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Author Topic:   Good gas vs. bad gas
tarbaby posted 06-21-2001 11:34 PM ET (US)   Profile for tarbaby   Send Email to tarbaby  
I have a question that I hope someone can answer. Suppose a boat sits all winter, or longer, with gas in the tank. The gas is "stale" and has changed color. In a perfect world I would get rid of the gas and start over with fresh. But where do I put 80 gallons of gas. There is no water in it and does not have that egg smell.I am running a new Racor filter. My mechanic said to run it out and then start over with new. My question is this; When you burn that tank of gas, does the engine produce the same amount of horsepower as it would with new gas. I am trying to settle a bet with a friend. Would a 150 h.p. engine produce 150 h.p. with that gas? I think that it would be less. Please help me settle this bet. Shay
lhg posted 06-21-2001 11:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I fill my tank up every fall before lay-up, like the manufacturers recommend to avoid tank corrosion. In the spring, I use about half of it, then add more fresh gas, and have never had problems. I wouldn't worry about it. Don't know about HP loss, but I doubt it.
gunnelgrabber posted 06-22-2001 07:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for gunnelgrabber  Send Email to gunnelgrabber     
tarbaby and lhg, makes me wonder neighbor from alaska marvels at how quickly gas goes bad here.(n.fla.-south ga.)he never has a problem "up there".also,this seems to me to be the case in the midwest and maybe elsewhere.? it's not the problem up, out and over there that it is down here. i only have 12 or so gal.(80 is a lot!)and i run it through a tractor or lawnmower.but the power? gum up carbs or injectors?..sure looks and smells the additives change all of this?...would clark roberts shed some spruce creek knowledge on this?thanks...lm
dfmcintyre posted 06-22-2001 08:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
I'm the opposite of Larry, and usually drain or close to drain my tank. Last fall put it away with about two or three gallons in it, with stabilizer.

Like Larry, I've never had a problem. Last three winters in Michigan, this boat was in heated storage.

Racor filter.

I think you run an increased chance of having a water in the fuel problem in the summer, in remote (and not so remote locations either. A Little Current fillup years ago comes to mind....), then the condensation factor over a winter.

This question (i.e. condensation in empty tanks) has come up in an avaition forum that I frequent, and there is some belief that it's an OWT.

On the other side of the coin..... I could have saved some $ with a fall fill.....

Best -- Don

jimh posted 06-22-2001 09:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I just ran out of gas from last October in my Suburban. (I don't drive it much at all in the winter--just tow the boat with it.) I had 45 gallons of $1.50/gallon gas in her. It felt like money in the bank!
Clark Roberts posted 06-22-2001 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
My gas doesn't last long enough to get stale and I have no experience with storage conditioners etc... I use Yamaha "Ring Free" per maint. dosage just to be safe when I can't find Chevron 87/89 octain with Techron (my favorite gasoline). The cause of the stale smell you describe may be the additive package in the gas (injector cleaning solvents etc) that become unstable over time. This should not affect the usability and/or power of the fuel... just a guess, mind you... some petroleum expert out there may shed some light on this?? Larry's dilution scheme sounds like a good way to go to use up the "stale" fuel... If there is a serious question about fuel cleanliness etc. I would suggest that you NOT use it in a fuel injected outboard as it might screw up the injectors and pump! Carb engines should burn it no problem... Again, I'm just guessing here! Is this why sailors call our boats "stinkpots"??? Happy Whalin'.. Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
Georgian Bay Boater posted 06-22-2001 10:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Georgian Bay Boater  Send Email to Georgian Bay Boater     
Good day, just to add some further insight.

In my other boat (non Whaler) I store it with about 260 liters of the highest grade gas I can locate (usually Sunoco 97) and then in the spring I add some octane booster to regain the highest octane possible.

Since my Whaler and other small aluminum boat run off portable tanks and both motor and tanks are stored inside, there is no reason to leave the tanks full.

Just my two bits……………..


Tom W Clark posted 06-22-2001 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Gas left in the tank for one winter may undergo some chemical change but not to the point of affecting your motor. Contaminants in the fuel are another matter.

Don, I always (well, always mean to anyway) top off my tank at the end of the season. Condensation in the fuel tank is not an old wives tale, but its occurrence will, of course, vary from climate to climate. Here in the Pacific Northwest (carb ice capital of the world) we are well acquainted with moisture in the air and in our tanks.

Fuel filters will go a long way towards removing sediment (and water) from the fuel, but the fuel itself? If it has changed then it has changed. But I wouldn't get rid of it unless it were more than a year old. I hate the thought of not using what I paid money for not to mention the environmental impact disposal, proper or not, may have.

I might store portable tanks differently. With the small capacity it would be easy to pour them off into your car of truck and store them "dry" and in the basement or garage. (But they really should be totally dry, gas vapors are explosive!)

As to the question of chemically changed fuel producing less horsepower I have no knowledge to guide me but my intuition says no, it won't affect horsepower. It may be that the potential energy of gasoline is reduced after long storage, but the internal combustion engine is not a particularly efficient converter of energy to motion. Mostly they produce heat.

For a different point of view I relate here a conversation between the owner of my neighborhood lawn mower repair shop and a chain saw owner who brought his saw in for repairs. The repair shop owner said something like: "..and remember, always use fresh gas. Gas older than a month is old gas. Use fresh gas!" She probably owns Exxon stock.....

Whaler4me posted 06-22-2001 10:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler4me  Send Email to Whaler4me     
I have about 20 gallons in my tank after sitting for a long while. I'm just not going to take any chances after rebuilding the motor. A fuel removal service is charging me $100 to take it out. Better safe than sorry.
jimh posted 06-22-2001 09:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh has some information on fuel polishing.


jimh posted 06-22-2001 09:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh also has some information regarding fuel and tankage.


SuburbanBoy posted 06-23-2001 12:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
It has been my recent experience that here in the Chicago area you are better off coasting through winter without a fillup. The reason (I believe) is that my gas is supplemented with alcohol. This alcohol supplement will greatly increase the probability of water condensate in the fuel. The less gas in the tank, the less alcohol available to cause moisture problems.

I also always add some fuel storage conditioner called Sta Bil (sic?). In spite of this precautions, my experience is that the smaller the carb. the bigger the probability that you will have trouble. My 50cc per cylinder motors have a tough time, my 500cc per cylinder motors (with jumbo carbs) usually don't act up.

B Bear posted 06-24-2001 12:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Gasoline today will lose octain over a period of time starting to drop off after 30 days. This is not a big deal unless you start looking at 4 or more months in layup. During this period of time gums and varnishes also develop. This information can be confirmed with the Coast Gaurd also. In fact there has been a change in thought on how winterization should be done. One way it is recommended is that the fuel tank be left at 1/4 full with a good conditioner/stabilizer added and the gas lines drained to reducing gums and varnish build up, moisture is not considered and delt with using fuel/water seperator during the boating season. This may be more true for the newer plastic tanks where corrosin is not a factor
All petrolum products undergo a chemical change when exposed to air (oxygen).
Oil should be changed after 6 months even if no hours were put on, due to the fromation of acids which would attack the metal in the engine.
The lowering of the octaine rating will effect the performace of your engine in the way the fuel will now burn, I believe it would effect a 4 stroke more than a 2 stroke with a greater possibility of carbon build up. Ever hear the term "Gum up the works" that happens with old gas.
kingfish posted 06-24-2001 06:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Can't add much of real import here other than to say that I am of the LHG school of thought in my lay-ups, but I do want to buy that Suburban when you're done with it, Jim - gas from October?? I don't have gas in my Yukon from six hours ago!!


safetylast posted 06-24-2001 11:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for safetylast  Send Email to safetylast     
OK Tarbaby, HERE IS YOUR ANSWER: At the end of every year, drain all the gas that runs the four stroke HONDA from your tank into your cars. 80 gallons should keep you away from the gas tanks for a few weeks :). Add stabiliaer to whats left after you've "emptied" it. next year, fill it up with nice new, high octane gas. After running the first tank, you will want to bleed off about 1/16 cup of water from your in-line filter that got there from the condensation over the winter. A better solution is to hunt ducks over the winter, and never leave your boat idle. If you don't have a 4 stroke yet, your original problem is worse than you thought because the oil helps gum up everything. In this case, I suggest you simply drink the 80 gallons and swallow 1 lighted match - your problem will then be over for good. Seriously, good luck.
Dick posted 06-24-2001 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Here in the PNW my Montauk is layed up 5 to 6 months a year. When I put it to bed for the winter I don't fill the tank but do add the appropriate amount of stabilizer. I then run the engine untill it warms up, disconnect the fuel line and run it untill all gas in the system is burned out. In the spring I fill the tank, bring the engine up to temp, change the oil (4 stroke) change the seperator filter and then go fishing
Works for me.

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