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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,


I have an Ariens Compact 24 (920021) with an LCT engine that I purchased back in winter 2014. I've been pleased with it, though it's probably only gotten 15-20 uses or so since I've owned it (not exactly a bad problem to have). Anyway, my question about the snowblower relates to offseason storage, and more specifically, whether most with this model or one similar drain or leave pretreated gasoline in it during the offseason. Currently, I have 1/4 - 1/2 gallon of regular ethanol gas in the snowblower that I filled roughly two months ago. As I always do, the gas was immediately mixed with Seafoam in the gas can. It appears that the weather may not necessitate using the snowblower for the rest of this winter, so it got me thinking about offseason maintenance (both this year and moving forward).



I've read enough about this dilemma to know that there are advocates for leaving gas in the snowblower through the offseason, and I know there are others that recommend draining it. What I'm interested in is what's going to be the easiest from a maintenance perspective. Everything else being equal, it would be nice to have a similar offseason storage plan to my push mower, as the mower manual recommends draining the gas, but it's not essential to be in sync with the mower.


Am I OK to leave the ~two month old, ethanol gas that's been mixed with Seafoam in this blower, and if not, what is the easiest way to remove it - buy a siphon and siphon it into my car's tank? Moving forward, based on whatever input I receive here, I do have the option of purchasing ethanol free gas from a dealer approximately ten minutes away. After doing some reading on the benefits, using a gallon or so of that to fill both the snowblower and mower might be the best way to go. Obviously, the snowblower doesn't get used often enough that I'm going through gas with any sort of regularity; in fact, there was at least one winter that I didn't even need to use it. I'm not opposed to leaving gas in it assuming it's safe, but I believe I read that some folks recommend storing it with a full tank of gas. Assuming that's correct, fFor the reason I mentioned, it would take me years and years to use that much gas, so I'm not sure that's a great option for my situation. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

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I think it would be best to drain the tank and the carb. The carb has a little drain plug you can access to do this. If you don't want to siphon, just open the drain and fill a container until the tank is empty.
 

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I have a compact 24 since 09. great machine. you can go crazy trying to figure out best way to store engines. I buy gas and treat it with stabilizer before the first storm. whatever is left over I throw in my car. sometimes I run my snowblower until it runs out of gas but most of the time I turn the fuel shut off and let it run out then fill the tank up with the stabilized gas. never drained the carb. started Monday on first pull and ran like a champ
 

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I believe most manufacturer's manuals recommend draining fuel when the machine is going to storage for over 60 days.

FWIT, I prefer to remove the fuel and run the engine until it quits. Then I leave the gas cap loose for a few days so any remaining bits of fuel will evaporate from the tank. Cap is still covering the filler neck to keep dust and crap from getting in. I got one of those 5 dollar plastic siphons where you stick the pipe in the tank, squeeze the pump handle and flow the gas into the gas can. Easy peasy.. then I dump it in the car. I used 91 non ethanol fuel in the snowblower.

Funny thing, the Toro lawn mower (with a Honda engine on it) won't start worth a crap on non ethanol fuel. Took it back the the dealer after first season when it wouldn't start on fresh 91 oct non ethanol gas. He tossed in some regular 87 oct 10% ethanol, and it started right up. Did not see that coming...

I have been following this practice for 36 years, on two different machines, one Tecumseh 8 hp (25 years until the bucket rusted off it) and a B&S 9.5hp (11 years old and not a bit of rust showing) and and I have never had to rebuilt or clean out a carb due to gummed up fuel or sticky floats or needle valves. They always start first or second pull (or first shot with electric start) when the next winter season begins.

Others may have different practices but I tend to stick to things that have worked well for me in the past.
 

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As others suggested, I close the fuel shut off valve and let the engine die out. Then I apply full choke and try to start it two or three more times. I siphon out the remaining gas in the tank and transfer it to my truck. Lastly, your LCT's carb has a 10mm drain bolt on the bowl to release any remaining fuel in the bowl. I read somewhere that some of the LCT needles have a rubber tip and you don't it being lodged in the seat during the off season (draining the bowl allows the float to release the needle tip from the seat). I don't know if that's true but as a general practice, you should always dump the remaining fuel in the bowl.

I like Scutflut's suggestion of leaving the cap loose for a few days to allow any remaining tank fuel to evaporate; I'm going to follow that practice going forward.

I also run ethanol-free fuel in all of my small engines...that's a "must do" in my opinion. I also treat my fuel with Stabil but that's probably overkill.
 

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First of course I do all the end-of-season stuff that is pretty much universal across all makes - oil and grease stuff that needs it, clean up, fix anything that needs fixing while I have the luxury of time, and so on.

In this area we may or may not use the snowblower next year, or even for two or three years, so I get all of the gasoline out of it that I can. I siphon all the fuel I can out of the tank, then let it run until what is left is run out. Then I drain what little is left out of the carburetor - some leave it in and if that works for you, great, I like draining it, and it takes so little effort. Then I'll also leave the gas cap loose so anything left will evaporate for the next reason.

After seeing all the photos of the "mouse condos" in snowblowers on the forum, this year and following I'll put it in the unfinished part of the basement, next to the generator. While I haven't had any issues in the past with that, it is just one more thing to do to help keep it free of problems the next time I need to use it. Can't hurt, might help.
 

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As far as I know the "best" way is drain it, start it up and run it dry, pour in a little of that fancy synthetic gas (like TruFuel, $5/quart or so at a box store), start it up and run it dry again. If you have a fuel cut-off valve or an EFI machine and you know you'll need it next season you can also just fill it with the fancy gas, run it a little, turn off the valve and run the carb dry if it's not EFI, and park it with a full tank. That said, this is generally overkill.

Personally I'd just drain it and run it dry if you are using ethanol gas. If you have access to the good stuff (pure gas) and have a cut-off valve or EFI engine I'd probably just fill the tank with stabilized non-ethanol gas, close the valve, and run it until the carb is dry. Of course that's if you know you're going to need it next season. If not, store it dry.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the responses, everyone - they have been very helpful. Starting with the end of this season and moving forward, I intend to do two things differently: siphon out any remaining gas in the snowblower and into my car and only fill the snowblower (and lawnmower), with treated ethanol free gas moving forward. I've been in the practice of shutting off the fuel valve while running until it stops and draining the carb bowl. I'll continue doing both moving forward.

Any suggestions for a relatively inexpensive siphon? Since I wouldn't be siphoning more than a gallon (and often less) once or twice a year, it doesn't have to be anything high powered so much as it is reliable. Finally, how long can I reasonably expect ethanol free gas treated with Seafoam to last? Thanks again.
 

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I bought a fancy looking siphon last weekend at Home Depot. I think it was about $15.

A siphon is powered by gravity. It's just a thin tube with the output lower than the input. Liquids will flow up, over, and down once you get it started. A nice one has a hand pump of some sort to get it started. The cheap version is a tube you put in your mouth and suck on until the tube is full, then just let it flow. Those aren't sold as siphons, you just buy a piece of plastic (or metal, etc.) tubing. The cheap version is "not recommended" for gasoline since you might mess up and get a mouthful of gas, but people do it anyway.
 

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Any suggestions for a relatively inexpensive siphon?
I've got one that I think uses the bulb for getting fuel from an external tank to an outboard motor, so marine web sites might be one place to look. The thing has to be at least 20 years old. And I saw a siphon with some type of pump at an AutoZone store a few weeks ago in the $12-$15 range.

For as cheap as they are I wouldn't risk trying to do it the old fashioned way. If you get that gas in your lungs, and you're very unlucky, it can kill you. Slowly. Painfully. Not worth saving $15.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I definitely don't want one that involves putting a tube with gas in it anywhere near my mouth, but the ones mentioned in the $12 - $15 range are what I had in mind.
 

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If your machine has a steel tank I would leave it as full as possible. Maybe not the first year, but eventually a steel tank will rust if left empty for a long period of time.
Yes most have a coating to prevent this, but regardless they will all rust in time if left empty. A full tank will prevent this from happening.

Plastic tanks do whatever is easiest.
 

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I never drain the gas. I start the engine, while it's running, turn the gas valve off, and let the blower run until it stops on it's own. I always have Sta-bil in the gas. Starts up fine next season no problem. I also change the oil, but I generally only change the plug once every 3 years. Plugs should last a long time. I generally run my blower 5 or 6 times a season. Considering I run my lawnmower once a week for 5 to 6 months straight, and at an hour a mow, that's around 24 hours of operation a season with the same spark plug and no issues. So in reality, I should be able to get 4 to 5 seasons on my blower (25 hours) before really needing to change the plug. Heck, much longer in reality since gas is much cleaner that it use to be when lead was in the gas.
 
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