure washer yesterday.
Honda engine, had sat since early last summer.
87 octane ethanol gas.
Had to give it a whiff of ether and it started right up and ran fine for 15 minutes.
Like cfarm I must be lucky.
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Offline Drew62

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2019, 03:03:17 PM »
I suppose like most people I'm totally not qualified to make an informed decision on how damaging ethanol really is.I suppose its here,its not going away and as end users-just like the manufactureres we have to deal with it.One would hope they have dealt with it and are ahead of us-upgraded fuel lines and so on.I mean ethanol or not,fuel lines degrade and age and stiffen-I see that as normal.Equally if you keep 12 month old fuel in an ancient plastic fuel can that you bought 5 years ago for 5,well you may have issues too.to comes down to to good practices and hygiene too-the onus there is on us.
A slave to the machines.

Offline MichaelS70

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2019, 01:18:39 PM »
I think the availability of better fuel for small engines has a Lot to do with it.I use to run Chevron Supreme in my small engines before I switched to the Echo Red Armor.I don't.use my equipment daily so its just seasonal use.I cut firewood from time to time so the higher price I pay per gallon isn't a issue for me because I don't run every day.

Offline Drew62

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Re: Ethanol-the big bad wolf?
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2019, 03:04:19 PM »
I may come across as a bit jaundiced here,but from my admittedly limited experience,when I peer into some customers (usually) sole petrol cans,I often see a varied and interesting  stew of sawdust/grass/dead spiders and all sorts of unidentifiable bits that look as though they date back to the Egyptian Empire......
A slave to the machines.


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