The machines we build at Prairie Dog Boring Equipment, Inc. use small gasoline engines. Simply because of the time we’ve been at our location we work on engines other than just the ones we install on our machines. Consequently I see a number of engines each year that need some minor work, usually, due to regular pump gas. This usually happens as constructions starts back up after the winter and when people are preparing their generators for hurricane season and then hunting season in the fall.
The gasoline you normally buy at the pump contains up to 10% ethanol. You’ve seen it on the stickers on the pump. I won’t get into why ethanol is blended into gasoline and I don’t know the physical or chemical properties of ethanol but I do know it will absorb water. Take a little bit of rubbing alcohol and pour it in a glass jar then add a few drops of water. You’ll see a reaction where the water is being absorbed. Do the same thing with gasoline and you’ll see the water separate. Adding ethanol to the gasoline allows the gasoline to absorb a certain amount of water.
This water can be absorbed straight from the atmosphere so conditions here in the humid climate of South East Texas is prime. Once the water is absorbed into the gas/ethanol mixture it’s only a matter of time before the gas turns unusable. It won’t burn. The water also starts to cause rust in the metal tank if the equipment has a metal tank and will start rusting up the carburetor, clogging the jets and screens, making the float stick etc. Sometimes the carburetor can be cleaned out and reused but other times it may be so bad that it needs to be replaced.
If you own a two cycle trimmer, chain saw, edger, etc you’ve probably had problems with those little plastic hoses cracking and breaking after a few years. This too is the ethanol.
Stabilizers can help keep the gas from turning bad but it doesn’t remove the ethanol. the gasoline will still continue to absorb water.
A few years ago some companies started packaging ethanol free gasoline for two cycle engines. It typically comes in a quart can and runs around $7 -$8. I started using it in my personal lawn equipment and found my equipment runs better, stays cleaner and have had no problems with hoses. I’ve know it to cure problems with bad running engines. Most hardware stores, lawn equipment dealers and even big boxes carry a brand of this pre mixed gasoline. It’s worth the extra money not to have to buy an extra gas can, mix the fuel yourself and worry about it turning bad and ruining your equipment. Your equipment will run more efficiently and won’t need nearly as much service due to burned rings, fouled plugs, or clogged spark arrestors because you mixed your 2 cycle mix too rich or too lean. The companies that blend this gas will offer warranties and the manufacturers of the equipment are even offering longer warranties if you use pre mixed gas. It’s that important.
Recently, while servicing a generator that I knew had been setting up for years I was prepared to replace the carburetor as part of the typical service I do on such a piece of equipment. I checked the gas( most of which had evaporated out of the tank) for the tell tale smell that it was spoiled and found it just smelled like gasoline. To my surprise, after almost ten years of sitting up the generator started on the first pull. After some questioning I suspected that the gasoline that was in this generator had come straight from a refinery or had otherwise somehow not been blended with ethanol. I still believe that to be true.
I did some checking to see where I might be able to purchase ethanol free gas. Seems there are thousands of outlets in the US and Canada. Check out this site for outlets near you.
It seems pretty up to date. Some of these places may sell racing fuel out of a drum and it can be expensive, other places are beginning to sell bulk straight from a pump and it may run a dollar or so more than regular unleaded. Seems the handle will be blue where regular gas handles are red, diesel is green and, I believe, E85 will be yellow.
If you have any gasoline powered equipment I highly recommend finding a source of ethanol free gas and using that in your lawn equipment, atv’s, construction equipment or any other tools or equipment that might set up for more than a couple of months.
I haven’t tried filling up my truck with ethanol free but may do so next time I find it at a reasonable price. I’m interested to see how much the fuel mileage increases.
For more information about Prairie Dog Boring Machines please call us toll free at 866-631-3786, local in the Houston area at 281-448-8442, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out on the web at www.undergroundequip.com