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Author Topic: Poulan ethanol issue  (Read 886 times)

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Offline KEC

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Poulan ethanol issue
« on: September 25, 2020, 10:07:07 PM »
A relative told me he was having issues with a Poulan P3314 saw. Told him I'd take a look at it. Cleaned it up, sharpened it and went to check the gas and oil. The gas cap was so tight I had to pry it with a scrench all the way out. Went to a hardware store that works on saws and they told me that those caps swell from using ethanol gas. Put good gas in it and did a test cut and all seems well with a new cap. Anyone else seen this?

Online lxskllr

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2020, 11:05:02 PM »
I've heard of it, and my old Poulan's cap would get a little "sticky", but I never had to pry the whole thing off. After that died(probably due to storing corn gas in it for extended periods), and I got a good saw, I quit buying corn gas for my small engines.

Offline dougand3

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2020, 11:09:59 PM »
Sure. I have 6-8 caps in boxes that are swollen. You can get SOME smoother function by putting in the freezer overnight but they'll swell again.
Husky: 372xt, 272xp, 61, 55 (x3)...Poulan: 315, 4218 (x3), 2375, 2150, 2055, 2000 (x3)...Stihl 011AVT...Homelite XL...Saws come in broken, get fixed or parted, find new homes

Offline jwillett2009

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2020, 07:25:33 PM »
I don't use ethenol gas in any of my equipment anymore. I imagine if you were working professionally or constantly with your saw and running tank after tank, day after day, it probably wouldn't hurt. Most of us though, use the saw occasionally and put it away with gas in the tank.... a lot of times probably in an uninsulated shed or barn that get real hot in the summer sun. That ethanol cooks right out of the gas like bacon grease. I cant tell you how much time I spent on maintenance because of ethenol. I figure it costs me roughly $35-40 extra a year to run only premium, well worth my time saved.

I've seen sticky caps but never put 2 and 2 together until I read this. I've never real seen the swelling though.

J
60 acre woodlot, 455 rancher husqavarna, MS660 stihl, 196? Massey ferguson farm tractor with three point hitch, Granberg Mark III Alaskan CSM, Sierra 1500

Offline KEC

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2020, 09:30:36 PM »
Know that I swore off ethanol gas for all my small engines some time ago. I go to the gas station and select high test/non-ethanol and put 2 gallons in my pickup to purge the lines in the pump and THEN fill my cans for my saws, mowers, etc. Ethanol cost me a lot a money and aggravation before I wised up.

Offline trimguy

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2020, 09:30:48 AM »
I switched to non- ethanol gas for all my small engines awhile back. Never thought about purging the lines , thanks .

Offline Spike60

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2020, 12:11:10 PM »
Very common with those course/large thread Poulan caps. I'm only guessing that those threads have someting to do with it, but it rarely happens with fine thread caps. The scrench or a pair of pliers is the only thing that will move them. Usually need the tool all the way out, not just to get it started. They are cheap enough that it's not with fussing with them.

JW is right about about ethanol being less of an issue with pro guys, but that's more along the lines of the gas not being around long enough to go bad. But if fuel lines and other rubber parts are still sitting in ethanol fuel day after day, there can still be some swelling problems whether the fuel is fresh or not. And he's also right about it being worth every bit of that yearly increase in fuel costs to use non-ethanol fuel. My rule is everything without a license plate gets run on ethanol free.
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Offline sharp edge

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2020, 01:32:45 PM »
Lungs are expensive to fix too.

SE
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Offline KEC

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2020, 09:21:16 PM »
I recently found a video on u tube where a guy used a small grinder to grind down the raised threads on the gas caps so he could continue to use them.

Online Al_Smith

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2020, 03:54:38 PM »
I don't know anything about the Poulans but the flippys on the Stihls swell .You do one of two things, replace  the cap or buy o-rings in bulk. I do the later .Buna N is pretty much gasoline resistant but not so much on ethanol .It's just something most have to deal with .One thing I'm not going to do is buy marine gas from Lake Erie just to run a chain saw or AV gas from the airport .Might be different if it was fully restored Rolls-Royce or something .Much ado kind of like the great oil debate .----speaking of which------ 8)

Offline KEC

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2020, 08:31:58 PM »
Here (Central New York), high test non-ethanol gas is fairly easy to find at gas stations.  About 2 miles from my house I got some 2-3 days ago for around $ 2.85  per gallon, a bargain compared to the cost of fouling up my small engines.




Online lxskllr

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2020, 08:47:03 PM »
I only have one source of corn free gas, and it's ~30 miles away. I usually buy it 15G at a time, so it isn't too bad. I was working up that way today, and I wanted a 5G No-Spill™ gas can to fill the lawn tractor, so I bought it, and filled it up on my way by. I have ~17G of fuel in the garage, and it should last til next summer.

edit:
I think it was $3.23/G for 90 octane.

Offline Real1shepherd

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2020, 02:47:22 AM »
Ethanol if you must.....breaks down within three weeks. Use it up and/or get it out of your carb long term. Look on YouTube at all those wonderful little Honda generators that have plugged/corroded carbs because they left ethanol in there long term.  

Real non-ethanol gas is available prepackaged at farm stores and big box stores. Small engines run on that stuff when broken down are spotless.

Pay the extra if you can't get it at the pump(non-ethanol)....it's totally worth the peace of mind.

Kevin


Online Al_Smith

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2020, 12:01:48 PM »
About 6 years ago shortly after my wife passed I took a jaunt to Denver .Some where I think in Illinois I gassed up at a station that must had 20 islands .They were mostly full except two .I pulled into one but noticed the money was adding up faster than the gas was being pumped. Then I noticed ,race gas at 4 bucks a gallon. I only dumped in about a 1/4 tank and drove another 50 miles and paid attention more .The car didn't run any better .

Offline Spike60

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2020, 04:14:14 PM »
Lungs are expensive to fix too.

SE
What? 
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Offline Happysawer

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2020, 08:45:18 AM »
Back in 2007 there was a really bad ice storm where i was then living, a fairly large tree dropped limps in my yard not having a chainsaw at that time, i headed out looking for one well many others were also doing the same thing.

I was lucky just to find a small PoulanPro with 18" Bar, another thing the only gas you could get then was gas with 10% Ethanol, i did not use the PolanPro very much after the ice storm just maybe twice, think i just left gas in the saw then i needed it again in 09/2020 around 13 years later.

I added then real gas no Ethanol PoulanPro fired up with no problems, did some bush removal and then I thought maybe i should clean the fuel filter, "BIG" mistake i just barly tuched the filter and the fuel tubing broke off, little did i know how that Ethanol gas harmed rubber and plastic tubing along with many other problems.

Well i found out with the fuel tubing passing through the fuel tank wall, fixing the old Poulan was not going to be a simple job.

Anyway to make a long story shorter, i junked the old 13 Pound PoulanPro, and bought a new 9.5 Pound STIHL MS211 Chainsaw and put only real gas without Ethanol in it.

Would have been better off not trying to clean that fuel filter.

Online Al_Smith

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2020, 09:40:55 AM »
Oh my the ethanol thing again .it's not going to go away no matter how much you squawk about it .Over time it will cause buna -n rubber compound to degrade ,that's a fact .However since that  fact was discovered in order to lessen these problems companies like Stihl,Ford motor and others have taken steps to develop replacement parts such as seals that are more robust .
Now you could travel all over the place to find pure gasoline or deal with it as it is  .I do the later myself .So I change a few seals and rebuild a few carbs ,it's not the end of the world .
I personally think corn should be used to fatten cattle and make whiskey rather than power a chainsaw, lawn mower or beat up old pick up truck but my opinion doesn't count .--2 cents worth ---

Offline Real1shepherd

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2020, 10:18:16 AM »
No, it's not the end of the world using ethanol, but it's a problem introduced into the small engine world many yrs ago that didn't need to be. Before ethanol gas, you'd have to leave non-ethanol gas in your tank stored for yrs to emulate the problems you get with ethanol in just a few months.

Like I said, watch the vids on YouTube of Honda generators that have been left languishing with ethanol in them. We have two stations in this town(small) that carry non-ethanol gas and I have been using them for over ten yrs.

And for you guys that only occasionally use small engines, the farm and box stores sell canned non-ethanol gas that's even better than the stuff you can get at the pumps. 

Kevin

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2020, 11:07:47 AM »
Back in the day ,which I remember well the gasoline would "varnish " stink like fermented skunk behinds after a couple of years .It was not fool proof  by any means . FWIW I have a gasoline powered  1954 Oliver OC 6 crawler tractor  that had  sat for 14 years not started .That gasoline was okay but of course I siphoned it out and replaced it with fresh gas before I fired it up last year . It did blow some smoke for a little while though but smoothed right out after a tad bit .
Actually for being as old as it it does fine .I don't use it very often but the old gal is on the ready parked up on ties just in case .On the saws I have an 084 Stihl I know I haven't started in 5 years .Fresh fuel in the tank and I'd bet it will start right up . They say you should drain them but I never do .Maybe I'm just lucky ? 8)

Offline Happysawer

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2020, 12:16:28 PM »
Back in the day ,which I remember well the gasoline would "varnish " stink like fermented skunk behinds after a couple of years .It was not fool proof  by any means . FWIW I have a gasoline powered  1954 Oliver OC 6 crawler tractor  that had  sat for 14 years not started .That gasoline was okay but of course I siphoned it out and replaced it with fresh gas before I fired it up last year . It did blow some smoke for a little while though but smoothed right out after a tad bit .
Actually for being as old as it it does fine .I don't use it very often but the old gal is on the ready parked up on ties just in case .On the saws I have an 084 Stihl I know I haven't started in 5 years .Fresh fuel in the tank and I'd bet it will start right up . They say you should drain them but I never do .Maybe I'm just lucky ? 8)
Back in 1954 i think engines had to have leaded gas, did using non leaded gas in your  1954 Oliver OC 6 crawler tractor   ever cause any valve problems?

Offline Real1shepherd

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2020, 03:49:26 PM »
It's hard to put this all in perspective now but.....no one EVER advocated leaving the same gas in small engines for long periods of time. Conventional wisdom was to always drain the gas at the start of every season and put in fresh gas. Or....run/drain the gas completely out of your tank and carb for storage.

We've all back in the day, run stale gas in some small engine just to get rid of it....rather than pour it out. But there was no expectation that you'd really work an engine hard with it, or risk possible damage doing that. Rule of thumb though was if it smelled like varnish, pour it out.....don't run it.

 Tetraethyl lead was not only a upper engine valve train lubricant but it also raised octane levels in gas. It was the best of both worlds and they never really found anything that 100% replaced it. Whether or not it was a factor in gas storage duration....I don't remember.

Kevin

Offline Don P

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2020, 10:10:18 PM »
I've been running an early 50's MF tractor for, I guess its been around 25 years since lead was phased out, still original valves and seats, its pretty much all stock. Not light duty, it was grunting through white oak today at full throttle. The compression in those engines is so low though, I imagine it would do fine at half the octane.

IQ in schoolkids has gone up and violent crime has gone down in direct relation to lower lead in the environment, that part has been a win. The average person has something like 5 times less in their bloodstream than in the 70's, we were all poisoned by today's guidelines. I think even early on when they were trying to find something to reduce preignition ethanol was tried back in the 20's and they knew at the time lead was not a good thing but it really boosts octane and lets you run high compression. The story of that industry is similar to tobacco's. Much of the popular "science" is myth leftover from them.
A laborer works with his hands
A craftsman uses his brain and his hands
An artist uses his brain, his hands, and his heart

Offline Real1shepherd

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2020, 10:41:58 AM »
Compression always dictated how much octane you needed to run. You could get away with murder in low compression engines.

I used to collect 60's series Dodge military vehicles like the M37 and the M43. You could almost run water in those engines. They figured overseas there would often be trouble finding quality gasoline so they lowered the compression and tweaked the engines to run on the trashiest gas imaginable.

The big block engines that were suddenly run on unleaded gas suffered the most. Even if they had hardened valves, the seats were at risk pulling loads etc.

I'm restoring a 1978 Winnebago for friends with a 440-3. It has Stellite valves but not hardened seats. Long trips loaded he's going to need a lead substitute or he risks damaging the seats. Recreational & off road vehicles got an exemption for yrs on the forced use of unleaded gas after it was mandated in cars for 1975.

So yes, your low compression tractor engine is not having the valves hammer the seats to deform them.

Kevin 

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2020, 05:23:37 AM »
Back in the day ,which I remember well the gasoline would "varnish " stink like fermented skunk behinds after a couple of years .It was not fool proof  by any means . FWIW I have a gasoline powered  1954 Oliver OC 6 crawler tractor  that had  sat for 14 years not started .That gasoline was okay but of course I siphoned it out and replaced it with fresh gas before I fired it up last year . It did blow some smoke for a little while though but smoothed right out after a tad bit .
Actually for being as old as it it does fine .I don't use it very often but the old gal is on the ready parked up on ties just in case .On the saws I have an 084 Stihl I know I haven't started in 5 years .Fresh fuel in the tank and I'd bet it will start right up . They say you should drain them but I never do .Maybe I'm just lucky ? 8)
Back in 1954 i think engines had to have leaded gas, did using non leaded gas in your 1954 Oliver OC 6 crawler tractor  ever cause any valve problems?
No problems so far .I've got two Ferguson TO-20's,as well.1950 and 1951 .They both have big bore kits which raises the comp from 6.5 to I think 8 to 1.No problem with those or the Jeep CJ-5 circa 1964 .The only problem I've had on a 4 cycle has been the fuel pump diaphragm on the impulse  operated fuel pump on my Briggs engine leaf vacuum .
This stuff today is a lot better than the early so called "low lead ".I had a 1973 Olds Toranado with a 455 that could run on like a diesel using that stuff, smoke, stint like a skunk .I knocked the reducer gizmo on the gas tank fill out and ran high test in it .That old dude would pass anything on the road except a gas station 

Online Al_Smith

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2020, 05:49:51 AM »
I might add on those old tractor engines they were governed at below 2000 rpm's .I think the Oliver is 1600.Plus they have a large capacity radiator so they don't run hot .At that rpm that engine,216.5 cubic inch ,the same as a '54 Chevy only produces 34 HP .The Chevy is around 90 HP .That alone would save the valves .Plus when I rebuilt it some years ago I did a triple grind on the valves with my brothers Sioux valve grinder. I don't own one myself .

Now as far as compression when I got that thing it was a rusty old piece of junk that had been abandoned .The engine was full of water so there was some damage to the valves and seats  .It required a couple of  hard seats installed and I replaced many of the valves with good used ones .The rebuild kit was a slightly larger bore which I only assumed to be higher compression .If I recall it took the cubic inches from 194 to 216.5 .Like I've said many a time I've restored a lot more things than just old chainsaws .

Offline MNBobcat

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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2020, 08:55:00 PM »
Nice to see intelligent discussion on the topic.  I was reading on facebook "the original no bs chainsaw shack" group and some of the garbage that comes out of the narcissistic admin's mouth is seriously pathetic. 

One of the other issues with ethanol is it attracts water.  Your saw and any other piece of equipment has a vented gas tank which means as it sits the fuel will absorb water which then separates and settles to the bottom of the tank.  Because your saw is a 2-stroke engine, unlike a car, that causes serious damage to a saw.  There is no oil in that ethanol-water mixture that you're running through the saw.  Whereas, a 4-stroke can tolerate burning some water because it doesn't affect lubrication the way it does on a 2-stroke.

The environment is also a factor.  I only cut wood December through March and we have absolutely no moisture in the winter.  So as long as I run non-ethanol fuel and a good oil then fuel is really a non-issue.  I've had too much trouble with ethanol fuels over the years.  It's just not worth messing with it.

   


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Re: Poulan ethanol issue
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2020, 11:36:56 AM »
If my saw gas sits for maybe two months I dump it in the old Fergie tractor that really doesn't care what it eats .The itty bitty amount of oil in the mix doesn't hurt it .New gas, new oil at 32 to 1 as a reminder . 8).Some of those saws have sat so long I know I'll have to rebuild the carbs .I've tried it both ways, leaving the gas in or running it out .Doesn't seem to make much difference .Truth of the matter is I have so many it's nearly impossible to keep them all exercised .


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