drain the gas or not? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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drain the gas or not?

It looks like it's time to put the snowblowers away for the season, and I'm trying to decide what to do with the fuel system. In my experience, carb issues are the number 1 headache when dealing with seasonal machines and now that I have 2 machines working perfectly I'd like to give them the best chance of firing up next season.

I'm thinking a full tank of stabilized gas, fuel shutoff off, and drain the carb bowls. Is that standard practice around here?

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post #2 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 11:08 AM
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Nothing in the tank, nothing in the lines, nothing in the carb...every last drop...and dump it in the car. I even drop a clean rag into the tank to soak up the remnants then purge the fuel line with seafoam.


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post #3 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 11:19 AM
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If you are doing the fuel shutoff and draining the carbs, I dont see much point to the full tank of gas..most people do either:

1. Full gas in the whole system, tank, fuel lines, and carb.
or.
2. No gas in the system at all.

Dave, your post is the first time I have heard of a half-and-half!
could work though..there is a lot of subjectivity and personal preference in this procedure..

There are pros and cons of each:

1. Full gas in the system, tank, fuel lines, and carb.

Pro: Gas in the lines is said to keep things "lubricated", keeps gaskets from drying out.
Pro: if you have gas in all the lines, and full in the carb, in theory there is too much gas for it to evaporate away completely, causing varnish.

Con: In reality, the gas can still dry out in places, like the fuels lines and in the carb, causing varnish and sticky gunk issues..starting up the machine once a month or so might mitigate that problem.
Con: Gas goes bad quickly these days..even with stabilizer I wouldn't trust gas that is more than a month old..which means after 7 months of the summer storage season, you have a full gallon of gas, per machine, that is basically useless..you have to drain it and dispose of it. It is said you can slowly dump it into the car's gas tank, but I wouldn't want to do that to my car.
Con: if you do your annual maintenance in the fall, you have to drain out the gas before you can tip the machine up on its handlebars to do the internal lubing/greasing..easier if the gas just isnt there to start with.

2. No gas in the system at all.

Pro: No gas to dry out and gunk up! in theory.
Pro: Dont have to start up and run the machine once a month, you can just leave it alone all summer.
Pro: in the fall, there is no gas to get in the way of annual lubing/grease/seasonal maintenance. can tip the machine up on the bucket with no gas to drip out.
(some do the annual maintenance in the spring, I do it in the fall.)
Pro: in the fall, there is no old stale gas to deal with to get the machine up and running..just fill the tank with fresh gas, and she should fire right up.

Con: Can you really get *all* the gas out? perhaps not..there is a chance some will be left behind in small areas, like the gas lines, which could dry out and cause varnish..how real is this concern? dont know, but IMO its not a major concern.
Con: In theory, gaskets can "dry out"..IMO, this one is also more myth than reality..people have been draining the gas from the equipment, for storage, for 60 years..never hear of real problems from the "full drain" method..

For a few years, I did method 1 during the summer..leaving gas in. I have since changed my mind and now I do the "full drain" method..I think its better to simply have no gas in the system at all..drain the gas tank, disconnect the gas line to the carb, let the gas drip out, remove the carb bowl, wipe it clean with a rag..leave the carb apart, gas lines loose, gas cap off with a rag stuffed loosly in the gs cap hole (to prevent dirt from getting in) and let the whole thing sit for a few days..to allow things to "air out" and let the little bits of remaining gas evaporate away..then re-assemble everything, and shes ready to snooze away the next 7 months..

Scot


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post #4 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 12:03 PM
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Dave,

My preference is like Scot -- run it dry. Below are two experience with both running dry and stabilizing the fuel.

RUN DRY
Run the engine dry, drain the system and the like. My 1983 Honda single stage starts up every season when I refuel. My 1989 Bolens same thing.

STABILZED FUEL
However, my 2005 Troy Bilt / Briggs powered 7800 watt, 7 gallon tank generator was left with stabilized fuel in it for 3 years before starting again due to daily living distractions (2 aged parents going through hospice care, wife's cancer and recovery). I used both Stabil and Ethanol Shield. It sat longer than I imagined (since 2011). Went to start it and the 10 year AGM battery had died. Jump started it and it started right up. I installed a new battery and now must determine whether it is best to drain the fuel or add more stabilizer.

Honda 250 cc dirt bike had the same fuel in it for almost a decade and every 6 months I would stabilize the fuel. This was a low use dirt bike. That is it sat most the time in my storage shed. It started every time including the day I sold it. Albeit, the kick starting took some repeated attempts to fire up.

So, what does this tell you? One, draining fuel so the tank and carb are dry works from end of season until next season. Two, it also tells you that stabilized fuel can keep your fuel from going really bad.

Now that I have confused you even more it's OK to have questions. There is a third option which is do nothing which is what my neighbor did with 1989 Bolens when it would not start so he rolled to the curb the night before trash pick up. When I opened up the carb I found it was green with algae. He did that 2 years and I dragged it home, rebuilt the carb, replaced the rubber parts and I used it this winter.

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post #5 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 12:16 PM
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Ariens just put out a reccomendation to fill the tank with stabilized fuel, and then run stablized fuel through the blower for a few minutes, before switching the fuel shut off...off, then letting the blower run until it runs out of fuel.

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post #6 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pckeen View Post
Ariens just put out a reccomendation to fill the tank with stabilized fuel, and then run stablized fuel through the blower for a few minutes, before switching the fuel shut off...off, then letting the blower run until it runs out of fuel.
Interesting! perhaps that where Dave got the "full tank but dry carb" idea..thats a new one for me!

I suppose the full tank prevents the inside of the tank from rusting? thats the only benefit I can think of..

Scot


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post #7 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 01:23 PM
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If the tank is plastic there is no reason it needs to be full, I'd drain the system. If the tank is metal, I'd say stabilized fuel to protect it from condensation and rusting inside. Dry carb either way with me. That's the method I have the best luck with after trying it both ways.

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post #8 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 01:24 PM
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I use non ethanol fuel, treat it with Seafoam anyway and leave it as is. I also do the fogging oil routine in the cylinder.


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post #9 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 01:54 PM
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Right or wrong, this works for me.
I use marine stabilizer and premium fuel in every tank. You never know how log it's going to sit. I don't drain anything or run the carb out of fuel. I do shut off the fuel though. After sitting for months, I just turn on the fuel, hit the primer a couple times, choke it and it fires up one or two pulls.
This has worked on my lawn mower and KTM dirt bikes as well.
My thinking is, the engine will stop running long before the carb is dry, and the small amount of fuel left in the carb will varnish and gum up quicker than a larger amount. The only way to get a carb truly dry is to take it apart, hit all the jets with choke cleaner then blow it out with compressed air. Then you may have to worry about gaskets and rubber parts drying out.
This is just my opinion, but as I said, it works for me.
Dave

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post #10 of 26 Old 03-17-2015, 01:57 PM
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I committed a mortal sin with my 2005 pressure washer, I let it sit for ~7 years with untreated E10 fuel drying out totally in the carb and tank. I didn't think it would start but the 4.5 HP B&S flat head engine started after about 5 pulls after I sprayed the carb with carb cleaner, and it ran great. I had to replace the pump from lack of use. But for about $110 for a new pump I got a working pressure washer. I leave fuel in my generator's tank and carb but I start and run it for at least 1/2 hour under load every 3 months. My snow blower I'll run dry in the tank and carb as per the owner's manual.

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